Across the River

I meet a lot of people in my job, which also requires me to ask which city they live in. When I ask the less-specific, “where do you live?”, people often answer with a catch-all, “here in the Tri-Cities.”

By design, the Tri-Cities are, interestingly enough, four separate cities. It’s certainly easy to cross between, but not everybody seems willing to cross the river into Pasco.

A few years ago, I was at a family Mexican restaurant in Richland, which somebody claimed it had the best Mexican food in Tri-Cities. The food was fine, but in my opinion a little pricey, and I countered that I preferred going to Pasco for Mexican food.

He said he had scared to go to Pasco in his 10 months living in Richland and asked if it was safe to eat there.

It’s a common perception that Pasco is more dangerous. Crime statistics of the three cities mostly back up this notion ( provides easy side-by-side comparisons with 2010 FBI data for Pasco, Richland and Kennewick, showing Kennewick with the most crime of the three). But while overall crime is higher compared to Richland, it’s clearly not the violent  war zone some think it is.

I’m not implying that there’s an epidemic of people who are scared to explore the other side of the river. Each city offers its residents everything they need to get by, after all, so staying put may just come easier to the less adventurous. I’ve encountered this mindset enough to offer a bit of advice to Tri-Cities transplants who haven’t ventured just a few minutes east.

No, I’m not talking about Road 68.

Go pick up a used chainsaw, an Xbox 360 game and some tomatillos (all from the same vendor!) at the Pasco Flea Market. Celebrate with some giant pupusas, a couple tacos al pastor and mangos with chile and lime.

Check out the eclectic mix of hardware, bargain treasures and retro-packaged (or is it just old?) stuff at Griggs.

Stop in at the original Viera’s Bakery while strolling through the most colorful downtown in the Tri-Cities.

I promise it won’t be scary.

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Kai-Huei Yau

Kai-Huei Yau

Kai-Huei Yau was a photojournalist at the Tri-City Herald for six years and recently moved west to be a communications specialist at Vertafore in Bothell. He's thrilled to live next to a great fried chicken joint, a good spot for pho and to put his journalism skills to work in a new way.

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  • Agreed. My favorite Mexican restaurant is El Asadero. Authentic and delicious!

  • We go to Viera’s regularly in the warmer months when we go to the Pasco Farmer’s market. Such a unique bakery (and sooo delicious!)

  • Crossdiver

    High five!!!