Tri-Cities 101 for New Arrivals
This is a confusing place for transplants. Honestly, it can be confusing to people who grow up here. Hopefully this list will clear a few things up.
Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, West Richland are biggest to smallest. But don't forget Benton City, Finley, and Burbank. And we still love you Kahlotus, Basin City, Mesa, Eltopia, Wallula and Mattawa!
Plutonium for Cold War weapons was manufactured at Hanford -- a wide expanse of desert north and northwest of Richland. Millions of gallons of mixed waste from that production was dumped into giant tanks. The shells around the tanks sometimes leak. Despite much speculation, there is no proof anyone is at risk from this waste. There is a plan to empty the tanks, but it requires the waste to be turned into glass at "The Vit Plant." The technology is a little premature, so it's expected to get underway in about 15 years. Some people have been injured working around these tanks, but fewer than you'd guess. There is still a nuclear electricity generating facility at Hanford, but that's usually referred to as "the nuke plant." The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory operated by Battelle is next to Hanford. LIGO detecting gravitational waves is just south of Hanford.
The top employers are Hanford, agriculture and health care. Kadlec, Trios and Lourdes are the major players in the local health care scene.
It's actually closer to 250 but the weather here is very nice. We occasionally get strong winds so take that into consideration when customizing your yard and home. Infrequently the strong winds carry sand and dirt with it -- Dust Storms -- which are kind of exciting but nothing to worry about. We usually don't get much snow, except when we do. Otherwise rainfall is minimal, prompting the nickname "Dry Shitties" but don't say that around polite company.
There aren't enough places to live around here. That means home prices are very high and rent is more than what many are used to coming from communities of comparable size. The cost of living is modest, however, so just deal with it.
Some people refuse to move somewhere that doesn't have a Costco. And the number of Walmarts is how some people define suburban vs rural. We have 3 Walmarts.
No one ever says, "I love the traffic in _____." But they should! Except for rush hour in Richland and a few minutes each day on Court Street, 395, Burden Blvd., Queensgate and Clearwater, traffic around here is FANTASTIC. But there are crazy drivers like everywhere else.
There are several ethnic restaurants and foodie hot spots, but the most popular eateries serve burgers, tacos and pizzas.
I don't understand big city people who sneer at Tri-Cities when their favorite things to do are visit trails and parks. Ours rival any in Seattle and Portland. Spokane has us beat, though -- just keeping it real.
How badly teenagers want to move away says a lot about a community, but how many of them come back once they have kids also says a lot. This is a fantastic place to live and raise a family, but it sometimes takes a few years living somewhere else to realize that.