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Federal Way, Washington
Five Mile Lake Park
Five Mile Lake Park
Official logo of Federal Way, Washington
"It's all within reach",
"Centered on opportunity"
Location in Washington
Location in Washington
Federal Way, Washington is located in the United States
Federal Way, Washington
Federal Way, Washington
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Washington
County King
Incorporated 1990
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Total 23.70 sq mi (61.39 km2)
 • Land 22.30 sq mi (57.74 km2)
 • Water 1.41 sq mi (3.64 km2)
515 ft (157 m)
 • Total 101,030
 • Rank US: 322nd
WA: 10th
 • Density 4,262.9/sq mi (1,645.71/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 253
FIPS code 53-23515
GNIS feature ID 1534582

Federal Way is a city in King County, Washington, located within the Seattle metropolitan area. One of the most recently incorporated cities in the county, its population was 101,030 at the 2020 census, up from 89,306 in 2010. Federal Way is the tenth-largest city in Washington and the fifth-largest in King County.


Originally a logging settlement, the area was first called "Federal Way" in 1929, when Federal Way School District #210 was created. The name derived from Federal Highway U.S. 99 (now State Route 99 or Pacific Highway South), which ran from Everett and Seattle to Tacoma. Federal Way High School opened in 1930, and the local Chamber of Commerce adopted the name in the early 1950s. The city was incorporated on February 28, 1990.

Commerce and attractions

Until 2014, Federal Way was home to Weyerhaeuser, the largest private owner of softwood timberland in the world. Weyerhaeuser has opened much of its land to the public, including two botanical gardens: the Rhododendron Species Foundation and Botanical Garden, and the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection. In 2014, the company announced it would vacate its Federal Way headquarters. City leaders have suggested promoting the location as a potential community college. Federal Way is also home to the US office headquarters of World Vision.

Other attractions in the city include the King County Aquatic Center, which features an Olympic size swimming pool and had been used for the 1990 Goodwill Games, and Celebration Park, with sports fields and wooded trails. The city has also developed many lake front and neighborhood parks and playgrounds.

The 40 acre PowellsWood Garden, known for its outstanding structural plantings and perennial borders, is located off S. Dash Point Road. This land, on a portion of the Cold Creek ravine, was purchased by Monte and Diane Powell in 1993 in order to preserve green space in an increasingly urbanized area.

Wild Waves Theme Park, the largest amusement park in the region, is known as Wild Waves and Enchanted Village. It is located on the south side of the city and is the Seattle area's only permanent amusement park. Six Flags purchased Wild Waves in December 2000. However, after low sales, Six Flags sold the park in April 2007 to Parc Management LLC of Jacksonville, Florida for $31.75 million.

Federal Way is locally identified by its 1990s semi-urban development, characterized by landscaped off-street multi-structure apartment complexes and shopping centers. The Commons at Federal Way (previously Sea Tac Mall), the city's only indoor shopping center, is located on S 320th St. and Pacific Hwy South (State Route 99) near the city's main Interstate 5 exit.

Major city and state parks

  • Steel Lake Park – located on S 312th St east of Pacific Hwy S; large lakefront area with picnic areas, playground, and boat launch.
  • Celebration Park – on 11th Ave S just south of S 324th St; with sports fields and wooded trails, and Independence Day fireworks.
  • Dash Point State Park – 53rd Ave SW & SW Dash Point Rd; the only developed waterfront park located within the city including hiking trails and campground.
  • Five Mile Lake – on Military Rd S and S 364th St in the unincorporated area east side of city.
  • West Hylebos Wetlands Park – at S 348th St and 4th Ave S, hiking trails through wetlands. The park also features two iconic buildings, namely, the nearby Barker Cabin built in 1883 which is the city's oldest known building and a 22-foot by 22-foot Denny Cabin which was once located west of present-day Seattle Center. The Denny Cabin was built by David Denny in 1889 as a real-estate office and was made from trees cut down on Queen Anne Hill.
  • The BPA Trail extending from the entrance to Celebration Park west to approximately 18th Ave SW, then south to the Pierce County border. The trail is paved and lies under the Bonneville Power Administration transmission line.
Trilliums at Dash Point State Park
Trilliums at Dash Point State Park

Downtown tower projects

In 2007, the city of Federal Way purchased a downtown lot formerly used by a defunct AMC Theatres cinema, and invited proposals from two developers, United Properties and Alpert Capital, to develop a multi-use tower project in the downtown core, adjacent to the recently built transit center. Such a project follows in the steps of similar multi-use developments such as Kent Station in nearby Kent. The city awarded the contract to United Properties' "Symphony" project, comprising four 15–22 story towers including 60,000 square feet (5,600 m2) of retail and office space, 900 housing units, and a large downtown park which would be relinquished to the city. Transfer of the land to United Properties followed by construction of the first tower was scheduled to start in mid-2008. However, in July 2008, United Properties' requested a one-year extension on the terms of the purchase agreement, citing difficulties in the credit and housing markets to acquire the necessary funds. In August 2009, United suggested scrapping the Symphony plan and instead building a performing arts center on the property, a proposal the city rejected.

