Business Briefs – August 2021

Tri-City Chamber annual meeting is Aug. 25

The Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce holds its annual meeting and awards luncheon Aug. 25 at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.

The chamber will honor three member businesses with its Business on a Roll awards and present its Impact Awards and S.T.A.R. Award honors.

Three local organizations will be honored with Most Valuable Covid-19 Response Awards.

Doors open at 11 a.m. with lunch starting at noon.

Go to tricityregionalchamber.com/annualmeeting or email info@tricityregionalchamber.com.

Aug. 20 is the registration deadline.


Advocates meet to discuss improving rail service

Passenger rail advocacy group All Aboard Washington, or AAWA, is bringing its 2021 Train Trek to the Tri-Cities on Aug. 14.

Several studies have confirmed that there is a significant need for, and interest in, improved and more frequent Amtrak Cascades service, daytime east-west service and service to southeast Washington. The group envisions that the Tri-Cities will be a hub for these improvements.

During the Train Trek, AAWA will share its vision for improved train service, discuss how expanded passenger rail service can bring significant economic, equity and environmental benefits to the communities it serves. 

The Tri-Cities meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Hampton Inn Richland/Tri-Cities, 486 Bradley Blvd.

Register at aawa.us/events/2021-train-trek-tri-cities.


Chuck Yoke,  grocery pioneer, dies

Charles “Chuck” Marshall Yoke, who led the Yoke’s Fresh Market chain of supermarkets to regional dominance, died July 21. He was 92.

Yoke took over his parents’ struggling Deer Park grocery when he returned from military service in the Korean War in 1953, according to a news obituary in the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

His parents considered selling, but Yoke applied his business expertise and turned the business around. Today, it is an employee-owned enterprise with locations across Washington and Idaho, including in Kennewick, Pasco, Richland and West Richland.

He is survived by his wife, Gwendolyn, five children and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and a great-great granddaughter.


Pandemic job losses drive up average wages

Washington wages grew by 10.1% to $76,741, according to the state Employment Security Department.

It was the largest percentage increase in annual wages on record but it wasn’t accompanied by widespread pay raises.

The wage is calculated based on wages covered by the state’s unemployment increase.

The state blamed the pandemic for the apparent boost, noting that many lower-paid workers lost their jobs while higher-paid ones remained employed.

While it’s common for wages to rise during recessions, the pandemic numbers were more dramatic than during the Great Recession, it said.

Wages increased the most in the information sector (17%), retail (15%) and arts, entertainment and recreation (14%), according to state figures.


Register now for the Lampson Cable Bridge Run

It’s time to register for the annual Lampson Cable Bridge Run, which begins at 9 a.m. Dec. 18 in Kennewick.

The run features 1 mile, 5K and 10K routes.

The fee is $24 per person without a shirt. Go to: bit.ly/LampsonCableBridgeRun.


Hermiston delays Eastern Oregon Economic Summit

The Eastern Oregon Women’s Coalition will hold its annual Eastern Oregon Economic Summit on Oct. 7-8 at Hermiston High School. The event was rescheduled from August because of rising Covid-19 infection rates.

The two-day event is an opportunity for private and public sector leaders from throughout Oregon to learn about the growth and potential of Eastern Oregon’s economy. Speakers include industry experts and state and federal lawmakers.

The summit features field and industry tours, general session speakers, and breakout panels focused on federal and state legislative updates, programs, economic trends and more.

The agenda includes field and industry tours and a dinner at the Hermiston Agriculture Research & Extension Center, updates from state and federal lawmakers, economic leaders and breakout sessions covering various industries.

Go to EasternOregonSummit.com.


Kennewick makes downtown area friendlier for pedestrians

The city of Kennewick has nearly  completed a project to make a section of downtown friendlier to pedestrians.

The project narrowed a stretch of North Washington Street between West Kennewick Avenue and West Columbia Drive to make room for landscaping, lighting and a safer crossing at Railroad Avenue.

The work was funded by the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board’s Complete Streets Program.

Ray Poland & Sons was the contractor on the project, which began in April and will wrap up when the contractor receives parts needed to install the streetlights.

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