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After Decades of Imprisoning Patients, Idaho Approves Secure Mental Health Facility

The Idaho Legislature has approved funding for a 26-bed facility after ProPublica found that state lawmakers and officials ignored repeated warnings about the practice of locking up mentally ill patients who hadn’t been convicted of a crime.

Reporting From the Northwest

Our Northwest hub covers Washington, Idaho, Alaska and Oregon. The six-person reporting team includes three Local Reporting Network Distinguished Fellows and is committed to partnering with local media.

The Cutting

An Oregon Bill to Cut Millions in Timber Taxes Is Dead, Despite Backing by the Industry, the Governor and a Top Lawmaker

The legislation aimed to reformulate how Oregon funds the rising costs of fighting wildfires. It sparked debate within the Democratic-controlled Legislature about who should pay: taxpayers or big timber owners, who won steep tax cuts in the 1990s.

A Seattle Airfield Offers a Rare View of ICE Deportation Flights

Key details about what happens inside ICE Air would still be hidden if not for a group of Washington activists and researchers, who are now using a live video feed from the tarmac to document the flights.

Iditarod Disqualifies Former Champion After Sexual Assault Allegations

The Iditarod board voted unanimously on Thursday to disqualify former champion Brent Sass after allegations made in November and recent questions from Alaska Public Media, the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica. Sass has denied the claims.

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Kyle Hopkins, Lulu Ramadan and Tony Schick
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Local Reporting Network Partners

ProPublica is supporting local and regional newsrooms as they work on important investigative projects affecting their communities. Some of our past and present partners in the region:

Anchorage Daily News
Anchorage, Alaska
High Country News
Multi-state
Idaho Statesman
Boise, Idaho
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Portland, Oregon
The Seattle Times
Seattle, Washington

This School for Autistic Youth Can Cost $573,200 a Year. It Operates With Little Oversight, and Students Have Suffered.

No state agency has authority over Shrub Oak, one of the country's most expensive therapeutic boarding schools. As a result, parents and staff have nowhere to report bruised students and medication mix-ups.

The Influential Conservative Group Making it Harder for Idaho Districts to Fix Their Schools

The Idaho Freedom Foundation has gone beyond the education culture wars by targeting local bond and levy elections, which districts rely on heavily to build and repair schools.

Idaho Legislature Approves $2 Billion for Schools to Repair and Replace Aging Buildings

The funding was pledged by Gov. Brad Little after an Idaho Statesman and ProPublica investigation showed students learning in poor conditions. Educators say it’s only a start to fixing decades-old problems.

“It Feels Impossible to Stay”: The U.S. Needs Wildland Firefighters More Than Ever, but the Federal Government Is Losing Them

Highly skilled firefighters are the last line of defense against wildfires, but that line is fraying because the government decided long ago that they’re not worth very much.

Listen to the “Timber Wars Season 2: Salmon Wars” Podcast

“Salmon Wars,” produced by ProPublica and OPB, tells the story of one Yakama Nation family who has spent generations fighting for salmon. The series uncovers who is to blame for the fish vanishing and why their disappearance affects all of us.

Republicans Hatched a Secret Assault on the Voting Rights Act in Washington State

After he helped create the state’s voting maps, a redistricting commissioner quietly worked with national Republican figures to bring a lawsuit against his own work.

Idaho Resolution Would Aim to Lower Voting Threshold to Pass School Bonds

Under restrictive school funding policies, Idaho districts struggle to repair and replace deteriorating buildings. If voters agree, the proposal would, in some elections, reduce the two-thirds threshold needed to pass bonds for school repairs.

Oregon’s Drug Decriminalization Aimed to Make Cops a Gateway to Rehab, Not Jail. State Leaders Failed to Make It Work.

Just over three years since Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 110, elected officials want to repeal key elements, blaming the law for open drug use and soaring overdoses. But it’s their own hands-off approach that isn’t working, advocates say.

Idaho Legislature Takes Up Bill to Help School Districts Repair and Replace Buildings

The bill would provide $1.5 billion in new funding in a state where communities have struggled to pass bonds even as some students learn in freezing and overcrowded classrooms with leaky ceilings and discolored drinking water.

The Oregon Timber Industry Won Huge Tax Cuts in the 1990s. Now It May Get Another Break Thanks to a Top Lawmaker.

As the cost of fighting wildfires increases, state Sen. Elizabeth Steiner has proposed a bill — developed in consultation with the logging industry — that would shift millions in expenses away from the biggest landowners and onto taxpayers.

Police Say They Won’t Reopen Case of Alaska Woman Found Dead on Mayor’s Property

In an open letter, the Kotzebue police chief said state investigators reviewed the case of Jennifer Kirk’s 2018 death and found no new leads. But parts of the letter contradict previous information the department has released about the case.

Washington State Is Leaving Tribal Cultural Resources at the Mercy of Solar Developers

The Badger Mountain solar project reveals gaps in the state’s permitting system that tribal nations say perpetuates a legacy of “cultural genocide.”

The Failed Promise of Independent Election Mapmaking

In Washington and other states, independent redistricting commissions have fallen prey to partisanship, just like the legislative bodies they were meant to replace.

Idaho Governor Proposes $2 Billion in Funding for School Buildings Over Next 10 Years

Gov. Brad Little cited reporting by the Idaho Statesman and ProPublica as he laid out his plan for a massive infrastructure investment in the state’s public schools during Monday’s State of the State address.

In a Major Shift, Northwest Tribes — not U.S. Officials — Will Control Salmon Recovery Funds

The Biden administration punted on key demands from Indigenous leaders to tear down hydroelectric dams hindering salmon. But tribes won control over $1 billion for other salmon efforts.

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    Segregation Academies Still Operate Across the South. One Town Grapples With Its Divided Schools.

    Seventy years after Brown v. Board, Black and white residents, in Camden, Alabama, say they would like to see their children schooled together. But after so long apart, they aren’t sure how to make it happen.

    She Campaigned for a Texas School Board Seat as a GOP Hard-Liner. Now She’s Rejecting Her Party’s Extremism.

    Courtney Gore, a Granbury ISD school board member, has disavowed the far-right platform she campaigned on after finding no evidence that students were being indoctrinated by the district’s curriculum. Her defiance has brought her backlash.

    Albuquerque Is Throwing Out the Belongings of Homeless People, Violating City Policy

    The city has violated a court order and its own policies by discarding the personal property of thousands of homeless people, who have lost medications, birth certificates, IDs, treasured family photos and the ashes of loved ones.

    Illinois School Districts Sent Kids to a For-Profit Out-of-State Facility That Isn’t Vetted or Monitored

    A state law was meant to help families by allowing the use of public money to fund students’ tuition at special education boarding schools around the country. But in solving one problem, lawmakers created another.

    Former Far-Right Hard-Liner Says Billionaires Are Using School Board Races to Sow Distrust in Public Education

    The largesse from billionaires Tim Dunn and brothers Farris and Dan Wilks has made its way into local politics across Texas. Courtney Gore, a Republican school board member in Granbury, says it’s part of their strategy to build support for vouchers.