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Covington, Washington
Mount Rainier as seen from a Covington neighborhood
Mount Rainier as seen from a Covington neighborhood
Motto(s): 
"Unmatched Quality of Life"
King County Washington Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Covington Highlighted.svg
Country United States
State Washington
County King
Founded August 31, 1997
Government
 • Type Council–manager
Area
 • Total 6.04 sq mi (15.65 km2)
 • Land 5.93 sq mi (15.36 km2)
 • Water 0.11 sq mi (0.28 km2)
Elevation
381 ft (116 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 17,575
 • Estimate 
(2019)
21,175
 • Density 3,569.62/sq mi (1,378.28/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
98042
Area code(s) 253
FIPS code 53-15290
GNIS feature ID 1510895
Website CovingtonWA.gov

Covington is a city in King County, Washington, United States. The population was 17,575 at the time of the 2010 census. Prior to the 2010 census, Covington was counted as part of Covington-Sawyer-Wilderness CDP.

History

The area presently known as Covington was originally known as Jenkins Prairie. Between 1899 and 1900 the Northern Pacific Railway built a cut-off between Auburn, Washington and Kanaskat, Washington, improving the company's primary east-west route across Stampede Pass. Richard Covington, a surveyor for the Northern Pacific Railroad worked out of Fort Vancouver establishing the line through western Washington to complete the line from St Paul, Mn. to Auburn, Wa. According to the NP's construction records at the University of Montana's K. Ross Toole Archives, the primary contractors were banker Horace C. Henry of Seattle, Washington, and long-time railroad contractor Nelson Bennett of Tacoma, Washington, the NP's prime contractor for Stampede Tunnel, which he completed in 1888. The project engineer in Auburn was George Allen Kyle. The NP's principal assistant engineer in Tacoma, overseeing both Kyle and Bennett's work, was Charles S. Bihler.

In 1900, during the building of the Palmer Cut-Off from Kanaskat to Auburn, the Northern Pacific installed at 2,850-foot passing track, a 700-foot loading track, a second class section house (which broke down to $1,000 for construction, $100 for an outhouse, and $50 for furnishings), a 24-man bunkhouse, a box tank and standpipe for watering steam locomotives at Covington. By 1908 the tiny village was home to the Covington Lumber Company, which had set up a mill capable of cutting 85,000 board feet of timber a day. No photograph is known to exist of the station at this site, apparently built after the cut-off construction. It operated on and off until the Great Depression and was removed in 1941.

A school district was established in 1937. Over the years the area grew as an unincorporated area of Kent, Washington. Covington was officially incorporated as a city on August 31, 1997.

Geography and climate

Covington is located at 47°21′57″N 122°6′1″W / 47.36583°N 122.10028°W / 47.36583; -122.10028 (47.365780, -122.100213). The city is surrounded by Kent to the west, Auburn to the southwest, and Maple Valley to the east.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.96 square miles (15.44 km2), of which, 5.86 square miles (15.18 km2) is land and 0.10 square miles (0.26 km2) is water.

Covington features a climate nearly identical to Seattle's, but with more extremes throughout the day and the year. Summer days average a couple degrees hotter than Seattle because of its location away from the Puget Sound. Also, winter nights will be a couple degrees cooler than Seattle's. Everything else is nearly identical (sunshine, precipitation, snowfall, etc.).

Infrastructure

Transportation

The city's principal arterial is State Route 516, known locally as Southeast 272nd Street or Kent-Kangley Road, which runs through the city on its west–east route from Des Moines to Maple Valley. The only freeway that passes through the city is State Route 18, which passes through the west side of the city on a northeast–southwest route and, with its connection to Interstate 90 near Snoqualmie, is a major route used by vehicles traveling between south King County and Eastern Washington.

Public transportation is provided by King County Metro.

Emergency services

Covington contracts with the King County Sheriff's Office for police services. Deputies assigned to Covington wear Covington uniforms and drive patrol cars marked with the city logo. There are currently 11 patrol officers, one traffic officer, one detective, and one chief assigned full-time to the city.

Covington is part of the Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority (RFA), along with the cities of Kent, and SeaTac and portions of unincorporated King County. The first fire station in the city limits, a 17,385 square foot fire station was opened in 2009 on SE 256th in 2009. The RFA's board meetings are conducted in the Covington fire station.

Regional Fire Authority

Covington is part of the Kent Fire Department Regional Fire Authority (RFA), along with the cities of Kent, and SeaTac and portions of unincorporated King County. The first fire station in the city limits, A 17,385 square foot fire station was opened in 2009 on SE 256th in 2009. The RFA's board meetings are conducted in the Covington fire station.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
2000 13,783
2010 17,575 27.5%
2019 (est.) 21,175 20.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 17,575 people, 5,817 households, and 4,649 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,999.1 inhabitants per square mile (1,158.0/km2). There were 6,081 housing units at an average density of 1,037.7 per square mile (400.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 76.1% White, 4.2% African American, 0.8% Native American, 8.5% Asian, 0.6% Pacific Islander, 3.9% from other races, and 5.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.3% of the population.

There were 5,817 households, of which 46.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.2% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 20.1% were non-families. 14.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 4.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.02 and the average family size was 3.31.

The median age in the city was 34.7 years. 28.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.9% were from 25 to 44; 27.4% were from 45 to 64; and 6.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.0% male and 50.0% female.

Parks and Recreation

The City of Covington offers many services for their residents, including a fully staffed, year-round aquatic center. Aside from the Covington Aquatic Center, which offers American Red Cross accredited swimming lessons and advanced level trainings (Swim Instructor Training, American Red Cross Lifeguarding), the city also offers seasonal youth sport leagues, recreation classes, and special events. The city is also home to eight (8) city-run parks, and one municipally maintained trail.

Economy

With its rapid population growth since the city's incorporation, much of the city's income depends on the retail industry. The city's retail core, which largely developed in the 2000s, is located along the SR-516 corridor. Among the businesses in the retail core a Walmart, Kohl's, Costco, and The Home Depot.

Covington is also a regional medical hub for southeast King County with MultiCare Health Systems and Valley Medical Center each having facilities in the city. MultiCare opened a four-story hospital serving the city in 2018 with 58 beds, emergency rooms, and a family birth center.

Notable people

  • Debra Entenman, member of the Washington House of Representatives
  • Mark Hargrove, former member of Washington House of Representatives.
  • Reese McGuire, professional baseball player, first round draft pick for the Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Lindsey Moore, professional basketball player
  • Bob Smith, comic book artist for DC and Archie Comics
  • Pat Sullivan, majority leader of the Washington House of Representatives and former mayor of Covington
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