Renton, Washington

Renton, Washington

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Location of Renton in
King County and Washington
Renton, Washington

Location in the United States

Coordinates: 47°29′12″N 122°11′43″W / 47.48667°N 122.19528°W / 47.48667; -122.19528Coordinates: 47°29′12″N 122°11′43″W / 47.48667°N 122.19528°W / 47.48667; -122.19528
Country United States
State Washington
County King
  Mayor Denis Law
  Total 23.54 sq mi (60.97 km2)
  Land 23.12 sq mi (59.88 km2)
  Water 0.42 sq mi (1.09 km2)
Elevation 46–410 ft (14–125 m)
Population (2010)[2]
  Total 90,927
  Estimate (2015)[3] 100,242
  Rank US: 302nd
  Density 3,932.8/sq mi (1,518.5/km2)
  City Proper
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
  Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 98055–98059
Area code(s) 425
FIPS code 53-57745
GNIS feature ID 1512599[4]

Renton is a city in King County, Washington, United States. Situated 11 miles (18 km) southeast of downtown Seattle, Washington, Renton straddles the southeast shore of Lake Washington, at the mouth of the Cedar River. While long an important salmon fishing area for Native Americans, Renton was first settled by people of European descent in the 1860s, and its early economy was based on coal mining, clay production, and timber export. Today, Renton is best known as the final assembly point for the Boeing 737 family of commercial airplanes, but it is also home to a growing number of well known manufacturing, technology, and service companies, including Boeing, Paccar, GEICO, Parallels, Inc., Providence Health & Services, and Wizards of the Coast. As of 2016, the population in Renton is 101,300,[5] up from 90,927 at the 2010 census. Renton currently contains the 8th largest population in the state, and is the 4th largest in King County. The National Football League's Seattle Seahawks have a training facility in Renton. It is the second-largest facility in the NFL at 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2).


Among the first European settlers in Renton were Henry Tobin and his wife Diana Tobin. The town of Renton was founded as the Renton Cooperative Coal Organization on February 16, 1895 by Erasmus M. Smithers. Smithers discovered coal there and brought in Charles D. Shattuck as the coal mine operator. Renton was incorporated as a city in 1901 (September 6) when coal mining and timber processing were the most important economic industries in the area. The town was prone to flooding from the Cedar and Black Rivers. In 1916 the completion of the Lake Washington Ship Canal lowered the surface of Lake Washington several feet which consequently eliminated drainage of Lake Washington through the Black River. The Cedar River was then diverted to drain into Lake Washington instead of the Black River. The culmination of these actions reduced the threat of annual flooding.

The population sharply increased during World War II when Boeing built their Renton Factory to produce the B-29 Superfortress.

The game company Wizards of the Coast also is headquartered in Renton. Providence Health System has centralized its administrative offices in Renton.

Owing to its location at the confluence of three major freeways (I-5, I-405, and SR 167), Renton's economic development team has lured a number of specialty retailers that draw consumers from around the region, including Fry's Electronics and IKEA.[6] Some retail establishments were unwanted though, and the city successfully defended zoning restrictions on pornographic theaters before the U.S. Supreme court in Renton v. Playtime Theatres, Inc.

Renton has a unique and well-loved institution in its library, built directly over the Cedar River. Designed by Johnston-Campanella & Co. in 1964 and opened in 1966, the Cedar River Library stretches 80 feet (24 m) across the river, next to Liberty Park. The library was annexed into the King County Library system in 2010. The walkway in front of the library's entrance forms a deck from which salmon can be viewed as they make their way up the river, particularly during spawning season. In 2011, the iconic building was the center of much controversy, with the City of Renton and the King County Library System developing plans to build a new library closer to the downtown core. Residents wishing to retain the library in its river setting sponsored a petition, and were ultimately successful in convincing City leaders to put the issue to a vote of the people. On August 7, 2012, Renton voters decided the fate of the library with Proposition 1, and found 76% of the voting population supporting the Cedar River location.[7] Discussions ensued between citizen activist groups, city leaders and KCLS over how the library plans would move forward in light of this change, and what affect it would have on the Highlands Library project.[8] The library renovation moved ahead with a design by Miller Hull Architects. The newly renovated Renton Library opened on August 22, 2015.

