Laurel Demkovich

Laurel Demkovich

Laurel joined States Newsroom in 2023 after almost three years as a statehouse reporter for the Spokesman-Review. She covers state government, the Legislature and all other Olympia news.

How housing and homelessness ballot initiatives are faring so far in this year’s election

By: - November 8, 2023

This story was updated at 5 p.m. Friday to reflect the latest results. In local elections around Washington, measures to protect renters are so far receiving mixed support, while initiatives to impose new restrictions on homeless encampments and raise millions of dollars for affordable housing are receiving strong backing from voters. County auditors continue to […]

Washington makes its biggest forestland purchase in more than a decade

By: - November 7, 2023

The state Department of Natural Resources will purchase about 9,000 acres of forestland in southwest Washington to generate revenue from logging.  It’s the largest state land purchase in more than a decade, according to the department.  The State Board of Natural Resources on Tuesday approved the transaction, which involves land in Wahkiakum County and will […]

In parts of Washington, backyard cottages and in-law suites are on the rise

By: - November 6, 2023

After Laura Craig’s father unexpectedly died in 2020, she and her family began looking at new housing options for her mother.  Craig, who lives in Snohomish County, wanted to build an apartment above her family’s garage, but the county at the time did not allow for “accessory dwelling units” of that kind. The regulations were […]

Rents in Washington show signs of stabilizing

By: - November 1, 2023

As apartments built over the past few years open to tenants rent prices across Washington are leveling off, a new analysis of the state’s rental market found.  The average apartment rent statewide between July and September was $1,763 – a 0.6% increase over a year earlier, according to the Washington Center for Real Estate Research’s […]

Conservationists fail in push to tighten WA wolf killing rules

By: - October 30, 2023

Washington fish and wildlife officials have declined a request from conservation groups to tighten restrictions around when wolves that attack livestock can be killed.  A petition the groups filed in September with the state Fish and Wildlife Commission described Washington’s system for dealing with wolf-livestock conflicts as “ineffective.” It asked the panel to reopen rulemaking […]

New rules to protect homes from wildfire ignite controversy

By: - October 30, 2023

New state building codes aim to protect properties on the edge between urban and wooded areas – a fast growing type of space known as the wildland urban interface – from wildfire.  But the code changes have sparked backlash from builders, cities and environmentalists who say the rules are confusing, will drive up housing costs […]

WA lands chief: State just had one of its ‘most challenging’ fire seasons ever

By: - October 25, 2023

After an abnormally hot and dry summer in Washington, some in the state may say it was good fortune there weren’t more large wildfires or that the fire season wasn’t that bad. But fire officials don’t see it that way. In fact, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said this year was one of Washington’s […]

How housing and homelessness are shaping local elections across Washington

By: - October 24, 2023

An expensive mayoral race in Spokane where candidates are fighting over vastly different approaches to solving homelessness. A proposed Seattle levy that could pay for more affordable housing across the city. Ballot initiatives in Tacoma and Bellingham that could protect tenants from steep rent increases and evictions.  Housing shortfalls and homelessness hang heavy over this […]

WA aerospace and wood sectors up for major infusions of federal cash

By: and - October 23, 2023

Washington and Oregon could receive tens of millions of dollars from the federal government for aerospace materials, semiconductors and engineered wood after the Biden administration announced Monday that the two states will be home to three of 31 new technology hubs.  Nationwide, the hubs will span 32 states and Puerto Rico. They’re meant to spur […]

WA hospitals sue state Department of Health over expanded charity care requirements

By: - October 18, 2023

The association representing most of Washington’s hospitals sued the state Department of Health this week over the department’s new policy that says hospitals should provide non-emergency charity care to out-of-state residents. Washington’s charity care law has long required hospitals to provide emergency care regardless of residence or immigration status and non-emergency care to residents of […]

A meadow of Lupine and Arrowleaf Balsamroot flowers is seen at the foot of a Ponderosa Pine forest.

Plans take shape for eastern Washington tribute on state Capitol grounds

By: - October 16, 2023

A ponderosa pine and a western larch, snowberry and camas, basalt rock columns and a bench made out of aspen wood.  These elements are all part of a soon-to-be-installed landscape feature on the state Capitol Campus commemorating eastern Washington.  The State Capitol Committee on Monday received an update on the new site, which came out […]

Inslee pushes for Washington to become offshore wind manufacturing hub

By: - October 10, 2023

Washington government and business leaders want manufacturers of offshore wind turbines to build equipment in the state.  Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday announced a new effort to make Washington a preferred location for producing offshore turbine components. The Blue Wind Supply Chain Initiative is a partnership with public and private sector leaders, labor groups and […]