Renton is a city in King CountyWashingtonUnited States. Situated 11 miles (21 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. The city is now a center of manufacturing, technology, and service companies, including BoeingPaccarParallels, Inc. and Providence Health & Services. The City of Renton’s population was 90,927 as of April 1, 2010 United States Census. Renton currently contains the 9th largest population in the state, and the 4th largest in King County.

Based on per capita income, Renton ranks 100th of 522 areas ranked in the state of Washington.[3]


The town of Renton was founded as a farming site by Erasmus M. Smithers who discovered coal there and brought in Charles D. Shattuck as 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 factory has continued to operate since then, and still produces 737 aircraft. It also 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 AirplanesBoeing Capital Corporation and the Shared Services Group. The local newspaper in the 1970s, the Renton 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. Game company Wizards of the Coast also is headquartered in Renton. Providence Health System has centralized is administrative offices in Renton.

Owing to its location at the confluence of three major freeways (I-5I-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.[citation needed]

Renton has a unique and well-loved institution in its library, built directly over the Cedar River. Designed by Johnston-Campanella & Co. in 1964, the Cedar River Library stretches 80 feet across the river, next to Liberty Park. 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. Most recently, the iconic building has been 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 will decide the fate of the library with Proposition 1, which asks voters to choose between remodeling the library over the river or building a new library on the west side of the Piazza downtown.

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 lease signing of another new resident, a branch of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with an address in Renton.[3] 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.[3]

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.[3]

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.

Centered on former Boeing Co. property near the south shore of Lake Washington is a 68 acres (280,000 m2) development named The Landing.[3] Designed as an “Urban Village,” The Landing offers over a half-million square-feet of retail, restaurant, and entertainment space, along with a multi-level parking garage.[3] 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. [4]. 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, -122.195163),[5] on the southeast shore of Lake Washington.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.3 square miles (44.8 km2), of which, 17.0 square miles (44.1 km2) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.7 km2) of it (1.62%) is water, 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 west of Renton. These communities are large unincorporated urban areas that are encouraged by the King County Annexation Initiative[3] to incorporate as cities or annex into neighboring cities; thus they are not part of the City of Renton, and shall not be referenced in demographic or statistical inclusion.

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 inWashington. The city also has its own housing authority. This helps the city to avoid higher regional taxes. As a result, Renton property owners enjoy the smallest average tax increases in King County.[6]

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,[3] 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 the unincorporated King County communityWest Hills, and finally Lake Washington to the northwest.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 90,927 people, 21,708 households, and 12,243 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,939.7 people per square mile (1,134.8/km2). There were 22,676 housing units at an average density of 1,331.8 per square mile (514.1/km2). The ethnic makeup of the city was 54.6%White, 10.6% African American, 0.72% Native American, 21.2% Asian, 0.50% Pacific Islander, 4.24% from other ethnicities, and 4.57% from two or more ethnicities.Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.1% of the population.

Renton Public Library straddles the Cedar River

There were 21,708 households out of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.9% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.6% were non-families. 34.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.8% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 36.9% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 10.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 98.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.9 males.

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.


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.[3] Additionally, the Issaquah School District[3] as well as the Kent School District[3] serve small portions of unincorporated Renton neighborhoods.

The Renton School District includes the following high schools (graded 9-12):

Middle Schools (grades 6-8):

Elementary Schools (K-5)

  • Benson Hill Elementary School
  • Bryn Mawr Elementary School
  • Campbell Hill Elementary School
  • Cascade Elementary School
  • Hazelwood Elementary School
  • Highlands Elementary School
  • Kennydale Elementary School
  • Lakeridge Elementary School
  • Maplewood Heights Elementary School
  • Renton Park Elementary School
  • Sierra Heights Elementary School
  • Talbot Hill Elementary School
  • Tiffany Park Elementary School

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

  • Liberty High School
  • Maywood Middle School
  • Apollo Elementary School
  • Briarwood Elementary School

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

  • Meeker Middle School
  • Northwood Middle School
  • Carriage Crest Elementary School
  • Fairwood Elementary School
  • Glenridge Elementary School
  • Ridgewood Elementary School

Notable residents

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