Tri-Cities, Washington

Tri-Cities, Washington

Infobox Settlement

mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location of the Kennewick-Richland-Pasco Metropolitan Statistical Area
official_name = Tri-Cities
nickname = TC, Wine Country, Atomic Town
website = []
subdivision_type = State
subdivision_type1 = County
subdivision_name = Washington
subdivision_name1 = Benton, Franklin
population_as_of = 2000 census
population_metro = 191,822
timezone = PST
utc_offset = -8
timezone_DST = PDT
utc_offset_DST = -7
elevation_ft = 550
postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 99301, 99323, 99336, 99337, 99338, 99352, 99353, 99354|area_code = Area code 509
established_title = Settled
established_date = 1891
footnotes =

The Tri-Cities is a metropolitan area in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Washington, consisting of Benton and Franklin counties. Three neighboring cities are the principal cities for the metropolitan area: Kennewick, Richland, and Pasco. The cities are located at the confluence of the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia rivers in the semi-arid region of Southeastern Washington. A fourth neighboring city, West Richland, is generally included as part of the Tri-City area and region.

The population of the metropolitan area was 191,822 at the 2000 census.GR|2 If the Tri-Cities were a single city, it would be the fourth largest city in the state of Washington, behind Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma.

The Tri-Cities Airport located in Pasco provides the region with commercial and private air service. Pasco is the seat of Franklin County, while the other cities are located in Benton County.



Pasco was the first of the Tri-Cities to be incorporated, in 1891. Kennewick was incorporated in 1904, and Richland followed in 1910. West Richland was founded by dissatisfied residents of Richland, who wished to be home owners rather than renters of government-owned houses, after the arrival of Hanford. Despite attempts by Richland to annex the community, they remained separate and eventually became incorporated in 1955.

Early history

Pasco was the largest city in the Tri-Cities until the founding of Hanford, mostly due to its railroad station. It also had the most land for easy irrigation and farming.

Farming was the basis of virtually every sector of the economy in the early years.

1940s - 1970s

After the founding of the Hanford Site in 1943, Richland became the largest city of the three overnight. Richland High School adopted "Bombers" as its mascot (complete with mushroom cloud logo). In 1970, Kamiakin High School was founded in response to the continued influx of people. The economy continued to grow, but not without some turbulence. Every time the federal government cut funding at Hanford, thousands of talented, credentialed people would suddenly become jobless and quickly leave for other jobs. During this time, other employers slowly made their way into the area, but they too would often be forced to cut back jobs in the bad times. During the 1970s, Kennewick overtook Richland as the biggest city of the three and has not surrendered the title since. The Columbia Center Mall was built on land newly incorporated into Kennewick, drawing growth to western Kennewick and south Richland.

1980s - present

Completion of the Interstate 182 Bridge in 1984 made Pasco much more accessible, fueling the growth of that city. [ cite news |first=Joel |last=Connelly |title=We have to live with our transit decisions |url= |work=Seattle Post-Intelligencer |publisher=Hearst Newspapers |date=2005-10-17 |accessdate=2008-03-31] With the end of the Cold War, many in the area feared a shutdown of Hanford, followed by the Tri-Cities quickly becoming a ghost town. These fears were allayed after the United States Department of Energy switched the facility's purpose from the creation of nuclear weapons to the effective sealing and disposal of radioactive waste. During the 1990s, several major corporations entered the Tri-Cities, which helped to begin diversifying the economy apart from the Hanford sector. In 1995, a sixth public high school, Southridge High School, was founded. The 2000s saw continued rapid growth as the Hanford site hired hundreds of workers to help with the cleanup effort. Additionally, the Tri-Cities saw a large influx of retirees from various areas of the Northwest. During this time, and the corresponding nationwide housing boom, all three cities flourished and grew significantly. Pasco became the fastest growing city in Washington State (in terms of both percent increase and number of new residents). In 2005, the Census Bureau reported that Pasco's population had surpassed Richland's for the first time since pre-Hanford days.

Climate and geography

The Tri-Cities are in a semi-arid climate, [cite web
title = Columbia Plateau Ecoregion: Biodiversity
publisher = Washington Biodiversity Project
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-10
] receiving an average of 7 to 8 inches (175 to 200 mm) of rain every year. Winds periodically exceed 30 mph (48 km/h) when Chinook wind conditions exist. There are 300 days of sunshine every year. Temperatures range from as low as 10 °F (-12 °C) in the winter to as high as 110 (43 °C) in the summer, and even reached 115 °F in July 2006. The region receives occasional snow most years. Due to the semi-arid climate and subsequent large amounts of sand, a perpetual annoyance to residents is the amount of dust blown about by the frequent winds. Thanks to the aforementioned rivers, a large amount of cheap irrigation is available.

