John Ryan | KUOW News and Information

John Ryan

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2009

KUOW environment reporter John Ryan welcomes story ideas and feedback from listeners. Email him at jryan@kuow.org or call him at 206-543-0637. For secure, confidential communication, he's at 1-401-405-1206 on the Signal messaging app, or you can send snail mail (but don't put your return address on the outside) to John Ryan, KUOW, 4518 Univ. Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105.

Good thing John was a clumsy traveler.

Otherwise his cheap microcassette recorder wouldn't have fallen out of his pocket in an Indonesian taxi, a generous BBC stringer wouldn't have lent him some professional recording gear, and he wouldn't have gotten the radio bug. But after pointing a mic at rare jungle songbirds and gong–playing grandmothers for his first radio story, there was no turning back.

He then freelanced for shows such as All Things Considered, Living on Earth, Marketplace and The World. He also continued his print career by reporting for newspapers including the Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times and Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.

In 2009, John moved back to Seattle after two exciting years covering avalanches, political intrigue and just about everything in between for KTOO FM, the NPR station in Alaska's capital city.

John has won national awards for KUOW as a freelancer (check out "As the Sound Churns") and now as a staff reporter, including the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi awards for Public Service in Radio Journalism and for Investigative Reporting. He believes democracy only works when journalism holds the powerful accountable for their words and actions. 

To see more of John's KUOW portfolio, visit our current site. 

In addition to the stories below, John's KUOW stories from September 2012 and before are archived here.

Ways to Connect

Forest fire smoke obscures the Space Needle on Tuesday.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

A judge in Seattle has dismissed a lawsuit from a group of children seeking to protect their generation from climate change.

Drone image by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the J50 feeding effort
NOAA Fisheries, under permit # 18786

Scientists have taken an unprecedented step to save one of the Salish Sea’s 75 endangered orcas: They tried to feed her in the wild.

Most of the Albertan oil piped through British Columbia winds up at refineries in Washington state.
Kinder Morgan

In May, the Canadian government announced it would buy the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline from Texas-based Kinder Morgan in order to finish the pipeline's expansion project. 

Boeing

New high-speed passenger planes being designed by Boeing and other manufacturers could connect continents faster than ever before.

But these supersonic and “hypersonic” planes could also wreck the global climate faster than other means of travel. 


Yolany Padilla hugs her 6-year-old son Jelsin after being reunited on Saturday, July 14, 2018, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Tap or click on the first image to see more.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

A mother and child from Honduras, forced apart for nearly two months, are the first family of asylum seekers to be reunited in the Northwest.

Yolany Padilla, an asylum seeker separated from her 6-year-old son as part of the Trump Administration's 'zero tolerance' policy, wipes her face as she sits at a news conference Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in Seattle.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Yolany Padilla and her six-year-old son, Jelsin, crossed the border into Texas in May after fleeing Honduras, one of the world's most violent nations. But after turning themselves in to immigration officials and being detained separately, Padilla hasn't seen her son in two months, she told reporters in Seattle on Wednesday. 


Seattle derives much of its energy from the Diablo Dam in Skagit County.
Flickr Photo/https://flic.kr/p/26B45rk

Electric bills are going up in Seattle.

The Seattle City Council has approved a plan that will drive up rates for Seattle City Light customers an average of 4.5 percent a year for the next six years, starting with a 5.8 percent jump in 2019.

seattle soda tax
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Soda companies have poured $4.7 million into an anti-tax measure in Washington state, enough for the initiative to pop up on the November ballot. 

Fourth of July fireworks over Lake Union in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Ryan Healy (CC Y NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/8fUvmj

Two major industrial fires darkened the skies over Seattle’s Duwamish Valley in recent weeks and added soot and other pollutants to the area with the city’s worst air pollution.

But the city’s Fourth of July fireworks celebrations added more.

Paper straws at Duke's Seafood & Chowder in Seattle
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

There’s a rising tide of concern over the plastic junk flowing into the world’s oceans. So starting July 1, restaurants and bars in Seattle won’t be allowed to give out plastic straws. 

City officials say Seattle is the first major city to ban plastic straws. Other cities, including New York and San Francisco, are considering similar bans.

Seattle firefighters tackle a blaze amid scrapped cars along the Duwamish River on June 26.
Seattle Fire Department

A plume of black smoke stretched across South Seattle on Tuesday night as a fire burned on a barge of scrapped cars on the Duwamish River.


Recycling is shown on Sunday, July 30, 2017, at the Orcas Island Transfer Station on Orcas Island. KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

With China no longer importing many recyclable materials, recycling programs up and down the West Coast are in turmoil.


Dave Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research

An endangered killer whale has gone missing and is presumed dead, but it's not the only orca in trouble in Washington waters.

Eight local orcas have died in just the past two years. 


A container ship at the Port of Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Bari Bookout (CC-BY-NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/6kUVcr

The world's biggest cargo ships, some a quarter-mile long, could be docking regularly near downtown Seattle before long.

After four years' study, the Army Corps of Engineers has given the okay to digging deeper shipping channels around Harbor Island at the mouth of the Duwamish River.

