Rebekah Way | KNKX

Rebekah Way

A small homeless encampment sits under a bride in Seattle. Officials in the Puget Sound region are bracing for the novel coronavirus to hit homeless shelters and camps.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Seattle officials continue to debate how to address homeless encampments during the pandemic. Seattle City Council members met Wednesday to consider legislation that would limit the city’s ability to remove encampments during COVID-19. 

Northwest Folklife Festival has shifted online and will take place May 23-25.
Photo courtesy of Christopher Nelson

Countless staple regional events that typically mark the start of summer have been canceled due to COVID-19. But the 49th annual Northwest Folklife Festival has made the shift to online. “From Home to Home: Northwest Folklife Festival” takes place this Memorial Day weekend. 

A directive from Public Health — Seattle & King County that requires people to wear face coverings in most public spaces,  including the bus , begins Monday.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

 

Starting Monday, bus riders will be expected to wear face coverings in King County during their commute. That change comes from a directive announced by Public Health — Seattle & King County that requires people to wear masks in most indoor public spaces.

Photo courtesy of Amy Piñon

When schools closed as a result of the pandemic, the local art education organization Arts Corps quickly shifted online. But its teaching artists worried that students without access to internet or art supplies would have challenges continuing their learning online.

So, the organization has been assembling art kits full of various supplies. The kits are distributed at locations mostly in the areas Arts Corps serves, including some school meal pick-up locations.

Photo courtesy Joseph Lambert

Arts, cultural and scientific nonprofits in the central Puget Sound region could face up to $135 million in lost revenue by the end of September. That’s the latest projection from a survey by ArtsFund, a group that supports arts organizations through advocacy and grant-making.

 

Jim Levitt

Over the next few weeks, the King County Council will be considering a $57 million emergency supplemental budget from County Executive Dow Constantine. Within it is a new push to support arts and culture workers and organizations. 

If passed, the bulk of the spending package would send $33 million to continue funding facilities to isolate COVID-19 patients in treatment and recovery. An additional $16 million would be directed in support of small businesses, arts and culture groups, and programs for homeless youth. 

The West Seattle Bridge is seen looking east following an emergency closure several weeks earlier, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

The major point of connection for West Seattle’s residents and the rest of the city has been closed for five weeks. A lot remains unclear for the West Seattle Bridge’s future. 

An aerial view of several housing developments in Kent
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, tenants who are unable to pay rent will be able to remain in their homes for another month. Gov. Jay Inslee has extended the eviction moratorium enacted last month, adding more protections for renters. 

The streets of downtown Tacoma are empty amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Photo by Tom Collins

Tacoma City Council recently issued a statement condemning acts of discrimination, citing an increase in reports around the region and nation from Asian-American community members and other marginalized groups experiencing racism amid COVID-19.

Photo courtesy of David McGraw

As Seattle began to respond to stem the spread of coronavirus, many local artists saw their events canceled and eventually local venues and bars were shuttered. Artists got creative, and many turned to livestreaming on social media to continue performing.

One local musician turned to his previous job in tech as a programmer to come up with a solution.

Health care workers collect COVID-19 tests at a drive-through testing site at the University of Washington Medicine’s Northwest Outpatient Medical Center in Seattle’s Northgate neighborhood.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

A drive-through testing site for COVID-19 is now operating at the University of Washington Medicine’s Northwest Outpatient Medical Center in Seattle’s Northgate neighborhood. The site is appointment-only and is open to UW Medicine patients who are referred to testing by a healthcare provider.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX


This year marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote. The Seattle Pro Musica choir is marking the centennial in an upcoming concert that features songs entirely by American women composers. The concert, "Shall Not Be Denied," takes place March 7-8, the weekend of International Women’s Day.

The Capitol dome is seen across Capitol Lake in Olympia. Lawmakers have passed a bill banning defenses based on a victim's gender identity or sexual orientation.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

More than 1 in 4 transgender people have experienced violence based on their identity in their lifetime, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Washington has joined a growing coalition of states that are banning what are known as "LGBTQ panic" criminal defenses. Advocates say these defenses have resulted in reduced or shortened sentences in cases of violence against LGBTQ people. Now, both houses of the state Legislature have passed a bill that prohibits the use of those defenses. 

From left to right: Jenny Jang, Helen Hauschka, Gwen Bayer and Camille McLean.
Courtesy of SOGO Coordinator Mary Jo Rydholm

A high school string quartet is getting ready for a show that pits the music of two rock icons against each other: The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. KNKX's Rebekah Way brings us to one of the quartet's rehearsals.

Dental chairs line the Exhibition Hall in Seattle Center  for the Seattle/King County Clinic. Dental care is one of the most demanded services at the clinic each year.
Rebekah Way / KNKX

An annual free health care clinic has returned to the region and is going on now through Sunday in Seattle Center. 

Seattle's KeyArena had historically been the clinic's home. But when the arena closed for its remodel, the Seattle/King County Clinic's (SKCC) future became unclear. 

President and CEO of the Downtown Seattle Association, Jon Scholes, encouraged the crowd gathered at Westlake Park last Friday to attend Tuesday's Public Safety and Human Services Committee meeting.
Rebekah Way / KNKX

Crime along the Pike and Pine corridor has been an ongoing issue that the City of Seattle has tried to address. Seattle City Council member Lisa Herbold chairs the Public Safety and Human Services Committee, and she says this subject remains a priority.

