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Auburn
Downtown Auburn in 2018, seen from the train station's parking garage
Downtown Auburn in 2018, seen from the train station's parking garage
Flag of Auburn
Flag
Nickname(s): 
A-town
Motto(s): 
"More Than You Imagined"
Location of Auburn in King County
Location of Auburn in King County
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Coordinates: 47°18′8″N 122°12′53″W / 47.30222°N 122.21472°W / 47.30222; -122.21472Coordinates: 47°18′8″N 122°12′53″W / 47.30222°N 122.21472°W / 47.30222; -122.21472
Country United States
State Washington
Counties King, Pierce
Founded June 13, 1891
Government
 • Type Mayor–council
Area
 • Total 29.87 sq mi (77.35 km2)
 • Land 29.58 sq mi (76.60 km2)
 • Water 0.29 sq mi (0.75 km2)
Elevation
82.62 ft (25 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 70,180
 • Estimate 
(2019)
81,464
 • Rank US: 420th
WA: 15th
 • Density 2,754.30/sq mi (1,063.45/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
98001, 98002, 98092, 98071
Area code(s) 253
FIPS code 53-03180
GNIS feature ID 1511974

Auburn is a city in King County, Washington, United States (with a small portion crossing into neighboring Pierce County). The population was 87,256 at the 2020 Decennial Census. Auburn is a suburb in the Seattle metropolitan area, and is currently ranked as the 15th largest city in the state of Washington.

Auburn is bordered by the cities of Federal Way, Pacific, and Algona to the west, Sumner to the south, Kent to the north, and unincorporated King County to the east. The Muckleshoot Indian Reservation lies to the south and southeast.

History

Auburn was originally incorporated as Slaughter, Washington after Lt. William Slaughter, who died in a skirmish fighting Native Americans which are now apart of the modern day Muckleshoot tribe in 1855. At the time, the main hotel in town was called the "Slaughter House." In 1893, a large group of settlers from Auburn, New York, moved to Slaughter, and renamed the town to "Auburn." Due to this history, when Auburn was building its second high school in the mid-1990s, there was a grass-roots effort to name the high school "Slaughter High School," but it was eventually decided that the name would be "Auburn Riverside High School," whose mascots are the Ravens.

There are several locations in and around Auburn on the National and State Registers of Historic Places including the Neely Mansion.

Neely Mansion Auburn WA 2006-04-02
Neely Mansion, Spring of 2006.

The city of Auburn, located 28 miles (45 km) south of Seattle, Washington, was home to some of the earliest settlers in King County. Nestled in a fertile river valley, Auburn has been both a farm community and a center of business and industry for more than 150 years. Auburn is located near the original confluence of the Green and White rivers, both of which contain runoff water from the Cascade Mountain range. The valley was originally the home of the Skopamish, Smalhkamish, and Stkamish Indian tribes. The first white men in the region were explorers and traders who arrived in the 1830s.

Settlers first came to the valley in the 1850s. In November, a military unit led by Lieutenant William Slaughter camped near what is now present-day Auburn.

A new treaty was written which provided the establishment of the Muckleshoot reservation, which is the only Indian reservation now within the boundaries of King County. The White River tribes collectively became known as the Muckleshoot tribe.

White settlers, the Neely and Ballard families began returning to the area. In 1891, the town of Slaughter incorporated. Although many older citizens considered the town's name as a memorial, many newer residents understandably felt uncomfortable with it. Within two years, the town was renamed Auburn, taken from the first line of Oliver Goldsmith's poem, The Deserted Village: "Sweet Auburn! Loveliest village of the plain."

Auburn had been a bustling center for hop farming until 1890 when the crops were destroyed by aphids. After that, the farms were mostly dairy farms and berry farms. Nevertheless, flooding was still a problem for Auburn farmers up until the Howard A. Hanson Dam was opened in 1962. This dam on the Green River, along with the Mud Mountain Dam on the White River, provided controlled river management, which left the valley nearly flood-free and opened up the rich bottom lands for industrial development.

Another impetus to Auburn's growth was the railroad. The Northern Pacific Railway's subsidiary the Northern Pacific and Puget Sound Shore Railroad opened a line from approximately Puyallup, Washington, through to Seattle, Washington, in 1882. The Seattle-Tacoma Interurban line that allowed easy access to both cities starting in 1902. The railroad, along with better roads, caused many new companies to set up business in Auburn, among them the Borden Condensery (which made Borden's Condensed Milk) and the Northern Clay Company.

Through the twentieth century Auburn grew like many American towns. Many young men went off to fight in the First World War, which was followed by the great influenza epidemic. The 1920s were prosperous for citizens, but the Great Depression of the 1930s left many in need. World War II brought great hardship to many local Japanese-American farmers when they were moved to internment camps and their land taken from them. At the same time, local boys were sent to fight in the Pacific, North Africa, and Europe. Many were wounded and some died in battle.

