Bellamy Pailthorp

Environment Reporter

Bellamy Pailthorp joined the staff of KPLU as a general assignment reporter in 1999 and covered the business and labor beat for more than a decade. She now covers the environment beat. She was raised in Seattle, but spent 8 years in Berlin, Germany freelancing for NPR and working as a producer for Deutsche Welle TV after receiving a Fulbright scholarship in 1989. She holds a Bachelors degree in German language and literature from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and a Masters in journalism from New York's Columbia University, where she completed the Knight-Bagehot fellowship in business reporting in 2006.

Bellamy's most memorable KPLU radio moment: “Seeing the INS open a shipping container at the Port of Seattle that contained stowaways from China, three of whom died en route of seasickness. Harrowing stuff, with global economics and inequity at its root.”


Weather with Cliff Mass
5:00 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Why We Don't Get Much Snow, But Plenty of Ice with Snow

File image
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Western Washington winters are relatively mild. We rarely see snow in the lowlands. But when it does snow, things freeze over in a hurry. 

Why does that happen? It has to do with our mild temperatures, says KPLU Weather expert Cliff Mass.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
10:43 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Mass: Snow in Lowlands Possible for Thanksgivikah Weekend

A frosty November morning in Mill Creek, Wash.
Jonathan Cooper

Uncertainty shrouds forecast models for the Thanksgiving weekend, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass, but two things are for certain: there will be snow—possibly in the lowlands, and it will get much colder. 

But first, the good news: neither of those things will have started as people head out of town on Wednesday, says Mass, who teaches atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington and pens a popular blog

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5:01 am
Tue November 26, 2013

With One Dam Gone, Life Returns to Elwha River

Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

It’s been called the most significant environmental story of this century: the removal of hydroelectric dams on the Elwha River, near Port Angeles.

The project is only partly done; Elwha Dam, one of two structures holding back salmon and steelhead runs, has been fully removed, and the other, Glines Canyon Dam, will be out next fall. But the landscape is already changing dramatically.

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Snow Science
5:01 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Strange Snow Finding Suggests Fewer Trees Mean More Water

UW reserahcres found that in temperate climates, snow melts faster under trees than in clearings.
Kael Martin University of Washington

Quick quiz: In springtime, does snow melt faster out in the open or in the shade? 

You might figure it melts faster in the sunshine, and that seems to be the case for cold climates. But in places with temperate winters, like the Pacific Northwest, it might be just the opposite.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
10:51 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Mass: 'Most Amazing Pattern' Defies Tradition, Brings Dry Spell

Rob McNair-Huff

It may be chilly out there, but it’s also unusually dry for this time of year, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

“It’s really startling,” said Mass, who teaches atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. “We’re in a most amazing pattern. I mean, this could be the wettest, stormiest time of the year, and it’s going to be basically dry over the next few days. In fact, I think probably the next week, we’re not going to see any precipitation.”

We may see a few clouds Tuesday and Wednesday, but then we’ll have wonderful weather for Thanksgiving, says Mass.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
10:28 am
Fri November 15, 2013

Mass: Hunker Down for Cold, Blustery Weekend

This snowy shot of Stevens Pass was taken earlier this month.
Jonathan Cooper

Batten down the hatches and get ready for a cold and gusty weekend, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Mass says a major system in the Gulf of Alaska is headed our way, and will hit the lowlands with strong winds and the mountains with snow.

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Election 2013
6:40 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

SeaTac Minimum Wage Initiative Passing by Just 43 Votes

In this Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 photo, wheelchair attendants Erick Conley, left, and Sesilia Vaitele assist a pair of passengers heading to an overseas flight at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, in SeaTac, Wash.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

The voter initiative to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour for airport and hotel workers in SeaTac is still undecided.

The initiative was passing by just 43 votes on Tuesday afternoon. And activists say they don’t expect a clear outcome before Thanksgiving due to hundreds of contested ballots in a relatively small electorate. 

