A part of Franklin County in the state of Washington, Pasco is one of the three cities that together make up the Tri-Cities in Southeastern Washington. The Washington State Office of Financial Management estimates a population of 46,494 in Pasco on April 1, 2006. Pasco has been recorded to be growing at the fastest pace in the entire state of Washington for the past several years.
Origin of Pasco Washington
The origin of Pasco started when the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped here in October of 1805, inviting the attention of fur trappers and gold traders. In the 1880s, the Northern Pacific Railway was built near the Columbia River, resulting in early settlements in the area. Eventually, Pasco was officially incorporated on September 3, 1891. The city was named after Cerro de Pasco, a city in the Peruvian Andes. The prospects of the city took a vital turn with the completion of the Grand Coulee Dam in 1941, which not only brightened the irrigation and farming opportunities but also decided the site of the nuclear power plant at the nearby Hanford site. The entire Tri-City area grew rapidly through Kennewick and Richland and remained a favorite for settlers. As Pasco's economy depended highly upon government funding for Hanford-related work, the city projected a relatively higher poverty level and consequent smallest population over time.
Development over the Years
Since the 1990s, developers started showing interest in the residential and commercial development of Pasco, eventually resulting in the emergence of 'West Pasco' - a local name for the city sporting new housing tracts, apartments, and shopping centers. Developers foresaw a boom due to Hanford-related jobs. The transformation not only comprised growth in terms city's retail and tourism industries, but it also resulted in a substantial population increase to beat the neighboring city of Richland. Migration from Richland and Kennewick to West Pasco was also witnessed due to its unique central location with all-new housing and business opportunities for a convenient life.
The agricultural predominance in the region allows Pasco to be a hub of several food processing companies, including Simplot, ConAgra Foods, Reser's Fine Foods, and Twin City Foods. The local wine industry is especially on a boom to become one of the top players in Washington state. Pasco is also home to the only regional commercial and private airport in Tri-Cities – the Tri-City Airport.
Pasco also boasts of a rapidly growing campus of Columbia Basin College with a student body of nearly 7,000 students. Pasco high school is one of the largest public high schools in the state of Washington. Pasco also hosts a multitude of recreational activities and events, including the Pasco Farmers Market from May through October each year, The Fiery Food Festival each September, and the Tri-City Dust Devils baseball club of the Northwest League. Besides, TRAC (Trade Recreation Agricultural Center) located in West Pasco hosts regional events, including conventions, meetings, sporting events, and concerts.