Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "KUOW" ...

  • Northwest Jails' Mounting Death Toll

    Since 2008, at least 306 people across the Northwest have died after being taken to a county jail. Until now, that number was unknown, in part because Oregon and Washington have not comprehensively tracked those deaths in county jails. If they did, they would find a crisis of rising death rates in overburdened jails that have been set up to fail the inmates they are tasked with keeping safe. Key findings: - Over the past 10 years, the rate of jail deaths has trended upward in Oregon and Washington. In 2008, county jails in Washington had a mortality rate of about 123 deaths for every 100,000 inmates. By 2017, that rate was 162. Jail population data for 2018 were not yet available at the time of publication, but reported deaths spiked that year. A conservative estimate puts the 2018 mortality rate closer to 200 deaths per 100,000 inmates. - In 2018, police shot and killed 39 people between Oregon and Washington, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. For that same year, our investigation found 39 deaths in Oregon and Washington county jails. - At least 70 percent of Northwest inmates who died in the past decade were awaiting trial at the time of their deaths, still considered innocent under the law. - More than 40 percent of deaths happened within an inmate’s first week in jail. A third of all inmates who died never made it past three days. - Suicide, by far the leading cause of jail deaths in the Pacific Northwest, accounted for nearly half of all cases with a known cause of death.
  • KUOW: 11 women accuse Seattle entrepreneur David Meinert of sexual misconduct

    A six-month investigation of multiple allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against a well-known Seattle businessman and politico yields 11 accusers over two decades. After an initial story broke describing the allegations of five anonymous women, six more women came forward – and were willing to use their names.
  • Fighting The Wrong Fires

    OPB’s science and environment team spent a year analyzing government data, reviewing scientific literature and interviewing more than 100 people to find out why firefighting costs have soared and why, 30 years after its scientists first raised red flags, the U.S. Forest Service continues to risk lives and waste millions of dollars fighting fires it doesn't need to fight.
  • Hollow Columns

    At least 22 highway bridges in Washington state sit on hollow concrete columns that are at risk of instantaneous implosion in a major earthquake. The state doesn’t know how to fix them. In addition, the state knows of 474 bridges that are at risk of crumbling in a big quake. The state has insufficient funds to fix them. Highways that are part of the Puget Sound region’s “seismic lifeline” emergency aid routes were found by KUOW to contain dozens of seismically vulnerable bridges. The state does not publish the totality of its infrastructure needs, in contrast to its seismic cousin California. Until KUOW published a map showing the locations of the endangered bridges, no such public information was available.
  • When a 14-Year-Old Chooses to Die Because of Religion, Can Anyone Stop Him?

    KUOW online editor Isolde Raftery reported and wrote a devastating, nuanced account of how a Jehovah’s Witness teen, who had been diagnosed with leukemia, was allowed to refuse blood transfusions, a decision that ultimately cost him his life. Washington is believed to be the first state where a child has died after being allowed to refuse lifesaving care.
  • Landslide Safety All Over The Map

    A catastrophic landslide in Oso, Washington -- a state dotted with landslide-prone slopes -- in March 2014 traveled more than 3,000 feet from its base, in the process burying a community and killing 43 people. A joint KUOW-Earthfix investigation found that most of Washington's counties routinely allow homes to be built 50 feet or less from known landslide zones, although landslides commonly travel hundreds of feet.
  • Logging and Landslides

    After a landslide killed 43 in the town of Oso, Washington, our KUOW investigation found that Washington state's department of natural resources had allowed clear-cutting on sensitive ground that, by law, should have been protected from logging to avoid triggering a slide above Oso. We also documented the agency head's broken vow not to take campaign contributions from the timber industry he regulates.
  • Workers Question Safety Culture Within Railroads Hauling Crude Oil

    KUOW's investigation into worker complaints about BNSF Railway's documents how the company has prioritized speed and profits over safety, with a history of retaliating against workers who report accidents, injuries and safety concerns. Railroad safety has come under public scrutiny now that trains are hauling millions of gallons of oil across North America. In the Northwest, BNSF carries the vast majority of the especially combustible Bakken crude from North Dakota and neighboring states. The railroad now moves nearly 20 oil trains per week through the Columbia River Gorge. The story of Curtis Rookaird, which our investigation and resulting documents confirm, illustrate how a BNSF Railway worker's insistence that government safety standards are followed -- even at the expense of speeding freight to its destination, led to his dismissal.
  • Safety and Suicide

    Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens and young adults in Washington state. KUOW’s two-part investigation examined how the Northwest’s largest mental hospital failed to save 20-year-old Megan Templeton from herself and how other Western State Hospital patients fell through the cracks of the institution that was supposed to save them from themselves.
  • Shell 'Beer Can' Crushed

    A KUOW Freedom of Information Act request revealed the severity of a maritime accident that the world's largest energy company and the U.S. government sought to downplay or avoid comment on. News outlets from Alaska to England, including the New York Times, Financial Times and Hearst Newspapers have cited the KUOW scoop in their ensuing coverage. Our story has also resulted in Congressional and Interior Department inquiries into the accident involving equipment Royal Dutch Shell planned to use in support of oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean.