Frank Tiegs, influential NW potato exec, developer, vast Tri-Cities land owner, dies

Frank S. Tiegs, who owned Oregon Potato and a dozen other companies along with half of the land in West Richland and a world-class collection of muscle cars, died Feb. 8 at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

He was 66.

Tiegs kept a low public profile but his vast land holdings, business acumen and support of development made him one of the most influential Tri-Citians in a generation.

His holdings included Washington Potato, Flav-R-Pac and at least a dozen related businesses that extended his reach from growing to processing to marketing, finance and development.

“He probably did more things in irrigated agriculture than any other individual,” said Darryl Olsen, board representative for the Columbia Snake River Irrigators Association, which worked closely with him on water issues.

“He was extremely thorough. He was extremely detailed and he certainly knew water law,” Olsen added.

Tiegs also owned the Lewis and Clark Ranch in West Richland. In 2022, the Tri-City Herald reported he had set aside more than 7,700 acres for development — land that was already in the city limits and represented roughly half the city’s 22 square miles.

The Heights at Red Mountain Ranch is near the base of Red Mountain in West Richland. More housing was planned on 750 acres that were once part of the Lewis and Clark Ranch, owned by Tiegs
The Heights at Red Mountain Ranch is near the base of Red Mountain in West Richland. More housing was planned on 750 acres that were once part of the Lewis and Clark Ranch, owned by Tiegs

Tiegs told the Herald at the time he expected that ranch to follow a similar path as his Red Mountain development, with 30 to 40 developers participating in the work.

Tiegs was born in Nampa, Idaho, and lived in the Tri-Cities since 1979. A car enthusiast, his death was mourned publicly by the organizations he touched.

Pacific Raceways celebrated on Facebook his love for drag racing and car collecting, as well as his support for major events, including the NHRA Northwest Nationals.

The Tri-Cities Camaro Club said its members were fortunate to view Tiegs’ collection of classic American muscle cars before 28 were auctioned in Scottsdale, Ariz., at the Barrett-Jackson 2024 Auction, held Jan. 20-29.

Barrett-Jackson raved about Tieg’s cars, saying his collection represented the “golden age of American muscle cars” and included some of the most significant models produced in the 1960s and 1970s, all in pristine condition.

Tiegs died of natural causes.

Life Tributes Cremation Center in Kennewick is in charge of arrangements.