New developments

Formerly synonymous with the large industrial companies such as Boeing, and Kenworth, a pattern of future development was established with the attraction of the first IKEA in the Pacific Northwest to Renton in 1994. February 2007 saw the expansion of the Federal Aviation Administration's Northwest Mountain Regional Office across the street from its current headquarters.[9][10][11] A new branch of the Federal Reserve Bank now calls Renton home, beginning operations in the spring of 2008 on the site of the former Longacres horse-racing track.[12]

To date, myriad development of major retail, residential, and revitalization projects are amidst planning, in construction, or have been successfully executed. Among which include Port Quendall, a land parcel in north Renton, that has become the new home to the Virginia Mason Athletic Center (VMAC), housing the Seattle Seahawks Headquarters and training facility that opened in August 2008; before then, the Seahawks trained in Kirkland, Washington. The team's new state-of-the-art Renton facility, at an expansive 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2), is the second-largest facility in the NFL.[13]

In the mid-1990s, Renton undertook a major redevelopment effort to revitalize its downtown core, which had declined in commercial prominence since the opening of the Southcenter Mall in Tukwila in 1968. The many car dealerships that had previously occupied the center of downtown Renton were encouraged through economic incentives to relocate to a newly created auto sales zone close to the I-405/SR-167 interchange. In place of the old dealerships downtown, a new transit center and parking garage were built in partnership with King County Metro. Simultaneously, a number of privately developed mixed-use residential and retail buildings were also built within a one block radius of the transit center, allowing for one-bus commutes to Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, and other employment centers. A new town square, The Piazza, was constructed next to the transit center, and an existing car dealership building was heavily remodeled into an events center, now known as the Pavilion Building. The Piazza is home to a weekly Farmers' Market during the summer months, as well as other community events throughout the year, while the city-owned Pavilion Building can be rented for parties, fundraisers, and other events, with onsite catering provided by a private caterer.

Renton Transit Center

Centered on former Boeing Co. property near the south shore of Lake Washington is a 68 acres (280,000 m2) development named The Landing.[14] Two high-end apartment communities at The Landing, The Sanctuary and The Reserve, contain a combined 880 residences, targeting a young professional demographic. The first commercial tenants of The Landing arrived in October 2007, and as of March 2012, 80% of the retail space was occupied.[15] The nearby Southport development, located directly on the shoreline of Lake Washington, was once the site of the Shuffleton power plant until it was demolished in 2001. Southport is now home to The Bristol luxury apartments, but further development in the form of mid-rise commercial office towers is anticipated.


Renton is located at 47°29′12″N 122°11′43″W / 47.486622°N 122.195163°W / 47.486622; -122.195163 (47.486622, -122.195163),[16] on the southeast shore of Lake Washington.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 23.54 square miles (60.97 km2), of which, 23.12 square miles (59.88 km2) is land and 0.42 square miles (1.09 km2) is water,[1] most of which is the Cedar River. Potential Annexation Areas (PAAs) include the communities of Fairwood southeast of Renton, the East Renton Plateau on the eastern edge of Renton, and West Hill northwest of Renton. These communities are large unincorporated urban areas that are encouraged by the King County Annexation Initiative[17] to incorporate as cities or annex into neighboring cities. As of 2012 these three PAAs are not part of the City of Renton, and not included in its demographics or statistics.

Renton is among a handful of cities in the Puget Sound Region with an independent street grid system. Roads names beginning with sectional divisions (N 32nd ST) generally follow a latitudinal direction, while roads names ending in a sectional direction (Duvall Ave NE) generally follow a longitudinal direction. Many of the avenues in the city are named in honor of other cities in Washington. The city also has its own housing authority. This helps the city to avoid higher regional taxes.

