City of Richland
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News Releases
Grant Funds Available for Park, Trail, Open Space and Rec Facility Improvements (Photo) - 01/20/23

Do you belong to a community group that would like to volunteer to improve a park, trail, open space, or recreational facility? If you’ve got the dream, we can assist with resources. The Richland Parks and Recreation Commission will be distributing up to $40,000 this year from the Park Reserve Fund. These matching grant funds are available for eligible community groups interested in making capital improvements to City parks, trails, open space, or recreational facilities. The Park Partnership Program's goals are to improve or increase park and recreational opportunities for the general public, foster public initiative, and participation in developing City parks and recreational amenities, and enhance the quality of life in Richland.

Applicants need to attend a mandatory pre-application meeting on February 7 and submit their application by February 22nd.
To apply, visit Richland Parks and Recreation Website at and then click on “Programs and Events”. You can also go directly by visiting
For more information, call the program coordinator at 509-942-7336. 

Richland City Council Has Confirmed Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem - 01/17/23

At the January 17, 2023, Richland City Council meeting, newly sworn-in councilmember Ryan Whitten took his place at the council dais. Whitten was selected to fill vacant Position No. 7 upon the departure of former Mayor Michael Alvarez. 

Consistent with the Richland City Charter, the recently vacated mayoral role has been filled by successor Mayor Pro Tem Terry Christensen. Article II, Section 2.06 of the Charter provides that the mayor pro tempore shall succeed to the office of mayor in case of a vacancy. Mayor Pro Tem Christensen automatically succeeded to the office of Mayor, which created a vacancy in the office of Mayor Pro Tem. 

Richland City Council then proceeded to select a councilmember to serve the unexpired term of Mayor Pro Tem for the remainder of 2023. Councilmember Theresa Richardson was selected to serve as Mayor Pro Tem by a majority vote of 4 to 2.  

More information can be found at

Richland Facilities Close on Monday for All-Staff In Service Day (Photo) - 01/11/23

City of Richland offices and facilities will be closed to the public on Monday, January 16, 2023, for an all-staff training day. This includes Richland City Hall (Customer Service), Richland Community Center, Richland Public Library, and the City Shops. Essential services will continue such as police, fire, and trash collection. The Horn Rapids Landfill will also remain open. The Richland Community Center and the Library will remain closed through the evening as well. 

Attached Media Files: closure_notice_FB-01_(002).png
Open House on Thursday for Little Badger Mountain Trail Draft Plan - 01/09/23

The draft plan to connect Little Badger Mountain Trail to Badger Mountain will be available for public review at an open house on Thursday, January 12, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the lobby of City Hall, 625 Swift Boulevard. In addition, there will be a zoom meeting on Thursday, January 19, from noon to 1:00 p.m. and another open house on Saturday, January 21, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in the Richland Community Center, 500 Amon Park Drive. 

To see the plan and comment online, visit The public is also encouraged to complete an online survey to help with the final details of projected use. The survey will be open through January 31, 2023.

Attached Media Files: Little_Badger_8.5x11.pdf
Richland City Council Selects New Interim Councilmember (Photo) - 01/06/23

The Richland City Council held a Special Meeting on Friday, January 6, 2023, to interview four (4) candidates for vacant councilmember Position 7. 

Council unanimously selected Ryan Whitten to fill the role. He will be sworn in at the January 17, 2023, City Council Meeting. 

Whitten grew up in Prosser, WA, and has been a Richland resident for six years. He is a US Navy veteran and has a Political Science degree from Columbia Basin College. He is currently an Instrument and Controls Technician at Energy Northwest. 

Whitten fills the vacant position created by the resignation of Michael Alvarez who was recently sworn in as a Benton County Commissioner. The Richland City Charter directs remaining councilmembers to appoint someone to serve as an interim councilmember until the term for that position expires. The next general election is in November 2023. 

Council solicited applications from interested citizens to fill the vacancy. Ten (10) applications were received. After careful consideration, Council interviewed four (4) applicants, held an executive session, and subsequently voted unanimously to appoint Whitten.  

More information about the City of Richland can be found at

Attached Media Files: Ryan_Whitten_web_size.jpg
The City of Richland Welcomes New Parks & Public Facilities Director (Photo) - 01/05/23

In August 2022, the City of Richland launched a nationwide recruitment effort for a new Parks & Public Facilities Director. The position was vacated by Joe Schiessl when he was promoted to Deputy City Manager in July. 

A total of six applicants were considered for the position, and the successful candidate, Laura Hester of Sahuarita, AZ, began her new role at the City of Richland on January 3, 2023. She has over twenty years of parks and recreation experience. 

Prior to coming to Richland, Hester worked at the Town of Sahuarita, AZ for just over four years. While there she was Parks & Facilities Manager for two years and then promoted to Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Director where she has served for the past two and a half years. There she directed all facilities, operations, services, and staff assigned to the Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department. Before Sahuarita, she served six years as a Park Forman/Cemetery Sexton in Kaysville, Utah, and four years as a Recreation Therapist at Life Care Center of America in Bountiful, UT.

Hester earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Parks & Recreation and Therapeutic Recreation Therapy from the University of Utah. She is also a Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP).

“We are excited to welcome Laura and her family to Richland. We look forward to working with her on new recreational programming and continued enhancement of city assets and facilities,” states Joe Schiessl. “Her passion and education in recreation and parks management will only benefit our popular park system”. 

Hester will join the City’s Executive Leadership Team and oversee a department of just over 98 employees. 

More information about the City of Richland can be found at  

Attached Media Files: Laura_Hester_Headshot.jpg
Richland City Council to Interview Four for Council Vacancy - 01/03/23

The Richland City Council will interview four candidates for the recently vacated Position No. 7. 

Interviews will take place on Friday, January 6, 2023, from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers located at 625 Swift Blvd. The interviews will be televised live on Charter Spectrum Channel 192, on the City’s website, and on the City’s YouTube channel. 

The candidates are:

  • Eileen Griffin
  • Ben Griggs
  • Andrew Rice
  • Ryan Whitten

The candidate appointed by City Council will be sworn in at the January 17, 2023 council meeting. The council will also vote for the Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tem at the January 17 meeting.

The candidate will serve in Position No. 7 until the person elected to serve the remainder of the unexpired term takes office after the November 2023 General Election (approximately one year). 

The election/appointment and service of councilmembers on the Richland City Council is governed by the Richland City Charter. 

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and be a registered elector (voter). Applicants must be a resident of the City of Richland for a continuous period of at least two years prior to their election or appointment. Applicants cannot hold other public offices except in the National Guard, organized reserves, or as a Notary Public. In addition, candidates must be a citizen of the United States and cannot be employed by the City of Richland. 

Richland City Council holds regular meetings on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at Richland City Hall, 625 Swift Boulevard. Workshops are held on the fourth Tuesday of each month. All meetings are televised. 

The City does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, race, creed, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, presence of disability, or any other protected class status.