Will James | KNKX

Will James

South Sound Reporter

Will James covers the South Sound region, as well as housing and immigration issues, for KNKX. He came to the station from Newsday in his home state of New York. 

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Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Seattle City Council is reconsidering a "head tax" on businesses to pay for housing and homeless services after council members failed to pass such a tax last year.


Activists and officials on the front lines of the fight against homelessness in Washington say they just had their most successful legislative session in recent history.

"Amazon headquarters sphere domes" by Kiewic is licensed under CC by 2.0 https://bitly.com/

Business leaders in King and Pierce counties took stock of the local economy at two separate summits Thursday, as they sought ways to harness the region's record job growth to solve pervasive problems.

"Theater District Light Rail Stop" by Paul Sableman is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2H4hwwU

A swath of Tacoma has made one company's list of the "most gentrified" ZIP codes in the United States.

Courtesy of the Thurston Conservation District

An election at a Thurston County land stewardship board is getting more attention than usual.

Saturday's election for an open seat on the Thurston Conservation District's board comes as the body faces a state investigation into allegations of dysfunction. 

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

More than 18,000 foreign workers, most of them from Mexico, traveled legally to Washington last year to labor on the state's farms, largely in the apple, pear, and cherry industries.

Recent high-profile lawsuits have thrust the state into a debate about the benefits and shortcomings of the H-2A visa program, which allows farmers to import temporary workers from other countries to make up for labor shortages at home.

Will James / KNKX

If you've ever stayed home sick from school or played hooky from work, you've probably found yourself watching "The Price is Right." 

It takes one look at the TV game show's screaming, jumping live studio audience to realize: This show has some pretty intense fans.

One Northwest family may rule them all.

No fewer than three members of the Goss family have been told to "Come on down!" and compete on the show over the past 22 years. All three walked away with prizes, with two members of the family winning "showcase" hauls worth tens of thousands of dollars.


A guard punched a detainee at a Tacoma detention center for immigrants facing deportation in retaliation for a hunger strike, a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington claims.

"construction continues on the Olympia City Hall" by Jason Taellious is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2GEKBPv

Stemming a tide of homelessness on the West Coast is hard enough for major cities like Seattle, where coffers are full of tax revenue from technology companies and generous levies.

When you're running a smaller city like Olympia, where the budget is about one-fortieth the size of Seattle's, the task can be even harder. 

Courtesy of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

As Tacoma's mayor, Marilyn Strickland was known for traveling the world to court investors and promote her city as a place to do business.

Raccoons at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, Washington.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

If you visit Tacoma's Point Defiance Park most any afternoon, you'll see raccoons lounging about the trails by day, often next to signs warning visitors to not feed them. 

If you drive slowly enough through the park's roads, they might rush out of the misty old-growth forest to greet you, tiny paws outstretched for food. If you're on a bike, they might scurry after you for a stretch.

Elaine Thompston / AP Photo

Experts are still searching for lessons from an Amtrak derailment in Pierce County that killed three people on Dec. 18, 2017. 

Some blame the lack of a computerized safety system called positive train control, which was not yet operational on the route. Others question the design of the just-opened track, where the train was making its inaugural trip with passengers. 

Will James / KNKX

Paramedics in Tacoma are giving out plastic bags full of lifesaving nasal spray to people who survive overdoses of heroin and prescription opioids. 

"Providence Saint Peter Hospital in Olympia, Washington" by M.O. Stevens is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2EbUzai

An Olympia woman died after paramedics sedated her while she suffered an apparent mental health crisis early Wednesday morning, police said.

Officers encountered the 35-year-old woman as they responded to a fire alarm at an apartment building on Fern Street Southwest in West Olympia. Firefighters said the woman pulled the fire alarm at about 1:05 a.m.

Police said she was acting strangely, and believed her to be a threat to herself or others, so officers put her in hand restraints. 

Will James / KNKX

The Burien City Council has voted phase out local trespassing rules that critics said targeted the city’s homeless population.


