Enrique Pérez de la Rosa/NWPB

Just as the sun rises over the Yakima Valley on May 14, more than 100 workers drive their vehicles off Monson Fruit property in Selah, north of Yakima. They’re walking off the job because they’re angry and afraid. 

Striking Monson workers say they were told by management that at least seven employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and they worry their employer isn’t doing enough to protect them.

“Nosotros claro que queremos trabajar. Necesitamos el trabajo. Por eso estamos aqui. Pero queremos condiciones laborales bien.”

Washington Legislature

Saying that it’s time for the legislative branch to “intervene” in the state’s COVID-19 response, Republican leaders in the Washington Legislature on Thursday called for a special session of the Legislature to begin in June.

While Gov. Jay Inslee and majority Democrats in the Legislature have said a special session is likely sometime this year, they have not yet committed to a specific date.

Courtesy of YMCA Camp Reed

The coronavirus is spreading a pandemic of disappointment among Pacific Northwest families and camp counselors via the widespread cancellation of traditional sleepaway summer camps. But some camp operators in Washington state and north Idaho are waiting to make the final call for this summer in hopes that overnight camps can still take place -- albeit with a late start probably. Others are putting an assortment of backup options into play.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

As Washington Gov. Jay Inslee exerts his emergency powers to battle COVID-19, behind the scenes legislative leaders are exploring the idea of a special session of the Legislature, perhaps as early as next month. 

“We are very much deeply in the weeds on trying to figure that out and I think in the next week or two we should have some more clarity,” said Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, a Spokane Democrat.

Courtesy of Washington Governor's Office

Earlier this year, there was only one electric school bus in the entire state of Washington. By this fall, the electric school bus fleet should be vastly expanding.

Forty new buses may transport students in districts throughout the state possibly starting in the fall — assuming in-person classes are back on.

One bus will land in the Republic School District in northeastern Washington’s Ferry County.

Gov. Inslee on Tuesday said that 10 additional counties are eligible to apply to loosen some social distancing restrictions in place to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

State officials have also outlined the criteria for moving into the second phase of reopening, which could allow in-store retail and restaurant dining to resume with certain limitations.

Christopher Anderson / Courtesy of Spokesman-Review Archive

NOTE: This story is a collaboration between the public media Northwest News Network, Spokane Public Radio, Northwest Public Broadcasting and the Spokesman-Review.

The black-and-white images of the 16-mile high stanchion of ash give a false impression.

The photos of Mount St. Helens’ eruption taken on May 18, 1980, suggest a cataclysm that remains in the past, safely ensconced in history and available for warm recollection of when the world exploded and we survived.

But that’s wrong.

Wes Peck / Flickr

In the days leading up to the May 18, 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption 40 years ago, Cowlitz County sheriff’s deputies tried to prevent people from getting too close to the growling, shaking mountain.

Not everyone listened, and public pressure grew great enough for law enforcement to relent. The day before the volcano blew and killed 57 people — making it the most fatal natural disaster in modern Washington state history — deputies let people go to their cabins around Spirit Lake. 

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

It’s long been known in eastern Washington that Matt Shea is not your typical politician.

Now, he won’t be on the ballot for the upcoming August primary.

The 4 p.m. candidate filing deadline on Friday came and went with no sign of Shea. 

Spokane County Auditor Vicki Dalton confirmed that Shea would not be on the primary election ballot in August.

Instead, he was at Spokane City Hall with about 100 other people railing against the state’s public health measures. 

Tom Banse / NW News Network

San Juan County in the northwest corner of Washington state is about to become the first county in the Pacific Northwest to require residents and visitors to wear a face covering in public places. Elsewhere in the region, governments have highly recommended wearing masks, but it's not the law.

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