In September 2009 the South Korean development firm Lander Korus joined onto the project with United. Korus proposed adding Asian elements to the building in order to attract investment and interest from the city's influential Korean population and foreign investment. However, by July 2010, after having granted United and Korus five extensions to close on the project, the city transferred the deal to another Korean developer, Twin Development, which had planned a similar project on another lot. The new developer brings a new design, with two 45-story and one 35-story mixed-use towers. As of 2011 the new developers have yet to close on the property, citing financing difficulties and have received the seventh extension on the land from the city, which expires in March 2011. The developers are banking on the city's recently granted EB-5 visa qualification to encourage foreign investment in exchange for permanent resident status. As of February 1, 2011, this deal is also dead, as the developer failed to make a required escrow deposit by the end of January.

In 2011 the city renewed its Request For Quotes for the undeveloped site, and received three proposals. The city ultimately chose a proposal by Arcadd known as the "Crystal Palace", a densely packed glass multi-tower structure where some of the towers bend outward near the top under 20 stories with a larger retail and public space pavilion at the base. The developers, however, were unable to obtain the funds by the initial deadline. After extending the deadline eight months to allow Arcadd to obtain the necessary earnest money, and still seeing no progress, the city decided to move on with a different plan. As of May 2013, plans for a downtown park and plaza complex were underway. In 2014, the lot was repaved, leaving the AMC Theaters building foundation in place, but filling inside its permiter with sod. The lot was rechristened Town Square Park and opened in early 2014. A plan for a more permanent park design on the site is being considered.

To the north of the downtown park, an elevated lot which was formerly the location of a Toys 'R' Us store has been purchased by the city, which is slated to host a planned Performing Arts and Civic Center (PACC). The PACC proposal has been controversial, largely over funding and self-sustaining concerns (a similar city project, the Federal Way Community Center, opened in 2007, ran for most of its operational history in the red), but has the support of city leaders.

Also in 2014, ahead of Veterans Day, the city introduced a 60-foot flagpole on South 320th St. between Pacific Highway South and 20th Avenue South. The pole holds a 15 by 25 foot (7.6x4.6 m) flag. While intended to be officially raised on Veterans Day, a smaller flag was raised to half mast on the pole in late October, in memory to State Representative Roger_Freeman_ who died October 29 of that year. The portion of South 320th Street from Pacific Highway to Interstate 5 was dual-named "Veterans Way" also in honor of veterans.


As part of the Washington State Growth Management Act of 1990 (GMA), Federal Way has identified areas of unincorporated King County as Potential Annexation Areas (PAAs) to be annexed to the city. Federal Way's current PAAs include Star Lake and Camelot neighborhoods in Lakeland North. Also, the neighborhoods of Parkland, Lakeland, and Jovita in Lakeland South. All of these neighborhoods are located east of the city proper. In 2004, the city annexed the Northlake, East Redondo, and Parkway neighborhoods into the city, adding over 2,700 people and nearly 1 square mile (2.57 km²) of area. While Federal Way had previously considered Auburn's West Hill, Auburn annexed that along with Lea Hill in 2007.

In February 2007, the city announced formal plans to annex the majority of unincorporated land on its east border as one PAA named East Federal Way, comprising the Star Lake, Camelot, Lakeland, and Jovita neighborhoods, and a strip of Peasley Canyon Road connecting the two areas. Annexation of the area would add 20,000 people and nearly 7 sq. mi (18 km²) to the city, creating the 6th largest city in Washington by population, at over 106,000 residents and nearly 29 sq mi (75 km2). (75 km²)

On August 21, 2007, residents of the proposed East Federal Way annexation area rejected annexation to Federal Way by a 66% to 34% margin. Opponents of the plan, favoring remaining under direct King County government, asserted fears that increased density and higher taxes would result from annexation despite proponents showing studies that taxes and fees would be unchanged.

In 2011, opponents of annexation petitioned King County to designate this same area as a township, a municipal structure that does not currently exist anywhere else in the state but which the state constitution provides for. Under the plan, township status would prevent the annexation of the area, which would be named Peasley Canyon Township. The King County Council declined to act on the proposal, and the county elections board denied the group a ballot item.


