10 Mid Columbia Stereotypes That Are Totally Ignorant
Whether you're chatting with people on the West Side of Washington, or a cousin from Boise, or maybe with people from around the country while on vacation, you notice a lot of stupid assumptions about the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and the rest of the Mid Columbia.
Here are a couple that really bug me... because they're so stupid.
Yeah, that's why my lawn is dead.
You mean if I'm willing to drive 90 minutes?
Sure, but no more than living under a dam, next to a fracking rig or below a coal mine.
If by that you mean hard-working people who enjoy outdoor sports and self-defense, yes, but if you mean that as an insult, I will point to our two public colleges and the most PhDs per capita outside a major university.
It is short on rainfall, but how many deserts have the 4th largest U.S. river plus two tributaries flowing through? The Yakima Delta and McNary Wildlife refuges are as green as anywhere.
With a national park, national laboratory and hundreds of millions in agricultural produce coming to Port of Pasco and Port of Benton, the Mid Columbia's economic impact on the Pacific Northwest if huge.
Sure, the majority of the population, and trees, were planted within the last 70 years, but the Mid Columbia has a deep and rich history. We embrace and love our Native American heritage that includes Kennewick Man, Chief Kamiakin, Chief Joseph and Sacajawea. We are certainly in touch with our farming roots that began with Marcus Whitman and the Walla Walla and Umatilla/Hermiston areas were key metropolises for the Oregon Trail and continue to be some of the most attractive small towns in the West. Also, the Pendleton Round-Up and Woolen Mills are literally world famous.
Let's start with sports culture:
- Our support of the Tri-City Americans have allowed us to see numerous key players become NHL stars.
- The Dust Devils brought many star Rockies players to GESA stadium and we look forward to seeing Padres now.
- The Columbia Cup (boat races) is a major stop for a highly-elite sport.
- Hope Solo and Scot Pollard are only a few of the many local kids to enjoy huge success in professional sports.
- Did I say Pendleton Round-Up already?
Now let's talk about arts and music:
- Toyota Center brings world-class musicians and Broadway performances almost monthly.
- Mid-Columbia Ballet, Mid-Columbia Symphony and Mid-Columbia Singers.
- Walla Walla's Power House Theater
- Mid-Columbia Musical Theater, Prosser's Princess Theater, Richland Player's Theater and CBC host live theater year-round.
- Numerous writer's workshops and film festivals are held year-round.
- Vibrant local music scene at many wineries, restaurants and clubs.
- Horse Heaven Hills, White Bluffs, Red Mountain, Walla Walla and more are world-class vineyards watched and visited by wine aficionados.
- WSU Tri-Cities' Wine Sciences center now makes the Mid Columbia a hub for growth and development of the industry in the Pacific Northwest.
Some of the Hanford waste tanks are certainly leaking... have been for years... but Hanford is also one of the safest places in the world for storing nuclear waste, and it has done so with an impeccable safety record. Could it be done faster? Yes and our state has actually sued the Department of Energy to go faster.
The 2014-2015 salmons were among the most prolific in recorded history. It's true you can no longer "walk across the backs" of the fish as they swim up the Columbia and Snake rivers as reported by Lewis & Clark. But unlike the Passenger Pigeon and the American Bison, Pacific salmon are still a vibrant wild species contributing millions to the economy.