There’s a new crop growing in the fields of eastern Washington and Oregon. It’s wind turbines. Eight years ago, there wasn’t a single wind farm in the Northwest. Today, enough turbines are operating and under construction to power about three hundred fifty thousand homes. Correspondent Carol Cizauskas visited a new wind farm in central Washington, and reports on the state of wind energy in the Northwest.
Garrett: “People learned today when they went out to actually tour the Wild Horse project and see how big these things are. And just imagine if you had to have fifteen of those put across the street from you and you think you can live with it.”
Ed Garrett is part of a group of homeowners fighting the installation of a wind farm in their location.
When you drive through Washington wine country, you might see a bumper sticker that says, Don’t Bend Walla Walla. That refers to growth in central Oregon…so swift that Bend is the sixth fastest growing city in the nation. Walla Walla may follow in the footsteps of Bend, but not if some of the residents in the Washington town have THEIR way. Correspondent Carol Cizauskas explains.
Snow: “It’s not just a growth of people. It’s a growth of commercial areas, shopping areas, residential areas. It’s the need to re-design highways. It’s the arrival of levels of traffic that no one has ever seen.”
Donald Snow is professor of Environmental Studies at Whitman College in Walla Walla.
A federal bill could make it easier to ship nuclear waste to Hanford. That means the site in south-central Washington may become a temporary holding tank for other states’ spent fuel. Tri-Cities correspondent Carol Cizauskas reports.
Stevens: “It is an interim storage bill which would allow utility companies that actually use nuclear reactors to put their waste somewhere other than the reactor site, and it would have a role for the Department of Energy in taking ownership of that spent nuclear fuel.”
Craig Stevens works for the U.S. Department of Energy.
Several rockets of deadly Sarin gas explode, four people are injured. Wait! It’s just the annual disaster drill in Umatilla County, Oregon, home to the Army’s chemical weapons disposal depot. Correspondent Carol Cizauskas watched a decontamination center spring to life at the HermistonCommunity Center and files this report.
Seigal: “It’s the storage of those weapons that are degrading out there that is the real risk to the community, so we’ve been preparing people for that unlikely event for a very, very long time.”
Jess Siegal is a spokesman for the emergency exercise.
The town of Quincy, Washington, is known for potato farming. Soon, it might be known for another kind of farming, of the high-tech variety. Microsoft is setting up data server farms there, and other technology firms may follow. Correspondent Carol Cizauskas visited Quincy to find out what this means for the town of five and a half thousand.
Weber: “Before all this started happening with Microsoft and Yahoo, the attitude here in town was really kind of depressed, not really knowing what the future held.”
Morrow County, Oregon, wants to woo NASCAR to sagebrush country along the Columbia River. Boosters are asking residents to approve a sales tax for a speedway that has yet to be built. Tax proposals usually get shot down in this fiscally conservative part of the Northwest. But correspondent Carol Cizauskas found enthusiasm for the tax – and the mythical speedway.
Beckstead: “I’m for it because I love racing. I watch the Hooters, the Busch race, Craftsmen Truck, all of it. Junior’s my man, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. C.L.F., Cute Little Fella.”
Bonnie Beckstead is a 28-year Boardman resident who supports setting up NASCAR in her town.
Oregon’s Second Congressional District covers more than seventy thousand square miles. That’s two thirds of the state. It’s also the scene of the primary election battle to unseat incumbent Congressman Greg Walden. The Republican has held the seat for seven years. To win back the district, the Democrats are trying an unusual political approach. The candidates have banded together for a district-wide roadshow. Correspondent Carol Cizauskas caught up with the liberal underdogs on the last day of their tour, in Baker City, Oregon.
Butcher: “My stance on the second amendment is not going to gain me a single vote, but it will take the cotton out of the ears. It will give you an opportunity to talk to people who would not listen to you to begin with. Then you show them Greg Walden’s voting record. Then you show them why you are a better choice.”
Chuck Butcher is a Democratic candidate from Baker City, Oregon.
Washington state is the second-largest asparagus producer in the country. But the industry had a near-death experience last year when the last of three major processors picked up shop and moved to Peru. The survivors in Washington are determined to compete in the worldwide market armed with just fresh spears. Correspondent Carol Cizauskas visited a mid-Columbia field of asparagus and files this report.
Nerell: “I’ve told the people, this is a competition. You’re in a world economy, and this needs to be the most efficient shed in the world.”
Allan Nerell is plant manager for Gourmet Trading Company, where about three hundred workers bundle and box fresh asparagus.
World War II spawned the first major African-American migration to the Northwest. Blacks came to the Hanford nuclear site for jobs to help make plutonium for the atom bomb. But their past followed them, a past of segregation and discrimination. Carol Cizauskas brings us the story of one African-American family in the Tri-Cities then…and now…
Bauman: “He was tied to a telephone pole in Kennewick, in downtown Kennewick, until the Pasco police came to pick him up. That sort of scene, of a black man tied to a pole, is the sort of visual image that we generally associate with the South.”
Bob Bauman, a history professor at Washington State University, describes what happened when an African American was arrested for riding in a car with two white friends during the years of segregation and discrimination in the Tri-Cities, Washington.
The Northwest is one step closer to a deal that would shop millions of pounds of fruits and vegetables to lucrative East Coast markets. The deal is believed to be the first dedicated rail line to ship the region’s produce to the East Coast. KPLU’s Carol Cizauskas reports.
Kuntz: “For our apple growers and onion growers and potato growers, they will now have a new opportunity to get into the fresh produce market on the East Coast. It’s going to be big for eastern Washington, for northeast Oregon. And remember, this is weekly service.”
Jim Kuntz is Port of Walla Walla executive director.