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Kent, Washington
City
Kent Station, Kent Regional Library (top right) and Kent Sounder Station in 2009
Kent Station, Kent Regional Library (top right) and Kent Sounder Station in 2009
Flag of Kent, Washington
Flag
Location of Kent in King County, Washington
Location of Kent in King County, Washington
Kent, Washington is located in the United States
Kent, Washington
Kent, Washington
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Washington
County King
Incorporated May 28, 1890
Government
 • Type Mayor–council
Area
 • Total 34.42 sq mi (89.14 km2)
 • Land 33.75 sq mi (87.41 km2)
 • Water 0.67 sq mi (1.73 km2)
Elevation
43–500 ft (13-152 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 136,588
 • Rank US: 206th
 • Density 3,968.3/sq mi (1,532.29/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
98030, 98031, 98032, 98035, 98042, 98064, 98089
Area code(s) 253
FIPS code 53-35415
GNIS feature ID 1530952
Website KentWA.gov

Kent is a city in King County, Washington, United States. It is part of the Seattle–Tacoma–Bellevue metropolitan area and had a population of 136,588 as of the 2020 census, making it the fourth-largest municipality in greater Seattle and the sixth-largest in Washington state. The city is connected to Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma via State Route 167 and Interstate 5, Sounder commuter rail, and commuter buses.

Incorporated in 1890, Kent is the second-oldest incorporated city in King County, after Seattle. It is generally divided into three areas: West Hill (mixed residential and commercial along Interstate 5), Valley (primarily industrial and commercial with some medium-density residential; significant parkland along Green River), and East Hill (primarily residential with retail).

History

The Kent area was first permanently settled by westerners in the early 1860s along the banks of (what was then) the White River, and originally called Titusville. (There is still a 'Titusville Station' sign on Gowe Street near First Avenue.)

During the 1880s the town discovered hops production as the major source of income. Due to an aphid invasion which affected hops crops in Europe, hops from the Puget Sound area were commanding high prices. Hops were shipped from Titusville either by the river or via rail. In 1889 the town was renamed for the County of Kent, the major hops producing region in England. Hops production in the White River valley came to an end soon after its own invasion of aphids in 1891.

Kent was officially incorporated on May 28, 1890 with a population of 793, the second city incorporated in King County. Seattle was the first.

After the turn of the 20th century the area turned to dairy farming, and was home to a Carnation Condensed Milk plant. Flooding from both the Green and the White Rivers was a constant problem. In 1906, flooding changed the course of the White River, which reduced the flood hazard by half. The Green River continued to present problems until the creation of the Howard A. Hanson Dam at Eagle Gorge in 1962.

During and after the Great Depression, Kent was known as the "Lettuce Capital of the World." After WWII, Kent began to grow more rapidly. From 1953 to 1960 the city's size grew twelve-fold. In 1965 Boeing began building in Kent, followed a few years later by other aerospace and high-tech companies.

In 1992, the Greater Kent Historical Society was formed to promote the discovery, preservation and dissemination of knowledge about the history of the greater Kent area. In 1996, the City of Kent purchased the historic Bereiter house, the home of one of Kent's early mayors, for use as the Kent Historical Museum. The museum is operated by the Greater Kent Historical Society.

In 2009, Kent got its first sports team when WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds moved into the ShoWare Center.

Geography

Kent is divided into three major regions: East Hill, the Valley, and West Hill. Downtown Kent is located on the east side of the valley; the rest of the valley is almost entirely covered by warehouses. There is a good view of Mt. Rainier to the southeast.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.19 square miles (75.60 km2), of which, 28.63 square miles (74.15 km2) is land and 0.56 square miles (1.45 km2) is water. Major waterways include the Green River, which flows north through Kent on its way to Puget Sound. The largest lake is Lake Meridian on the city's East Hill.

Nearby cities include Renton and Tukwila to the north, Covington and Maple Valley to the east, Auburn to the south, and Federal Way, Des Moines and SeaTac to the west.

Transportation

Kentsounderstation
Kent Station during the night.

There are several major freeway and highway in or near Kent, including Interstate 5, State Route 167, and State Route 516, and, as a result, a much greater traffic density during rush hour. Kent is also central to King County Metro transit, with the Kent Station providing service to many destinations, including downtown Seattle by multiple commuter buses, the Sounder Commuter Rail, and local bus service. Heavy rail service includes two major north-south lines through the Kent Valley, with freight traffic operations by the BNSF and Union Pacific railroads.

Parks

Kent's extensive park system includes 73 parks, miniparks, playfields, skateparks, greenbelts, and other related facilities. These parks range in size from as little as 4,300 square feet (400 m2) to over 160 acres (0.65 km2).

Climate

Climate data for Kent, 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)
103
(39.4)
99
(37.2)
96
(35.6)
86
(30)
74
(23.3)
69
(20.6)
103
(39.4)
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) 32
(0)
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)
34
(1.1)
43.8
(6.57)
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

City landmarks

Kent has designated the following landmarks:

Name Constructed Designated
Emil W. Bereiter House 1907 2008
Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks 1982 2008
Saar Pioneer Cemetery 1873 2010

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 853
1900 755 −11.5%
1910 1,908 152.7%
1920 2,282 19.6%
1930 2,320 1.7%
1940 2,586 11.5%
1950 3,278 26.8%
1960 9,017 175.1%
1970 17,711 96.4%
1980 22,961 29.6%
1990 37,960 65.3%
2000 79,524 109.5%
2010 92,411 16.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 92,411 people, 34,044 households, and 21,816 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,227.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,246.3/km2). There were 36,424 housing units at an average density of 1,272.2 per square mile (491.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 55.5% White (49.7% Non-Hispanic White), 11.3% African American, 1.0% Native American, 15.2% Asian, 1.9% Pacific Islander, 8.5% from other races, and 6.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.6% of the population.

There were 34,044 households, of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.6% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.9% were non-families. 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.5% 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 3.31.

The median age in the city was 33 years. 26.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 30.6% were from 25 to 44; 24.3% were from 45 to 64; and 8.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.9% male and 50.1% female.

Recreation and entertainment

In 2003, Kent was named Sports Illustrated's Sportstown of the year for Washington. In January 2006, a major new entertainment center, known as Kent Station, opened in downtown Kent adjacent to the transit station of the same name.

The 2012 Skate America figure skating competition was held in Kent from October 19 to 21, 2012, at ShoWare Center.

In July 2015, Kent hosted the inaugural Junior Roller Derby World Cup.

Showarecenter
ShoWare Center Home of the Seattle Thunderbirds.

Events

  • Kent Saturday Market

Entertainment

The people of Kent are also often fans of the Seattle Seahawks an NFL team, the Seattle Sounders FC, a MLS team, the Seattle Mariners, an MLB team, and the former NBA team the Seattle SuperSonics in the nearby city of Seattle.

Sister cities

Kent has the following sister cities:

Economy

The economy of Kent consists of commuters traveling to the main urban centers of the Seattle metropolitan area (particularly downtown Seattle), extensive manufacturing and warehousing within the city, and retail/personal services catering to residents. Kent's manufacturing and distribution area ranks are the 4th largest in the United States.

Corporate headquarters in Kent include Oberto Sausage Company, Seattle Bicycle Supply, Omax Corporation and aerospace manufacturer Blue Origin. Amazon, Boeing, Whirlpool and General Electric operate sizable facilities in the city. Due to its central location within the metropolitan area, Kent is home to a large and growing warehouse district. To honor the 100th anniversary of Oberto Sausage Company's presence in the city, the city designated a section of South 238th Street as Oberto Drive in May 2018.

Boeing

Boeing Kent Space Center was opened with a public dedication ceremony on October 24, 1964. Keynote speakers at the event were William "Bill" Allen, Chairman and CEO of The Boeing Company; future Washington Governor Dan Evans; and Alex Thorton, Mayor of the City of Kent. The event featured public tours of the labs and facilities that were used to build the Lunar Roving Vehicles used in the Apollo program.

Steel

Kent is home to a large steel industry dating back to the early 20th century. Steel and metal manufacturers include:

  • Salmon Bay Steel Company: Operated in Kent for 50 years before closing down. Birmingham Steel purchased Salmon bay in 1991. Salmon bay went on to buy Bethlehem Steel (Seattle Steel) in West Seattle. Years after the purchase, complaints were made of pollution in the Green River valley about pollution from the Salmon Bay melting facility, and the facility was shut down.
  • Puget Sound Steel: Puget Sound Steel is an independently owned and operated-unique specialty fabricator of reinforcing steel and a supplier of related reinforcement products, since 1961. Puget Sound Steel has been the Northwest's select supplier of fabricated rebar and steel reinforcement to commercial, highway, industrial, and residential building contractors. Works include large scale projects including bridges and skyscrapers.
  • Pacific Metal Company: In 1947, started in Seattle and opened a 19,000 square foot plant. The business and facilities continued to grow for 30 years to meet local needs as well as the emerging markets of Alaska. Even the expanded 40,000 square foot warehouse and sales office was deemed insufficient, and in 1979, an 80,000 square foot facility was built south of the city of Seattle in the Kent Valley at Tukwila. In September 2010 PMC moved to a new location just 3 miles SE in the city of Kent, Washington. Pacific Metal Company is a stocking distributor of non-ferrous metals specializing in stainless steel, copper, aluminum, and brass products as well as ferrous products specializing in Cold Rolled, Coated (Zinc and Aluminum) and pre-painted coils and sheets.
  • TMX Aerospace: TMX Aerospace, a division of ThyssenKrupp Steel North America; provides materials including steel, brass, and copper as well as exclusive supply chain management support for the Boeing Commercial Airplanes group.

