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Pasco ( , ) is a city in and the county seat of Franklin Countymarker, Washingtonmarker, United Statesmarker.

Pasco is one of three cities that make up the Tri-Cities region of the state of Washington. The Tri-Cities is a mid-sized metropolitan area of approximately 230,000 people that also includes the cities of Kennewickmarker and Richlandmarker.

The population was 32,066 at the 2000 census. Since that time the city has experienced rapid growth, and the official April 1, 2009 estimate from the Washington State Office of Financial Management puts the city's population at 54,490.

History

On October 16, 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped in the Pasco area, at a site now commemorated by Sacagawea State Park. The area was frequented by fur trappers and gold traders. In the 1880s, the Northern Pacific Railway was built near the Columbia River, bringing many settlers to the area. Pasco was officially incorporated on September 3, 1891. It was named by Virgil Bogue, a construction engineer for the Northern Pacific Railway after Cerro de Pascomarker, a city in the Peruvianmarker Andes, where he had helped build a railroad. In its early years, it was a small railroad town, but the completion of the Grand Coulee Dammarker in 1941 brought irrigation and agriculture to the area.

The Franklin County courthouse in Pasco during restoration in 2005.


Due in large part to the presence of the Hanford Sitemarker, the entire Tri-Cities area grew rapidly from the 1940s through 1950s. However, most of the population influx resided in Richlandmarker and Kennewickmarker, as Pasco remained primarily driven by the agricultural industry, and to a less degree, the NP Pasco rail yards. After the end of World War II, the entire region went through several "boom" and "bust" periods, cycling approximately every 10 years and heavily based on available government funding for Hanford-related work. Due to its higher poverty level, Pasco was seen by many as the least desirable of the three cities and over time became the smallest of the Tri-Cities in terms of population. Farming continued to be the economic base for most of the city.

In the late 1990s, foreseeing another Hanford-related boom period, several developers purchased large farm circles in Pasco for residential and commercial development. Since that time, Pasco has undergone a transformation that has not only seen its population overtake the neighboring city of Richland, but also has resulted in growth in the city's retail and tourism industries. Recently incorporated land on the West side of the city has exploded into new housing tracts, apartments, and shopping centers. This area of the city has become referred to locally as "West Pasco", distinguishing it from the older area of town to the East. In addition to an influx of new residents to the region, many residents of the Tri-Cities have moved from Richland and Kennewick to West Pasco due to its central location and virtually all-new housing and business. With the Tri-Cities population appearing to reach a point of critical mass, the growth in West Pasco will likely continue into the foreseeable future.

Geography & Climate

Pasco is located at (46.238507, -119.108534) .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 30.2 square miles (78.3 km²). In addition, 28.1 square miles (72.7 km²) of it is land and 2.1 square miles (5.5 km²) of it (7.08%) is water.

As Pasco is located in Southeastern Washington, the city lies in the rain shadow of the Cascade Range. As a result, the area is a windswept desert, receiving little precipitation throughout the year. Hot summers and cold winters provide a stark contrast to other areas of the state.

The massive Columbia River borders the south side of the city, separating it from the neighboring cities of Richland and Kennewick.

Demographics

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.

Government

The City of Pasco exercises the Council-Manager form of government with an elected body of 7 council members, 5 of whom are from specific districts within the city, and 2 from at-large. The council semi-annually elects amongst itself a Mayor that runs meetings, signs certain documents, and acts in ceremonial capacity; and a Mayor Pro-Tem that acts in the Mayor's absence. The City Manager is chosen by council as a professional administrator and runs day-to-day operations of the city including management of staff. Council members are considered part-time legislators. Those elected after 2005 receive $900 per month and mayors receive $1,100 a month.

The City also has a number of advisory boards appointed by the Council and includes citizen volunteers that giver their time and expertise in dealing with issues including parks, senior citizen issues, planning, code enforcement, etc.

