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Wenatchee ( weh-NA-tchee) is the county seat and largest city of Chelan County, Washington, United States. The population within the city limits in 2010 was 31,925, and was estimated to have increased to 34,360 as of 2019. Located in the north-central part of the state, at the confluence of the Columbia and Wenatchee rivers near the eastern foothills of the Cascade Range, Wenatchee lies on the western side of the Columbia River, across from the city of East Wenatchee. The Columbia River forms the boundary between Chelan and Douglas County. Wenatchee is the principal city of the Wenatchee–East Wenatchee, Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Chelan and Douglas counties (total population around 110,884). However, the "Wenatchee Valley Area" generally refers to the land between Rocky Reach and Rock Island Dam on both banks of the Columbia, which includes East Wenatchee, Rock Island, and Malaga. The city was named for the nearby Wenatchi Indian tribe. The name is a Sahaptin word that means "river which comes [or whose source is] from canyons" or "robe of the rainbow". Awenatchela means "people at the source [of a river]". The city of Wenatchee shares its name with the Wenatchee River, Lake Wenatchee and the Wenatchee National Forest. Wenatchee is referred to as the "Apple Capital of the World" due to the valley's many orchards. The city is also sometimes referred to as the "Buckle of the Power Belt of the Great Northwest". The "Power Belt of the Great Northwest" is a metaphor for the series of hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River. Rock Island Dam is located nearest to the middle of this "belt", and so was labeled the "Buckle". This saying is printed at the top of every issue of Wenatchee's newspaper, the Wenatchee World, but is no longer in common use elsewhere.
Ellensburg is a city in and the county seat of Kittitas County, Washington, United States. It is located just east of the Cascade Range at the junction of Interstate 90 and Interstate 82. The population was an estimated 21,111 as of 2019. The city is located along the Yakima River in the Kittitas Valley, an agricultural region that extends east towards the Columbia River. The valley is a major producer of timothy hay, which is processed and shipped internationally. Ellensburg is also the home of Central Washington University (CWU). Ellensburg, originally named Ellensburgh for the wife of town founder John Alden Shoudy, was founded in 1871 and grew rapidly in the 1880s following the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railway. The city was once a leading candidate to become the state capital of Washington, but its campaign was scuppered by a major fire in 1889.
The Tri-Cities are three closely linked cities (Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland) at the confluence of the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia Rivers in the Columbia Basin of Eastern Washington. Each city borders one another, making the Tri-Cities seem like one uninterrupted mid-sized city. The three cities function as the center of the Tri-Cities metropolitan area, which consists of Benton and Franklin counties. The Tri-Cities urban area consists of the city of West Richland, the CDPs of West Pasco and Finley, as well as the CDP of Burbank, despite the latter being located in Walla Walla County. The official 2016 estimate of the Tri-Cities MSA population is 283,846, a more than 12% increase from 2010. 2016 U.S. MSA estimates show the Tri-Cities population as over 300,000. The combined population of the three principal cities themselves was 193,567 at the 2010 Census. As of April 1, 2016, the Washington State Office of Financial Management, Forecasting Division estimates the cities as having a combined population of 217,430.The Tri-Cities Airport is located in Pasco and provides the region with commercial and private air service. Pasco is the seat of Franklin County, while the other two cities are located in Benton County. In 2010, Kiplinger rated the Tri-Cities among the Top 10 best places to raise a family, and CNN/Money ranked the Tri-Cities one of the top 10 best bets for gains in housing value, due to its relatively stable economic conditions since the early 2000s.