#ThatNWBus, an unofficial roadside attraction between the Tri-Cities and Pullman, has a new home.
So many photos have been taken of the graffiti-covered and constantly repainted bus sitting alone in wildlands that it’s known by its social media hashtag.
Those who happen upon it take photos of themselves posed in front of it, hanging out of its windows and jumping on its roof.
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“Thanks to social media, it has become quite a cool thing,” said Bob Redling, spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources.
But the department has grown concerned as the popularity of the bus on its land has grown.
It’s a potential hazard to the public and at least one neighbor has complained, Redling said.
It’s a happy ending.
Bob Redling, spokesman for the Department of Natural Resources
The state was prepared to haul the bus, which had been used in the 1970s by a crop duster for storing his supplies, to a scrapyard.
But the Washtucna Historical Museum was not going to let that happen.
“It’s a happy ending,” Redling said.
On Thursday, the bus was loaded onto a lowboy trailer and hauled from its remote home eight miles southwest of Washtucna to a lot on Highway 261 just outside of the tiny town, population 208.
The Department of Natural Resources paid for the move, since it would have had to pay — and possibly pay more — to haul it to a scrapyard.
The museum is now responsible for it.
Lee Ann Blankenship, museum president, hopes it will remain a popular canvas for spray paint. Its location is not so remote now, but it still has a similar backdrop of wildlands and sky that made it popular for photographs.
Art is subjective.
Lee Ann Blankenship, Washtucna Historical Museum president
Because of the museum’s liability insurance, visitors initially will not be allowed inside the bus. But they will soon be welcome to pose for photos on top of the bus at their own risk.
Blankenship’s just making a plea that visitors be respectful.
Some in Washtucna would like to have seen the last of the bus.
“Art is subjective,” Blankenship said.
She’s hoping the museum does not have to contend with littering or vulgar messages on the bus.
Some improvements to the bus’s new home are needed, most notably a culvert installed under a road.
Blankenship plans to have the site open before students start heading back to Washington State University in Pullman for the fall semester.