Renton is bordered to the north by the city of Newcastle, Washington. Along the east side of Renton is the border of the Urban Growth Boundary established by King County,[18] as such there is no incorporated city directly east of Renton. The geographical characteristics of Renton's eastern border are varied and include (from north to south) the south flank of Cougar Mountain descending southward merging with the community of May Valley. The terrain then elevates south of May Valley to the communities of the East Renton Plateau before descending to the north bank of the Cedar River. Renton is bordered to the south by the city of Kent, Washington. The western border consists of the city of Tukwila, Washington, and finally the unincorporated King County community West Hill and Lake Washington to the northwest.

Areas of Renton

Downtown Renton
In 2015, ESRI estimated that in Downtown Renton the total population was 3,019 and the average household income was $50,809.[19]
North Renton
In 2015, ESRI estimated that in North Renton the total population was 8,211 and the average household income was $79,387.[19]
Northeast Renton
In 2015, ESRI estimated that in Northeast Renton the total population was 44,626 and the average household income was $93,556.[19]
Southeast Renton
In 2015, ESRI estimated that in Southeast Renton the total population was 39,066 and the average household income was $78,424.[19]
Southwest Renton
In 2015, ESRI estimated that in Southwest Renton the total population was 3,551 and the average household income was $64,661.[19]


Climate data for Renton, 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
Average precipitation inches (mm) 5.3


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2015100,242[21]10.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[23]
2015 estimate[3]
Seattle Car and Foundry works (Paccar) plant in Renton 1916.

As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $45,820, and the median income for a family was $55,747. Males had a median income of $40,765 versus $31,543 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,346. About 7.0% of families and 9.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.5% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 90,927 people, 36,009 households, and 21,849 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,932.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,518.5/km2). There were 38,930 housing units at an average density of 1,683.8 per square mile (650.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 54.6% White (49.4% Non-Hispanic White), 10.6% African American, 0.7% Native American, 21.2% Asian, 0.8% Pacific Islander, 6.2% from other races, and 5.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.1% of the population.

There were 36,009 households of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.2% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.3% were non-families. 30.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.16.

The median age in the city was 35.2 years. Of residents 23.2% were under the age of 18; 8.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 33.5% were from 25 to 44; 24.4% were from 45 to 64; and 10.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.5% male and 50.5% female.


Renton Public Library straddles the Cedar River

Boeing Commercial Airplanes,[24] Boeing Capital,[25] Providence Health & Services,[26] and Wizards of the Coast have their headquarters in Renton.[27]

The Boeing Renton Factory has operated since World War II when it manufactured the B-29 Superfortress, and currently produces the 737 airliner. The Renton plant produced the Jetfoil and Pegasus class hydrofoils in the 1970s. As of 2001, 40% of all commercial aircraft in the air were assembled in Renton. Boeing remains the largest employer in Renton, which is home to over 10,000 employees and three of the aerospace giant's six major business divisions: Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Boeing Capital Corporation and the Shared Services Group. The local newspaper in the 1970s, the Record Chronicle, proclaimed the city the jet capital of the world.

Paccar has traditionally been a large employer in the city as well with its Kenworth Truck plant located in Renton's industrial area on the south end of Lake Washington. In 1907 the Seattle Car Mfg Company also known as the Car Company moved to a large manufacturing plant in Renton after demand for the company's railroad equipment exceeded the capacity of its Seattle plant. The Car Company was the only manufacturer of train cars on the west coast. The Renton plant expanded to foundry capabilities in 1911, and Seattle Car and Foundry Co merged with the Twohy Brothers of Portland in 1917 and became the Pacific Car and Foundry Company or Paccar. During the great depression the Renton Paccar plant developed power winches for use in the logging industry. When World War II arrived the Renton manufacturing switched its production towards the war effort, and by the wars end in 1945 had built 1,500 Sherman Tanks. In the second half of the 20th century there was not enough repeat business for Paccar-built train cars as rail equipment in 1965 came to only 1/3 of the company's sales. Thus the Paccar Renton plant began manufacturing structural steel until the 1970s recession. In the early 1980s the Paccar Railcar Division; the last remnants of the original Pacific Car and Foundry Co closed down. In 1993 a new Kenworth assembly plant opened on the former site of Pacific Car and Foundry.[28]

