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Kent, Washington
—  City  —
Kent Station, Kent Regional Library top right, and Kent Sounder Station 2009

Location of Kent, Washington
Coordinates: 47°22′58″N 122°13′37″W / 47.38278°N 122.22694°W / 47.38278; -122.22694Coordinates: 47°22′58″N 122°13′37″W / 47.38278°N 122.22694°W / 47.38278; -122.22694
Country United States
State Washington
County King
Found May 28, 1890
 - Type Mayor-council government
 - Mayor Suzette Cooke
 - Total 28.3 sq mi (73.2 km2)
 - Land 28.0 sq mi (72.6 km2)
 - Water 0.2 sq mi (0.6 km2)
Elevation 43 ft (13 m)
Population (2009)
 - Total 88,380
 Density 2,836.7/sq mi (1,095.4/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 98030, 98031, 98032, 98035, 98042, 98064, 98089
Area code(s) 253
FIPS code 53-35415[1]
GNIS feature ID 1530952[2]

Kent is a city located in King County, Washington, United States. The second largest city in south King County and the ninth largest in the state, Kent has the third largest industrial area in the United States[citation needed]. Often considered an outlying suburb of Seattle, Kent is the corporate home for companies such as REI and Oberto Sausage. Nearby towns include Renton and Tukwila to the north, Covington to the east, Federal Way, Des Moines and SeaTac to the west, and Auburn to the south. The population was 79,524 at the 2000 census, with an estimated 2009 population of 88,380.[3]



The Kent area was first permanently settled by westerners in the early 1860s, and originally called Titusville (There is still a 'Titusville Station' sign on Gowe St).

During the 1880s the town discovered hops production as the major source of income. Due to an aphid invasion which affected hops crops in Europe[4], hops from the Puget Sound area were commanding high prices. Hops were shipped from Titusville either by the river or via rail. Eventually the town was even re-named for Kent County in England. Hops production in the valley would come to an end due to an invasion of aphids. [5]

Kent was officially incorporated on May 28, 1890 with a population of 793, the second city incorporated in King County after Seattle.[6]

After the turn of the 20th century the area turned to dairy farming, and was home to a Carnation Condensed Milk plant.[7][8] Flooding from both the Green and the White Rivers was a constant problem. In 1906, flooding changed the course of the White River, which reduced the flood hazard by half. The Green River continued to present problems until the creation of the Howard A. Hanson Dam at Eagle Gorge in 1962.[9][10]

During and after the Great Depression, Kent was known as the "Lettuce Capital of the World." After WWII, Kent began to grow more rapidly. From 1953 to 1960 the city's size grew twelve-fold. In 1965 Boeing began building in Kent, followed a few years later by other aerospace and high-tech companies.[11]

In 2009, Kent got its first sports team, with the addition of WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds moving into the city-owned ShoWare Center.


Kent is divided into three major regions: East Hill, the Valley, and West Hill. Downtown Kent is located on the east side of the valley; the rest of the valley is almost entirely covered by warehouses. There is a good view of Mt. Rainier to the southeast.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.3 square miles (73.2 km2), of which, 28.0 square miles (72.6 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.6 km2) of it is water. The total area is 0.85% water. Major waterways include the Green River, which flows north through Kent on its way to Puget Sound. The largest lake is Lake Meridian, on the city's East Hill.

Kent Station during the night.


There are several major freeways and highways in or near Kent, including Interstate 5, State Route 167, and State Route 18, and, as a result, a much greater traffic density during rush hour. Kent is also central to King County Metro transit, with the Kent Station providing service to many destinations, including downtown Seattle by multiple commuter buses, the Sounder Commuter Rail, and local bus service. Heavy rail service includes two major north-south lines through the Kent Valley, with freight traffic operations by the BNSF and Union Pacific railroads.


Kent's extensive park system includes over 60 parks, miniparks, playfields, skateparks, greenbelts, and other related facilities. These parks range in size from as little as 4,300 square feet (400 m2) to over 160 acres (0.65 km2).

Kent's Records and Averages

Climate data for Kent, Washington
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 64
Average high °F (°C) 47
Average low °F (°C) 35
Record low °F (°C) -10
Precipitation inches (mm) 5.3
Source: [12] (unknown date)


The city is governed by a mayor-council government, with a directly elected mayor and a seven-member city council. Each is elected at-large (i.e., by the entire voting population, not by districts) to four-year terms.

The current Mayor is Suzette Cooke and the current city council members are:

Elizabeth Albertson - was elected in 2005 to begin a four-year term on Kent City Council. She is a member of the Parks and Human Services committee.

