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. 

Ways to Connect

POOL / GETTY IMAGES

Our democracy limits the government’s executive branch to a largely administrative role. 

But that doesn’t stop mayors, governors, and presidents from making big campaign promises on policy. And sometimes they seek creative ways around the limitations of their office. 

Take Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Will James / KNKX

Treating homeless people takes special training, but it's not something doctors, nurses, and other health care providers typically learn in school.

That's according to Lois Thetford, a physician's assistant with decades of experience working with the homeless. 

"downtown" by Scott Hingst is licensed under CC by 2.0.

Ricardo Noguera isn't too proud to say that Tacoma is Seattle's "little brother." As Tacoma's economic development director, he's happy to capitalize on Seattle's booming economy.

But he has an obstacle: a lack of office space. 

Will James / KNKX

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says the federal government isn't going to step in and help solve the city's homelessness crisis.

November's election, he said, made it clear that Seattle is on its own.

That's why he's asking city voters to approve $275 million in new property taxes over five years to invest in homelessness programs. He made what amounted to an opening pitch for the tax levy at a news conference Wednesday.

Will James / KNKX

Washington state's attorney general led the charge against President Donald Trump's first executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries. 

Now that Trump has revised the order, he's deciding whether to sue again. 

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson spoke at a news conference hours after Trump issued the new order Monday. He said his staff is reviewing it.

Inye Wokoma / Courtesy of "Shelf Life"

The Red Apple Market is a social hub of Seattle’s Central District.

When filmmaker Jill Freidberg heard the grocery store was going to be demolished this year, she saw it as a call to start telling the stories of her gentrifying neighborhood.

COURTESY OF KING COUNTY WASTEWATER DIVISION

Three weeks after floodwaters crippled a major Seattle sewage treatment plant, a clearer picture of the damage is emerging.

King County's wastewater treatment director, Mark Isaacson, said the flooding that occurred Feb. 9 is unlike anything the West Point Treatment Plant has seen in its 50-year history. 

"Outside NWDC" by Seattle Globalist is licensed under CC by 2.0

The Trump administration is signaling it will ramp up deportations of undocumented immigrants, which could put pressure on our country's system of holding and removing them. 

Before people are deported, federal authorities often hold them in detention centers. Our region's Northwest Detention Center, in Tacoma, has 1,575 beds.

But are those beds full? How much room is left for new detainees?

Will James / KNKX

The electronic data we use isn't as ephemeral as it seems. Our photos, videos, and email take up physical space in the world.

Patty Martin knows this. Some of it ends up outside her kitchen window. 

Martin lives in Quincy, a rural Washington town that happens to house vast chunks of the internet in gigantic data centers. 

Quincy, a town of about 7,000 people in a bowl of gentle hills, was known for food processing plants that turned potatoes into French fries.

Charles Reed / U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP

President Donald Trump’s promised crackdown on illegal immigration has ignited debate about civil rights, and who the government can and should deport.

But the rights of noncitizens were a messy realm of American law long before Trump's presidency.

Washington State Senate Democratic Caucus

As Seattle lawmakers discussed pulling the city’s money from Wells Fargo to protest the bank’s support of the Dakota Access Pipeline, one idea got some applause: What about creating a taxpayer-owned bank in Washington state?

City Councilman Mike O’Brien floated the idea at a committee meeting last Wednesday while wondering where the city should park its money if it divests from Wells Fargo.

U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT

President Donald Trump’s promise to crack down on illegal immigration is spurring cities across Washington to weigh calling themselves “sanctuaries” for undocumented people.

Leaders in Tacoma, for instance, decided against adopting the “sanctuary city” label this week. They feared the Trump administration would take away millions in federal funding, as the president has promised.

The term “sanctuary city” is often a topic of emotional debate. But what does it mean?

Paula Wissel / KNKX File Photo

Washington state will soon have the ability to tap federal Medicaid dollars to help chronically homeless people stay in apartments. 

The federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services gave state officials special permission  Jan. 9 to use Medicaid funds for certain aspects of a strategy called "permanent supportive housing."

Courtesy of PracticeWise

Aaron Beck was 19 years old, depressed, and almost out of hope when he decided to try therapy for the first time.

"I was skeptical," he said. "It was kind of my last chance. If it didn't work, I didn't think anything would, and I was ready to just let things in."

He turned to Community Youth Services in Olympia, an organization that provides mental health care, among other services, to teenagers and young adults.

Will James / KNKX

Saturday's women’s march drew more than 100,000 people into the streets of Seattle, just one day after President Donald Trump took office.

But as time goes on, protest movements tend to fade. So knkx reporters Will James and Warren Langford asked marchers how they plan to keep up their momentum — and incorporate their activism into their daily lives — long after the frenetic moment of Trump's inauguration has passed.

Will James / KNKX

The Seattle women’s march on Saturday was a massive outpouring of frustration — and show strength for the forces opposing President Donald Trump. 