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living wage initiative
1:28 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Problematic Ballots May Decide Fate of SeaTac's $15 Wage

In this Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 photo, 16-year veteran skycap Fred Harris prepares multiple baggage tags for a traveler at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in SeaTac, Wash.
Elaine Thompson Associated Press

Dozens of problematic ballots may determine the fate of an initiative to establish a $15 minimum wage for many workers in SeaTac.

The ballot measure was winning by just 43 votes Tuesday as officials in King County resumed counting ballots. There are likely hundreds more votes to count due to the lengthy ballot-collection process caused by the state's vote-by-mail system.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:57 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Mass' Weekend Forecast: Good, Better, Best with 'Even Some Sun'

Tim Durkan

The November storms appear to be on hold with the weather expected to steadily improve over the weekend.

The dynamics that produced the double hitter of storms last week have subsided and are giving way to calmer skies and even some possible sunshine on Monday, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass. 

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11:43 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Without New Funding, King Co. Metro Faces Major Service Cuts

General Motors, Joe Polimeni

King County Metro will be forced to cut 74 routes and revise an additional 107 routes when temporary funding runs out next June, the agency said Thursday.

Metro said the cuts will affect more than 80 percent of its bus and DART routes, and result in some 50,000 fewer daily trips throughout the county. King County Transit General Manager Kevin Desmond said only 33 of Metro’s routes would remain “untouched,” but that doesn’t mean they won’t be affected.

“Now, ‘untouched’ is a relative term, because if we’re eliminating all of those routes and otherwise reducing service, those 33 routes—our biggest routes that carry the most people—they are almost certainly going to have more demand,” he said. “And many of those routes and trips on those routes are already very, very crowded.”

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Election 2013
3:14 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Coal Issue Apparently Decisive in Whatcom County Council Races

Elaine Thompson Associated Press

Environmentalists are celebrating an apparent victory in Whatcom County where controversy over a proposed coal terminal seems to have tipped the balance of power.

Four candidates backed by the Seattle-based Washington Conservation Voters appear to be winning. They are incumbents Ken Mann and Carl Weimer, and challengers Barry Buchanan and Rud Browne.

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Fish Consumption Rates
6:59 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

State to Lay Out Options for Clean Water, Fish Consumption Updates

What does the amount of fish people eat have to do with whether big employers thrive in Washington state?

Fish consumption is at the heart of the state Department of Ecology's quest for compliance with the federal Clean Water Act, which aims to protect human health. Fish absorb toxins from polluted water. So when people eat it, their health might be at risk. That risk increases with more fish in their diet. 

Right now, the state Department of Ecology officially assumes that people eat only about one meal of fish per month—a standard that’s known to be outdated and insufficient to protect human health.

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Champion of Change
5:15 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

White House to Honor Seattle Vet for Advancing Clean Energy

Avi Jacobson rappels off a building in 2012 for the “Over the Edge” benefit at the Washington State Housing Finance Commission.

Avi Jacobson was serving his first tour in Iraq in 2007 when he noticed his own unit's heavy reliance on a single generator. 

Jacobson’s Air Force base ran almost solely on the generator, which was overworked with computers and air conditioners almost daily. When the usage hit the generator’s tipping point, Jacobson said, “everything would die," triggering an eerie silence.

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Disaster Preparedness
8:03 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Worried about Flooding? There's an App for That in King County

King County's Flood Warning App showing recent data from the Snoqualmie River at high flow.

King County has released an app that puts flood warning information at residents' fingertips. The smartphone- and tablet-friendly app displays real-time flooding information on major rivers in the county.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
10:48 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Mass: Friday is the Calm before First Big Storm of Season

File image
Tim Durkan

"Today is the calm before the storm," says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

The first big storm of the season will hit the Northwest on Saturday, and it's expected to produce winds strong enough to cause power outages and trigger snowfall in the mountains at elevations low enough to cover the passes.

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