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The Washington State Department of Transportation has divided the state into six major regions: Eastern, South Central, North Central, Southwest, Olympic, and Northwest. The Northwest region is further divided into the King County, Snohomish County, and the Skagit, Whatcom, and Island County regions. Regions are generally divided along county lines but may include parts of counties. Each region has a headquarters which oversees and reports upon road improvements in that region.
The Olympic region includes some of Washington’s most heavily forested areas, as well as its third largest city, Tacoma, its highest mountain, Mt. Rainier, and the Olympic Rain Forest, where the average annual rainfall exceeds 200 inches. Headquarters are located in Washington’s state capital, Olympia. Tacoma is home to the Port of Tacoma, which generated an estimated 3,520 daily truck trips in 2010.
The Northwest Region includes King, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, and San Juan Island Counties. Washington State’s largest city, Seattle, is located in King County and is an important port for trade with Asia. The average daily truck volume for the Port of Seattle was estimated to reach 2,950 in 2012. King County is also home to several of the nation’s largest corporations, including Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon.com, Weyerhauser, Starbucks, Nordstrom, CostCo (the 7th largest retailer in the world) and Paccar (the third largest manufacturer of heavy trucks in the world). The I-5 corridor runs directly through this region and is a key route for trade between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Northwest regional headquarters are located in Seattle.
The North Central Region comprises Okanogan, Douglas, Grant and Chelan Counties, as well as small areas inKittitas County and eastern Snohomish, Skagit, and Whatcom counties.There are 1,577 apple orchards, with over 80,000 acres devoted to apple growing, in Okanagan, Douglas, Grant and Chelan counties. The city of Wenatchee in Chelan County bills itself as the Apple Capital of the World. According to one report, in 2012, Washington State produced a record 122 million packed boxes of apples. 3,000 truckloads of apples were shipped in the last week of October alone. Regional headquarters are in Wenatchee.
The Eastern region encompasses Adams, Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, and Whitman counties and the northeastern tip of Franklin County. This region shares a border with Canada to the north and Idaho to the east.The region’s largest city (and the site of the Eastern Region headquarters) is Spokane (population 202,000), with Pullman, the site of Washington State University, a distant second at 27,000. Several major highways (I-90, U.S. 395, U.S. 195, and U.S. 2) converge on Spokane, with nearly 80% of this region’s population living in Spokane County (pop. 443,800).
The South Central region is made up primarily of Asotin, Benton, Columbia, Garfield, Kittitas, Walla Walla and Yakima counties and most of Franklin County. It also grabs small parts of eastern King and Pierce counties. This region is known for its burgeoning wine industry. There are over 100 wineries in the Walla Walla region andover 45 in the Yakima Valley.Yakima is also home to over 1,000 apple orchards. (Washington produces about 64% of the nation’s apples.) Regional headquarters are located in Union Gap, Washington.
The Southwest region is composed of Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Lewis, Pacific, Skamania, and Wahkiakum Counties. All of these counties except Lewis County border on the Columbia River. All but Clark County are rural counties (population density of less than 100 persons per square mile) and all but Klickitat are considered distressed counties (three-year average unemployment rate equal to or greater than 120 percent of the statewide unemployment rate.)