Kent Station, Kent Regional Library top right, and Kent Sounder Station 2009
Location of Kent, Washington in King County
|Founded||May 28, 1890|
|• Type||Mayor-council government|
|• Mayor||Suzette Cooke (R)|
|• Total||34.19 sq mi (88.55 km2)|
|• Land||33.63 sq mi (87.1 km2)|
|• Water||0.56 sq mi (1.45 km2)|
|Elevation||43-500 ft (13-152 m)|
|• Estimate (2015)||126,952|
|• Rank||US: 216th|
|• Density||3,227.8/sq mi (1,246.3/km2)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|ZIP codes||98030, 98031, 98032, 98035, 98042, 98064, 98089|
|GNIS feature ID||1530952|
Kent is a city located in King County, Washington, United States. It is the sixth largest city in the state and third largest in the county. Kent is in the heart of the Seattle–Tacoma metroplex, located 19 miles south of Seattle and 19 miles northeast of Tacoma. Incorporated in 1890, it is the second oldest incorporated city in King County after Seattle. Kent's population as of April, 2010 was 92,411 according to the 2010 census. The total grew to an estimated 126,952 as of July 1, 2015, owing primarily to annexation.
Once a thriving agricultural area, Kent is now home to hundreds of companies. Among the many corporations headquartered in Kent are REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.), Oberto Sausage Company, Blue Origin, and the two largest waterjet companies in the United States: Flow International Corporation and Omax Corporation.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Government
- 4 Economy
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Recreation and entertainment
- 7 Notable people
- 8 Sister cities
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
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.
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.
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.
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 data for Kent, Washington|
|Record high °F (°C)||64
|Average high °F (°C)||47
|Average low °F (°C)||32
|Record low °F (°C)||−10
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||5.3
Kent has designated the following landmarks:
|Emil W. Bereiter House||1907||2008|
|Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks||1982||2008|
|Saar Pioneer Cemetery||1873||2010|
The city is governed by a mayor-council government, with a directly elected mayor and a seven-member city council. Each is elected at-large (i.e., by the entire voting population, not by districts) to four-year terms. The current Mayor is Suzette Cooke and the current city council members are: Council President Bill Boyce, Councilmember Jim Berrios, Councilmember Tina Budell, Councilmember Brenda Fincher, Councilmember Dennis Higgins, Councilmember Dana Ralph, and Councilmember Les Thomas.
The city maintains its own municipal police department.
Public primary and secondary education in Kent and a number of neighboring cities and unincorporated areas is governed by the Kent School District. The district includes four high schools, seven middle schools, twenty-eight elementary schools and two academies. Federal Way Public Schools also has several schools within the city limits. Residents of far east Kent are zoned in the Tahoma School district. A branch of Green River Community College opened in Kent Station in 2007. The Kent School District also has an individualized graduation and degree program named iGrad. The program is aimed at dropouts ages 16–21 who are willing to get back to school.
In keeping with the King County Annexation Initiative, which seeks to annex large urban unincorporated areas into city limits or incorporate new cities out of those areas, the Panther Lake area (known officially as the Kent Northeast Potential Annexation Area) was proposed for annexation to the city of Kent. The annexation was voted on by residents of the potential annexation area on November 3, 2009; the area was officially annexed July 1, 2010. The city grew in area by approximately 5 square miles (13 km2) and 24,000 residents.
In addition to REI, Oberto Sausage Company, and Seattle Bicycle Supply (owner of Redline Bicycles) all being headquartered in Kent, Boeing operates a plant in the city. Kent also hosts many warehouses in its once fertile farmland, due in part to its proximity to key transportation routes. The warehouse district has started to sprawl as far as nearby Sumner, Washington. Whirlpool Corporation and General Electric Appliances are two companies with regional distribution centers in Kent.
Kent is home to the fourth largest manufacturing and distribution area in the United States. 
Boeing Kent Space Center was opened during a public dedication ceremony on Oct. 24, 1964. Keynote speakers at the event were William "Bill" Allen, Chairman and CEO of The Boeing Company, Dan Evans, Governor of the State of Washington, and Alex Thorton, Mayor of the City of Kent.
- 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 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. The "expanded" 40,000 square foot warehouse and sales office was bursting its seams.. 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.
According to the City's 2012 Economic Development Report, the largest employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|3||Kent Public Schools||3,700|
|4||City of Kent||800|
|7||Sysco Distribution Center||680|
|8||King County Regional Justice Center||680|
|10||Sysco Seattle Headquarters||600|
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.