Washington is the most northwest of the lower 48 states—consequently, the area is in the Pacific Standard Time Zone. The Tri-Cities makes up the largest metropolitan area in the southeastern quadrant of Washington. The large Cascade Mountain Range to the west contributes to the semi-arid climate, which is far drier than the famously wet western side of the state. See rain shadow for more information on this phenomenon. The region's climate results in a shrub-steppe ecosystem [cite web
title = Shrub Steppe Ecology
publisher = Washington State University Tri-Cities
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-10
] which has 18 endemic plant species. [cite web
title = Columbia Plateau Ecoregion: Biodiversity
publisher = Washington Biodiversity Project
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-10
] Just west of Richland, the Fitzner/Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology Reserve was established to study the unique plants and animals found in the local shrub steppe ecosystem. It is the largest tract of shrub-steppe ecosystem remaining in the U.S. state of Washington. [cite web
title = Fitzner/Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology Reserve Fact Sheet
publisher = U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Hanford Reach National Monument
month = August | year = 2002
url =
format = pdf
accessdate = 2008-07-10

Some localities near the Tri-Cities in southeast Washington enjoy the warmest overall climate for anywhere in North America north of the 45th parallel.


Colleges and universities

Current higher education opportunities in the Tri-Cities include:

*Washington State University Tri-Cities, a four-year branch campus of Washington State University located in Richland (2000 students).
*Columbia Basin College, a large two-year community college (6000 students). The main campus is located in Pasco while a branch campus and a large nursing school are located in Richland.
*Tri-Tech Skills Center, a smaller vocational school run by the Kennewick School District and located in Kennewick. FM radio station, 88.1 The Alternative, is located at the Tri-Tech Skills Center.

In 2005, the State of Washington approved the transition of the existing Washington State University branch campus in Richland from a two-year to a four-year campus. In the fall of 2007 the campus admitted its first undergraduate students. Offering a wide range of programs, the campus focuses heavily on biotechnology, computer science, and engineering, due to the nearby Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Hanford site. The university is starting to develop a significant amount of quality teachers for the area and a fairly broad range of majors are offered including English, history, and many liberal sciences.

Columbia Basin College also offers higher education opportunities for residents of the Tri-Cities, as well as the Columbia Basin from cy|Mattawa|Washington (50 miles away) to ci|Umatilla|Oregon (30 miles away).

econdary schools

Each city provides its own schooling services through their respective school districts—Kennewick's, Pasco's, and Richland's. There are seven public high schools in the area (and few private school options): Kennewick High School, Kamiakin High School, and Southridge High School in Kennewick; Richland High School, River's Edge High School, and Hanford High School in Richland; and Pasco High School in Pasco. An eighth high school, Chiawana High School, will open in Pasco in fall 2009, due to the recent rapid growth of the city of Pasco.



The Tri-Cities economy has historically been based on farming and the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. From Pasco's incorporation in 1891 on, the Tri-Cities have had a large degree of farming thanks to the excellent soil. Irrigation is made easy by the three nearby rivers. Wheat is the most commonly grown product; however, large amounts of apples, corn, and grapes are also grown, along with potatoes and other products.


Since the 1940s, the Hanford site has been the area's number one employer. The United States government built a top-secret facility to produce and separate plutonium for nuclear weapons, and decided on an area just north of then-tiny Richland. The government built temporary quarters for the more than 45,000 workers and built permanent homes and infrastructure for other personnel in Richland. The city had an overnight population explosion, yet virtually no one knew what the purpose of Hanford was until the destruction of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945 by an atomic weapon containing Hanford-produced plutonium. After the attack on Nagasaki, Japan immediately surrendered, ending World War II. After the war, however, Hanford continued work on creating material for nuclear weapons. This work was vital for national security in the years following—known as the Cold War. After the fall of the USSR in 1991, Hanford's mission changed from plutonium production to environmental cleanup and restoration. [cite web
title = Richland Operations Office Cleanup Progress
publisher = United States Department of Energy
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-10


Recent years have seen the region's booming wine industry (second in size only to California's Napa Valley) create jobs as well as tourism, though the Tri-Cities has not yet capitalized on this in the same way that neighboring cities Walla Walla, Prosser, and Yakima have.

lurpee Capital of the United States

Kennewick's only 7-11 store boasts 12 slurpee flavors (soon to be 18) and sells the highest volume of slurpees in the nation.and it has a flavor for every color.


Other major corporations that have facilities in (or are based in) the Tri-Cities include:
*Battelle Memorial Institute (operates Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science)
*ConAgra Foods
*Lockheed Martin
*Reser's Fine Foods
*Twin City Foods
*Tyson Foods


Health systems

*Kadlec Medical Center (Richland)
*Lourdes Medical Center (Downtown Pasco, Richland, West Pasco)
*Kennewick General Hospital (Downtown Kennewick and West Kennewick)


*Kennewick Mid-Columbia Library (Kennewick)
*Richland Public Library (Richland)
*Pasco Mid-Columbia Library (Downtown Pasco)
*Consolidated Information Center (North Richland)
*Downtown Kennwick Mid-Columbia Library (Downtown Kennewick)
*Columbia Basin College Library (Pasco)
*Columbia Basin Regional Medical Library (Richland)
*Benton Franklin County Law Library (Pasco)



*Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco. Airport codes|PSC|KPSC
*Richland Airport (General Aviation) in Richland. Airport codes|RLD|KRLD
*Vista Field (General Aviation) in Kennewick. Airport codes|S98

Interstates and major highways

*Interstate 82 runs along the southern edge of Kennewick.
*Interstate 182 follows the Yakima River through Richland, crosses the Columbia River on the Interstate 182 Bridge, and continues through Pasco to its terminus with U.S. Route 395
*US 395 runs north through kennewick, crosses the Columbia River on the Blue Bridge and continues through Pasco and then north to Interstate 90 in Ritzville, Washington.
*SR 397 runs from Finley up to Pasco, crossing the Columbia River through the Cable Bridge
*US 12 is cosigned with Interstate 182 through the Tri-Cities and continues past U.S. Route 395 across the Snake River towards Burbank, Walla Walla, and Lewiston, Idaho.
*SR 240 runs through Kennewick and Richland, around the Hanford Nuclear Reservation then north to Interstate 90 at Vantage. It has a major junction with SR 24, which leads west to Yakima, Washington.

Local transit

* [ The Ben Franklin Transit] provides public bus service throughout the Tri-Cities.

Passenger rail

*Amtrak provides connection to the daily Empire Builder serving Portland and Chicago.


*Benton County P.U.D.
*Franklin County P.U.D.
*City of Richland
*City of Pasco
*City of Kennewick
*City of West Richland
*Charter Communications

Recreation and leisure

The Columbia River provides much of the Tri-Cities' recreational opportunities as do the Snake and Yakima rivers. All three cities offer a number of free boat launch sites, and the size of the river itself creates ample space for fishing, surface water sports, and sailing.


Amid the booming and increasing popular regional wine scene, many wineries are located within or near the Tri-Cities, offering tours and tasting. These wineries are within the Columbia Valley American Viticultural Area. The highly acclaimed Red Mountain appellation is in the nearby Yakima Valley AVA. Several restaurants boasting the region's top wines have opened in recent years, highlighting the variety and quality available.

Tri-Cities wine tasting rooms

* [ Badger Mountain (organic) Vineyard] , Kennewick
* [ Barnard Griffin Winery] , Richland
* [ Bookwalter Winery] , Richland
* [ Goose Ridge Vineyards] , Richland
* [ Gordon Brothers Cellars] , Pasco
* [ Kamiak Vineyards] , Pasco
* [ Powers Winery] , Kennewick
* [ Preston Premium Wines] , Pasco
* [ Tagaris Winery and Taverna] , Richland
* [ Robust Coffeehouse & Wine Bar] , Kennewick

Walking, biking, hiking

acagawea Heritage Trail

Situated along the Columbia River shoreline, the Sacagawea Heritage Trail is a convert|23|mi|km|sing=on recreational and educational trail that travels through parks, golf course communities, wetlands, historic neighborhoods, and across beautiful bridges. [cite web
last = O'Neal
first = Sally
title = On The Trail Of Sacagawea: Part 1
publisher = The Sportsman's Guide
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-10

Badger Mountain

Badger Mountain dominates the Tri-Cities skyline, rising 800 feet above ground level. [cite web
title = Pictures of Badger
publisher = Friends of Badger Mountain
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-10
] It has been designated as Badger Mountain Centennial Preserve, a 574-acre natural preserve [ cite web
title = Trailhead Park
publisher = City of Richland
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-10
] containing 3.5 miles of designated trails. [cite web
title = Access and Trails
publisher = Friends of Badger Mountain
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-10
] It is common to see jack rabbits, coyotes, rattlesnakes, ring-necked pheasants, and deer on the mountain.

Yakima River Delta

Located in South Richland, the Yakima River Delta is full of walking trails thorugh wetlands and forests. It is fairly common to see blue herons, deer, various ducks and other waterfowl, coyotes, otters, beaver, jack rabbits, and bull frogs and other amphibians in the Delta.


The Tri-Cities also boasts several quality golf courses can be played almost year-round due to the relatively mild climate. Area golf courses include:
*West Richland Golf Course
*Canyon Lakes
*Meadow Springs Country Club
*Columbia Park
*Columbia Point
*Horn Rapids
*Tri-City Country Club
*Pasco Golf Land
*The Golf Club

Museums, interpretive centers, and tours

There are many fun and educational museums and tours besides wine tours, in the area. There are many local museums that chronicle area history from Native Americans to Hanford to Wineries. They include:

*Columbia River Exhibition of History, Science, and Technology
*East Benton County Historical Museum
*Benton County Historical Museum
*Franklin County Historical Museum
*LIGO Hanford Observatory
*Sacajawea Interpretive Center
*Three Rivers Children Museum
*Washington State Historical Museum

Within one hour driving distance are the following:
*Whitman Mission National Historic Site
*Maryhill Museum of Art
*Tamastslikt Cultural Institute
*Fort Walla Walla Museum
*Kirkman House Museum
*Carnegie Art Center