Tim Clark - is chair of the Operations committee and member of the Parks and Human Services committee.

Jamie Danielson - a Kent attorney was appointed to the Kent City Council on July 15, 2008. She is currently serving as chair of the Planning and Economic Development committee and member of the Public Safety committee.

Ron Harmon - is currently chair of the Public Safety committee and a member of the Public Works committee.

Deborah Ranniger, Ph.D., - is serving her second term. She is chair of the Parks and Human Services committee and a member of the Planning and Economic Development committee.

Debbie Raplee - was elected to her first term in 2003 and is currently serving her second term. She is currently serving as chair of the Public Works committee and is a member of the Operations committee.

Les Thomas - He is a member of the Operations, Planning and Economic Development, Public Safety and Public Works committees.

Kent City Hall (right) and the Centennial Center (left), 2008.

The city maintains its own municipal police and fire departments. In addition to providing fire protection and Medic One services to the city of Kent, the Kent Fire Department is responsible for providing the same to the adjacent city of Covington and some unincorporated areas.

Public education

Public primary and secondary education in Kent and a number of neighboring cities and unincorporated areas is governed by the Kent School District. The district includes four high schools, seven middle schools, twenty-eight elementary schools and two academies. Federal Way Public Schools also has several schools within the city limits. A branch of Green River Community College opened in Kent Station in 2007.[13]

Maleng Regional Justice Center Kent, Washington.


In keeping with the King County Annexation Initiative, which seeks to annex large urban unincorporated areas into city limits or incorporate new cities out of those areas,[14] the Panther Lake area (known officially as the Kent Northeast Potential Annexation Area)[15] is currently proposed for annexation to the city of Kent. The annexation was voted on by residents of the potential annexation area on November 3, 2009; the area will become officially annexed July 1, 2010.[16] The city will grow in area by approximately 5 square miles (13 km2) and 24,000 residents.[16]


In addition to R.E.I., Oberto Sausage Company, and Seattle Bicycle Supply all being headquartered in Kent, Boeing operates a plant in the city. Kent also hosts many warehouses in its once fertile farmland, due in part to its proximity to key transportation routes. The warehouse district has started to sprawl as far as nearby Sumner, Washington. Whirlpool Corporation and General Electric Appliances are two companies with regional distribution centers in Kent.

The downtown area of Kent has been undergoing a major revitalizing process in the past decade. One particularly noticeable contribution to this process has been the development Kent Station and the ancillary shopping area.


Boeing has operated in Kent since at least 1969, when the Kent plant began building the lunar rovers used for the Apollo program.[17]


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1890 853
1900 755 −11.5%
1910 1,908 152.7%
1920 2,282 19.6%
1930 2,320 1.7%
1940 2,586 11.5%
1950 3,278 26.8%
1960 9,017 175.1%
1970 16,275 80.5%
1980 23,152 42.3%
1990 37,960 64.0%
2000 79,524 109.5%
Est. 2008 83,978 5.6%

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 79,524 people, 31,113 households, and 19,601 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,836.7 people per square mile (1,095.4/km2). There were 32,488 housing units at an average density of 1,158.9/sq mi (447.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 70.81% White, 8.23% African American, 0.98% Native American, 9.42% Asian, 0.76% Pacific Islander, 4.7% from other races, and 5.37% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.13% of the population.

There were 32,998 households out of which 35.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.0% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 35.0% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 7.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 98.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $50,053, and the median income for a family was $61,016. Males had a median income of $43,136 versus $36,995 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,390. About 8.7% of families and 11.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.7% of those under the age of 18 and 9.3% of those 65 and older.

Recreation and Entertainment

In 2003, Kent was named Sports Illustrated's Sportstown of the year for Washington. In January 2006, a major new entertainment center, known as Kent Station, opened in downtown Kent adjacent to the transit station of the same name.

ShoWare Center Home of the Seattle Thunderbirds.



Famous Past/Present Residents

Sister cities

Kent has the following sister cities, according to [1] and [2]:


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Subcounty population estimates: Washington 2000-2006" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2007-06-28. Retrieved 2008-05-28. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Monthly Averages for Seattle, WA". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  13. ^ Southeast King County News | Convenience: a great selling point for GRCC | Seattle Times Newspaper
  14. ^ King County Annexation Initiative
  15. ^ Kent Northeast annexation information - King County Official site
  16. ^ a b Annexation General FAQs - City of Kent, Washington Official site
  17. ^ "Lunar Roving Vehicle". Boeing. 
  18. ^ Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850-1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 323.
  19. ^ "Subcounty population estimates: Washington 2000-2007" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2009-05-10. 

External links


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