The post-war era was prosperous to Auburn, bringing more businesses and a community college to the city. In 1963, the Boeing Company built a large facility to mill sheet metal skin for jet airliners. As time went on, many farms disappeared as the land was converted to industrial use. In 1995, The SuperMall of the Great Northwest was built in the valley, bringing in consumers from all over the Puget Sound region.

Much of the city's transition from agricultural small town to industrial and suburban development remains. A monument in the memory of Lieutenant Slaughter, erected in 1918, still stands in a local park. The Neely Mansion, built by the son of a pioneer in 1891, has been refurbished and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Auburn's downtown still maintains a "Main Street U.S.A." appearance.

In 2008, Auburn nearly doubled its population by annexing the West Hill and Lea Hill neighborhoods of unincorporated King County.

Geography

Auburn is located at 47°18′8″N 122°12′53″W / 47.30222°N 122.21472°W / 47.30222; -122.21472 (47.302322, -122.214779).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.89 square miles (77.41 km2), of which, 29.62 square miles (76.72 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.70 km2) is water.

Two rivers, the White River and, to a greater extent, the Green River flow through Auburn.

Historically, the Stuck River ran through the settlement of Stuck, which is now a small pocket of unincorporated King County within southern Auburn. In 1906, the flow of the White River was diverted into the Stuck's channel near today's Game Farm Park. References to the Stuck River still appear in some property legal descriptions and place names, e.g. Stuck River Drive, within Auburn, but today it is essentially indistinguishable from the southern White River.

Geographic location of Auburn

Parks

Auburn has an extensive system of parks, open space and urban trails consisting of 28 developed parks, over 23 miles of trails (including Auburn's 4.5 mile portion of the Interurban Trail for bikers, walkers, runners and skaters), and almost 247 acres of open space for passive and active recreation.

Environmental Park

The Auburn Environmental Park (AEP) is an innovative project that seeks to create a regionally significant open space in an urbanized area that offers opportunities for wetland ecosystem restoration, fish and wildlife enhancement, water quality improvement, economic development, stormwater detention and flood control, public education, and recreation. The AEP is an approximately 120-acre area that is bounded by 15th Street NW to the north, the Interurban Trail to the east, West Main Street to the south and State Route 167 to the west.

Auburn's records and averages

Climate data for Auburn, Washington
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 64
(17.8)
71
(21.7)
81
(27.2)
86
(30)
92
(33.3)
100
(37.8)
99
(37.2)
99
(37.2)
96
(35.6)
86
(30)
74
(23.3)
69
(20.6)
100
(37.8)
Average high °F (°C) 47
(8.3)
51
(10.6)
55
(12.8)
61
(16.1)
67
(19.4)
72
(22.2)
77
(25)
78
(25.6)
72
(22.2)
62
(16.7)
52
(11.1)
46
(7.8)
61.7
(16.48)
Average low °F (°C) 35
(1.7)
36
(2.2)
39
(3.9)
42
(5.6)
47
(8.3)
52
(11.1)
55
(12.8)
55
(12.8)
51
(10.6)
44
(6.7)
39
(3.9)
35
(1.7)
44.2
(6.76)
Record low °F (°C) −10
(-23.3)
−5
(-20.6)
10
(-12.2)
25
(-3.9)
27
(-2.8)
33
(0.6)
38
(3.3)
34
(1.1)
28
(-2.2)
24
(-4.4)
−1
(-18.3)
3
(-16.1)
−10
(-23.3)
Precipitation inches (mm) 5.3
(135)
4.5
(114)
4.1
(104)
2.9
(74)
2.1
(53)
1.7
(43)
0.9
(23)
1.2
(30)
1.8
(46)
3.4
(86)
6.1
(155)
5.8
(147)
37.1
(942)
Source: Weather.com

Transportation

Auburn (Sounder station) located downtown is a major hub for the Green River Valley, also home to the Auburn International Farmers Market which is held on Sundays.

Auburn has many large roads nearby and within city limits, including Washington State Route 167 commonly referred as the "Valley Freeway," and Washington State Route 18. Auburn also has its own Transit Center, Auburn (Sounder station) in downtown, making it a central gateway key to access with Sound Transit to the entire Puget Sound area. Sound Transit buses connect the Auburn Transit Center directly to the Federal Way, Sumner, & Kent Transit Centers, while King County Metro buses connect the Transit Center to Green River Community College, the Super Mall, and Auburn Way.

Sounder Transit Rail allows the commuter to get to Downtown Seattle in 25 minutes or less, and to Hwy 512 S. of Tacoma in less than 35 minutes, bypassing the rush-hour gridlock of the area's streets and highways.

