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.”

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Emergency Preparedness
5:12 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Less than half in the NW, at best, prepared for earthquake

Ninth-grade students take part in a statewide earthquake drill in 2007 in Shoreline. Are you prepared?
The Associated Press

If you live in the Northwest, it's hard to escape the knowledge that the possibility of a major earthquake is real. 

Yet, far more than half of residents here are not prepared for such a disaster. Despite frequent campaigns encouraging homeowners to have at least a 3-day supply of emergency water, food and first aid on hand, authorities assume only 30-40 percent of us actually do.

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Urban Design
4:47 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Seattle's 'UpGarden' P-Patch takes community gardening to new heights

Photo by Nicole Kistler courtesy Kistler | Higbee Cahoot

It’s a first-of-its-kind in Seattle and perhaps even the country. Over the weekend, the city celebrated the opening of its first-ever rooftop community garden.  

Its design is garnering interest from around the region, as urban planners look for ways to integrate more open space and urban agriculture into increasingly dense neighborhoods.

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Environment
10:49 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Seattle packs EPA Hearing on Alaska's proposed Pebble Mine

Bristol Bay salmon that contribute more than $100 million annually to Washington's economy would be at risk, say opponents of proposed mining operations in the watershed.
toddraden Photo Flickr

It was standing room only at the federal building in Seattle, where the Environmental Protection Agency held its first hearing Thursday on Alaska’s Bristol Bay fishery.

At issue is the potential effects of a proposed gold and copper mine there. The assessment looks at mining in general, though concern has arisen over a huge project known as the Pebble Mine.

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I Wonder Why ... ?
6:00 am
Fri June 1, 2012

Why did blackberry brambles become such a NW problem?

Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU

“It just doesn’t like to stop. It’s very tenacious.”

If you have property in the Pacific Northwest, there’s one plant you’ve most likely encountered … and battled – The Himalayan Blackberry.

It’s enemy No.1 in the Northwest. So, where did this plant come from and why did it become such a pervasive pain in the garden?

Read more on I Wonder Why...?

Energy
2:51 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Seattle gearing up to oppose coal exports from northwest ports

Seattle appears poised to vote against coal transports through the city.
The Associated Press

For some it’s the next big source of high-wage jobs; for others, an environmental nightmare: At least 9 trains a day could soon rumble through Seattle, carrying coal to export terminals in Washington and Oregon.

Cities from Missoula, Mont., to Edmonds have passed resolutions that call the idea into question. Seattle is now poised to join them with one of its own.

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Environment
10:44 am
Wed May 23, 2012

Blue Ribbon panel warns about dangers of ocean acidification

Declining PH levels in the world's oceans interferes with many species ability to form shells.
Photo courtesy of Washington State Dept. of Ecology

Carbon emissions are threatening Washington’s shellfish industry. That’s the concern of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, which meets today in Seattle.

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Environment
10:51 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Settlement on Seattle sewage overflows heads to council

Combined sewer overflows still threaten some Seattle beaches after heavy rains, closing them to recreation and violating the federal Clean Water Act.
Courtesy Seattle Public Utilities

A more efficient way to fix one of Seattle’s most embarrassing environmental problems – that’s the promise of a proposed agreement on meeting federal standards for clean water.

The problem is untreated sewage that flows into our lakes and other waterways after big storms.

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Seattle Center
1:01 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Chihuly Garden and Glass opens to the public

Dale Chihuly's new Glass House with Persian Glass framing the Seattle Space Needle.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Less than two years after the idea was pitched to the public, a new Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibition opens today (Monday 11am) at Seattle Center.

It’s located at the foot of the Space Needle, where the kiddy rides and arcade games of the old Fun Forest once drew crowds.

Now, people are standing on tiptoes to peer in through the fence around the outdoor displays, which beckon with flashes of color.  

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Environment
10:12 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Proposed dam puts Skykomish on list of ten most-endangered rivers

The proposed site for a new dam on the South Fork of the Skykomish River
Photo courtesy of Jeff Smith Save the Skykomish River

It’s designated as a State Scenic Waterway and recommended for federal protection. Yet the south fork of the Skykomish River has just been named one of the ten most endangered rivers in the country by the national environmental group, American Rivers.

It’s because of a controversial proposal to build a new dam.

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Job Market
6:13 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

High demand for women in trades

"They're actually paying you to come learn something," says Rayna Lorraine, an ironworker apprentice who earns $36/hour plus benefits after 3 years of training. A new apprentice can start at $25/ hour.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

If the skyrocketing cost of a college degree seems intimidating, you might want to consider the skilled trades as an alternative – especially if you’re female.

That was the message at the Washington Women in Trades annual career fair at Seattle Center, where dozens of employers aimed to recruit young women, enticing them with the chance to try their hand as a carpenter, painter or steelworker.

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Politics
8:54 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Obama supporters cheer his stance on same-sex marriage during Seattle visit

Teri McClain, (r) says she's neither gay nor married, but grateful for the President's support of same-sex marriage rights. She was part of a demonstration of support outside Mr. Obama's fundraiser at the Paramount Theater in downtown Seattle.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

President Barack Obama was in Seattle yesterday on a fundraising swing. It was his first trip since the big announcement Wednesday that he now supports the right of same-sex couples to marry, a stance that was celebrated by supporters both inside and outside his speech at the Paramount theater downtown.

At 8th and Pine, a colorful band of demonstrators gathered for a rally near the barricades to say thank you to the President, even though they couldn’t afford the thousand-dollar ticket to see him speak.

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Power prices
5:33 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

McGinn defends City Light plan to raise utility's rates

Power lines on Seattle's Beacon Hill still carry some of the cheapest electricity in the country, but rate hikes are likely over the next 6 years, as proposed in a new strategic plan.
Photo by Andrew Imanaka flickr

The tendency for politicians to put off rate increases has meant decades of instability for customers of Seattle City Light. That’s according to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, who has unveiled a new strategic plan, which would raise electricity rates a total of 28 percent over the next six years.

Businesses want stability

Though raising rates is unpopular, McGinn says the plan will create more predictability for customers – something that’s especially important for businesses.

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520 Bridge replacement
5:06 am
Wed April 25, 2012

Pontoons taking shape, creating jobs in Aberdeen

An engineer checks his calculations inside the pontoon pit in Grays Harbor, near Aberdeen.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Washington State is the floating bridge capital of the world. We have four of the most famous ones, including the longest: State Route 520, which is about to be replaced.

What holds them all up? Giant floats made of concrete, called pontoons. The first and largest of them are being manufactured in Grays Harbor, near Aberdeen.

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Business
11:02 am
Thu April 12, 2012

U.S. letter carriers rally to 'save America's postal service'

Curtis Gregory Perry Photo Flickr

U.S. postage rates went up again at the start of this year. But the service is still in financial crisis.

And letter carriers say the latest legislative fix about to come before the U.S. Senate could devastate the mail service as we know it.

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Seattle Police Dept
10:19 am
Mon April 9, 2012

Living room conversations invite cops in to communities

A living room conversation with Seattle police, taking place in a residential home.
Courtesy Seattle Police Dept.

Small talk isn’t usually encouraged between police officers and the public.

But, the Seattle Police Department is trying to change that, with a program that encourages people to invite the cops in for “living room conversations. ”

For most people, seeing a police officer in uniform is intimidating. You don’t usually get up close and personal with a cop unless something bad is happening. Seattle Lieutenant Carmen Best says inviting police in for a living room conversation helps build trust.

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