Articles by Wendy Culverwell

Crews build homes at the Heights at Red Mountain Ranch development in West Richland as construction industry officials nationwide lament a lack of qualified workers and supply-chain delays. (Photo by Kristina Lord)

Job growth continues to fuel housing demand

The upside-down economics of the pandemic are driving the Tri-Cities into something of a quandary. Record job development coupled with a severely constrained supply of homes for sale means it will continue to be difficult to buy a home. But it isn’t impossible, and the situation isn’t a crisis, according to industry leaders. “A crisis?…

courtroom

Defendants have a right to counsel, but Tri-Cities struggles to hire enough lawyers

Providing legal counsel to criminal defendants and other low-income people facing court proceedings has always been a challenge in the Tri-Cities. Heavy caseloads, low pay relative to private practice, the lack of a local law school and now Covid-19 has not made it easier. But with 2022 now in full swing, the Offices of Public…

Port of Kennewick, 350 Clover Island Drive, Kennewick. (Courtesy Port of Kennewick)

Port of Kennewick CEO claims retaliation for not stopping Latino medical clinic

Tim Arntzen, chief executive officer of the Port of Kennewick, is seeking $225,000 and to have performance reviews amended as a bitter dispute over a farmworkers clinic extends into its fourth year. Matthew Crotty, a Spokane attorney representing Arntzen, served the port with a notice of a tort claim on Jan. 4. In it, Arntzen…

EvictionHelp

Benton Franklin Legal Aid pivots to prevent evictions

Benton Franklin Legal Aid Society, the nonprofit legal services agency that connects clients with volunteer attorneys, pivoted to helping area residents facing eviction in 2021. Barb Otte-Potter, executive director, said that prior to the pandemic, about 80% of its work centered on family issues. The pandemic, coupled with the end of a ban on evictions…

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept , blue toned.

Public defense in Washington has a new champion

Larry Jefferson Jr. will pay off his law school loans in about seven years. That would not be remarkable if Jefferson were a young attorney, just starting out. He’s not. He’s worked as a public defender in Seattle, and, more recently, Olympia, for more than 25 years since he graduated from the former University of…

Kristi Thien, right, nutrition services director for Senior Life Resources Northwest, which operates Mid-Columbia Meals on Wheels, speaks during the dedication of a new building at its Richland campus while Nancy Aldrich, left, former board member, and David Sanford, center, current board president, look on. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Meals on Wheels dedicates new building, seeks help to restart deliveries

The new year brought good and bad for Mid-Columbia Meals on Wheels and its parent, Senior Life Resources Northwest. It has a new office to handle growth at its Richland campus, but a lack of volunteers forced it to delay plans to resume daily meal deliveries to its homebound clients. Kristi Thien, nutrition services director,…

Irving Place Apartments, 100 N. Irving Place, Kennewick, is a 1979-built complex in central Kennewick that sold on Dec. 11 for $19.4 million, or $143,000 per unit. The deal was part of a flurry of transactions as investors flocked to buy apartment properties in the Tri-Cities at the end of 2021. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Investors pay top dollar to snap up Tri-City apartments

A buying frenzy hit the Tri-City apartment market in the waning weeks of 2021. Driven by tax considerations and attracted by the strong economic recovery and low rental vacancy rates, investors closed deals for complexes large and small, new and old. Investors paid big prices and signaled their confidence that future rent increases will justify…

Benton Rural Electric Association closed a deal for nearly 18 acres to build a new administration building next door to the newly-built West Richland Police Station and Tri-City Raceway. (Graphic by Vanessa Guzmán)

Benton REA moving admin to West Richland

Benton Rural Electric Association will move its administration offices to West Richland from Prosser after closing a deal for nearly 18 acres near the former Tri-City Raceway on Dec. 20, 2021. The electric co-op is the latest entity to embrace the raceway site, which was dormant before the Port of Kennewick sold it to West…

Fortify Holdings, a Portland apartment investor, has a deal to buy the Clover Island Inn in Kennewick. It wants to invest $20 million to turn it into micro apartments and is asking the Port of Kennewick to sell it the land the hotel was built on. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Clover Island Inn buyer plans micro apartments

A developer wants to convert the Clover Island Inn to micro apartments, but it may face a significant roadblock. The 150-room inn, restaurant and conference center was built in 1977 on land leased from the Port of Kennewick. The port has ambitions for its prized island property that include transforming it into an upscale visitor…

The Nineteen, a luxe apartment building proposed for downtown Kennewick, is dead after the Hanford Area Economic Investment Fund cut its $1.1 million loan commitment to $345,000, saying a “change in scope” changed the math. The developers say the project is unchanged. (Courtesy The Nineteen)

Funding cut kills The Nineteen, luxe Kennewick project

A Tri-City developer has shelved The Nineteen, a luxury office-and-apartment project planned for downtown Kennewick, after a key lender cut funding by more than two-thirds. Andrew Klein and Brian Griffith, operating as Klein Griffith Properties Group, said the project was “effectively killed” in October when the Hanford Area Economic Investment Fund Advisory Committee reduced its…

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