The influx of people to work at the Hanford project in the 1940s brought a housing shortage to the Tri-Cities. Trailer parks or camps sprung up throughout the area, some better than others. The best one at the time was in North Richland. Remember, these early trailers consisted of a bedroom, living area, tiny kitchen with a little folding table but no bathroom or clothes washing facilities. This was more like camping, and you had to walk to the community bathrooms or laundromat.
Occupants of new Richland trailer camp give views
By the Tri-City Herald staff
Published on February 11, 1948
Trailers are pulling into the new North Richland trailer camp, soon to be the largest in the country, where the families of employees on the government reservation are setting up new homes, glad to be free of the traffic congestion between Richland and the Columbia River bridge and confident that the new facilities will be far superior to any now offered in camps of the area.
If the new residents have one thing in common, it is dissatisfaction with existing camps in the area. Nearly all of them interviewed by the Herald yesterday reported that the camps they had moved from were dirty and provided inadequate facilities.
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The new camp will provide a utility house with showers, lavatories and washrooms for every 22 trailer lots, a much smaller ratio of persons than is customary in the camps of the area, the new residents report. With a rental of $4.20 per week with electricity, water and garbage disposal provided, they will also be cheaper than in other camps where rentals ranged from $5.50 to $10, the survey indicated.
Mrs. Claude Drake, formerly of Freewater, Oregon, the mother of a two-months-old daughter, said she was happy with her new home because the washing house is much warmer and cleaner than in the Kennewick camp where she had lived since November. The new location will also be a big help to her husband, who will save at least two hours each day in travel time, she reports.
Mrs. F. J. Roybal, who has been in the area since January, thinks the new camp is "heavenly" after living in the one near the Richland "Y." She likes living in a trailer, but said the other location was overcrowded and dirty.
"There was only one laundry room for the entire camp," she said, "and most of the time we couldn't get into it. Lavatory facilities were filthy."
She and her husband, an accountant for the Atkinson-Jones company, lived in Portland for five years before coming to Richland. Their home was formerly in Wyoming.
Mrs. Wayne Haper, who came here from Boise two weeks ago to join her husband, spent only one week in another camp before moving to North Richland yesterday. They pay $25 a week to rent the trailer in which they live, but feel this beats the $4 a night they paid for a room prior to renting the trailer.
An exception to those who were dissatisfied with previous camps was Carl Kruse, who first came to the area in 1943 and lived at the Hanford camp. He lived in the same camp near the Y for the two years he has been back for a time before he left here in 1943. He doesn't care for life in a trailer, but says the camp operators have a hard time.
He moved to the new camp to save the travel time. His work is only three-quarters of a mile from the new site. Kruse believes the traffic is getting thicker on the road between Kennewick and Richland and will continue to increase as the construction advances.
Another woman, who didn't give her name, said she had come here from San Francisco two months ago and wishes she was back there now. She lived in the trailer which was parked in her sister's yard. From stories her neighbors have told her, she does not regret having lived in a camp before. She liked living in a trailer, but misses the privacy of a regular home.