BPA’s latest substation facility located in Pasco, Washington began operating in fall, 2015, and it did not have a name.
BPA’s leadership recognized the importance of the Tri-Cities region to many Northwest Tribes, and wanted to find a name that honors the cultural and historical significance of the area.
The BPA-born idea to give our new facility a Native American name is a tribute to the years of thoughtful, persistent work the Northwest Tribes has invested to educate BPA staff and management.
The Hanford Tribal Technical Working Group (HTTWG ) has worked effectively with BPA staff and leaders to protect sacred and culturally significant places that were or potentially could have been impacted by BPA’s work.
BPA worked closely with the HTTWG to develop naming options for the new facility. Tribal members of the working group evaluated potential names, and selected the name Nekitpe (Neh-kit-puh), meaning “Place of Planning/Thinking Place” in Nez Perce. Nekitpe is the first BPA facility to receive a Native American name. BPA’s leadership was pleased to indorse the Working Group’s choice and in January, 2016 formally adopted the name.
The HTTWG which includes the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Nez Perce Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and the Wanapum Tribe, have a long-standing and productive working relationship with BPA’s Tri-Cities District and staff. Together, we have worked closely to successfully complete three major transmission line rebuild projects across Hanford. This track record of respect and collaboration extends too many other transmission and fish and wildlife projects, large and small.
The new facility’s name will remind BPA employees and managers about the cultural and historical significance this area has for the Northwest Tribes. It also acknowledges the value of BPA’s relationship and collaboration with our tribal partners. This facility serves as the operations and maintenance headquarters for about 85 members of our Transmission staff in the Pasco District who had been working throughout different building in the Tri-Cities area. Much of the work done in the new facility involves planning, collaboration and coordination. This is a place where careful thinking about BPA’s operations and relationships will occur.