Largest employers

According to the city's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the largest employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Amazon 4,264
2 Kent School District 2,930
3 Boeing 2,480
4 Exotic Metals Forming Co. 1,186
5 Blue Origin 1,031
6 REI 874
7 Carlisle Interconnect Industries 845
8 City of Kent 715
9 Alaska Airlines 647
10 King County (Maleng Regional Justice Center) 630

Notable people

  • Ely Allen, University of Washington, and Major League Soccer player
  • Earl Anthony, professional bowler
  • Kelly Bachand, contestant of History Channel's Top Shot Season 1, raised in Kent
  • Red Badgro, NFL and MLB player, inductee Pro Football Hall of Fame
  • John Bastyr, influential advocate of naturopathic medicine, namesake of Bastyr University
  • Karl Best, former Major League Baseball relief pitcher for Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins
  • Josie Bissett, actress, Melrose Place
  • Betty Bowen, journalist and art promoter
  • Demitrius Bronson, professional football player Miami Dolphins
  • John Bronson, professional football tight end for Arizona Cardinals
  • Conner Cappelletti, Guam international soccer player
  • Ernie Conwell, NFL player
  • Rebecca Corry, comedian/actress
  • Billy Crook, Major League Soccer (MLS) defender
  • Daphne Loves Derby, indie-pop rock band
  • Michael Dickerson, professional basketball player, Houston Rockets and Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies
  • Jeff Dye, comedian and actor, was born and grew up in Kent
  • Robin Earl, NFL fullback and tight end
  • Jason Ellis, professional basketball player
  • Kai Ellis, CFL player
  • Michelle Font, Miss Washington USA
  • The Fung Brothers, comedians, rappers; raised in Kent
  • Melissa Goad, actress and model
  • Abdulameer Yousef Habeeb, Iraqi artist and calligrapher, lived in U.S. as refugee
  • Matt Hague, first baseman for Toronto Blue Jays
  • Ben Haggerty, rapper Macklemore
  • Marcus Hahnemann, professional soccer goalkeeper
  • Al Hairston, professional basketball player for Seattle SuperSonics, head coach for Bowling Green University
  • Peter Hallock, composer and organist
  • Tess Henley, singer-songwriter and pianist
  • Shannon Higgins-Cirovski, soccer player in Hall of Fame
  • Jeff Jaeger, NFL kicker
  • Billy Jones, college baseball player, coach of Appalachian State Mountaineers
  • Reggie Jones, NFL cornerback
  • Nicole Joraanstad, curler, 2009 Olympic gold medalist
  • Mike Karney, college and professional football player
  • Stefano Langone, American Idol contestant
  • Danny Lorenz, professional hockey player for New York Islanders
  • Ellen MacGregor, author
  • William M. Marutani, judge
  • Kenny Mayne, ESPN analyst
  • Victor Aloysius "Vic" Meyers, jazz bandleader and Democratic politician, "Clown Prince of Politics"
  • PZ Myers, biology professor at University of Minnesota Morris and intelligent design critic
  • Bob Nelson, screenwriter and Almost Live! cast member, Academy Award nominee for Nebraska
  • Danny Pierce, painter, printmaker and sculptor
  • Brenda Raganot, professional bodybuilder
  • Simon Peter Randolph, pioneer steamboat captain
  • Dave Reichert, U.S. Representative, Republican Party
  • Mike Roberg, NFL tight end
  • Jerry "The King" Ruth, professional drag racer
  • Peter Schweizer, journalist
  • Joshua Smith, Georgetown and UCLA basketball player
  • Rick Sortun, former professional football offensive lineman for the St. Louis Cardinals
  • Usaia Sotutu, runner who represented Fiji at 1972 Summer Olympics
  • Rodney Stuckey, basketball player for Detroit Pistons
  • Alameda Ta'amu, NFL player for Kansas City Chiefs
  • Harvey Thomas, luthier, built distinctive guitars in 1960s
  • Courtney Thompson, UW and US national team volleyball player, set NCAA assist record
  • Mason Tobin, professional baseball player
  • Kyle Townsend, record producer, composer and musician
  • Toussaint Tyler, NFL running back
  • Brian Tyms, professional football player, New England Patriots
  • Courtney Vandersloot, basketball player and 2021 WNBA Finals Champion for Chicago Sky
  • Dave Wainhouse, professional basketball and Major League Baseball player
  • Cam Weaver, professional soccer player, Seattle Sounders FC

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