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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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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transportation
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.
WSHFC

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

Listen to Cliff's forecast for the week ahead, as well as his discussion of lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy, which happened a year ago this week.

"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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Puget Sound Health
5:01 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Small Steps, but Much Work Ahead for Puget Sound Health

The 40-year-old seawall at Burien's Seahurst Park is an example of development that prevents salmon and other sensitive species from thriving in Puget Sound.
Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

With its rocky beaches and abundant sea life, Puget Sound is at the heart of western Washington’s identity. Yet we are falling behind on the work needed to restore its health, following years of pollution from industry and a growing population.

The Puget Sound Partnership has released its latest progress report. And though there is some improvement, the challenges are still numerous. 

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Flood Forecast
5:50 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

National Weather Service Says Big Floods Likely This Winter

Major flooding in 2007 shut down 20 miles of I-5 in central Washington and left five people dead.
WSDOT

November, which marks the start of flood season in the Northwest, is just around the corner. And the National Weather Service says there is high potential for rivers to burst their banks from now through February.

This winter will bring what is known as a “neutral” weather pattern; we won't see the milder El Niño nor the wetter, windier La Niña this winter. But that hardly means we get a break.

A neutral winter can mean trouble for those who live or work near flood plains in western Washington as it brings the highest number of so-called “Pineapple Express” events during which an atmospheric river forms off the coast. 

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deciphering coastal history
5:11 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

UW Researcher: Redwoods Reveal Years of Coastal Climate History

Michael Schweppe Flickr

Count the rings on a tree trunk to figure out its age.

Or, if you’re University of Washington climatologist Jim Johnstone, study the molecules of a redwood trunk and crack the code for natural weather data that could date back more than a thousand years.

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climate change
5:19 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

West Coast States, B.C. Join in Fight Against Climate Change

Efforts to combat climate change got a boost from the West Coast as the leaders of Washington, Oregon, and California as well as the premier of British Columbia signed a new pact Monday.

Under the new plan, called the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, Washington and Oregon have agreed to adopt policies similar to those already in place in British Columbia and California. B.C. put a tax on carbon emissions in 2008, and California adopted a cap-and-trade system early last year.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
2:12 pm
Sun October 27, 2013

Mass: Blame the Boa Constrictor-Like High Pressure for Fogtober

Tim Durkan

Why did we have such a long stretch of fog? Blame the inversion, says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.

Foggy days in the fall aren’t uncommon in the Northwest, but the recent long stretch—the so-called “Fogtober” and “Fogmageddon” that Mass said will finally leave us Sunday—is quite rare.

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Weather with Cliff Mass
9:38 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Fogmageddon Ending; Sunshine, then Return to Normal

Tim Durkan

Fogmageddon will end on Sunday, “pretty much guaranteed,” says KPLU weather expert Cliff Mass.  

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