Photos by John Gottberg Anderson
The riverfront face of the Tri-Cities' new Reach museum was built to reflect the legacy of Ice Age floods that contributed to the region's unique geology.
The main entrance of the Reach museum resembles a nuclear reactor from the nearby Hanford reservation. Formally the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center, the museum was built for $12 million after a much larger initial outlay.
Workers place final touches on Gallery I of the Reach museum in preparation for its July opening. Funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which also administers Hanford Reach National Monument, this gallery explores the region’s unique geological and natural history.
A visitor photographs a replica of a 1945 newspaper article that revealed to Tri-Cities residents the purpose of the top-secret Manhattan Project. The Reach museum's Gallery II focuses on the genesis of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation on 586 adjacent square miles.
Built in 1943-44, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation's B Reactor was the world's first full-scale nuclear reactor. Hanford was chosen for the Department of Energy site because it had ample Columbia River water, electricity from the Grand Coulee Dam and a sparse population.
A retired nuclear engineer describes to B Reactor visitors the process by which plutonium was extracted from uranium in a three-story wall of more than 2,000 fuel rods that stands behind him. The plutonium was then shipped to Los Alamos, N.M., for use in the first nuclear bombs.
The electrical wiring in Hanford's B Reactor may appear primitive, right down to the Ray-O-Vac batteries, but it was considered highly sophisticated when it was completed in 1944. It had elaborate control systems, including those for cooling and safety, to assure efficiency.
Visitors to the Hanford site’s B Reactor consider an “Evacuation Route” warning sign that still seems apropos, a quarter-century after the reservation began a major clean-up effort to handle nuclear contamination. Two-thirds of all U.S. radioactive waste is stored at the site.
Ringold Road winds through Hanford Reach National Monument at the foot of the White Bluffs, an area homesteaded in the 19th century but evacuated in 1943. The arid steppe-shrub region was declared a federal reserve by President Bill Clinton in 2000.
A thriving pear orchard in Franklin County, northwest of Pasco, has a view toward Rattlesnake Mountain, across the Columbia River and Hanford Nuclear Reservation. The orchard abuts Hanford Reach National Monument, a 195,000-acre preserve.
Red Mountain, hub of one of the Northwest's mostly highly acclaimed American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), rises above one of the 22 vineyards that flourish in its 4,000 acres. The AVA's grapes are renowned for the tannic flavors of their cabernet sauvignons and merlots.
Owner-winemaker Neil Cooper credits Red Mountain's unique geology and warm, dry climate with provide the elements for successful grape growing. Cooper: A Red Mountain Winery specializes in delicious cabernet sauvignons and blends.
Kiona Vineyards manager J.J. Williams whose grandfather, John Williams, pioneered Red Mountain grapes in the 1970s samples a glass of chardonnay near his vines. The self-titled "One Eye Wine Guy" runs the modern operation with his winemaker father, Scott Williams.
Board chairman Eric VanWinkle poses with the lead horse on the Gesa Carousel of Dreams, a newly restored 1910 merry-go-round at Kennewick's Southridge Sports and Events Complex. Originally from Michigan, the carousel has 45 basswood horses, plus a husky and a cougar
A bicyclist rides the paved Richland Riverfront Trail through Columbia Park, on the south side of the broad Columbia River in the Tri-Cities. The trail extends seven miles between an urban marina and the USS Triton Submarine Memorial Park.