1. An Amtrak train en route to Portland derailed onto the I-5 Monday, killing three and injuring dozens. Investigators believe the train was traveling 80mph while going around a 30mph curve.
The Wall Street Journal reported original plans for the train's route called for the curve to be removed, but the cost to do so was too high. The Seattle Times reported state officials will not reopen the rail until advance safety systems are implemented. "Positive train control" technology would slow down trains traveling too fast for their routes. The technology was supposed to have been in place when the route opened this week, but crews were still in the testing phase.
2. A federal judge in Seattle will decide whether to lift President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees. The Seattle Times reported lawyers from the ACLU asked for an injunction Thursday claiming the ban didn't offer any explanation as to why additional screening measures were needed. The judge is expected to make a decision before Christmas.
3. Demolition of a plutonium processing facility in Hanford halted after multiple reports of contamination this week. State Department of Health workers say there is no public health risk, but concerns that contaminants may have traveled to private homes on workers' cars make the situation “unusual.”
4. There is new evidence that Comcast deceived customers to the tune of $73 million, the Washington attorney general’s office announced Thursday. The telecom company has been signing customers up for a $5.99 service protection plan without their consent, a fact discovered by the attorney general’s office after requesting review of Comcast’s calls. A Comcast spokesperson responded to the announcement by saying it “misrepresented the facts.”
5. Seattle City Light hired an outside investigator to look into sexual harassment complaints. The Stranger reported the investigation will look into whether complaints received by the Seattle Women’s Commission actually happened and is separate from complaints that a division of City Light is responsible for “blatant sexism” and creating “a hostile work environment.”
6. A former chief financial officer of the U.S. Coast Guard will take over as executive director of the Port of Seattle. The Seattle Times reported hiring Stephen Metruck is dramatic shift from his predecessor Ted Fick, a former private sector executive. Fick resigned in February after an internal review found he had given himself and other employees large, unauthorized bonuses.
7. Washington state representative Matt Manweller stepped down from his position as assistant floor leader after a report that he had been accused of sexual harassment while teaching at Central Washington University. House Republican leader Dan Kristiansen asked Manweller to step down and CWU reopened its investigation. Manweller said he's done nothing wrong.
8. Former state auditor Troy Kelley was convicted of nine felony charges, including tax fraud and possession of stolen property. The Seattle Times reported Kelley faced 15 felony charges in a trial last year, but the jury couldn't decide on 14 counts. Kelley’s attorneys said the jury obviously struggled with their decision and they plan to appeal the verdicts. As the decision stands, Kelley faces up to 20 years in prison.
9. Mayor Jenny Durkan announced a $100 million investment in affordable housing this week. The Seattle Times reported the money will go toward nine new apartment buildings (totaling 896 units) and 26 homes. And $11 million will be allocated to apartments for low-income seniors through the Filipino Community Center in Rainier Valley.
10. A judge last week ruled that Governor Jay Inslee's Clean Air Rule, which capped carbon emissions for large manufacturers, exceeded the governor's authority. Inslee introduced the rule over two years ago as “the nation’s first Clean Air Rule to cap and reduce carbon pollution” but met opposition from companies and business alliances. New rules could be introduced in the state Legislature or on the ballot in November 2018.