Until 1987 Auburn was also the home for a steam locomotive roundhouse and diesel engine house of the Northern Pacific Railway, the BNSF Railway of today. BNSF maintains a rail yard and small car repair facility, along with maintenance-of-way facilities at the former NP yard. In addition, the Auburn Municipal Airport serves the general aviation community.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 740
1900 489 −33.9%
1910 957 95.7%
1920 3,163 230.5%
1930 3,906 23.5%
1940 4,211 7.8%
1950 6,497 54.3%
1960 11,933 83.7%
1970 21,653 81.5%
1980 26,417 22.0%
1990 33,102 25.3%
2000 40,314 21.8%
2010 70,180 74.1%
2019 (est.) 81,464 16.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 70,180 people, 26,058 households, and 17,114 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,369.3 inhabitants per square mile (914.8/km2). There were 27,834 housing units at an average density of 939.7 per square mile (362.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 70.5% White, 4.9% African American, 2.3% Native American, 8.9% Asian, 1.6% Pacific Islander, 6.3% from other races, and 5.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 12.9% of the population.

There were 26,058 households, of which 36.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.3% were non-families. 25.6% 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 2.67 and the average family size was 3.22.

The median age in the city was 34.4 years. 25.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.9% were from 25 to 44; 25.5% were from 45 to 64; and 10.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.4% male and 50.6% female.

Neighborhoods

Neighborhood Map
  • Downtown—Historic buildings with a Main Street USA appearance, also many Craftsman-style houses from the 1920s.
  • North Auburn—A mix of commercial and single-family housing separated by Auburn Way North.
  • River's Bend—A small residential neighborhood nestled along the Green River, located at the bottom of Lea Hill in North Auburn.
  • Christopher/Thomas—An area in North Auburn roughly bordered by the Valley Drive Inn and 227th Street. Both are former farming towns annexed into the city in the 1960s.
  • Lea Hill, Washington—A mainly residential neighborhood east of the valley, annexed into the city in 2007. Green River Community College is located here.
  • Hazelwood—The area on Lea Hill between Green River Community College, and Auburn Mountainview High School. Once a town in the late nineteenth century.
  • West Valley—A commercial and industrial area on the west side of SR 167, located on the bottom of West Hill.
  • West Hill—Located on the West Hill, bordered by the city of Federal Way to the west.
  • South Auburn—A general area located south of downtown, once a low-income area but becoming a commercial zone.
  • Terminal Park—An area of middle class housing near the end of the rail yard named for the railroad workers who lived there.
  • Forest Villa—Mainly residential area located in the Game Farm Park area.
  • Lakeland Hills—A master-planned community sprawling on a large hillside at the southern end of the city on both sides of King and Pierce counties.
  • Hidden Valley—A planned development located East of Lakeland Hills overlooking North Lake Tapps.
  • Muckleshoot Area—The general area of the Muckleshoot Indian Reservation.

Recreation and entertainment

The Outlet Collection Seattle

The Outlet Collection Seattle, formerly SuperMall of the Great Northwest, is an outlet mall which opened in 1995.

Muckleshoot Casino & Bingo

See also: Muckleshoot

Muckleshoot Casino & Bingo, commonly known for its slogan, "The Biggest and Best in the Northwest!" is a Native American-run casino, located on the Muckleshoot Reservation. In addition to being one of the largest casinos in the Pacific Northwest, it is one of the few left in the state that allows smoking. All money made in the casino directly benefits the Muckleshoot Tribal Community, providing education and low-cost health care for tribal residents and the Auburn Community and others through charitable donations.

Emerald Downs Racetrack

Washington’s only Class One thoroughbred racetrack. A 167-acre (0.68 km2) facility. Emerald Downs' six-level stadium is focused on the finish line. The racetrack is professionally operated on land purchased by the Muckleshoot in 2002.

White River Valley Museum

The White River Valley Museum’s exhibits feature Auburn, from Native American history to the 1920s. They focus on the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, pioneer life, immigration from Europe and Japan, truck farming, railroading and the building of towns throughout the area. Visitors can visit a recreation of a pioneer cabin, climb aboard a Northern Pacific Railway caboose, and investigate a recreation of the shops in 1924 downtown Auburn.

White River Amphitheater

The White River Amphitheater is a 20,000-seat venue, located about 3 miles east of the city limits

Auburn Parks, Arts & Recreation

Auburn has an extensive system of parks, open space and urban trails: 28 developed parks, over 23 miles of trails (including Auburn's 4.5 mile portion of the Inter-urban Trail for bikers, walkers, runners and skaters), and almost 247 acres of open space for passive and active recreation. The City of Auburn also offers a variety of cultural arts programming for performing arts, visual arts, public art, special events and more! And the City's recreation division provides opportunities for the public to participate in diverse recreational programs and activities. These programs include preschool, youth, teen, and adult leisure programs; youth, teen, and adult athletics; fitness and wellness programs; programs designed to provide social and recreational opportunities to senior citizens and those with special needs, and a host of special events suitable for the entire family and community at large. The recreation division also offers a gymnasium for open gym and organized activities, and several options for facility rentals, including buildings, picnic shelters, and fields.

