Kate Walters | KUOW News and Information

Kate Walters

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2015

Kate is a daily news reporter at KUOW. Originally from Australia, Kate studied journalism at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology before coming to work in public radio. Kate began her career as a reporter with WXXI Public Radio in Rochester, NY, where she worked as part of a Local Journalism Center (LJC) called the Innovation Trail. At KUOW, she started as a producer on The Record before joining the news desk.

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

An Alaska Air 737 arrives at SeaTac as a flock of birds crosses.
Flickr Photo/Michael @ NW Lens (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/2iJ6CS

One in a million: That’s how Port of Seattle Commissioner Courtney Gregoire described the bizarre and tragic events on Friday night when a Horizon Air employee stole an empty Q400 turboprop at Sea-Tac Airport and crashed it on a small island in the Puget Sound.

Screenshot/Richard Russell

The family of a man who stole a Horizon Air aircraft from Sea-Tac Airport and crashed it say they're "stunned and heartbroken" by his death.

Inside the mega tent set up by the City of Tacoma after declaring a state of public health emergency
Photo courtesy of the City of Tacoma

Everyone agrees that homelessness is a crisis in Seattle, but there are differing views about who is being impacted and what should be done. In public forums, homeless service organizations regularly butt heads over these ideas with frustrated homeowners.

But what about doctors?

Samantha Ramirez, 9, left, and Benjamin Ramirez, 16, right, help their mother, Sheila Ramirez, center, to step onto the rotating glass floor at the Space Needle on Friday, August 3, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Have you ever wondered what birds see when they fly over Seattle? Well, now you can see for yourself.

The Space Needle’s rotating glass floor is officially open to the public.

Volunteers set up sleeping mats at ROOTS Young Adult Shelter on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, in Seattle. The shelter can accommodate up to 45 young adults a night.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The city of Seattle will penalize homeless service providers that failed to meet housing goals in the second quarter of this year. That's according to a letter sent to providers in May.

Tiny homes are shown on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, at the Licton Springs Tiny House Village on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Changes are coming to the tiny house village in Seattle’s Licton Springs neighborhood.

Amid concerns from neighbors and uncertainty about whether the City of Seattle will renew the camp’s permit to remain on Aurora Avenue North, the site is getting tighter security and improvements for its homeless residents.

Milee Ballweg, 20, sits on the steps of a University District church where she sleeps just after 5 a.m. on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Nostalgia thrives on the Ave.

That’s University Way Northeast to cartographers, a street that pounds with construction and smells of $6.99 Thai lunch specials and bus exhaust.

Milee Ballweg, 20, sits on the steps of a church in the University District where she sleeps just after 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in Seattle.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

Milee Ballweg sleeps on the steps of a church in Seattle’s University District.

She’s 20, her hair is blonde tinged with pink, and she wears ripped jeans and a Pokémon T-shirt. She sleeps wrapped in gray packing blankets that cover her face.

University Temple United Methodist Church in Seattle's University District
KUOW photo/Kate Walters

Seattle’s University District is about to undergo a massive transformation.

Light rail is coming in, buildings are going to get taller, and some old businesses are moving out.

And not even churches are immune to the changes.

Seattle City Hall
Flickr Photo/Daniel X. O'Neil (CC-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1OGMTuh

By day, the lobby at Seattle City Hall bustles with lawmakers, city employees, and members of the public keen to be heard at council meetings.

Now, by night, it will become home to rows of mats, set out for homeless men and women who need a place to sleep.

Scene at the Jungle on Tuesday after an officer-involved shooting was reported on Tuesday early afternoon.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Brothers accused of a pair of fatal shootings in the Jungle homeless encampment as teens in early 2016 will face a trial for those charges beginning Monday morning.

The shooting spurred politicians to clear the area—long considered a magnet for drug use—of roughly 400 homeless people later that year.

KUOW photo/Kate Walters

Seattle’s South Park neighborhood sits on the bank of the polluted Duwamish river, flanked by industry and split in two by Highway 99.

This is a neighborhood uniquely steeped in Hispanic culture and occupied by people with a deep passion for community.

It’s also a neighborhood staring down the barrel of change.


Homeless RV
Flickr Photo/A. Kwanten (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/Bv6MSo

This year’s point-in-time count of people living without homes in King County showed yet another increase of those living on the streets. 

But among people who are experiencing homelessness, the sharpest uptick — by a whopping 46 percent — came from people increasingly living in their cars, RVs, and vans. This year, vehicle residents made up more than half of the people counted who were living outside. 

Volunteers count the number of people experiencing homelessness during the annual King County Point-In-Time count on Friday, January 25, 2018, in Pioneer Square.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

On a single night in January, more than 12,000 people were counted as homeless throughout Seattle and King County.


