The Tri-Cities have been the Tri-Cities - separate entities, with a fast-growing quad (West Richland) hanging around on the edge - for so long, you'd just think there'd be no chance of merger between them. (After all, just look at the civil war when little Ketchum and Sun Valley talked up the idea, before its backers were blown out of the water.)
But now, some indicators that the Tri could become One. From Chris Sivula's editorial blog at the Tri-City Herald (would it have to change its name?) on occasion of a coffee-spiked newspaper-invited community open house:
There was more talk about consolidation than any other topic — pro and con — although proponents of merging the Tri-Cities appeared to have majority.
They think it’s time to start pushing the agenda harder. The thought is that the remaining divided in four small towns — including West Richland — prevents the Tri-Cities from developing an identity that resonates beyond our state borders.
The question raised: “How can Walla Walla, with its size, be on all of the national Atlas maps and most world globes while we are not?” Proponents worry that without a recognized name and identity, our ability to market ourselves and be heard and found in a global economy will suffer.
Were you to merge the four cities (Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, West Richland) you'd get a city with more than 165,000 people. That would put it in a close race with Vancouver for fourth largest in the state.