As of the census of 2000, there were 79,524 people, 31,113 households, and 19,601 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,836.7 people per square mile (1,095.4/km2). There were 32,488 housing units at an average density of 1,158.9 per square mile (447.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 70.81% White, 8.23% African American, 0.98% Native American, 9.42% Asian, 0.76% Pacific Islander, 4.7% from other races, and 5.37% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.13% of the population.
There were 32,998 households out of which 35.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.0% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.15.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 35.0% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 7.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 98.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $50,053, and the median income for a family was $61,016. Males had a median income of $43,136 versus $36,995 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,390. About 8.7% of families and 11.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.7% of those under the age of 18 and 9.3% of those 65 and older.
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.
In July 2015, Kent hosted the inaugural Junior Roller Derby World Cup.
- Canterbury Faire, an arts festival in mid-August every year at Mill Creek Canyon Earthworks park, which stopped in 2006.
- Kent Cornucopia Days in July.
- Kent Farmers Market
- Kent Saturday Market
- Kent Station
- ShoWare Center
- Seattle Thunderbirds play ice hockey in the U.S. Division of the Western Hockey League at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
- Tacoma Stars plays Indoor Soccer in the Major Arena Soccer League at the ShoWare Center in Kent.
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.
- Ely Allen, University of Washington, and Major League Soccer player
- Earl Anthony, professional bowler
- Kelly Bachand, contestant of the History Channel's Top Shot Season 1 was raised in Kent
- Red Badgro, National Football League and Major League Baseball player, inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
- John Bastyr, influential advocate of naturopathic medicine. Namesake of Bastyr University
- Joseph and Melissa Batten, Microsoft software developers famous for their 2008 murder case
- Karl Best, former Major League Baseball relief pitcher for the Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins
- Josie Bissett, actress who appeared in Melrose Place
- Betty Bowen, journalist and art promoter
- Demitrius Bronson, professional football player Miami Dolphins
- John Bronson, former professional football tight end for the Arizona Cardinals
- Alan Comer, former professional Magic: The Gathering player
- Ernie Conwell, former 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 for the Houston Rockets and Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies
- Jeff Dye, comedian and actor
- Robin Earl, former NFL full back and tight end
- Jason Ellis, retired American professional basketball player
- Kai Ellis, CFL player
- Michelle Font, former Miss Washington USA
- The Fung Brothers, comedians/rappers/food personalities were raised in Kent
- Melissa Goad, actress and model.
- Abdulameer Yousef Habeeb, Iraqi artist and calligrapher, lived in the U.S. as a refugee
- Matt Hague, professional baseball first baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays
- Marcus Hahnemann, former professional soccer goalkeeper
- Al Hairston, professional basketball player Seattle SuperSonics, head coach for Bowling Green University
- Peter Hallock, composer and organist
- Tess Henley, singer/songwriter and pianist
- Shannon Higgins-Cirovski, former soccer player and member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame
- Jeff Jaeger, former NFL kicker
- Billy Jones, college baseball player and coach of the Appalachian State Mountaineers
- Reggie Jones, NFL cornerback
- Nicole Joraanstad, curler for the United States National curling team, 2009 Olympic gold medalist
- Mike Karney, college and professional football player.
- Stefano Langone, American Idol contestant
- Danny Lorenz, professional hockey player for the New York Islanders
- Ellen MacGregor, author
- Kenny Mayne, ESPN analyst
- Victor Aloysius "Vic" Meyers, jazz bandleader and Democratic politician, known as "The 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. Nominated for an Academy Award for Nebraska.
- Danny Pierce, painter, printmaker and sculptor
- Mark Prothero, attorney best known for serving as defense co-counsel for the Green River Killer
- Brenda Raganot, professional bodybuilder
- Dave Reichert, U.S. Representative, Republican Party
- Mike Roberg, former tight end National Football League
- Jerry "The King" Ruth, professional drag racer
- 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 the 1972 Summer Olympics
- Rodney Stuckey, basketball player for the Detroit Pistons
- Alameda Ta'amu, NT, NFL player on the Kansas City Chiefs
- Harvey Thomas, luthier who built a number of distinctive guitars in the 1960s
- Courtney Thompson, UW and US national team volleyball player, set NCAA record for career assists per game
- Mason Tobin, current professional baseball player
- Kyle Townsend, record producer, composer and musician
- Toussaint Tyler, former running back in the National Football League (NFL)
- Brian Tyms, professional football player New England Patriots
- Courtney Vandersloot, basketball player for the Chicago Sky
- Dave Wainhouse, former professional basketball player and Major League Baseball player
- Cam Weaver, professional soccer player Seattle Sounders FC
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