Economy

Due to the agricultural region in which it sits, several large food processing companies have a presence in the city of Pasco. ConAgra Foods, Reser's Fine Foods, and Twin City Foods are just some of the companies that have chosen Pasco in which to base a part of their operations. In recent years, the region has become a large player in Washington State's booming wine industry. Gordon Brothers Cellars, Fidelitas Winery, Kamiak Vineyards, and Preston Premium Wines are just a few of the local Pasco area wineries that contribute to this industry.

Lampson Crane yard, Port of Big Pasco, in Pasco.


Pasco is home to the Tri-Cities Airportmarker a regional commercial and private airport. The Tri-Cities Airport is the only commercial airport in the Tri-Cities area and is served by several major airlines with direct flights to Seattlemarker, Denvermarker, Salt Lake Citymarker, Las Vegasmarker, and San Franciscomarker. It is also where the local Amtrak station is located since 1970, when the national rail passenger service was established. Before this, the Northern Pacific operated the depot and passenger trains in and out of Pasco.

Additional commercial transportation is also done through extensive barge traffic on the Columbia and Snake rivers. The railroad transport is done through the Burlington Northern and trucking via Interstate 182, and to a lesser extent through U.S. Route 395. Some of the biggest Pasco employers include Hanford nuclear facilitymarker, Burlington Northern, Lamb Weston, Boise Cascade, Tyson Foods, Energy Northwest, Fluor Hanford Inc., Bechtel National Inc., and Battelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratories.

Education

Pasco is served by the Pasco School District, Columbia Basin College and Washington State University Tri-Cities.

Pasco High School is the older of the city's two public high schools, and is the largest in the state of Washington. The city's second high school—Chiawana High School—opened in August, 2009. The Pasco Bulldog school colors are purple and white; the Chiawana Riverhawk school colors are navy blue and silver.

Privately, Pasco and the greater Tri-Cities area is served by Tri-Cities Prepmarker, a Catholic high school off of Road 100, and St. Patrick's grade school next door to the campus of Pasco High School.

With a rapidly growing campus, Columbia Basin College is the largest public two-year community college in Southeastern Washington with a student body of nearly 7,000 students. The college was founded in 1955 and serves students from the entire Tri-Cities region.

There are three middle schools in Pasco, serving students ranging from grade six to eight. The easternmost school is Ellen Ochoa Middle School, the westernmost is John McLoughlin Middle School and the Isaac Stevens Middle School is in the middle.

Recreation

Among all of Pasco's annual activities and events, the most popular is the Pasco Farmers Market, located in downtown Pasco. The market is open from May through October each year, drawing a large regional crowd and providing an outlet for farmers selling fresh produce.

The Fiery Foods Festival is another popular event held each September. This one-day event celebrates spicy foods of all varieties, and highlights the thriving Hispanic culture that lives in the city.

Pasco's Gesa Stadium hosts the Tri-City Dust Devils baseball club of the Northwest League. The Dust Devils are a Class A team of the Colorado Rockies. The team plays during summer months during its short season.

The Pasco School District's renovated Edgar Brown Memorial Stadium, constructed in a former gravel pit used in the construction of the Blue Bridge, provides a unique venue for outdoor athletic events.

Pasco is located along a major stretch of the 22-mile Sacagawea Heritage Trail, an interactive educational and recreational hiking/biking loop that circles the Tri-Cities area.

Pasco has several waterfront parks along the Columbia River, as well as easy river access for boaters, fishers, and skiers at any of the free boat launches.

The TRAC (Trade Recreation Agricultural Center) is a large complex located in West Pasco which hosts regional events, including (but not limited to) conventions, meetings, sporting events, and concerts. The TRAC is located near the booming Road 68 corridor of West Pasco.

Transportation



Famous citizens

Pasco is the birthplace of Pasco is also the early childhood home of James Wong Howe, Academy Award winning cinematographer.

References

External links




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