Joshua McNichols | KUOW News and Information

Joshua McNichols

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2007

Joshua has been the "growing pains" reporter since 2015, documenting the region's growth and change. 

Joshua “took the long way” to radio, working in architecture firms for over a decade before pursuing his passion for public radio in 2007.

By "long way," he means he's also been a writer, bicycle courier, commercial fisherman, bed-and-breakfast cook, carpenter, landscaper and stained glass salesman. He’s detailed animal enclosures to prevent jaguars from escaping the Miami Zoo. Once, while managing a construction site in Athens, Greece, he was given a noogie by an Albanian civil war refugee in his employ. “You do not tell those guys how to place stucco,” he said.

All of which has no doubt made him the story-teller he is today.  

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

Ways to Connect

Ray Larson, Curator of Living Collections for the UW Botanic Gardens, which helps run arboretum, displays the leafless branch of a birch tree - one of several species stressed by recent warm, dry, summers, and the pests that prey on stressed trees.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s been a hot, dry summer in Seattle. This July was so warm it almost broke the record — you know, the one set way back in 2015.

Year after year of especially dry summers is killing some of Seattle’s trees. But it’s been harder on some trees than others.


The newly constructed Arbora Court Apartments, with 133 units, is shown on Monday, April 23, 2018, in Seattle. Forty of the apartments have been set aside for families transitioning out of homelessness.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

A lot of churches in Seattle have more land than they need. With shrinking congregations, many no longer need their large parking lots. A growing number of congregations are asking: Could this land serve a higher purpose?


What the transformed Northgate Mall could look like, at least according to architects. This is the view from the southeast.
Courtesy of GGLO

Would you live at the mall, if you could?

Light rail is coming to Northgate in three years, and it'll result in a whole new mall experience there.


Marsha Tolon poses for a portrait at University Christian Church, which she has been attending since 1984. The church is for sale because its dwindling congregation cannot afford to maintain it.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle is famous for not going to church. According to one study, Seattle has the second highest rate of residents who once went to church, but don’t anymore.

But Seattle has a lot of historic churches. They cost a lot of money to keep up – money the churches don’t have. So some of them are closing down.


Gurpreet Marok (right) owns land near the proposed Kent Des Moines Sound Transit station. Being near the station means great opportunity, but that opportunity comes with risk.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Gurpreet Marok's family has owned a modest motel, The New Best Inn, in Kent since 1999. It's a two-story building just off Kent Des Moines road, with a neon sign and Spanish roof tiling. The business is a part of the Marok's immigration and family story: It's the first building the family bought; Marok's uncle died in it in 2004. 


You got an awesome burrito from Chipotle. They got your credit card info.
Flickr Photo (CC BY 2.0) howtostartablogonline.net

You know not to open suspicious attachments in your email. But these hackers developed a way to work around your skepticism. 

Kristen Scott, partner at Weber Thompson, stands in front of the courtyard/thermal chimney that draws a breeze across her office in lieu of air conditioning
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

It’s hot outside. In most offices in Seattle, air conditioning keeps the employees cool. That’s not happening at the architecture firm Weber Thompson. 


Tricia Schroeder, Lashondra Hayes, and their children. Hayes works as a nanny for Schroeder.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Seattle City Council passed a domestic workers bill of rights Monday. It extends to Seattle’s 30,000 or so nannies, gardeners, home health workers and house cleaners.

It includes some protections currently taken for granted by other kinds of workers.

Bellevue's new light rail tunnel will open in 2023
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

On Friday, Sound Transit finished a major milestone in bringing light rail to Bellevue: excavating a tunnel under the city's downtown. 

Seattle's Chinatown-International District
Flickr Photo/Curtis Cronn (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9hVGFD

The Chinatown International District will soon become a light rail hub in Seattle. Lines from Bellevue (2023), West Seattle (2030) and Ballard (2035) are planned to connect here. 

Target is building a tiny store in Seattle' s U-District
Rendering by Target

For some, this story could be just one sentence punctuated with approximately 28 exclamation points: Target is coming to the University District.


Sarah Kleehamer, a volunteer projectionist, removes a reel from the wall on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, at Grand Illusion Cinema in Seattle. Kleehammer has been volunteering at the cinema for 15 years.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Growth is skyrocketing in the U-District. This is good for property values, but also means that a lot of longtime business are leaving: Hardwick’s Hardware, the Weaving Works yarn supply, and the original Pagliacci Pizza store are among the recent victims.


The M, a 24 floor residential tower being built on the site of a gas station, is part of a wave of development expected in Seattle's U-District
NBBJ

Development in Seattle is slowing down. But in the U-District, there's little sign of that. 


A postcard of Snoqualmie Falls, from the nearby gift shop
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle is surrounded by water. It’s one of the reasons why people move here.

But even in rainy, water-abundant Seattle, the region’s astronomical growth has given rise to new conflicts over water rights for people and salmon. 