Sightseeing tours include:
*Columbia River Journeys
*Tri-City River Cruises
*Red Mountain Country Carriages

Theater and Performing Arts

The Tri-Cities is growing as a community of performing arts, the following is a list of notables.
*Mid-Columbia Ballet []
*Mid-Columbia Symphony
*Community Concerts of the Tri-Cities
*Richland Players Theater
*Academy of Children's Theater
*Battelle Film Club
*Camerata Musica
*Ballet Arts
*Diamond Ridge Cloggers

Hunting and fishing

With the area's three large rivers and many lakes and ponds, fishing is very popular in the Tri-Cities for anglers of every age and experience level. There is also an annual national bass fishing tournament that is hosted every year on the Columbia River. It has been featured on ESPN.

The Tri-Cities is surrounded by an abundance of public and private hunting lands ranging from waterfowl, upland birds, turkey, and big game (including bear, deer, elk, and cougar). The largest and most popular public lands being Big Flats HMU (upland birds and deer), Three Rivers HMU (upland birds, waterfowl), and the Wallula HMU (waterfowl, deer, and upland birds).

hopping and dining

Shopping and dining opportunities in the Tri-Cities have expanded in recent years; though the increase has primarily centered around Kennewick's Columbia Center Mall and Pasco's Road 68, there has also been a recent boom of commercial businesses in other parts of the Tri-Cities.

The area has now become a large shopping destination for not only the three cities themselves, but also for the many smaller communities and towns located in the region ranging from Yakima to Umatilla, Oregon to Walla Walla. The Tri-Cities now provides the largest concentration of retail and shopping offerings within a convert|140|mi|km|sing=on radius.

The two main shopping complexes are Kennewick's Columbia Center Mall, a more traditional, large-scale mall and Richland's Uptown Shopping Center, a 1950's style outdoor-style mall. The Columbia Center Mall is a modern mall with trendy stores such as Abercrombie and Fitch and Hot Topic as well as a large food court and an 8-plex movie theater. It is anchored by Macy's, JC Penney, Sears, and Barnes & Noble. The mall also has restaurants such as P.F. Chang's, Olive Garden, Tony Roma's, Red Lobster, Red Robin, Famous Dave's BBQ, Dairy Queen, Arby's, Shari's, Old Country Buffet, Sonic Drive-in, and Sbarro Pizza on or near its property.

The Uptown Shopping Center (commonly known as "the Uptown") has many locally owned shops and many local favorite bars that are extremely busy every weekend. Popular stores include the Spudnut Shop, Neilsen's Video Games, and Adventures Underground.

The third mall in the Tri-Cities is the Broadmoor Outlet Mall in West Pasco, but due to its lack of popular stores and its location have kept this mall fairly empty of customers and stores. Its most popular stores include The Paper Factory and Van Heusen.

Newer and developing shopping areas include Road 68 in West Pasco, 27th Avenue in Kennewick, Queensgate in West Richland, and Meadow Springs in South Richland.


The area has many popular bars, several dance clubs, music venues, casinos, and strip bars.

Professional sports

Tri-Cities Fever

The Tri-Cities Fever is an arena football team of the af2 that plays in the Three Rivers Toyota Center.

Tri-City Dust Devils

The Tri-City Dust Devils, an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies in the short-season class A Northwest League baseball. The Dust Devils play in Pasco at GESA Stadium.

Tri-City Americans

The Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League bring top level junior hockey to the region. The Tri-City Americans have a huge fan base in the Tri-Cities and play in the Three Rivers Toyota Center.

Former Tri-Cities Area Professional Sports Teams

*Tri-City Chinook (Continental Basketball Association Basketball 1991-1995 [cite web
last = Bradley
first = Robert
coauthors = Chris Anderson, Mark Astolfi, Robert Bradley, Marc Foster, John Grasso and John Z. Smith
title = History of the Continental Basketball Association
publisher = The Association for Professional Basketball Research
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-10
] )
*Tri-Cities Braves ( Western International and Northwest League Baseball 1950-60, 1962)
*Tri-Cities Angels (Northwest League Baseball 1961, 1963-64)
*Tri-Cities Atoms (Northwest League Baseball 1965-68)
*Tri-Cities A's (Northwest League Baseball 1969)
*Tri-Cities Padres (Northwest League Baseball 1970-72)
*Tri-Cities Triplets (Northwest League Baseball 1973)
*Tri-Cities Ports (Northwest League Baseball 1974)
*Tri-Cities Triplets (Northwest League Baseball 1983-1986)
*Tri-City Posse (Western Baseball League Baseball 1995-2000)


There is an abundance of parks in all three cities as well as the surrounding cities. The biggest parks are located along the Columbia River and have well maintained docks and boat launches, while many smaller parks lie inside the cities.


