The Pullman community was selected in 2010 by the Pacific Northwest Grid Demonstration Project to demonstrate smart grid technologies using matching stimulus monies from the U.S. Department of Energy. Avista is leading the five-year Pullman Smart Grid Demonstration Project, and will contribute $14.9 million with its local partners contributing an additional $4 million to create a smart grid in Pullman.
“We envision the smart grid to be a more efficient and effective electricity infrastructure that can help contain costs, reduce emissions, incorporate renewable energy, increase power grid reliability and provide greater flexibility for consumers,” Heather Cummins, Avista’s director of process improvement, who leads Avista’s smart grid programs.
The December 14, 2010, issue of Bloomberg Businessweek(www.businessweek.com) ranked Pullman for 2011 the best place to raise your kids in the state of Washington. The runner-up was West Richland. The fifth annual rankings focused on small cities, towns and villages with populations larger than the median for the state but no greater than 50,000. With schools of paramount importance to young families, the report cited Pullman High School as "highly regarded...its WASL scores average among the highest in the state." The study considered only places where the median family income in 2009 was within 20 percent of the state median. According to the online article America's Best, Affordable Places to Raise Kids, "We emphasized a community's number of schools, school performance, cost of living, and crime statistics. We also accounted for factors such as job growth, air quality, ethnic diversity, and access to the surrounding county's parks, zoos, theaters, and other recreational facilities."
The December 10, 2009, issue of U.S. News and World Report evaluated more than 21,000 high schools in 48 states and awarded Pullman High School a Silver Medal ranking as a school with a high college readiness index, but not ranked among the top 100 nationally.
At the end of 2007, Pullman was ranked by streetsblog.org as No. 10 nationwide among "walk-to-work" communities of more than 20,000 residents. According to the Bikes at Work database, 22.53% of Pullman residents walk to their destinations each day. The blog, which covers the livable streets movement, asked the question "What makes a place walkable?" In part it seems to be an institutional presence, such as a university, combined with a pre-auto urban design. According to the future vision portion of the city's comprehensive plan, by the year 2020, Pullman community members hope to be able to say that..."basic commercial services, transit stops, and parks are all located within walking distance of each residence, and a network of sidewalks and bicycle trails ensures that residents can reach services without getting into their cars." The more than 8 miles of city pathways and trails that residents can now enjoy contribute to realizing that vision.
Also in 2006, the city received the AWC Municipal Achiever Gold Award in recognition of the Downtown Pullman Riverwalk project, as one which significantly improved the quality of life in our community. As envisioned, the pathway and bridges increase the flow of non-motorized traffic into the downtown area and the Pine Street Plaza terminus provides a place where people are attracted, where they meet, mingle and connect. The collaborative project stimulated innovative design changes to offset skyrocketing costs of building materials and generated more than $400,000 in private donations.
In 2006, the city of Pullman was recognized by the Washington State Department of Ecology for outstanding leadership in making Pullman a more livable community by retrofitting 13 transit vehicles and 3 city vehicles with equipment to reduce emissions through the Diesel Retrofit Program.
In 2005, Pullman was selected by Seattle Business Monthly as the second best location in the state under its survey of “Best Cities for Business.” Cities were measured in eleven categories that focused on “finding communities that would offer companies the best combination of economic factors, including educated employees, low living costs, a concentration of businesses and a good quality of life.”
For consecutive years beginning in 2005, the city of Pullman has received the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) Employee Benefit Trust WellCity Award for excellence in promoting employee health.
Also in 2005, the city of Pullman received a Diversity Champion award in recognition of the Finding the Center conference collaboration.
In 2000, Demographics Daily rated 632 non-metropolitan U.S. cities with 10,000 to 50,000 residents. Pullman was ranked by the publication as the #1 “Dreamtown” in the state of Washington and #26 in the nation. The criteria for selection were vitality, supply of good jobs, freedom from stress, connection to cultural mainstream, support for schools, access to health care, and low cost of living.