KUOW Photo / John Ryan

Complaints have poured in over the yellow, green and orange bikes that have sprouted like mushrooms across Seattle, yet 74 percent of Seattleites have a favorable opinion of the rapidly expanding bike share program, according to a Seattle Department of Transportation survey.


A parking spot for electric vehicles outside of the Ballard Market
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Washington state’s electric vehicle law is being widely ignored, according to a new report.

Friday is the deadline set by a decade-old law that requires vehicles in government fleets to run on electricity or biofuel. But just two percent of the state's motor pool is electric now, and many cities and counties have no electric vehicles at all.

It’s all because of one big catch in the law.

 


A file photo of a member of Puget Sound's Swinomish tribe participating in a ceremonial salmon blessing. Northwest tribes hold vigils along the Columbia River to pray for the return of salmon.
KCTS9 Photo/Katie Campbell

Tribal leaders on both sides of the border said Canada's purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline would not weaken their opposition to the pipeline's planned expansion.

The project would triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta tar sands through British Columbia and increase oil tanker traffic through Puget Sound.

The High Mercury tanker in Haro Strait between San Juan and Vancouver islands on Feb. 15.
Courtesy of Jane Cogan

Two Canadian provinces’ feud over an oil pipeline could boost gasoline prices and oil tanker traffic here in Washington state.


Oysters, mussels and clams are shown on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, at City Fish Co. at Pike Place Market in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

If you take legal or illegal drugs, or even flush them down the toilet unused, there's a good chance they'll wind up in Puget Sound.

Now there may be evidence that the opioid crisis reaches underwater, too. Scientists have found traces of oxycodone in shellfish near Bremerton and in Seattle's Elliott Bay.

Flickr Photo/Michael Saechang (CC BY-SA-2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9RtCyW

They're not the biggest political contributions in the state's history, but they're up there.

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has written a million-dollar check for a gun-control initiative.

And Seattle venture capitalist Nick Hanauer says he's doing the same.

Fred Dillon, second from left, and his son, Codi Dillon, right, return the remains of a chinook salmon to the Puyallup River after a first salmon ceremony on Tuesday in Tacoma.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The Puyallup Tribe welcomed the first salmon of the year back to the Puyallup River in Tacoma on Tuesday.

Strangely, perhaps, that chinook's epic journey from mid-Pacific Ocean to a Puyallup fishing net begins with a sloshing tanker truck.


Kokanee spawning in Ebright Creek near Lake Sammamish
Courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Roger Tabor

A little red fish that calls Lake Sammamish home is swimming desperately close to extinction. Officials are embarking on emergency measures to keep the fish known as kokanee from disappearing from the lake, and King County, forever.


Seattle Symphony musicians Eric Jacobs and Danielle Kuhlmann have some fun with Giovanny, the four-year-old son of Taylor Joffre, before a sharing session for the Lullaby Project at Mary’s Place in Seattle, Monday, May 7, 2018.
KUOW Photo/Dan DeLong

The Seattle Symphony will perform five original lullabies at a free Mother's Day concert this weekend. And each lullaby was composed with help from a parent staying at a local homeless shelter.

It's part of the symphony's effort to address homelessness in its own way. 

The Lower Duwamish River Superfund site in South Seattle
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Decades after they were banned, the toxic chemicals known as PCBs keep oozing into Seattle's Duwamish River. Environmental groups say one Boeing facility in Tukwila is sending polychlorinated biphenyls into the river at levels thousands of times beyond the legal limit.

S.G. Morse / Tacoma Public Library Archives

As the sun rose above Neah Bay one foggy morning three years ago, a boatful of anglers headed out to the Pacific Ocean to fish for halibut — something their Makah ancestors have done for thousands of years. 

Ethan Kent, 26, uses a cart to transport his belongings as well as the belongings of friends away from a Ravenna encampment where he had been living for roughly a month and a half, on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, on the Burke-Gilman Trail in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Charlie Blackwood was running off three hours of sleep and seven cups of coffee when he packed up his belongings. He had been living with seven other people in a plot of woods in Ravenna, in northeast Seattle, when city crews arrived with trucks and shovels to clear it out.

The road that winds around Sea-Tac Airport.
Flickr Photo/Ping Li (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) http://bit.ly/2aPcgPp

The taxi business ain’t what it used to be.

That's partly why cabbies picketed at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Tuesday, fighting back against a new ultimatum from one cab company. 

People pack city hall for a hearing on a proposed income tax
KUOW Photo/Kate Walters

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the unfairest of them all?

Famed is thy progressiveness, Seattle, but when it comes to taxes, it’s you.


These cyclists did not forget (or 'forget') their bikes on the ferry.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

This may be the most Seattle of problems: people abandoning their bike share rentals on the ferry. 


Traffic on Second Avenue in downtown Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Oran Viriyincy (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1irsJLd

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has unveiled a dozen initiatives aimed at tackling the city's persistent carbon problem. Congestion pricing, also known as tolls, tops the list.

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