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West Richland, Washington
City of West Richland
West Richland's City Hall complex in 2013
West Richland's City Hall complex in 2013
Location of West Richland, Washington
Location of West Richland, Washington
Country United States
State Washington
County Benton
Incorporated June 13, 1955
Government
 • Type Mayor-Council
Area
 • Total 22.28 sq mi (57.71 km2)
 • Land 22.11 sq mi (57.28 km2)
 • Water 0.17 sq mi (0.43 km2)
Elevation
413 ft (126 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 11,811
 • Estimate 
(2019)
15,075
 • Density 681.69/sq mi (263.20/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
99352-99353
Area code 509
Official flower Phlox longifolia
GNIS feature ID 1512794

West Richland is a city in Benton County, Washington. The population was 11,811 at the time of the 2010 census. The city is part of the Tri-Cities metropolitan area, whose principal cities (the Tri-Cities) are Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco.

History

West Richland - as seen across Yakima River - Flat Top hill to right - houses in highlands behind - July 2013
West Richland as seen across Yakima from Richland.

The original people of the region were the Chemnapum Indians (closely related to the Wanapum tribe), living near the mouth of the Yakima River. Lewis and Clark passed through the area in 1805, and an expedition of the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers headed by Robert E Johnson mapped the Yakima Valley in 1841.

In 1853, a road was authorized by Congress to pass through the Yakima valley, and passed through present-day West Richland - but settlement did not really begin until the late 1870s. The first schoolhouse was built in 1896 on the Van Horn Property just south of what is now Van Giesen Street. Benton County was created in 1905, Richland was incorporated in 1906, and the West Richland area was known as 'Lower Yakima'.

An irrigation canal from the north side of Horn Rapids Dam was built in 1908 to bring water into Richland.

The Yellowstone Trail, a national highway stretching from Albany, New York, to Seattle, was located through the Yakima Valley in 1917 and 1918. It crossed the Fallon Bridge between Richland and West Richland and then proceeded directly west to Kiona.

During the 1940s, the city of Richland was built, run and maintained by the War Department for the duration of the Manhattan Project. A number of residents had chafed at the government's regulations, and as a result many of them had moved across the Yakima River, where it was possible to purchase land and own (rather than rent) a house.

Carl Heminger purchased some 80 acres (320,000 m2) in 1948, and laid out plans for a city. It was proposed that it be named Heminger City (presumably after himself), but in 1949 the townspeople chose the name Enterprise instead. Heminger moved a mile down the road in protest, and platted a small community there called Heminger City. This was eventually incorporated in the West Richland City limits. When the time came in 1955 to incorporate the town, it was decided to rename to West Richland, taking advantage of the already well-known status of nearby Richland.

West Richland was officially incorporated on June 17, 1955, combining the two towns of Heminger City and Enterprise.

In 2008 West Richland was the location of the speed test for the fastest production car in the world (Aero SSC TT) at over 250 mph (400 km/h).

Geography

West Richland is located at 46°17′32″N 119°21′16″W / 46.29222°N 119.35444°W / 46.29222; -119.35444 (46.292085, -119.354417). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.12 square miles (57.29 km2), of which, 21.92 square miles (56.77 km2) is land and 0.20 square miles (0.52 km2) is water.

Climate

According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, West Richland has a semi-arid climate, abbreviated "BSk" on climate maps. Just barely escaping a desert climate.

Climate data for West Richland, Washington
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 3.9
(39)
8.3
(47)
13.9
(57)
18.3
(65)
22.2
(72)
26.1
(79)
30
(86)
29.4
(85)
25
(77)
17.8
(64)
8.9
(48)
3.3
(38)
17.2
(63)
Average low °C (°F) -3.3
(26)
-1.7
(29)
0.6
(33)
3.3
(38)
6.7
(44)
10.6
(51)
12.8
(55)
12.8
(55)
8.9
(48)
3.9
(39)
0
(32)
-3.3
(26)
4.4
(40)
Precipitation mm (inches) 28
(1.1)
23
(0.9)
20
(0.8)
20
(0.8)
18
(0.7)
15
(0.6)
8
(0.3)
8
(0.3)
10
(0.4)
15
(0.6)
28
(1.1)
33
(1.3)
226
(8.9)
Source: Weatherbase

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1960 1,347
1970 1,107 −17.8%
1980 2,938 165.4%
1990 3,962 34.9%
2000 8,385 111.6%
2010 11,811 40.9%
2019 (est.) 15,075 27.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 11,811 people, 4,145 households, and 3,253 families living in the city. The population density was 538.8 inhabitants per square mile (208.0/km2). There were 4,298 housing units at an average density of 196.1 per square mile (75.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.3% White, 0.8% African American, 1.2% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 2.4% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.1% of the population.

There were 4,145 households, of which 43.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.7% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 21.5% were non-families. 17.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 4.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.22.

The median age in the city was 35.4 years. 29.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.7% were from 25 to 44; 27.5% were from 45 to 64; and 8.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.5% male and 49.5% female.

Notable people

  • Ryan Kennelly, world record geared bench-press holder (1075 lbs, 489 kg).
  • Rachel Willis- Sørensen, opera singer
Black History Month on Kiddle
African-American female entrepreneurs
Madam C. J. Walker
Janet Emerson Bashen
Annie Turnbo Malone
Maggie L. Walker
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