Othello is a city in Adams County, Washington. The population was 5,847 at the 2000 census. A 2008 census estimate placed the town at 6,577 people, a 12.5% gain since 2000. Othello refers to the city as being in the “Heart” of the Columbia Basin Project. It is located approximately 100 miles (160 km) southwest of Spokane, 180 miles east of Seattle, and about 25 miles south of Interstate 90, at the intersection of SR 17 and SR 26.


The first white settlers in the area were two brothers, Ben and Sam Hutchinson, who built a cabin along the Crab Creek in 1884. An influx of homesteaders began after the turn of the century, and a post office was established in 1904. The post office was named Othello after a post office also called Othello in Roane County, Tennessee.

The Chicago, Milwaukee, & St. Paul Railroad ran a track through Adams County in 1907. The railroad officially platted the town as a stop, with water to feed the boilers of steam trains. They kept the name Othello, and build a railyard and wooden roundhouse there. Although the roundhouse burned in 1919, it was replaced with a brick structure which lasted many years. Businesses and settlers continued to follow, and the town was incorporated May 31, 1910. At the time the railroad was the eastern terminus of the second electrified district of the Milwaukee Road's "Pacific Extension" route, which extended up to Tacoma, Washington.

The Bureau of Reclamation located offices in Othello in 1947, which prevented the decline of this town with the decline of railshipping after World War II. In the early 1950s, the Columbia Basin Project brought irrigation to the Othello area, increasing both agriculture and commerce. Prior to this, water came only from Crab Creek and from local wells. The water arrived via the East Canal between Billy Clapp Lake and Scootenay Reservoir in Franklin County. Once there was irrigation available, a land drawing was held in Othello. On May 31, 1952 42 names were drawn (of more than 7000 submitted) for the proviledge of purchasing this newly-desireable acreage.

From 1951 to 1973 the 637th Radar Squadron operated the Othello Radar Station near the tow. In 1958, an ice plant was opened in town to service railroad cars moving produce. Frozen food packaging came to town in the early 1960s, and has since become the main industry.

Since 1998, Othello has also been home to the Sandhill Crane Fastival, celebrating the annual arrival of Sandhill Cranes to the nearby Columbia National Wildlife Refuge.

Geography Edit

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.0 square miles, all of it land.

Northeast of Othello is Warden and northwest is Moses Lake. McDonald and Sieler are north. The Columbia National Wildlife Refuge is west as are the town's of Royal City and Smyrna. South is Basin City. East is Shano, Hatton, and Cunningham. Pasco is about 50 miles south while Moses Lake is about 24 miles north.

Climate Edit

Othello, WA climate is mild during summer when temperatures tend to be in the 60's and very cold during winter when temperatures tend to be in the 30's.

The warmest month of the year is August with an average maximum temperature of 82.80 degrees Fahrenheit, while the coldest month of the year is January with an average minimum temperature of 23.30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperature variations between night and day tend to be moderate during summer with a difference that can reach 29 degrees Fahrenheit, and fairly limited during winter with an average difference of 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

The annual average precipitation at Othello is 8.42 Inches. Rainfall in is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. The wettest month of the year is December with an average rainfall of 1.21 Inches.


Othelloafiler copy

Street in Othello. Andrew Filer photo.

63% of the population in Othello is Hispanic. White-Non Hispanics make up 34% of the population.



Othello Outlook

The Othello Independent



The Othello Community Hospital serves the town and surrounding region.


Othello has the Othello Police Department.

The Adams County Sheriff's Office also patrols the area and has a substation in town.


The city is located about 29 miles from Interstate 90.

The Othello Municipal Airport is located just outside of town, south of Bruce. It has about 25,000 local operations going on annually. It is a unattended airfield run by the Port of Othello.