Articles by Wendy Culverwell

A two-alarm fire destroyed an apartment-and-retail building at 304 W. Kennewick Ave. early Feb. 4. The 1940-built building was home to 10 people and five retail and professional businesses. Residents escaped, with at least two taken to the hospital, one in critical condition. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Community rallies around downtown Kennewick fire victims

A dramatic early morning fire on Feb. 4 destroyed a downtown Kennewick building that contained six second-floor apartments and five street-level businesses. The cause of the fire, which sent flames into the darkened sky and left downtown covered with a layer of ash the following day, was unknown, said Kennewick Fire Chief Chad Michael. The…

Catholic Charities Eastern Washington broke ground Feb. 3 on Pasco Haven, a $16.5 million, 60-unit shelter providing wraparound services to the chronically homeless. It purchased the site at 20th Avenue and Lewis Street in October. (Courtesy Catholic Charities Eastern Washington)

Pasco Haven to rise near Columbia River waterfront

Catholic Charities Eastern Washington broke ground Feb. 3 on Pasco Haven, a 60-unit complex that will provide housing and other services to the chronically homeless in the Tri-Cities. The site is not in eastern Pasco where it once envisioned building Haven, but to the west at a spot not far from the Columbia River. Pasco…

Pasco voters will be asked to raise local sales taxes by two-tenths of a percent to support development of an aquatics center, likely in the western area of the city. These 2016 conceptual designs indicate what the complex could look like if voters say yes. (Courtesy city of Pasco)

Pasco voters get another shot at aquatics center

Pasco voters will get a fresh shot at building an aquatics center in April when they’ll be asked to raise the local sales tax by two-tenths of a percent. The Pasco Public Facilities District is putting the $40 million project on the April 26 ballot, nearly a decade after a similar request was rejected by…

Fortify Holdings LLC of Portland is purchasing the Riverfront Hotel and the Clover Island Inn even after requests to purchase the land beneath them were denied. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Portland company’s plan for hotels hits two big snags

  A Portland company has run into two big snags in its plan to convert prominent Tri-City hotels into microapartments catering to working professionals, retirees and everyone in between. While Fortify Holdings LLC has closed several local purchases, its plans for the Riverfront Hotel in Richland and the Clover Island Inn in Kennewick hinged on…

The Regional Home & Garden Show returns Feb. 25-27 at HAPO Center, 6600 Burden Blvd., Pasco. The Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities was forced to cancel three previous home shows – spring home & garden show in 2021 and the 2020 and 2021 fall programs – because of the pandemic.  (Courtesy Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities)

HBA’s spring home & garden show is a go

The Regional Home & Garden Show is returning in late February, with whatever safety measures are in place to prevent Covid-19 at the end of the month. The annual exhibition of all things home and garden is Feb. 25-27 at HAPO Center, 6600 Burden Blvd., Pasco. “We’re going to proceed with the show. Whatever the…

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?…


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…


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…

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