But some marchers acknowledged it did very little to bridge the deepening political and cultural divide in America — nor was it really intended to. 

“This particular march is about healing ourselves as women," said one participant, Evelyn Dickinson.

Seattle Women's March Stretches More Than 3 Miles

Jan 22, 2017
Will James / KNKX

At one point Saturday, Seattle's women's march against President Donald Trump stretched from the starting point at Judkins Park all the way to its terminus more than three miles away, at Seattle Center.

It was a sea of pink hats and eye-catching signs that spilled through a city where just 8 percent of voters backed Trump on Election Day. "A woman's place is in the resistance," one placard read. 

One day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, women’s rights demonstrations are unfolding across the nation Saturday. 

Seattle's women's march is expected to be the third largest in the country, after similar events in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. That’s not surprising for a city where Trump won just 8 percent of the vote.

ELAINE THOMPSON / AP

A class-action lawsuit claims city and state procedures for clearing away Seattle's homeless encampments are unconstitutional. 

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in Seattle by two homeless women and two organizations that aid the homeless: the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia and the Real Change newspaper.

"edge of belltown" by Jeff Wilcox is licensed under CC by 2.0

Seattle tenants are seeing some of the steepest rent hikes in the nation. But they also have some strong laws working in their favor, protecting them from discrimination, excessive fees, and unsafe living conditions.

Be:Seattle, the group organizing a series of "Tenant Rights Bootcamps" this winter, hopes to educate tenants about their legal rights amidst anxiety over the city's tightening housing market.

Derek McNeill

Filmmaker Derek McNeill started with a question: What circumstances lead people to the roving Seattle homeless camp known as Nickelsville?

In mid-2015, he started looking for an answer.

McNeill took his camera to a Nickelsville community on Dearborn Street, where residents opened up about their lives before and after they entered the cluster of tiny houses and tents near I-5. People like a soft-spoken former engineer defied easy stereotypes of Seattle's homeless.

Will James / knkx

Imagine growing up in a state to total innocence and freedom.

You're a child, and you have an infinity of woods and mountains to explore. You eat fresh blackberries your mother picks in the forest. All the dangers of the modern world are miles away.

Everyone in town is like an uncle, a mother, a grandmother. They dress up as Santa Claus for Christmas and stage a big egg hunt every Easter. 

"Seattle" by Tiffany Von Arnim is licensed under CC by 2.0.

An average of 236 people a day are moving to the Seattle region amidst a historic economic and population boom. That means thousands of people are getting an outsider's perspective on the city.

We asked a few relative newcomers about their first impressions of Seattle, for some insight into how the region looks to the rest of America.

Will James / KNKX

Residents of a SeaTac mobile home park marched through the city Friday to protest their community's pending closure.

The owner of the Firs Mobile Home Park is planning a motel project and has given residents until October 31, 2017, to move out, according to a notice at the park's entrance.

About two dozen residents and activists walked to a hotel three miles away that's owned by their landlord, Jong S. Park. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

COURTESY OF THE NEW HOPE RESOURCE CENTER

Puyallup officials say they're cooperating with an investigation into proposed city regulations targeting the city's only resource center for the homeless.

U.S. Justice Department officials informed Puyallup leaders of the investigation in a Dec. 6 letter. The Tacoma News-Tribune first reported the investigation Thursday.

Courtesy of Seattle City Council

Plans to end homelessness in Seattle rely in part on an innovative homeless shelter called the Navigation Center.

Seattle officials touted the center as a creative, modern response to the city's homelessness crisis and initially hoped to open it by December 31. This fall, they said it was on track to open in January.

"jo0966.JPG" by Mark Goebel is licensed under CC by 2.0

An obscure $48 fee Washington residents pay for filing real-estate paperwork is one of the most important weapons in the state's fight against homelessness, housing advocates say.

They're preparing to fight for the fee's future during next year's legislative session in Olympia, as an approaching "sunset" provision threatens to shrink the fee to $18.

Will James / KNKX

Members of the Satanic Temple don't actually believe in Satan.

They're more like atheists who follow ethical precepts and embrace the devil as a symbol of independence -- and as a bit of a provocation aimed at organized religion. 

PIERCE COUNTY

Pierce County lawmakers this week voted down a sales tax that would have raised an estimated $10 million for mental health and substance abuse programs.

The South Sound county will remain the only one of Washington's densely-populated counties without the 1/10 of 1 percent sales tax for mental health. Twenty-two of Washington's 39 counties have the tax, along with the city of Tacoma.

JAMES MACPHERSON / AP PHOTO

Seattle leaders are considering cutting ties, at least temporarily, with a bank financing the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Wells Fargo manages $3 billion of the city's operating funds under a contract that began in 2013 and is set to expire at the end of 2018. The bank says it is also one of 17 institutions providing loans for the oil pipeline through the Midwest.

Pages