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Federal Way, Washington
—  City  —
Federal Way Transit Center clock, in the shape of a cut log, with The Commons At Federal Way mall and other City Center Core retail development in the background.

Location in Washington
Coordinates: 47°18′46″N 122°20′21″W / 47.31278°N 122.33917°W / 47.31278; -122.33917
Country United States
State Washington
County King
Incorporated 1990
 - Mayor Jack Dovey[1]
 - City manager Neal Beets
Area [2]
 - City 21.1 sq mi (54.8 km2)
 - Land 21.0 sq mi (54.5 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 515 ft (157 m)
Population (April 1, 2009[3])
 - City 88,580
 - Urban 84,309
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 980[01]/[03]/[23]/[63]/[93]
Area code(s) 253
FIPS code 53-23515[4]
GNIS feature ID 1534582[5]

Federal Way is a city in King County, Washington, United States. Federal Way is considered a commuter town by some people and is located between Seattle and Tacoma. Its western boundary is Puget Sound. It is bordered by Des Moines on the north, Kent, Auburn, unincorporated King County, and Milton on the east and Tacoma and Fife on the south. The population is currently 88,580.[3]



Originally a logging settlement, the area was first called "Federal Way" in 1929, when Federal Way School District #210 was created. The name derived from U.S. Route 99 (now State Route 99 or Pacific Highway South), completed that decade, which ran through the area on its way from Everett and Seattle to Tacoma. Federal Way High School was built, and about 20 years later, the name was adopted by the local Chamber of Commerce. The city was incorporated on February 28, 1990.

Commerce and attractions

Federal Way is home to Weyerhaeuser, the largest private owner of softwood timberland in the world. Weyerhaeuser has opened much of its land to the public, including two botanical gardens: the Rhododendron Species Foundation and Botanical Garden, and the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection. Federal Way is also home to the US office headquarters of World Vision.

Other attractions in the city include the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center, which features an Olympic size swimming pool and had been used for the Goodwill Games in 1990, and Celebration Park, with sports fields and wooded trails. The city has also developed many lake front and neighborhood parks and playgrounds.

Wild Waves Theme Park, the largest amusement park in the region, is known as Wild Waves and Enchanted Village. It is located on the south side of the city and is the Seattle area's only permanent amusement park. Six Flags purchased Wild Waves in December 2000. However after low sales, Six Flags sold the park in April 2007 to Parc Management LLC of Jacksonville, Fl for $31.75 million.

Federal Way is locally identified by its 1990s semi-urban development, characterized by landscaped off-street multi-structure apartment complexes and shopping centers. The Commons at Federal Way (previously Sea Tac Mall), the city's largest and only indoor shopping center, is located on S 320th St. and Pacific Hwy South (State Route 99) near the city's main Interstate 5 exit.

Major city and state parks:

  • Steel Lake Park - located on S 312th St just east of Pacific Hwy S; large lakefront area with picnic areas, playground, and boat launch.
  • Celebration Park - on 11th Ave S just south of S 324th St; with sports fields and wooded trails, and Independence Day fireworks.
  • Dumas Bay Centre - Has a beautiful 12-acre (49,000 m2) park on site with a conference and retreat facility. This park sits on the Puget Sound and looks toward the Olympic Mountain chain.[6]
  • Dash Point State Park - on SW Dast Point Rd at the west end of town; the city's only developed waterfront park, with hiking trails and campground.[7]
  • Five Mile Lake - on Military Rd S and S 364th St in the unincorporated area on the east side of town.
  • West Hylebos Wetlands Park - at S 348th St and 4th Ave S, hiking trails through wetlands.[8]
  • The BPA Trail extending from the entrance to Celebration Park west to approximately 18th Ave SW, then south to the Pierce County border. The trail is paved and lies under the Bonneville Power Administration transmission line.

Symphony tower project

In 2007, the city of Federal Way purchased a downtown lot formerly used by a defunct AMC Theatres cinema, and invited proposals from two developers, United Properties and Alpert Capital, to develop a multi-use tower project in the downtown core, adjacent to the recently-built transit center. Such a project follows in the steps of similar multi-use developments such as Kent Station in nearby Kent. The city awarded the contract to United Properties' "Symphony" project, comprising four 15-22 story towers including 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) of retail and office space, 900 housing units, and a large downtown park which would be relinquished to the city. Transfer of the land to United Properties followed by construction of the first tower was scheduled to start in mid-[2008].[9] However, in July 2008, United Properties' requested a one-year extension on the terms of the purchase agreement, citing difficulties in the credit and housing markets to acquire the necessary funds.[10]

The park portion of the Symphony development was expected to serve as the main venue for Federal Way Festival Days, an annual city celebration. Festival Days were canceled in 2008 after the city's largest mall, The Commons at Federal Way, refused to allow the festival to use its parking lots, citing an increased demand for parking after a mall revitalization, as well as loss of parking land due to the introduction of retail pad lots.