The entrance to a homeless shelter on Third Avenue in Seattle.
KUOW File Photo/John Ryan

Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan wants to significantly increase shelter capacity for people experiencing homelessness in the city over the next three months.

Using money from the sale of a city-owned property in South Lake Union, Durkan is proposing increasing the number of shelter spots available by 25 percent by the end of August.


Carmen Best, interim police chief of Seattle
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Community members and activists, some belonging to Mayor Jenny Durkan's own police chief selection committee, are calling for an overhaul of the city's process in choosing a new police chief. 


Homeless families outside a shelter in downtown Seattle
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Seattle made some big shifts in its approach to homeless services last year, including signing new contracts that gave the city the ability to ding service providers that don’t get enough people into permanent housing.

For the first time in more than a decade, the city competitively bid roughly $34 million in service contracts, which included “pay for performance” measures.

Now the city has softened on this policy. Providers who don’t meet the standards in the first quarter of this year will get a pass. 

Seattle Police Officer and Navigation Team member Brad Devore offers services and shelter to campers
KUOW photo/Kate Walters

On a sunny May morning, the Alaskan Way Viaduct throws long shadows over a line of tents.

This cluster of tents is here illegally, one of about 400 unauthorized encampments in Seattle. It’s been cleared nine times this year, according to the city, including once this week.

Jenny Durkan
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has proposed a compromise tax on large businesses that would pay to ease the city’s affordable housing shortage and homelessness crisis.

Hector Casador works at the South Transfer Station in South Park
KUOW photo/Kate Walters

When you throw away a piece of trash, do you ever wonder where it goes and who deals with it? If you live in the city of Seattle, there’s a good chance that your garbage ends up at the city’s dump in South Park, right off Highway 99.

Courtesy of Joyas Mestizas and Nohemi Gardea

Drive south on Highway 99 and you’ll go straight through the middle of Seattle’s South Park neighborhood.

Light rail runs on the surface in Seattle's Rainier Valley.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Nonprofit developers plan to build more than 300 affordable apartments in Seattle's First Hill neighborhood. The project is slated to go on surplus land that Sound Transit is handing over for free.

The Battery Street Tunnel in downtown Seattle in 1954 during a carbon monoxide test. The tunnel will come down this year with the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Item 45797, Engineering Department Photographic Negatives (Record Series 2613-07), Seattle Municipal Archives.

What will happen to the Battery Street tunnel after the viaduct comes down?

This is a question KUOW has received multiple times as the new Highway 99 tunnel, built to replace the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct, inches closer to completion.

Fifth grader Nina Perry at KUOW Public Radio in Seattle
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Eleven-year-old Nina Parry noticed a man sitting outside her neighborhood QFC. She and her mom brought him food. But there were others.

“Ever since I can remember, I've been seeing homeless people asking for money or just sitting in the streets being cold,” she 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

The RapidRide E Line is Seattle's most crowded bus route, with more than 17,000 boardings each weekday. It connects Aurora Avenue North to downtown.

From left, Damaso Garcia, Jose Martinez and Justin Ducette laugh during a break on Thursday, March 1, 2018, at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Have you ever wondered what it's like to work at a cemetery? Here's your chance to find out. 


An American flag is shown between rows of headstones in the Veterans section on Thursday, March 1, 2018, at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle’s biggest cemetery begins with a tragic story.  

Rene Reynoso, left, and Cheyenne Reynoso, right, embrace on the bunk bed in their tiny home on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, at the Licton Springs Tiny House Village on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The Licton Springs Tiny House Village on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle differs from the other city-authorized homeless encampments

Of the six sanctioned camps, it's the only low-barrier site, meaning residents don't have to be sober to live in one of the tiny homes — spaces 8 feet by 12 feet with windows, heat, electricity and a locking door. 

Ja'Shay Macklin, 10, left, plays with a football as her twin brother Ja'Sean watches their mother Stephanie Macklin-Jones work on a rubik's cube in their room at the Everspring Inn on Monday, March 26, 2018, on Aurora Avenue North in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The motels on Aurora Avenue are a throwback to a Seattle of days gone by, with their weather-beaten signs and green vacancy lights flashing.

Ricky Garcia and Lauren Davis are fighting to pass Ricky's Law in the Washington State Legislature that would allow involuntary committment for addicts.
Courtesy of Lauren Davis

If someone you love wants to hurt themselves, what can you do? If the underlying cause is mental illness, one option is to have them involuntarily committed for psychiatric treatment. But if the underlying cause is addiction, that was not an option until the passage of Ricky's Law in 2016.

Ricky Garcia and Lauren Davis worked with state lawmakers to pass a bill that would let someone in Washington state involuntarily commit an addict who is found to be a danger to him or herself.  Bill Radke brings Davis back into the studio for an update on the implementation of the law, which took effect Monday. 

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