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Austin Jenkins

Olympia Correspondent, Northwest News Network


Since January 2004, Austin has been the Olympia-based state government reporter for the Northwest News Network, a consortium of public radio stations in Washington and Oregon that includes KUOW. Austin's areas of coverage include Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington Legislature.

Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. In 2019, Austin received his Master of Communication in Digital Media from the University of Washington Communication Leadership program.

Location: Olympia

Languages Spoken: English

Pronouns: he/him


  • caption:  This Washington State Patrol dashcam video from April captures a white BMW with a stolen license plate failing to stop for a trooper. in Olympia The driver took off at a high rate of speed, but the trooper didn't give chase. Police in Washington say they're seeing a big spike in drivers failing to stop for their lights and sirens following passage of a law that severely restricts when police can engage in a pursuit.

    See ya! Washington police say drivers aren’t stopping for them; cite pursuit restrictions

    Since January of this year, more than 900 drivers have failed to stop for a Washington State Patrol trooper trying to pull them over. The patrol and other police agencies around the state say they’ve never seen such blatant disregard for their lights and sirens. The change in driver behavior comes after state lawmakers passed strict new rules on when police can engage in pursuits.

  • caption:  Robin Marie and her 13-year-old son Brennan pose for a photo earlier this spring at a restaurant in Texas. Marie was visiting her son who's living and attending school at an out-of-state residential treatment facility paid for by his local school district and the state.

    Washington saca del estado a jóvenes en crisis, los contribuyentes son quienes pagan la cuenta

    Algunos padres con hijos en crisis en Washington están tomando una decisión desgarradora. Están enviando a sus hijos a internados terapéuticos fuera del estado. Y los contribuyentes están pagando la cuenta. Aunque se trata de casos atípicos, estos ponen de manifiesto las continuas carencias de los servicios estatales, carencias que quedaron al descubierto durante la pandemia de COVID. Antes de que la pandemia de COVID golpeara a principios de 2020, Brennan, el hijo de Robin Marie, asistía a una escuela para jóvenes autistas en Issaquah. Sus necesidades eran tan grandes que contaba con el apoyo de dos personas solo para atenderlo a él.

  • caption: Missing five-year-old Oakley Carlson, left, next to an image of her former foster parents Erik and Jamie Jo Hiles of Elma, Washington. The couple has concerns about how Washington's Department of Children Youth and Families handled Oakley's child welfare case and the decision to return the girl to her biological parents.
    KUOW Newsroom

    Case of missing Washington 5-year-old highlights secrecy around CPS cases

    There are more questions than answers in the case of a missing former foster child from Grays Harbor County. Five-year-old Oakley Carlson has been unaccounted for since February of last year. Police say her parents aren’t cooperating with the investigation. Oakley’s former foster mom questions why Oakley was sent back to live with her parents after more than two years in foster care. The governor's office and the Department of Children Youth and Families won't answer questions about the case citing privacy laws and the ongoing law enforcement investigation.

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    Washington seafood company fined following COVID death

    A Sumner, Washington seafood company has been fined $56,000 for not complying with Washington's mask mandate. State investigators linked the death of an employee to a November 4, 2021 staff meeting where most of the attendees were unmasked.

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    KUOW Newsroom

    Employees say state insurance chief used racist slurs, mistreated staff

    Washington’s long-time elected insurance commissioner has used offensive terms in the workplace to describe people of different races and ethnicities, as well as people who are transgender. That’s according to former agency insiders who’ve come forward in recent weeks. Meanwhile, other former employees are giving new accounts of what they say is Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s mistreatment of staff.