A street sign on Aurora Avenue North, part of the historic highway 99
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Over the past few months, a team of KUOW reporters has explored the impact of growth along Highway 99 from North Seattle down to Tukwila. Reporter Joshua McNichols told Kim Malcolm why they followed this road and what they learned along the way.

Mike West has watched Tukwila change from his spot beside the (former) highway 99 since 1971.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Mike West likes to watch for someone from out of town to walk by on Tukwila International Boulevard. He leans out  the door of the auto shop he's occupied since 1971.

"Hey, you want to see something?" he asks.

He's semi-retired now, so he has a lot of time for this kind of thing.


Ali Jama stands behind the counter of Havenice Day Jewelry on Thursday, April 19, 2018, in Tukwila.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Meet Ali Jama. He owns a jewelry store with a clever name: Haveniceday Jewelry.

“A simple name that everybody can remember and say it without having any difficulties," he said. 


Commuters ride the E Line bus southbound on Aurora Avenue North, around 5:30 a.m., on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It was standing room only on the E Line RapidRide bus when the man seated next to Sonnet Stockmar started talking to her. "Take your top off," he said in front of the other bus riders.


These three women are among hundreds of seniors moving to Tukwila International Boulevard, a stretch of the former highway 99 once known for crime and prostitution.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The city of Tukwila has spent years trying to turn a section of old highway 99 into a dense, walkable neighborhood. But it’s not easy to redefine a road. Now, Tukwila is getting some help from an unlikely population: seniors. 


Victoria Marshall is one of hundreds of seniors who live in subsidized senior housing just off Aurora. She has a view of the lake, but says she feels profoundly disconnected from civic and cultural life.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Victoria Marshall was born in 1945, and she’s full of stories. She can talk about the four years she was homeless, about raising kids, or about her deep knowledge of animals, which she sometimes shares with people at the zoo.


Men exit the Abu-Bakr Islamic Center after prayer on Friday, April 20, 2018, in Tukwila.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

For years, Tukwila’s stretch of highway 99 was known for its crime: drug sales, prostitution, burglaries and violence. Then one morning in 2013, hundreds of police officers raided the old motels where most of those crimes were happening.

Mohammed Jama ran a small shop next to the motels. He’s part of the large Somali and refugee community centered around the Abu Bakr mosque in Tukwila. 

He told us the raid changed his life.


De'Sean Quinn shows his prized possession: the key to one of the motels that used to dominate Tukwila's stretch of the old highway 99.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Everything had to work perfectly.


This stretch of 99 is looking more walkable today because Tukwila took it from the state.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

It started with street trees. Tukwila wanted to plant some along state Route 99 to slow down traffic and beautify the area.

But the state said no. Trees, it turned out, were not safe, at least not as safe as lamp posts. 


Tukwila International Boulevard, which was once highway 99, is at the heart of our Tukwila reporting.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Tukwila, a small city of about 20,000 people, punches above its weight.

That's partly because it's willing to throw elbows around, seizing property by any legal means necessary in order to turn an aging remnant of highway 99 into the dense, walkable neighborhood many officials want. The technique is effective, but it can leave bruises.


From left, Abdi Adan and Tawfik Maudah read over the  demands that they will make before entering Tukwila City Hall with community members and business owners on Thursday, April 19, 2018, in Tukwila.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Business owners and community members marched to Tukwila City Hall last Thursday to deliver a letter protesting a proposed police station and courthouse that would displace two dozen small businesses, most owned by East African refugees.

FILE: Starbucks location
Flickr Photo/Yukiko Matsuoka (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/emrGV5

Starbucks will close 8,000 stores late next month so employees can attend an afternoon-long training about racial bias. That follows an incident in Philadelphia where employees called police on two African American men who were waiting for a friend but hadn’t purchased anything.

So, will one afternoon of training work? We asked an expert.

Nichole Fabre drives the RapidRide E Line bus up and down Aurora. On a recent weekday morning, she started driving around 3:55 a.m., beginning in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The most congested bus route in King County runs down Aurora. It’s called the RapidRide E Line. The crowding on those buses brings all kinds of people together.


Owner of Little Amazon, Linh Nguyen, holds iguanas on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Originally, the Nguyens were fish breeders, supplying the region’s pet stores.

Aurora Avenue North was good for that: Highways are where you want to be if you distribute stuff. 


Yurie Crockett sucks up used fry oil for recycling into biodiesel. His employer will pick up congestion tolling on his work vehicle (and he commutes by bus), but believes it will hurt people struggling to stay in the city.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan proposed a new way to reduce congestion and pay for transit this week by tolling cars coming into the city. It’s called “congestion pricing.”

But the idea of increasing costs in this increasingly expensive city raises eyebrows. Maybe try better marketing, says one expert.


See that dumpster over there? A narrow space behind it is just one of the places David Wickingstad has lived along Aurora.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

David Wickingstad is homeless on Aurora. He gives us a personal walking tour of the spaces that help him survive along this neglected highway.


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