*Columbia Park is located along the Columbia River between Columbia Center Blvd. and the Blue Bridge. The park hosts the hydroplane races, the area's largest independence day fireworks show, and many other various event. It contains a golf course, campground, frisbee golf, marina, fishing pond, duck pond, stage, multiple docks, boat racing pits, tennis courts, mulitple boat launches, two restaurants, aquatic center, mulitple playgrounds, skate park, nature trails, playground of dreams, picnic areas, and a walking trail. The park is the future site of a small amusement park, hotel, a third restaurant, and amplitheater. Columbia Park is also partly in Richland.
*Keewaydin Park boasts a downtown location, museum, library, softball fields, baseball field, swimming pool, skate park, community center, playground, aquatic center.
*Lawrence Scott Park contains softball fields, playground, tennis courts, roller hockey court, and picnic areas.


*Chiawana Park is across the river from Columbia park and is a popular spot for watching the hydroplane races. It contains a playground, boat launch, dock, picnic areas, walking trail, and marina.


*Howard Amon Park is one of the most popular parks in the area. It is the site for various activities from boat races to car shows to art shows. It contains multiple docks, boat launch, stage, swimming pool, museum, art gallery, playground, community center, tennis courts, picnic areas, walking trail.
*Columbia Point Park is an affluent area of Richland and is surrounded by high price condos and a golf course. It contains a marina, hotel, restaurant, boat launch, dock, playground, picnic areas, hiking trails, and walking trail.
*Leslie Groves Park is hidden in North Richland along the Columbia River. It boasts a boat launch, beach volleyball, dock, playground, picnic areas, walking trail, and sports fields.

West Richland

*Flat Top Park is the location for the annual Hogs 'n' Dogs which is part of the Cool Desert Nights car show. The park has a playground and picnic areas.


The Tri-Cities has many diverse events throughout the year ranging from sports events to car shows to art shows. The area also has many facilities to host these events. They include:

* Three Rivers Toyota Center (Kennewick)
* TRAC (Pasco)
* Three Rivers Convention Center (Kennewick)
* GESA Stadium (Pasco)
* Benton-Franklin County Fairgrounds (Kennewick)
* Lampson Stadium (Kennewick)
* Gjerde Center at Columbia Basin College (Pasco)
* Columbia Park (Kennewick and Richland)
* Howard Amon Park (Richland)

Benton-Franklin County Fair

The Benton-Franklin County Fair is the area's largest event. The Fair includes a rodeo, carnival, parade, and concerts. It is usually held in the last week of August. There are annually over 100,000 visitors and it has attracted musicians such as Styx, Chicago, Smashmouth, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Diamond Rio, Three Dog Night, and Willy Nelson.

Tri-Cities Waterfollies

The Tri-Cities Waterfollies is the most nationally visible event. The Waterfollies host the national circuit of American Boat Racing Association Unlimited Hydroplane races that attract tourists from all over the western part of the United States and Canada. The Waterfollies are usually held in Kennewick's Columbia Park in late July. The races are typically shown on ESPN. The festivities include an air show and several other activities.

Cool Desert Nights

Cool Desert Nights is an annual car show that is the largest of many car shows held in the Tri-Cities over the summer. CDN is held during the last week and weekend of June at Richland's retro Uptown Shopping Center and Jefferson Park. It is open to all makes and models as well as trucks and motorcycles but it usually consists of classic and muscle cars. There are cross-city cruises, strip cruises on George Washington Way (one of Richland's busiest street), show and shines, street dances, live music, contests, slow drags, and vendors. There are typically over 400 cars every year. The event is open and free to the public.

Allied Arts Sidewalk Show

The Allied Arts Sidewalk Show is traditionally held the same weekend as the waterfollies (late July) and is one of the Pacific Northwest's largets art shows. Hundreds of art vendors fill Richland's Howard Amon Park along the Columbia River. The Allied Arts Sidewalk Show is a relaxing alternative to the robust Waterfollies. The event is open and free to the public.

IT Day Convention

IT Day is the largest IT (Information Technology) convention in Eastern Washington. It features vendors from the computer industry, health technology, education technology, mobile phone industry, video game industry, various area laboratories, universities, and others. It is held in the Tri-Cities due to its foundations in science and technology (e.g. Hanford Nuclear Reservation, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Fast Flux Test Facility, Washington State University, and Lockheed Martin). The convention is traditionally held in mid-May at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. 2008's Convention featured guest speakers Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from Discovery Channel's "MythBusters", over 50 vendors, and various lectures and presentations. The event is open and free to the public.


The Sausagefest is held annually in mid-September at Christ the King Catholic Church in Richland for over 30 years. It is the area's largest Oktoberfest-like celebration with live entertainment, a carnival, and various German foods and beer gardens. Although it is only a two-day event, it attracts tens of thousands of people every year. It's signature "parachute dining area" has been a Richland staple for years. The event is open and free to the public.


RadCon is a science-fiction and fantasy convention at Pasco's Red Lion Hotel. This three-day, non-stop event has anime viewing, gaming, an art show, card gaming, LAN parties, cosplay, raves and more. Region 5 summit of Starfleet International is also held during the event. It is traditionally held in February during President's Day weekend at Pasco's Red Lion Inn.

