What was Tieton Before?
From the 1930s into the 1970s Tieton was a quintessential small American agricultural town. With four blocks of storefronts surrounding the well-maintained park, locals could go to a movie, bowl, play pool, buy appliances, shop at the five-and-dime and hardware stores, fill prescriptions, eat at several cafes, get their hair cut or their TV repaired, and shop at one of the grocery stores. Tieton had two taverns, garages, and a variety of churches. Busy cold storage fruit warehouses were only two blocks away.
The past fifty years have been tough on small towns like Tieton. Changing economic forces in agribusiness, and the development of shopping centers, have shifted how and where families live, work, and shop. Traditional retail and service business struggle.
Most of the buildings are still there. The park is still well maintained. Fruit is still king, but the town itself is poorer. Tieton is imagining new and creative ways to prosper. The retail businesses that do best are the ones that serve the large Latino population.
The setting is spectacularly beautiful. People are friendly.The climate is dry: hot in the summer and cold in the winter. The crime rate is low. Schools are good. The Grange and the Lions Club are still active. Real estate is affordable. Seattle, Portland, and Yakima are close enough. Wine country starts at this end of the valley. Hiking, skiing, rafting, fishing, biking, and kite flying are here. The Internet gives Tieton access to connections and information.
Although very small, Tieton is a city with an elected mayor, a city council, and professional management and maintenance staff. It has a population of eleven hundred, over half of which is Hispanic. It has a recently rebuilt water system, full sewage service, and a separate and seasonal orchard irrigation system for yard and garden watering.
And Mighty Tieton sees this town as nothing but opportunity.