In a 4-3 vote Monday night, council members moved to repeal the law. The repeal is scheduled to go into effect in 60 days, which gives the council members time to reconsider or amend the decision.

"Burien Press" by Michael Allen Smith@INeedCoffee is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2FOfqAB

When the Burien City Council passed a trespass law four years ago, critics said it targeted the city's homeless population.  

Now, a new City Council is weighing a repeal of the law, which allows police to kick people out of public spaces for "disruptive" behavior. It could come up for a vote at a meeting on Monday at 7 p.m. 

Courtesy of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

Since former Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland left office weeks ago, political observers have wondered what's next for her.

Now, they have an answer.

Strickland, who was term limited after eight years in office, is taking over leadership of the region's largest business lobbying group, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

Will James / KNKX

A local critic of the Trump administration’s immigration policies is going to be in the audience at the president’s first State of the Union address. 

Maru Mora Villalpando, a Bellingham-based activist who is facing deportation, is attending Tuesday's speech as a guest of U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX


This story originally aired on June 3, 2017.

In countries like China and South Korea, internet and video game addiction is seen as a major public health threat, capable of ruining lives.

But here in the United States, just two or three centers in the whole country are devoted to treating the issue, which American psychology doesn’t officially recognize as an addiction.

Will James / KNKX

Legal temporary farmworkers are the "most vulnerable" agricultural workers in the country, an advocate said Thursday, describing them as having fewer rights than undocumented immigrants. 

Will James / KNKX

The city of Burien, just west of SeaTac Airport, has a new mayor. And, for the first time in Burien's 25-year history, it's a member of the city's Latino community.

Newly-elected City Council Member Jimmy Matta was chosen by his peers to serve as mayor in a meeting Monday evening. 

Will James / KNKX

This winter's flu season is particularly bad, but it's especially dangerous to people without housing, who can be more likely to catch the flu and have a tougher time shaking it, according to service providers. 

Will James / KNKX

UPDATED Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 4:15 P.M. with a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Federal authorities have begun deportation proceedings against a Washington activist known for criticizing the government's immigration enforcement efforts. 

Maru Mora Villalpando told reporters Tuesday that on Dec. 20 she received a certified letter ordering her to appear before an immigration judge in Seattle. The notice said a court date would be set later.

Will James / KNKX

Leaders in Tacoma have hired two artists-in-residence to help the city grapple with human elements of a homelessness crisis.

"Moving day for Russell" by Scott Hingst is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2Ft6FfX

State Farm Insurance is clearing out of Tacoma by the end of the year, the company said Thursday, meaning some 1,400 jobs will leave the city's downtown as local leaders name attracting employers as a top priority. 

"Old Buildings With Adverts In Tacoma" by Bradley Gordon is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2mth1EP

Tacoma's city council this week approved a property tax break of about $250,000 a year for a developer of market-rate apartments that are expected to rent for $1,200 to $1,600 a month. 

It's a common practice in the city, despite a growing need for less expensive housing. Tacoma had among the nation's the fastest-rising rents last year, according to the listing service RENTCafe. 

Courtesy of the Pierce County Sheriff's Department

UPDATED Monday, Jan. 8, at 4:11 P.M. with details about the second suspect's arrest.


"20040812 11 Tacoma, WA" by David Wilson is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2CK2ygY

Members of the Puget Sound Regional Council are starting work on a three-decade plan called Vision 2050, which will guide development across King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties.

For the council, made up of representatives from the four counties and dozens of cities, the challenge is getting everyone on the same page as they continue to face a tidal wave of population growth. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Tacoma officials are considering limits on any future expansion of the Northwest Detention Center, the region's only detention center for immigrants facing deportation. 

Will James / KNKX

Scattered across Pierce County, and every corner of America, are people who fall through safety nets for the elderly, disabled, and those suffering from mental illness.

They struggle to care for themselves, but also aren't getting long-term medical care or social services. 

Some try to quietly manage mental illness or physical disabilities on their own. Others are elderly and isolated. Without friends and family looking after them, they deteriorate in their homes.