Thirty years of sustainability advocacy in Tri-Cities


Sustainable Tri-Cities (STC) Work groups are continuing with education and advocacy and have formed a new partnership with the BF Health District and their new Climate Effects specialist. STC helped to plan and host, as well as table, at a premier Tri-Cities Earth Day event, in addition to other events throughout the year.


Sustainable Tri-Cities Climate Solutions Urban Heath Resilience, Transportation, and Renewable Energy work groups have been educating and encouraging public comments on local and state policy, action plans and budgets, and approaching local jurisdictions. STC helped to educate and encourage action by tabling at many events such as Earth Day.


Sustainable Tri-Cities shifts its focus to climate change and environmental justice. STC forms the Climate Solutions work group, consisting of members from STC and the Tri-Cities Citizens Climate Lobby.


ALSC (Alliance for a Liveable & Sustainable Community) merges with SEEnet and GoGreenTriCities with the new name Sustainable Tri-Cities: an alliance for a livable, sustainable community. The Go Green TC calendar and green living information is now included on the Sustainable Tri-Cities website. 


Richland Bicycle Advocacy: Proposal for a Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee


Columbia Shoreline Advocacy guiding the process and responding to the proposals for River shore ‘reconveyance’.


The City of Kennewick Sustainability Program outlines practices and strategies to proactively make decisions as good stewards of the public and environment, in an effort to meet the city’s present needs without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.


CRE8 Community Resource Emporium debuts in Benton City, first youth-centered makers space in region to intercept waste stream for alternative project-based 4-H club “Bring”  (Jenny Rieke)


ALSC letter of encouragement regarding the collaboration between City, Port and Public Facilities District in Kennewick.


ALSC Event: Tri-Cities 20/20 Looking Beyond Tomorrow “Becoming a Sustainable Community” (ALSC)

Sustainability Coalition’ derived from ALSC Huddle process begins annual participation  in Alternative Gift Fair, local nonprofit fundraiser, to message Sustainability in region (Jenny Rieke, lead)

Sustainability Communities Report is presented by the League of Women Voters of Benton and Franklin Counties.


Three ALSC Huddles coalesce regional sustainability network: 11 Community Partner Organizations clarify their mission support, recognize gaps & overlaps.


Business Development Climate Assessment assigned grade of “D” for sustainability (TRIDEC).

TRIDEC establishes Sustainability Task Force (Matt Mathes).

ALSC responds to the ‘Beer Falls’ development plan.

Mid-Columbia Earth Month co-hosted a Solarize Washington training which resulted in Community Purchase workshops for ready-made residential solar PV packages, and more purchases than the company could meet in the first year. 


E3 WA worked to bring together community action / public education organizations including under the E3 umbrella. Coordination of these organizations was  later taken on by staff at the REACH museum.


City of Richland Planning Commission & City Council representation (Debby Berkowitz, Jim Wise, Carol Moser).

The ALSC supports the work done by the Ridges to Rivers Open Space Network on hillside development standards. Letter to the Richland Planning Commission Members.


ALSC forms, standing committees:

Human Health, Transportation and Complete Streets, Technology Development & Energy, Outreach & Communication, Land Use (Tim Fredrickson/BFT).


First Community Forum to raise awareness among developers, policymakers, planners and all related professionals about sustainable development practice and how it benefits human health and economic development for communities.

Confluence Community Action Network, formed after the E3 Forum in 2008, created a hub for resource sharing on sustainability. Held workshops on starting community gardens which led to first Richland then other cities creating community gardens in their parks. 


SEENet Sustainable Energy & Environmental Network: dedicated to transforming the present and building the future of sustainable energy and environmental stewardship in the Mid-Columbia through educational activities & events, networking, tools, and information. (Gail Everett, Darroll Clark, Derek Brandes.) Raised funds for and assisted programs such as the annual Student Expo held at Columbia Basin Community college, Electrathon and EV show, Cre8 Makaerspace, and Go Green Tricities, including the development of the Tri-Cities first Green Business directory. 

