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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Will James / KNKX

Burien has elected its first two Latino City Council members, after a hard-fought race that revolved around immigration, crime, and the city's identity.

Will James / KNKX

If you go to the base of Point Defiance in Tacoma and look east, you'll see a finger of earth jutting into Puget Sound. 

It formed as toxic slag spilled from a copper smelter during the city's industrial heyday. 

For years, it was a foreboding sliver of black, glassy material. Today, workers and machines roam the peninsula as they transform it into a grassy park with Puget Sound views.

Will James / KNKX

The makeup of Burien's City Council remains up in the air as races remain too close to call Wednesday afternoon.

Will James / KNKX

Former City Councilwoman Victoria Woodards leads local architect Jim Merritt by about four percentage points in Tacoma's mayoral race.

"I-5 northbound from S Delin Street" by SounderBruce is licensed under CC by 2.0 https://tinyurl.com/ya4snvqd

People driving through Tacoma on Saturday evening say they saw a banner with the phrase "white lives matter" unfurled over I-5. 

It's the latest in a string of white nationalist messages reported in Pierce County.

Will James / KNKX

As soon as Seattle's next mayor takes office, she'll be confronted with a scene like the one on the western slope of Beacon Hill. 

Dozens of tents and shelters, some made of tarps and rugs, rise from the blackberry brambles along I-90. Scattered among them are mattresses, bicycles, dolls, and piles of garbage. 

This is home to some of the estimated 3,900 Seattle residents living outside. 

Will James / KNKX

Voters in Shelton are facing a big question this election: Should the city completely change its form of government?

This community on the Olympic Peninsula is the last city in Washington state led by a three-member commission. 

A proposition on the ballot in the Nov. 7 election would expand the local government to a seven-member City Council. 

Courtesy of the New Hope Resource Center

Homelessness is one of the thorniest local election issues in Western Washington this year, even -- or especially -- in the small Pierce County city of Puyallup. 

Will James / KNKX

Why would Amazon build its second headquarters just 30 miles from its first headquarters in Seattle? 

If you ask leaders in Tacoma, it's because their city has everything the retail giant loves about the Pacific Northwest, plus plenty of room to grow. 

Will James / KNKX

This year's election in Burien is about more than local issues like potholes and streetlights.

Will James / KNKX

Leaders in Tacoma say they’re attacking homelessness on two fronts.

Since the summer, they have spent millions of dollars on new services while also cracking down on people sleeping outside.

Five months into what officials describe as an emergency plan, they're now talking about doubling down on both strategies next year. 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it conducted a major operation last week targeting so-called “sanctuary cities," including Seattle.

Focusing enforcement on certain cities because of their local laws would represent a new tactic for immigration authorities, according to immigrant advocates and local government leaders.

But details of the operation raise questions about whether it really differed from normal enforcement activities in the Northwest. 

Courtesy of Quinn Thomas

King County’s population is growing by about 100 people a day, and these new residents overwhelmingly come from out of state.

But despite Seattle region's tech-industry boom, many of them are coming for reasons other than work, according to a new survey aimed at painting a clearer picture of new Seattleites. 

"Rich Passage 1 in Bremerton" by SounderBruce is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2wnedMD

One of the starkest challenges facing South Sound leaders is how to spare residents a punishing commute to Seattle.

With transit improvements years away, some officials are looking to the sea instead. 

Will James / KNKX

Pierce County's proposed 2018 budget includes a number of programs aimed at combating the interconnected crises of homelessness, addiction and mental illness. 

Among them: A plan to offer homeless people jobs as day laborers. 

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP Photo

With the failure of the latest Republican effort to replace "Obamacare," attention is turning once again to a stalled bipartisan effort to shore up the healthcare law.

That means Washington state's senior U.S. senator, Patty Murray, is back in the spotlight. 

Will James / KNKX

Growing up Roma meant growing up fast -- and learning how to hustle. 

That's how Miller Steve describes it. He was raised in Tacoma's Roma community in the 70's and 80's, when it was a close-knit collection of families, all descended from a nomadic minority group in Europe

Will James / KNKX

In the fight for Tacoma's economic future, the battlefield is the city's tideflats. 

The sprawl of shipping cranes, oil tanks, manufacturing buildings, and rail lines is the gritty heart of city's industrial economy.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

One of the most powerful activist groups in Tacoma has changed its name after critics said the previous title was insensitive to people of color.

The group known as RedLine Tacoma is now Redefine Tacoma. 

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

They call it the "good immigrant, bad immigrant" narrative.

Undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, known as Dreamers, have been held up and praised by politicians fighting to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

But some Dreamers say that praise draws an uncomfortable line between them and other undocumented people.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Hours after DACA recipients learned of the Trump administration's plan to phase out the program shielding them from deportation, some of them gathered for a rally in Seattle's Beacon Hill neighborhood.

There, they began planning for the weeks and months ahead.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Tuesday that the Trump administration plans to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.

The Obama-era policy protects some young undocumented immigrants from deportation.

The announcement does leave an opening for Congress to act. But it also means thousands of immigrants in Washington state could lose their legal status. 

Will James / KNKX

If you die, and nobody claims your body, it goes to your local county government.

Eventually, those cremated remains pile up, and it’s up to county officials to find them a resting place.

It's an oddly personal task for a local bureaucracy, and each one handles it differently.

Will James / KNKX

Plenty of folks around Yelm remember of this patch of land near the Deschutes River.

Few have longer memories than 94-year-old Earl Herness. 

Will James / KNKX

The Trump administration's ban on transgender troops is a blow to trans service members who were just getting used to greater official acceptance in the military, according to a soldier in Washington state.

Will James / KNKX

The City of Tacoma is three months into an emergency plan to address homelessness, estimated to cost $3.4 million by the end of the year.

On Tuesday, city leaders released some data showing how those efforts are working out. The numbers tell a story of successes and roadblocks.

John Simpson

Joint Base Lewis-McChord is marking 100 years of exerting its influence both locally and globally.

Camp Lewis opened in 1917 just south of Tacoma. It was initially a training ground for soldiers headed into World War I.

Will James / KNKX

Young undocumented immigrants are fighting to keep legal protections they gained under the Obama administration.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, shields some immigrants brought here as children from deportation.

Will James / KNKX

Voters in Burien will decide the fate of a local law designed to protect the city's undocumented population.

An initiative on the Nov. 7 ballot will ask voters whether they want to repeal the law, which prevents city staff and law enforcement officers from asking about a resident's immigration status or religious beliefs. 

Courtesy of Community to Community

Dozens of blueberry pickers in Whatcom County are protesting their working conditions after one of their colleagues fell ill and died.

About 70 workers at Sarbanand Farms, near the Canadian border in Sumas, walked off the job last week in protest, according to advocates helping the workers. 

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