Ye Merrie Greenwood Faire

Traditionally held in mid to late June at Richland's Howard Amon Park, the Ye Merrie Greenwood Faire is a Renaissance Fair that features the Greenwood Gypsie Dancers and Gypsie Musicians, the Greenwood Company of Musicians, the English Country Dancers, the Renaissance Dancers and Singers, the Madrigal Singers, and other performances.

Classy Chassis Car Show

This annual car show takes place in downtown Kennewick in what is commonally called "The Parkade" (The most eastern par tof Kennewick Avenue). It typically draws nearly 200 cars and is the second largest car show in the metro area behind Cool Desert Nights. The event takes place in late spring. The event is open and free to the public.

afety Expo

Currently held at the TRAC facility in late spring, this event gives people the chance to learn about area companies' approach to workplace and community safety. Local emergency services put on several demonstrations also. It annually attracts over 50,000 visitors. The event is open and free to the public.

Classic Mustang and Car Show

This car show is for Mustangs only and is put on by the Pacific Northwest Mustang Club and has been an annual event since 1980. It traditionally takes place on Memorial Day weekend in Howard Amon Park.

Chalk Art Festival

The Chalk Art Festival is held at Richland's Uptown Shopping Center and allows anyone, from children to professional artists, to make a sidewalk square into a piece of art. It is typically held in mid-June (usually a weekend before Cool Desert Nights Car Show).

Holiday Events

First Night

First Night is the Tri-Cities most popular New Years' event. Its family orientated events are a calmer alternative to events put on by local bars and night clubs. Many locals attend the event which changes locations every year.

Irish Games

Held around St. Patrick's Day by St. Patrick's School, the event hosts live entertainment, a kid’s zone, a beer garden, a 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament and food. It is held at TRAC in Pasco.

Firework Shows

The Tri-Cities plays host to three fireworks shows on Independence Day, two in Pasco (GESA Stadium and Edgar Brown Stadium) and one on the Columbia River between the I-182 Bridge and the Blue Bridge. All three can be seen from various hills surrounding the Tri-Cities.

Christmas Lighted Boat Parade

The Christmas Lighted Boat Parade is a parade of holiday themed boats that takes place in mid-December on the Columbia River stretching from Clover Island in Downtown Kennewick and Howard Amon Park in Richland. The event is open and free to the public.

Culture and demographics


Although the Tri-Cities is in the middle of the least religious part of the United States, the Pacific Northwest, it has a strong religious presence with nearly 200 churches in the area representing nearly every sect of Christianity and in languages ranging from English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Russian.

There is a sizeable LDS (Mormon) population in the area, with four large LDS Stakes in the Tri-Cities proper. The Columbia River Washington Temple is also located on Gage Boulevard in Richland.

There is an Islamic Center and a handful of synagogues. Eastern religions such as Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism are also represented in the area.


Although in a blue state, the Tri-Cities (and most of Eastern Washington) is fairly conservative in its values and regularly votes Republican in national elections; locally the Republicans are also dominant, although not quite as much.

Most areas in the Tri-Cities are right center, with the exception of North Richland and Downtown Pasco which tend to be more liberal.


Cable Bridge

The Cable Bridge, formally known as the Ed Hendler Memorial Bridge (named after a former mayor of Pasco) is one of the most identifiable landmarks in Eastern Washington. It spans the Columbia River connecting East Kennewick and East Pasco. It is unofficially the most photograhed landmark in the area.


B-Reactor is the world's first industrial-scale nuclear reactor. [cite web
title = B Reactor Museum Association
month = April | year = 2008
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-10
] It is located on the Hanford Site, a former nuclear production complex northwest of Richland.

Blue Bridge

The Blue Bridge is less than a mile upstream from the Cable Bridge and is the second most notable bridge in the area.

Moore Mansion

Built in Pasco along the Columbia River in 1908, the mansion was abandoned after the suicide of one of the owner's children in an upper room of the house. The mansion was later converted into an extremely upscale restaurant. It was eventually burned down by its owners in attempted insurance fraud. [cite web
last = O'Neal
first = Sally
title = On The Trail Of Sacagawea: Part 1
publisher = The Sportsman's Guide
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-10
] However, the mansion has since been reconstructed.

Rattlesnake Mountain

West of the Tri-Cities, Rattlesnake Mountain is the tallest peak in the area at 3527 ft (1060 m), and the highest "treeless" mountain in the UnitedStates. [cite web
title = Fitzner/Eberhardt Arid Lands Ecology Reserve Fact Sheet
publisher = U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Hanford Reach National Monument
month = August | year = 2002
url =
format = pdf
accessdate = 2008-07-10
] Rattlesnake mountain and the neighboring Hanford Site is home to a large herd of elk, numbering approximately 670 head. [cite web
title = Elk on the Monument
publisher = U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Pacific Region
url =
accessdate = 2008-07-10


A soundstage in Richland's Howard Amon Park, its shape resembles a fingernail. It hosts many concerts throughout the spring and summer. It was salvaged from a rock quarry in the 1970s and relocated in the park

Grain Elevator

A historic grain elevator remains on Clearwater Avenue in Kennewick. It has not been in use for several years and development has proceeded around it. It is now serving as a cell phone tower.



