Kennewick is in Benton County
and is one of the Tri Cities
in southeastern Washington. A port on the Columbia River
near its confluence with the Snake River
, Kennewick lies near Interstate 82 and the Oregon border.
Meaning "winter paradise" in the Yakima tongue, Kennewick was surrounded by a bunchgrass wasteland until the late 1800s, when the first of a series of irrigation projects began to convert the sagebrush to farmland. Blessed by a brief winter season, the fertile land became the best grape-producing area in the state.
Today Kennewick benefits from the 1957 Kennewick highland irrigation project, which supplies water to more than 20,000 acres of alfalfa, corn and beans. Reinforced by huge hydroelectric dams harnessing the lower bend of the Columbia, Kennewick's economy is also supported by chemical and agricultural processing.
Kennewick is part of the Richland-Kennewick-Pasco, WA metro area.