Nicholas Deshais

Inland Northwest Correspondent

Nick Deshais roams eastern Washington, North Idaho and northeastern Oregon as the Inland Northwest correspondent for the Northwest News Network.

Nick has called the region home since 2008. As a journalist, he has always sought to tell the stories of the area’s many different people, from the dryland farmers above the Odessa aquifer to the roadbuilders of Spokane.

Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Nick worked as a print reporter in Washington, Oregon and Michigan. Most recently, he covered city hall and urban affairs at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane.

Nick was raised in rural Northern California, and is a graduate of Portland State University, where he earned degrees in history and math.

When off the clock, Nick enjoys state-spanning bike tours, riding subways in foreign cities and walking slowly through museums.

Nick’s reporting and writing has been recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies and the Best of the West. He was a Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan in 2017, and a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists in 2011.

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Spokane County Jail

When Mordecai Cochrane was found passed out behind the wheel of his Toyota Avalon by Spokane police in the dead of night, he’d been tested for coronavirus the day before, but was waiting for results. 

Five days later, he was back behind the wheel, driving at night with his lights off and with too many people in the car. Cochrane again encountered police. This time he had his test results. He’d tested positive, had no symptoms and was contagious. 

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. 

Courtesy of Mid-Valley Hospital

Hospitals in Washington are starting to act on the permission given them by Gov. Jay Inslee to resume non-essential medical procedures. Some may begin work by or before next week.

That won’t come soon enough for one unnamed Washington hospital CEO.

Keith Ridler/AP

Idaho Governor Brad Little kicked off the process Thursday of “re-opening” the state after five weeks of “stay home, stay healthy” measures to help stem the spread of coronavirus.

Courtesy Washington State Farmers Market Association

Jordan Dyck grows a lot of produce on his three-acre farm in North Idaho.

“We got a lot of lettuce crops, tomatoes,” Dyck sayd. “A lot of root crops. Fair amount of sweet corn.”

Dyck owns Homestead Produce, which is “about a mile north of Three Mile” in Bonners Ferry, he says, referring to a well-known “corner.”

This time of year, when he’s not farming, he’s selling his produce at the Bonners Ferry Farmers Market, which opens Saturday, April 25 — the first to open in the region.

But this year is different.

Nick Deshais / NW News Network

Protestors took to the streets and parks in Spokane Wednesday in two events to push back against statewide stay-home measures.

Like most other cities in the country under stay-home orders, the city core has been pretty quiet for weeks. Except for one corner by city hall, which was turned into a de-facto campaign event for Tim Eyman Wednesday afternoon.

That’s what it looked like as the Republican candidate for governor smiled and handed out stickers and signs with his name.

Spokane Transit Authority

A type of transit that some Puget Sound-region commuters know well is heading east.

The first bus rapid transit system in Washington east of the Cascades moved further down the line this week, as the Spokane Transit Authority bought 10, 60-foot fully electric buses to service the route.

Scott Leadingham/NWPB

A resident at the Spokane Veterans Home has died after testing positive for COVID-19. It marks the first death at a state-run veterans’ home in Washington.

The announcement Wednesday of the resident’s death came less than 24 hours after the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs said two residents there tested positive for COVID-19. 

None of the three other state-run veterans homes have confirmed cases as of Wednesday afternoon.

Redoubt News/YouTube/Screenshot

A state legislator in North Idaho is using her official government newsletter to urge constituents to defy Gov. Brad Little’s order to stay home in face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rep. Heather Scott, a Republican who represents the Blanchard area, sent the newsletter Thursday morning. It was titled, in part, “the virus that tried to kill the Constitution.”

Austin Jenkins / NW News Network

Rent is due this week. But with stay-home orders in both Washington and Idaho, shuttered businesses and a troubled economy, some people wonder if they’ll get evicted if they don’t pay.

In Washington, a moratorium on evictions gives protection to renters hit hard by the COVID outbreak. Idaho has no such moratorium, but a recent court order may protect them.

QUICK LINKS:

-Idaho coronavirus page (with number of cases and emergency orders)

Courtesy of The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture

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

Two weeks before Spokane went on lockdown, the news was the disease wouldn’t come here.

The newspaper told its readers that “there is no reason to be greatly alarmed” because the “imported type” of viral infection was “not available” here.

The city’s public health officer offered soothing words.