Donald P. Morton Sr., one of the original leaders of what is now the Benton-Franklin Council of Governments, died June 25 in Kennewick.
He was 82.
Morton joined what was then the Benton-Franklin Governmental Conference in 1967 and was instrumental in developing numerous efforts, including forming the Ben Franklin Transit District and the Bi-County Police Information Network and expanding the Franklin County Courthouse and the Tri-Cities Airport.
He was 65 when he announced he would retire from the post he’d held for 32 years. At the time, he said he looked forward to serving the community in other capacities and to purse hobbies and traveling. He planned to return to school to study the origins of English, specifically Latin.
“I want to go find out what I’ve been trying to say all these years,” he said at the time.
His retirement in March 2000 came at a time when Tri-City leaders were questioning the size of the obscure but often influential agency.
The council primarily focuses on regional transportation planning and economic development. Its members consist of more than a dozen local jurisdictions, including cities, counties, ports and other groups, such as the regional transit agency.
Morton was born in Portland and lived in the Tri-Cities for 49 years. Mueller’s Tri-Cities Funeral Home in Kennewick is handling the arrangements.