The concerns about public safety in downtown Seattle have escalated, following last week's fatal shooting on Third Avenue. 

Photo courtesy of Paul Lebens-Englund and the Washington State Historical Society

 


Olympia is much more than the center of state government. It also is a nexus of punk music. That started around the 1980s, and really hit its stride in the '90s — though punk is still an important part of the music scene in Olympia.

 

Health officials and lawmakers are hoping to see Subsitute House Bill 1551 make it through the next legislative session. It would update many of the state's laws relating to HIV and AIDS, which largely haven't been updated since they were adopted in 1988.
Ted S. Warren / The Associated Press

State lawmakers responded to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s with new laws that defined how Washington would respond to and treat the disease. But many of these laws haven't been updated since they were passed. 

In the next legislative session, lawmakers are considering a bill that would reflect advancements made in the last 30 years to prevent and treat HIV.

A large chamber at the Ballard Locks is empty as crews work to replace components that control the water levels of the chamber.
Rebekah Way / KNKX

 

Author’s note: This is one of those times when a story felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And as a new resident of Ballard, what better way to see the neighborhood’s Hiram M. Chittenden Locks for the first time than to journey inside their walls? I jumped on the opportunity to join a tour through the large lock in October, after it was emptied for maintenance. The locks are more than 100 years old and when you find out that many of its components are just as old, it’s clear this mammoth thing is an engineering marvel. As I reveled in the sheer size of the towering locks and how they operate, I also learned that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers faces a lot of challenges with trying to secure funding to maintain them. (This story originally aired Dec. 3.)  

A snapshot of data from the latest HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Report and Community Profile. The county is aiming to decrease the number of new diagnoses by 25 percent by 2020.
King County Department of Health / HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Report & Community Profile 2019

Last year, King County experienced its largest one-year increase in new HIV diagnoses since 2002. The latest annual HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Report and Community Profile shows this was driven by a significant increase in new diagnoses among people who inject drugs. 

Photo courtesy of Reel to Real

   

A moment of Seattle history will be highlighted during the 12th annual "Record Store Day Black Friday." More than 20 Seattle shops are taking part in the event that features limited-edition releases. 

The album "Ow! Live at the Penthouse," is a performance by saxophonists Johnny Griffin and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis at the famed Seattle jazz spot, "The Penthouse." It's being released by the Vancouver, B.C.-based label, "Reel to Real." KNKX's Rebekah Way spoke with the label's founder and owner, Cory Weeds, about the release.

More than 30 stores are partnering with local charities and nonprofits to donate a portion of their Black Friday sales this weekend.
Courtesy of Ballard Alliance

What started as an effort to encourage people to shop locally for the holidays in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood has grown to be much more. In 2013, a group of shop owners met and decided to donate a portion of their Black Friday sales to local charities and nonprofits. They called it "Ballard Gives Back." This year, more than 30 small businesses in Ballard are participating.

Rebekah Way / KNKX

The Alaskan Way Viaduct was more than 60 years old when it came down this year. People are lining up to claim a dusty piece of concrete that was once part of the viaduct.

Performers at the opening day celebration of the Sea Mar Museum of Chicano/a/Latino/a Culture in Seattle.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

A first-of-its-kind museum has opened in the Pacific Northwest: a historical showcase of the state's Spanish-speaking communities from World War II to the present. KNKX's Rebekah Way takes us to the museum's celebratory opening day in this audio postcard.

The plan for "The Preserve," Tacoma's first eco-friendly affordable housing community.
Courtesy of GREEN HARBOR COMMUNITIES OF TACOMA

A new affordable housing development is coming to South Tacoma. It's called "The Preserve," and it includes more than 70 single-family homes to buy near Blueberry Park that will have access to trails and wetlands.

The last items were added to the capsule on Monday. It will be opened again in 43 years, for the Space Needle's 100th anniversary in April 2062.
Rebekah Way / KNKX

A time capsule that will remain untouched for the next 43 years was sealed Monday in the Space Needle.

A test pressing of Nirvana's album "Bleach" and a photo of Felix Hernandez's last appearance with the Mariners were among the last items added to it.

Separated plastics that have been bundled for shipping to remanufacturing facilities.
Courtesy of King County Solid Waste Division

Starting in January, plastic bags will no longer be accepted in curbside recycling anywhere in King County.

Bags create a lot of issues for local recycling facilities. They wrap around sorting equipment, causing the machines to work less efficiently.

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee ranking member Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., speaks during an executive session of the committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019.
Susan Walsh / The Associated Press

Sen. Patty Murray took to the floor of the U.S. Senate Thursday morning to give a speech about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

The Washington Democrat says failing to investigate the actions of the president could set a dangerous precedent for future leaders.

Marchers in Seattle on Indigenous Peoples' Day.
Rebekah Way / KNKX

Hundreds gathered in downtown Seattle today to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day with a rally and march to City Hall.

Seattle is one of more than 100 cities in the United States that has re-named the second Monday in October to honor Native American cultures and traditions, rather than calling it "Columbus Day." The Seattle City Council voted to create Indigenous Peoples' Day five years ago. It's also observed in Tacoma, Olympia and other cities. But it's not a state-recognized holiday.