The Federal Way City Council consists of seven at-large seats who serve for staggered two-year terms. The city mayor acts as chair of the Council and is elected by the Council from among its members. As of 2008 the mayor is Jack Dovey. The city manager is Neal Beets. The city operates under the council-manager form of government.


As part of the Washington State Growth Management Act of 1990 (GMA), Federal Way, along with other Puget Sound suburban cities have identified Potential Annexation Area's (PAA's) as areas of unincorporated King County that they feel could best be serviced by them. Federal Way has indicated interest in Auburn Hills (east of the city to the Auburn city limits), Lakeland (south and east of the city to the King/Pierce County border and east to the Auburn city limits), and Star Lake (north and east of the city to the Kent city limits). In 2004, the city annexed the Northlake, East Redondo, and Parkway neighborhoods into the city, adding over 2,700 people and nearly 1 square mile (2.57 km²) of area. Other possible annexation areas include the Jovita and Camelot neighborhoods.

In February 2007, the city announced formal plans to annex the majority of unincorporated land on its east border as one PAA named East Federal Way, comprising the Star Lake, Camelot, Lakeland, and Jovita neighborhoods,[11][12] and a strip of road connecting them. Annexation of the area would add 20,000 people and nearly 7 sq. mi (18 km²) to the city, creating the 6th largest ciy in Washington by population, at over 106,000 residents and nearly 29 sq mi (75 km2). (75 km²)[13]

On August 21, 2007, residents of the proposed East Federal Way annexation area rejected annexation to Federal Way by a 66% to 34% margin.[14] Opponents of the plan, favoring remaining under direct King County government, asserted fears that increased density and higher taxes would result from annexation despite proponents showing studies that taxes and fees would be unchanged.[15]


Federal Way is located at 47°18′47″N 122°20′21″W / 47.31306°N 122.33917°W / 47.31306; -122.33917 (47.312960, -122.339173)[16].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 21.1 square miles (54.8 km²), of which, 21.0 square miles (54.5 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (0.61%) is water.

Surrounding Cities


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1970 22,485
1980 44,900 99.7%
1990 67,449 50.2%
2000 83,259 23.4%
Est. 2008 84,309 1.3%

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 83,259 people, 31,437 households, and 21,251 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,959.4/mi² (1,528.6/km²). There were 32,581 housing units at an average density of 1,549.4/mi² (598.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 61.1% White, 8.7% African American, 0.8% Native American, 17.5% Asian, 3.0% Pacific Islander, 4.2% from other races, and 4.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.5% of the population.

There were 31,437 households out of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.6% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.17.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.2% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $49,278, and the median income for a family was $55,833. Males had a median income of $41,504 versus $30,448 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,451. About 6.9% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.5% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.

Local media

Two newspapers are published within Federal Way. The Federal Way Mirror[17] and the Federal Way News.[18] The city receives additional coverage from most major media sources in both Seattle and Tacoma.

In 2008 the Federal Way Historical Society worked with Arcadia Publishing to publish Images of America: Federal Way (ISBN 0-7385-5898-2), a photographic history of the traditional Federal Way area.[19]

Noteworthy citizens

Sister cities

Federal Way has the following sister cities:[25]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Does not include area gained from annexations of county land since 2000.
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  6. ^ Dumas Bay Centre, located in Federal Way, Washington
  7. ^ Dash Point State Park
  8. ^ Friends of the Hylebos Wetlands
  9. ^ unknown (2007-07-24). "Symphony is music to Federal Way's ears". Federal Way News. Retrieved 2007-07-24.  
  10. ^ "Developers changing their tune regarding Symphony development timeline". Federal Way News. 2008-07-21. Retrieved 2008-08-11.  
  11. ^ PAA Community Level Subareas map
  12. ^ Federal Way Proposed Annexation Area map
  13. ^ Proposed East Federal Way Annexation Area
  14. ^ East Federal Way annexation information (King County)
  15. ^ Mike Archbold (2007-08-22). "Two annexation areas passing". Tacoma News Tribune. Retrieved 2008-08-17.  
  16. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  17. ^ Federal Way Mirror
  18. ^ Federal Way News
  19. ^ Maynard, Steve (2008-11-21). "Federal Way's logging roots among nuggets of book". Retrieved 2008-12-08.  
  20. ^ "Floyd Little on NFL Hall of Fame ballot". KOMO News. 2009-08-16. Retrieved 2009-10-08.  
  21. ^ "San Diego Chargers Front Office: Tom McConnaughey". Retrieved 2009-10-08.  
  22. ^ Raley, Dan (2003-09-10). "Catching up with ... Dan Spillner". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2009-10-08.  
  23. ^ Horner, Margo (2006-12-27). "A phone call away from Donald Trump". Federal Way Mirror.  
  24. ^ Federal Way Public Schools. "Federal Way Public Schools Graduates of Note: James Sun". Retrieved 2009-10-08.  
  25. ^ "Federal Way Sister City Association". Retrieved 2008-09-17.  

External links


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