As of the census of 2000, there were 54,693 people, 20,786 households, and 14,176 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,384.9 people per square mile (920.9/km²). There were 22,043 housing units at an average density of 961.2/sq mi (371.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.93% White, 1.14% Black or African American, 0.93% Native American, 2.12% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 9.4% from other races, and 3.37% from two or more races. 15.55% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 20,786 households out of which 37.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.5% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.8% were non-families. 26.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.6 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.6% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $41,213, and the median income for a family was $50,011. Males had a median income of $41,589 versus $26,022 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,152. About 9.7% of families and 12.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.8% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.


As of the census of 2000, there were 32,066 people, 9,619 households, and 7,262 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,141.9 people per square mile (440.9/km²). There were 10,341 housing units at an average density of 368.2/sq mi (142.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 52.76% White, 3.22% African American, 0.77% Native American, 1.77% Asian, 0.14% Pacific Islander, 37.44% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 56.26% of the population.

There were 9,619 households out of which 45.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.7% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.5% were non-families. 20.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.30 and the average family size was 3.79.

In the city the population was spread out with 35.5% under the age of 18, 11.8% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 15.5% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females, there were 106.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,540, and the median income for a family was $37,342. Males had a median income of $29,016 versus $22,186 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,404. About 19.5% of families and 23.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.4% of those under age 18 and 9.6% of those age 65 or over.


As of the census of 2000, there were 38,708 people, 15,549 households, and 10,682 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,111.8 people per square mile (429.2/km²). There were 16,458 housing units at an average density of 472.7/sq mi (182.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.55% White, 1.37% African American, 0.76% Native American, 4.06% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 1.85% from other races, and 2.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 4.72% of the population.

There were 15,549 households out of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 27.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.2% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 25.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 96 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $53,092, and the median income for a family was $61,482. Males had a median income of $52,648 versus $30,472 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,494. About 5.7% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.8% of those under age 18 and 5.6% of those age 65 or over.

Based on per capita income, one of the more reliable measures of affluence, Richland ranks 83rd of 522 areas ranked in the state of Washington--the highest rank achieved in Benton County.


Print media

*Tri-City Herald
* [ The Mid-Columbian]
* [ La Voz]
*Tri-City Citizen
* [ Tu Decides]


*KTNW - 10 - (PBS)
*KFFX-TV - 11 - (Fox)
*KEPR - 19 - (CBS)
*KNDU - 25 - (NBC)
*KVEW - 42 - (ABC)
*KCWK - 9 - (The CW) "(ceased operations)"
*ISATP - cable 17 - (ION Television), formerly PAX Network and i

Radio AM

*610AM KONA - Newstalk
*870AM KFLD - Newstalk
*960AM ESPN Radio
*1340AM KTCR - Newstalk

Radio FM

*106.5 - Eagle - Classic Rock
*105.3 - Mix - Adult Hits
*104.3 - KMBI (Spokane) - Moody Broadcasting
*102.7 - KORD - Country
*101.9 - KUJJ - Smooth Jazz
*99.1 - Power 99 - Top 40
*98.3 - The Key - Hits of the 80's, 90's, and Today
*97.1 - 97 Rock - Rock
*97.5 - Kool - Superhits of the 60's and 70's
*95.7 - KNLT - Bob FM - Classic Hits
*94.9 - The Wolf - Country
*93.3 - KRKL - KLove - Contemporary Christian Radio
*90.1 - KOLU - Christian Family Radio
*91.7 - KBLD - CSN Religious
*91.3 - KGTS - "Positive Life Radio" - Contemporary Christian
*89.1 - Northwest Public Radio - NPR - Classical Music
*89.7 - Northwest Public Radio - NPR - News and Talk
*88.7 - "The Effect" - Christian Rock
*88.1 - The Alternative (Student Run Radio)


Consolidation vs. staying "The Tri-Cities"

Over the years, the four cities have had difficulty establishing and projecting an identity that would attract and sustain business, tourism, and growth beyond the Hanford-related business sector. Much of this stems from the fact that the three individual cities each have populations less than 75,000, and do not have much of a presence on their own. Additionally, the cities must compete independently to draw business, tourism, and establish an identity. In an effort to address this concern, there have been repeated efforts to consolidate all four cities into one united incorporated area. The idea driving this movement is that one larger city would create the presence needed to draw increased attention and focus to the region. As noted above, if the Tri-Cities were to consolidate into one city, it would become the fourth largest in the state, behind Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma. To date, motions to consolidate have repeatedly failed.

