Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Economist

Irrigated water in the Columbia Basin. Photo Zach Mazur
Fall 2018

Three economists on the Columbia river

Retired Washington State University economist Norm Whittlesey is sitting at his kitchen table with two other retired economists, Walt Butcher and Ken Casavant. They are reminiscing about the collective 150 years they have worked on and around the Columbia River.

“We used to catch steelhead on the Snake River before the dam,” says Whittlesey. “I’ve got a picture of Walt with, what, a 25 pounder?”

Walt Butcher chuckles and says, “That fish might be up to 25 pounds by now.”

Casavant adds, “It’s been growing, even after being eaten.”

With a sweep of his hand across a map of the Columbia River watershed on the … » More …

Summer 2011

Arun Raha ’91—The good, the bad, and the budget

When Arun Raha ’91 started work as the state of Washington’s chief economist three years ago, his new staffers welcomed him with a gift: an official Magic 8 Ball.

“I said ‘OK, great! Now I have a forecasting tool,’” he recalls.

If only it were that easy.

At 51, Raha is the E.F. Hutton of state government: When he talks, people listen. He speaks at more than 100 events a year, from universities to small-town chambers of commerce. His quarterly revenue forecasts are broadcast live on TV.

That’s because the forecast, once approved by a bipartisan council that Raha reports to, frames the state budget. … » More …