Most read news on MyNorthwest in 2021
From phases and reopening Washington state in the spring, to a cold snap in October and the Employment Security Department, it’s been a busy 2021 full of serious news. We hope you’ll join us for 2022!
1. WA Employment Security Department whistleblower says she was told not to help people
Jennifer Moore initially saw her role as a customer intake specialist at the Employment Security Department as a kind of calling. She has a background in social work, and wanted a job that would let her make a difference in people’s lives during a crisis. But what she found after her arrival last summer was a system that actively tried not to help people. Read more.
2. What to expect with more Washington counties at risk of rollback to Phase 2
Gov. Jay Inslee announced whether any counties would need to roll back to Phase 2 of reopening. That would entail a dialing back of capacity across a handful of venues and businesses. Read more.
3. Two Seattle police officers in Washington, DC during riot placed on leave
Two Seattle police officers were placed on administrative leave after the department was made aware that they were reportedly in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021. Interim Chief Adrian Diaz said the Office of Police Accountability would investigate whether the officers violated any Seattle Police Department policies and “if any potential illegal activities need be referred for criminal investigation.” Read more.
4. Gov. Inslee unveils ‘Healthy Washington,’ a regional reopening plan
As Washington approached one year since the first diagnosed COVID-19 patient was recorded in the state — on Jan. 21, 2020 — Governor Jay Inslee announced a new reopening plan for 2021. Read more.
5. Region’s year of record-breaking weather continues with coldest early-October day in 125 years
Seattle’s year of record-breaking weather continued in the first two weeks of October, with the region experiencing some of its coldest early-fall days in over 125 years. Read more.
6. Washington reopens, but what does that mean?
The state officially moved out of Phase 3 of Gov. Inslee’s “Healthy WA: Roadmap to Recovery” plan to fully reopen in June. Since May 18, all counties had been living under Phase 3, which limited indoor spaces, such as bars, restaurants, movie theaters, and the vast majority of public spaces, to operate at 50% capacity. Read more.
7. Why are there no homeless camps in Bellevue public parks?
There are homeless individuals in Bellevue, just like most other cities, but you won’t find tents or encampments in public parks, on ballfields, or on sidewalks. That’s because before Bellevue police officers remove homeless campers from public spaces, they say they first try to find alternate housing for them. Read more.
8. WSDOT archaeologist solves mystery of structure under Maple Valley Highway
The Maple Valley Highway was closed for a few days after an unexpected discovery during a culvert project in October. Workers found an old wooden road under State Route 169 that stopped the excavation work. Read more.
9. Washington state to move to Phase 3, reopening of sports under new metrics
Governor Inslee announced the much-anticipated Phase 3 of the Healthy Washington recovery plan, which allowed the state to reopen more of the economy. The entire state advanced to Phase 3 on Monday, March 22.
Phase 3 allowed up to 50% occupancy for indoor spaces, such as restaurants, retail stores, gyms and fitness centers, and movie theaters, and up to 400 people for indoor and outdoor activities, as long as physical distancing and masking were enforced. Read more.
10. Amazon joins other Seattle tech companies in expanding work-from-home options
In late March, Amazon announced that unlike other Seattle tech companies, it planned to return to an “office-centric” approach post-pandemic. The company reversed course, though, announcing in June that it would be offering flexible work-from-home options for its employees moving forward. Read more.
Want to relive 2020? Here are the most read stories of 2020.