DOE-RL Sustainability Steward to initiate sustainability programs for Hanford Site, first carbon footprinting of DOE remediation site (Jim Wise).

Three Rivers Community Roundtable (TRIDEC).

TCE Tri-CitiesEvolution (Marty Conger / PNNL, Phil Ohl).


The City of Richland launched a Green Recognition Program to honor businesses, organizations, schools, and individuals who were going above and beyond to reduce their impact on the environment. This awards program was a catalyst in encouraging sustainable stewardship, sharing new technologies and highlighting the environmental commitment of others. 

Mid-Columbia Earth Month became Go Green Tri-Cities when they decided to provide the region’s first comprehensive community website for sustainable living information, with a Green Pages directory and a year-round community calendar for environmental education events and outdoor recreation. GGTC continued to provide environmental education at many events as well as host events for Earth Hour, and sponsor a kids contest for Earth Month.


Instead of one event for earth day, we began to celebrate Earth Month, and Mid-Columbia Earth Month was formed. Organizers for the Earth Day event felt it was becoming too commercialized and wasteful so the focus was redirected to beautification and community volunteerism. By teaming up with the Benton Franklin Volunteer Center and the Catholic Family and Child Services-Volunteer Chore Service, teams and individuals could step out into their community and help to beautify it. From litter and clean up projects, to restoration and trailing building and maintenance. Families, groups, organizations and teams participated to build community pride and respect for our home and neighbors. In the first year, the Mid-Columbia Earth Month and Community Clean-up totaled 83 various projects, (67 senior or disabled yard projects and 16 community projects) 31 teams registered and 414 volunteers participated. In addition, 64 environmental activities were held. This effort continued through 2013.

Early 2000s  

TC community partners build first WA high performance LEED certified green building, winning governor’s award for Pollution Prevention & Sustainability Practices, establishing first of its kind industrial materials exchange (GESA, Ben Franklin Transit, Silk Road Environmental).


The City of Richland launched an Environmental Education program to encourage waste reduction, reuse, litter awareness, hazardous material management and water and energy conservation. The educational program was introduced to area schools, businesses, organizations and worked with the local media to educate the public on recycling options and conservation efficiencies. 

Richland also took the lead with other partners to resurrect an educational Tri-Cities Earth Day Celebration. The event was held in Howard Amon Park, along the Columbia River. The morning would start out with community beautification projects, bike rides and hikes. By late morning, exhibit booths filled the park grounds and spilled out onto the river shore. The event slowly grew and by 2000, over 100 exhibit booths filled the park. The event included music, speakers, concessions, river activities, demonstrations, collection events, and recycled art displays. In all, the event attracted over 8,000 participants.  


PNNL research shows green buildings benefit occupants, environment & business.

DOE grant founds US Green Building Council, LEED Building & Community certifications, sparking other organizations to start similar programs.


WSU-TC graduate class offered in Sustainability / Environmental Science & Regional Planning program. Master’s project topics included developing an ‘industrial ecology’ system across food processors, substantial waste reduction & fluids recovery in vehicle services recycling systems for cities (Jim Wise).

Richland City Council adopts resolution proclaiming Sustainability = communism.


Earth Day celebrations began in the Tri-Cities. Several organizations celebrated National Earth Day prior to 1991, but the official one on record was at Columbia Basin College, was coordinated by Westinghouse Hanford and funded by the Department of Energy-RL. In 1992, the event moved to the Columbia Center Mall because it was more centrally located and not dependent on the weather. DOE-RL and the Hanford Contractors, Waste Management of Kennewick, Columbia Center Mall and OK 95 were the sponsors. There was also an aluminum can recycling contest between area schools. The mall event brought performers from Disney Channel’s Kids, Inc. and in 1993, a theater group put on a “green” production about the environment. DOE again provided funding until budget cuts in 1995.


UN Brundtland Report: Sustainable Development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Mid-1970s “Sustainability” first appears in US publications as an organizing concept.