Kennewick is a city in Benton County in the southeastern part of Washington, near the Hanford nuclear site. It is the most populous of the three cities collectively referred to as the Tri-Cities (the others being Pasco and Richland). Kennewick is located along the southwest bank of the Columbia River, opposite Pasco and just south of the confluence of the Columbia and Yakima rivers. The population was 67,180 at the state Office of Financial Management's estimate in April 1, 2009. The population was 73,917 at the 2010 census. April 1, 2013 estimates from the Washington State Office of Financial Management put the city's population at 76,410. In 2015 the population was 78,896.


The name "Kennewick" is believed to be a native word meaning "grassy place." It has also been called "winter paradise," mostly because of the mild winters in the area. In the past, Kennewick has also been known by other names. Arguably the strangest was "Tehe" which was allegedly attributed to the reaction from a native girl's laughter when asked the name of the region.


Kennewick in 1911.

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.

The Tri-Cities area of Washington is made up of three main cities, Kennewick, Pasco and Richland, that together anchor the population base of southeastern Washington. Nestled at the confluence of the Yakima, Snake and Columbia Rivers, the area is a quickly growing area. The nearby city of West Richland is sometimes included in the Tri-Cities metropolitan area, which is considered the 191st largest metropolitan area in the United States.

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


Downtown Kennewick, 1920's.

1940s thru 1970s ~ Richland became the largest city, followed by Kennewick, over this time period. Richland High School adopted "Bombers" as its mascot (complete with mushroom cloud). 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.

Ajmkennewickdowntowndusk copy

Downtown Kennewick, Washington. AJM STUDIOS Northwest Photo Journey Photo.

1980s thru Present ~ Completion of the Interstate 182 bridge in 1984 made Pasco much more accessible, fueling the growth of that city.[1] 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 % increase and # 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.

Forbes magazine named Kennewick the #2 area in the United States for job growth, while nearby Yakima was named #1. The article cites the number of scientists employed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and area farmland for this outlook.

Climate Edit

Kennewick, WA climate is warm during summer when temperatures tend to be in the 70's and very cold during winter when temperatures tend to be in the 30's.

The warmest month of the year is July with an average maximum temperature of 89.30 degrees Fahrenheit, while the coldest month of the year is January with an average minimum temperature of 28.00 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature variations between night and day tend to be moderate during summer with a difference that can reach 28 degrees Fahrenheit, and fairly limited during winter with an average difference of 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

The annual average precipitation at Kennewick is 8.01 Inches. Rainfall in is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest month of the year is December with an average rainfall of 1.16 Inches.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.3 square miles (63 km²), of which, 22.9 square miles (59.4 km²) of it is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km²) of it (5.67%) is water.

Surrounding MunicipalitiesEdit

To the northwest is the Richland. Pasco is to the north, and Burbank to the northeast. Benton City and Prosser is to the west while Wallula is to the east. South of Kennewick is Unincorporated Benton County, Berrian and Plymouth.


Kennewick is the host city of the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League, as well as of the Indoor Football League's Tri-Cities Fever. They both play their home games in the Toyota Center, which hosts many other regional events. Every year during the summer, hydroplane racing takes place at the Water Follies event on the Columbia River. Residents from all of southeastern Washington come to Kennewick to shop in the city's commercial district, the center point of which is Columbia Center Mall. Also, every year in August, there is the Benton-Franklin County Fair held at the fairgrounds. Kennewick is also the site of the annual Titanium Man (International Distance) and Plutonium Man (Half-Iron Distance) triathlons.



The Cable Bridge connects Kennewick and Pasco together. AJM STUDIOS Northwest Photo Journey Photo.

The Ed Hendler Bridge is a notable landmark that connects Kennewick and Pasco together. It crosses over the Columbia River.

It was constructed in 1978 and replaced the Pasco-Kennewick Bridge, an earlier span built in 1922 and demolished in 1995. The bridge is one of seven major bridge structures in the Tri-Cities area. The Blue Bridge (another Pasco/Kennewick bridge), the Interstate 182 Bridge that connects Pasco with Richland, the U.S. Highway 12 bridge over the Snake River (Pasco/Burbank), and three railroad bridges are the others.

The bridge is the first in the United States to use a 'cable-stayed' design and is constructed almost entirely of prestressed concrete. The bridge towers were constructed first, with the bridge deck, which was cast in individual segments, raised up and secured to each other.

The bridge was named after Ed Hendler, a Pasco, Washington insurance salesman, as well as the city's former mayor, who headed up the committee responsible for obtaining the funding for construction of the bridge. Hendler died in August 2001.

A controversial feature of the bridge was added in 1998, when lights were added to illuminate the bridge at night. Many thought this was unnecessary and a waste of both electricity and money.

The Cable Bridge, from the time of its opening, has proved to be a popular landmark in the Tri-City area, so much so it has become an unofficial symbol of the area. Every winter, an event known as the Cable Bridge Run, a 10-kilometer foot race, starts at the Kennewick end of the bridge near the Neil F. Lampson Company's headquarters.

At the foot of the Kennewick end is the Tri-Cities Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which has engraved on it the names of the area's dead. The remaining pier of the old Pasco-Kennewick bridge, which was replaced by the Cable Bridge, now serves as a scenic lookout, from which one can view the more recent bridge.

The bridge is 2,503 feet in lenth, and is a width of 80 feet. It has a clearance of 48 feet to the water.



KNDU (NBC News 26 Right Now)

KFFX-TV (FOX News 11)



KERP TV (CBS News 19)


KVEW (ABC News 42)



Tri-City Herald

Giant Nickel

Tu Decides (Hispanic newspaper)


Baseball: NWL: Tri-City Dust Devils

Hockey: WHL: Tri-City Americans

Arena Football: IFL: Tri-Cities Fever


Health systemsEdit

Kennewick General Hospital is located within the city limits of Kennewick. The Tri-Cities has numerous hospitals including the major Kadlec Medical Center in Richland and Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco.


The Kennewick Police Department services the city, as well as the Benton County Sheriff's Office.


The nearest commercial airport is the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco, a regional commercial and private airport. Vista Field Airport is a community airport.

Major highways weave in and around Kennewick and the Tri-Cities.