Federal Way is located at 47°18′47″N 122°20′21″W / 47.31306°N 122.33917°W / 47.31306; -122.33917 (47.312960, −122.339173).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.46 square miles (58.17 km2), of which, 22.26 square miles (57.65 km2) is land and 0.20 square miles (0.52 km2) is water.

Surrounding cities


This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Federal Way has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1990 67,554
2000 83,259 23.2%
2010 89,306 7.3%
2020 101,030 13.1%
U.S. Decennial Census

2018 population estimates

As of 2018, the population estimate for Federal Way, WA was 97,044 people, 36,408 housing units. The median household income was $62,086. 25.2% persons age 25 years and over had a bachelor's degree or higher.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 89,306 people, 33,188 households, and 22,026 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,011.9/sq mi (1,549.0/km2). There were 35,444 housing units at an average density of 1,592.3/sq mi (614.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 57.5% White (51.6% Non-Hispanic White), 9.7% African American, 0.9% Native American, 14.2% Asian, 2.7% Pacific Islander, 8.3% from other races, and 6.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.2% of the population.

There were 33,188 households, of which 35.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.6% were non-families. 26.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.3% 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 3.24.

The median age in the city was 34.9 years. 25.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.7% were from 25 to 44; 26.1% were from 45 to 64; and 10.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.0% male and 51.0% female. Federal Way has a large Korean American population at more than 5.5%, or 4,978 in the 2013 estimates.

In the city the population was spread out, with 28.2% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $49,278, and the median income for a family was $55,833. Males had a median income of $41,504 versus $30,448 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,451. About 6.9% of families and 9.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.5% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.

Sister cities

Federal Way has the following sister cities:


Largest employers

According to Federal Way's 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the largest employers in Federal Way are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Federal Way Public Schools 2,229
2 CHI Franciscan Health - St. Francis Hospital 1,014
3 World Vision International 853
4 United States Postal Service 654
5 Washington Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists 500
6 City of Federal Way 489
7 DaVita 470
8 Walmart 456
9 Fred Meyer 342
10 Costco 292
11 All Ways Caring HomeCare 247
12 Franciscan Medical Group 245
13 Virginia Mason Federal Way Medical Center 235
14 Community Integrated Services 225
15 Korean Women's Association 210



Federal Way is served by I-5 (exits at 348th Street and 320th Street) and US Highway 99.

The Federal Way Transit Center, located on 23rd Ave S, was opened in 2006 and provides bus services.

There is an ongoing project (Federal Way Link Extension) to extend Sound Transit light rail from the Angle Lake Station in the City of SeaTac to the Federal Way Transit Center. In January 2017 the final route was approved. Construction is planned to begin in 2019 and the service is expected to open for service in 2024.

Notable people

  • Tony Barnette, Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Mario Batali , chef and television personality
  • Shaun Bodiford, National Football League wide receiver
  • J. R. Celski, three-time Olympic medalist and world champion speed skater
  • Hank Conger, Major League Baseball catcher
  • Sylvia Day, bestselling novelist of Bared to You
  • Michael Dickerson, former National Basketball Association player
  • Hassani Dotson, soccer player for Minnesota United FC
  • CJ Elleby, basketball player for Portland Trail Blazers
  • Bob Ferguson, National Football League player
  • Benson Henderson, mixed martial artist and former UFC Lightweight Champion
  • Travis Ishikawa, Major League Baseball first baseman
  • Reggie Jones, Super Bowl champion, New Orleans Saints, cornerback
  • Janson Junk, Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Sam Kim, Korean-American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • Floyd Little, former National Football League player
  • Sanjaya Malakar, American Idol contestant
  • John Moe, author and host of national public radio program Wits
  • Lamar Neagle, soccer player for Seattle Sounders FC
  • Ciaran O'Brien, professional soccer player
  • Apolo Ohno, speed skater, eight-time Olympic medalist
  • Sean Okoli, soccer player for Orange County SC
  • Mike Pellicciotti, Washington State Treasurer
  • Bill Radke, former host of American Public Media's nationally broadcast shows "Weekend America" and "Marketplace Morning Report"
  • Kelyn Rowe, soccer player for Seattle Sounders FC
  • Kyle Secor, actor, Homicide: Life on the Street, Commander in Chief, Crossing Jordan
  • Dan Spillner, former Major League Baseball pitcher
  • James Sun, president of Zoodango, contestant on The Apprentice
  • Roy Thomas, Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Frank Warnke , retired member of the Washington State Legislature
  • DeAndre Yedlin, soccer player for Galatasaray

See also

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