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Ex-Benton City mayor dies after serving during tumultuous times

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 8, 2021

Lynn Johnson  (ANDRE RANIERI)
Lynn Johnson (ANDRE RANIERI)
By Cameron Probert Tri-City Herald Tri-City Herald

BENTON CITY, Wash. – Lynn Johnson served on the Benton City Council through a tumultuous time in the small community.

The 71-year-old former mayor and longtime councilman died Jan. 2 in Othello, about eight years after he left the public eye on the City Council.

Originally born in Fargo, North Dakota, Johnson lived in the Tri-Cities area for 50 years.

The retired project manager and estimator for Matheson Painting in Pasco moved to Benton City in 1992, joining the council in 1995.

He was nearly 50 when he took over the spot in what was at the time a town of about 2,200. He also was a member of the Ben Franklin Transit Board for a time.

At the time, the city was considering unincorporating because of financial woes, and Johnson was hoping to attract more revenue to the rural community just west of West Richland, according to the Herald.

Within the first year of being elected, he was dealing with a major disaster, after a fire spread from the Hanford nuclear reservation, destroying 11 homes and badly burning a Benton City resident. Just four years earlier, the town was seriously damaged by flooding.

Johnson found himself in talks with county, state and federal officials as he looked for help for the homeowners and others.

He was ousted at the end of his first term as mayor in 2003 after he tried to get a $50,000 raise as mayor, Herald stories say.

His replacement was Bryan Robinson, who became embroiled in his own controversies.


Johnson was back on the council by 2004, and later left it in 2013.

Einan’s at Sunset, Richland, is handling his service arrangements.

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