City landmarks

The City of Auburn has designated the following landmarks:

Landmark Built Listed Address Photo
Auburn Masonic Temple, 1923-24 2002 302-310 E. Main Street Auburn, WA - Masonic Temple 01.jpg
Auburn Post Office 1937 2000 20 Auburn Avenue NE Auburn, WA - former post office 01A.jpg
Auburn Public Library 1914 1995 306 Auburn Avenue NE Auburn, WA - Auburn Dance Center 02.jpg
Olson Farm 1897–1902 1995, 2000 28728 Green River Road S

Image gallery

Sister cities

Auburn has five sister cities -- Kent, Washington, neighboring them to the north, and Tamba, a city in the Hyōgo prefecture of Japan. The three cities participate in an annual student exchange program, as well as a summer Youth Ambassador program, and "official governmental, people-to-people, recreational, cultural, and business exchanges." The Other cities are Pyeongchang, Korea, which Auburn has a friendship exchange agreement with, and Guanghan, China, Sichuan Province in which Auburn also has a friendship exchange. In 2012 the city of Auburn established a formal sister cities agreement with Mola di Bari, Italy

Economy

Employment

As of 2019, 66.4% of the population is in the labor force with a 2.9% unemployment rate.

The Auburn Boeing Plant, opened in 1966, is the largest airplane parts plant in the world, with 2,100,000 square feet (200,000 m2) and 1.265 million parts being manufactured each year. With over 5,000 employees, the Boeing plant is the third major employer in Auburn.

Auburn is the site for the Northwest headquarters of United States General Services Administration.

According to Auburn's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of employees
1 Boeing 5,993
2 The Outlet Collection Seattle 3,208
3 Auburn School District 2,410
4 Muckleshoot Tribal Enterprises 1,650
5 Auburn Medical Center 1,580
6 Green River Community College 1,315
7 Emerald Downs 1,162
8 Safeway 870
9 Social Security Administration 660
10 Zones, Inc. 644
10 Certainteed Corporation
10 City of Auburn

Shopping

The Outlet Collection Seattle, formerly SuperMall of the Great Northwest, is an outlet mall which opened in 1995.

Education

Auburn Senior High School Front
Auburn Senior High founded in 1903.
Mountainview overview
Auburn Mountainview High, opened in 2005.

Public schools are administered by the Auburn School District. The district is larger than the city itself, serving the neighboring towns of Algona and Pacific, as well as some unincorporated areas around Auburn and Kent.

High schools

  • Auburn High School
  • Auburn Mountainview High School
  • Auburn Riverside High School
  • Auburn Adventist Academy
  • West Auburn High School

Elementary and middle schools

  • Arthur Jacobsen Elementary
  • Bowman Creek Elementary
  • Cascade Middle School
  • Chinook Elementary
  • Dick Scobee Elementary
  • Evergreen Heights Elementary
  • Gildo Rey Elementary
  • Hazelwood Elementary
  • Ilalko Elementary
  • Lake View Elementary
  • Lakeland Hills Elementary
  • Lea Hill Elementary
  • Mt. Baker Middle School
  • Olympic Middle School
  • Pioneer Elementary
  • Rainier Middle School
  • Terminal Park Elementary
  • Washington Elementary

Private and alternative schools

  • Auburn Adventist Academy
  • Rainier Christian High School

College

  • Green River Community College

Sports

Emerald Downs is a 167-acre (0.68 km2) six-level stadium and thoroughbred racetrack. The racetrack is operated on land purchased by the Muckleshoot in 2002.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Auburn station in downtown is a major hub for the Green River Valley

Auburn has many large roads nearby and within city limits, including State Route 167 (commonly referred as the "Valley Freeway") and State Route 18. Auburn also has its own transit center, Auburn station in downtown, that serves as a major hub for southern King County. Sound Transit buses connect the Auburn Transit Center directly to Federal Way, Sumner, and Kent, while King County Metro buses connect it to Green River Community College, the Super Mall, and Auburn Way.

Sounder commuter trains travel from Auburn to Downtown Seattle in approximately 30 minutes, and to Lakewood station in less than 35 minutes.

Until 1987, Auburn was home to a steam locomotive roundhouse and diesel engine house of the Northern Pacific Railway, the BNSF Railway of today. BNSF maintains a rail yard and small car repair facility, along with maintenance-of-way facilities at the former NP yard. The Auburn Municipal Airport serves the general aviation community.

Notable people

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