Residents of West Richland and newcomers to the area often suggest that the area rename itself, since there are obviously four cities in the Tri-Cities. This suggestion is usually shunned by residents of the other cities, for the simple reason that "Quad-Cities" doesn't sound as good (as well as the fact that West Richland has a much smaller presence compared to the three major cities). The name "Three Rivers" has recently come to be used more for the area (from the Columbia, Snake, and Yakima rivers), yet is rarely mentioned beyond professional settings.

West Richland is particularly struggling with a regional identity: it had recently considered renaming itself "Red Mountain" in an attempt to distinguish itself from Richland, as well as considering consolidating with the city of Richland. Additionally, the western half of the city of Pasco (locally referred to as West Pasco) has considered secession, in order to distinguish itself from the older, poorer part of town to the East. These considerations provide further complications with respect to consolidation and the "Tri-Cities" name.

mall town vs. big city

One of the current debates in the Tri-City area is whether to try to maintain a small-town-feel or to embrace its growth and become a larger metropolitan area. One of the biggest parts of this debate is to allow the surrounding Horse Heaven Hills to be subdivided into residential areas or to leave them alone. Although many of the mid to older generations would like to maintain the hills natural beauty, housing is already starting to cover the hills.

Cities in the metro area

The Tri-Cities Metro Area boasts a population of over 230,000 people.

10,000+ people

*Kennewick, WA (65,860)
*Pasco, WA (50,210)
*Richland, WA (45,070)
*Hermiston, OR (15,030)
*West Richland, WA (10,850)

1,000 - 9,999 people

*Umatilla, OR (6,385)
*Finley, WA (5,770)
*Prosser, WA (4,838)
*West Pasco, WA (4,629)
*Highland, WA (3,388)
*Burbank, WA (3,303)
*Connell, WA (2,956)
*Boardman, OR (2,855)
*Benton City, WA (2,624)
*Mattawa, WA (2,609)
*Stanfield, OR (1,979)
*Irrigon, OR (1,702)
*Desert Aire, WA (1,124)

999- people

*Basin City, WA (968)
*Echo, OR (650)
*Mesa, WA (425)
*Kahlotus, WA (214)
*Wallula, WA (197)

Famous residents

*James (Jim) F. Albaugh - Executive Vice President, The Boeing Company,
*Jeremy Bonderman, Detroit Tigers pitcher
*Travis Buck - Oakland Athletics outfielder
*Mitch Burke - National Football League player, wide recevier, Oakland Raiders
*Rush Campbell, dog breeder
*Orson Scott Card - Science fiction writer
*Gene Conley - Major League Basketball and Baseball player, RHS
*Larry Coryell - Jazz guitarist, RHS class of 1961
*Westley Allan Dodd - Serial killer and child molester, hanged January 5, 1993
*Jim Fitzpatrick - Rock/Blues guitarist, PHS Class of 1979
*James Wong Howe, Academy Award winning cinematographer.
*Michael Jackson, Seattle Seahawks linebacker
*Bruce Kison, Pittsburgh Pirates World Series pitcher
*Dina Washburn Kruger - Nobel Peace Prize participant 2007, member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, director of the U.S. EPA climate change division, Hanford High class of 1980
*Damon Lusk, NASCAR driver
*Ray Mansfield, National Football League player, center, Pittsburgh Steelers
*James N. Mattis - Lieutenant General, United States Marine Corps
*Nate Mendel - Foo Fighters bassist
*Rodolfo Millage - National Football League player, guard, Minnisota Vikings
*Shauna O'Brien, actress/model
*Kevin T. O'Connor, musician, Talkdemonic
*Chuck Palahniuk, novelist - Fight Club
*Kevin Sampsell, writer, publisher Future Tense Books
*Matt Sampsell, sportscaster
*Jason Repko - Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder
*Joseph Santos, artist/painter
*Ron Silliman, poet
*Hope Solo - United States women's national soccer team goalkeeper
*Danica Stewart, Actress, "Passions"
*Sharon Tate - Actress, victim of the Manson Family murders, Miss Richland, 1959
*Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears Pro Bowl linebacker
*Ray Washburn, ex-Major League Baseball pitcher.
*Kristine W, (Weitz) singer/songwriter, former Miss Washington
*Kimo von Oelhoffen, former Defensive Tackle for the Pittsburg Steelers

ee also

*Kennewick, Washington
*Pasco, Washington
*Richland, Washington
*West Richland, Washington
*Burbank, Washington
*Finley, Washington
*Benton County, Washington
*Franklin County, Washington
*List of cities in Washington

References and footnotes

External links

* [ Kennewick website]
* [ Richland website]
* [ Pasco website]
* [ Kennewick School District website]
* [ Richland School District website]
* [ Pasco School District website]
* [ Pasco Chamber of Commerce site]
* [ Tri-Cities Visitors and Convention Bureau website]
* [ Tri-Cities Airport website]
* [ WSU Tri-Cities website]
* [ Hanford website]
* [ Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) website]
* [ Tri-City Development Council]

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