Top employers

According to Renton's 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[29] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Boeing Company 14,428
2 Valley Medical Center 2,267
3 Renton School District No. 403 1,779
4 Federal Aviation Administration 1,480
5 Paccar 1,290
6 Providence Washington Regional Services Center 1,093
7 Renton Technical College 858 (2009)
8 City of Renton 722
9 ER Solutions 521 (2009)
10 King County 516 (2011)
11 Providence Health & Services 476
12 Puget Sound Educational Services District #121 364
13 Convergent Outsourcing Inc. 345
14 Walmart 322 (2009)


Renton Technical College, opened in 1942 originally as a war production school, offers associate degrees and certificates of completion in professional-technical fields.

Students in public schooling from Kindergarten to twelfth grade primarily attend schools within the Renton School District.[30] Additionally, the Issaquah School District[31] as well as the Kent School District[32] serve small portions of unincorporated Renton neighborhoods.

The Renton School District includes the following high schools (grades 9–12):

Middle schools (grades 6–8):

Elementary schools (K–5)

The southern region of the Issaquah School District includes the following schools in unincorporated Renton neighborhoods:

The northeastern region of the Kent School District includes the following schools in unincorporated Renton neighborhoods:

Sister cities

Renton, Washington's Sister Cities are Nishiwaki, Hyogo (established 1969), and Cuautla, Jalisco (established 2001)."[34]


Renton is served by King County Metro and Sound Transit Express buses. Clayton Scott Field (KRNT), located just north of downtown Renton, houses several facilities that offer charter services and flight training.

Notable residents


  1. 1 2 "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  2. 1 2 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  3. 1 2 "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  4. "Renton". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  5., Site designed by Phinney/Bischoff Design House :. "Renton". Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  6. "IKEA to build a new, 2 story store at current location in Renton". City of Renton. Retrieved 5 October 2015. External link in |website= (help)
  7. Nelson, Dave. "UPDATE: Cedar River Library Overwhelming Favorite of Renton Voters". Renton Patch. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  8. Nelson, Dave. "What's Next For The Renton Library?". Renton Patch. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  9. Tucker, Melanie. "FAA Lands in Renton". CoStar Group. External link in |website= (help)
  10. , Renton State of the City 2007
  11. , Unico Properties FAA building
  12. "Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Opens Its New Seattle Branch Building in Renton". Reuters. External link in |website= (help)
  13. . Virginia Mason Medical Center Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. "South Lake Washington". City of Renton.
  15. The Landing in Renton Continues to Grow
  16. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  17. , additional text.
  18. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. 1 2 3 4 5 "City of Renton". City of Renton. Retrieved 2016-19-16. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  20. "Monthly Averages for Renton, WA". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2010-05-19.
  21. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  22. Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850-1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 331.
  23. "U.S. Decennial Census". Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
  24. "." Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Retrieved on May 15, 2012.
  25. "About Us - Overview." Boeing Capital. Retrieved on March 14, 2011.
  26. "Corporate Offices." Providence Health & Services. Retrieved on March 14, 2011.
  27. "Contact Us." Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on May 2, 2010.
  28. "106 Years in Paccar History". PACCAR Inc.
  29. "City of Renton 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" (PDF). Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  30. Archived from the original on June 26, 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  31. Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help);
  32. Kent School District. Missing or empty |title= (help); External link in |website= (help);
  33. Community Leader, Principal Judy Busch Retires Renton Reporter
  34. City of Renton. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  36. Lactis, Erik. "Jimi Hendrix childhood home torn down". The Seattle Times Company. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  37. "Part V - The stories this bike could tell". The Oregonian. July 27, 2008.
  38. "Part VI - What do you get an NBA star for his birthday?". The Oregonian. July 27, 2008.
  39. Clint Eastwood swam here: The Sammamish Review
  40. "Juno, Shacknews; primary source: 'ZACH LAVINE, BORN IN RENTON, WASHINGTON'".
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