Orting, Washington

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City of Orting
Location of Orting, Washington
Location of Orting, Washington
Coordinates: 47°5′46″N 122°12′19″W / 47.09611°N 122.20528°W / 47.09611; -122.20528Coordinates: 47°5′46″N 122°12′19″W / 47.09611°N 122.20528°W / 47.09611; -122.20528
CountryUnited States
 • TypeMayor/Council (Strong Mayor)[1]
 • MayorJoshua Penner[1]
 • Total2.76 sq mi (7.15 km2)
 • Land2.71 sq mi (7.01 km2)
 • Water0.06 sq mi (0.14 km2)
190 ft (58 m)
 • Total6,746
 • Estimate 
 • Density3,182.99/sq mi (1,228.79/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)360/564
FIPS code53-52005
GNIS feature ID1512539[5]

Orting is a city in Pierce County, Washington, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city's population is 7,983.


The first recorded claims for land in Orting were made in 1854 by William Henry Whitesell, Thomas Headley, Daniel Lane, and Daniel Varner. Streets in the modern city are named after the four men, and a monument in Orting City Park commemorates them. Orting was officially incorporated as a city on April 22, 1889.

Early growth surrounded the area's production and logging industries. Later, Christmas tree and bulb farms also became part of the local economy. Orting was also a supply town for the coal mining towns Wilkeson and Carbonado. The first railroad in the city was built in 1877 by the Northern Pacific Railway, called "Whitesell's Crossing" because it ran right through the Whitesell property. Because railroads eased transportation, Orting's population quickly increased. Remaining parts from the railroad are part of the Meeker Southern Railroad, which runs between Puyallup and McMillin.


Its coordinates are 47°5′46″N 122°12′19″W / 47.09611°N 122.20528°W / 47.09611; -122.20528 (47.096071, −122.205401).[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.80 square miles (7.25 km2), of which 2.73 square miles (7.07 km2) is land and 0.07 square miles (0.18 km2) is water.[7]

Mount Rainier[edit]

Mount Rainier as seen from the High Cedars Golf Course in Orting, bordering the Puyallup River

The city sits in a fertile valley between two major rivers, the Carbon and Puyallup. It is built entirely on several layers of lahar deposits. Orting is located about 30 mi (48 km) from Mount Rainier. Based on studies of past lahar flow and the mountain's structure, Orting has been designated the most at-risk city from Mount Rainier's lahar activity; scientists predict that lahar could reach Orting in 30 minutes from the mountain.[8] The Mount Rainier Volcano Lahar Warning System has installed sirens throughout the area, activated by sensors on Mount Rainier. Local schools regularly stage lahar evacuation drills, and residents are informed of lahar escape routes. Local citizens are designing the Bridge for Kids, a walking bridge across the Carbon River that could be used for recreation and rapid evacuation toward Cascadia, Washington.[9]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)8,610[4]27.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
2018 Estimate[11]

2000 census[edit]

The median income for a household in the city was $53,464, and the median income for a family was $55,335. Males had a median income of $41,486, and females $26,438. The per capita income for the city was $18,951. About 4.2% of families and 6.5% of the population had incomes below the poverty line, including 5.2% of those under the age of 18 and 15.8% of those 65 and older.

2010 census[edit]

The 2010 United States Census recorded 6,746 people, 2,184 households, and 1,688 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,471.1 inhabitants per square mile (954.1/km2). There were 2,361 housing units with an average density of 864.8 per square mile (333.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.9% white, 1.5% African American, 1.4% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.5% Pacific Islander, 2.4% from other races, and 5.0% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race comprised 7.2% of the population.

Of the 2,184 households, 48.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.5% had married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 22.7% did not have families. Households with only one person made up 16.5% and the total, and those with an individual person 65 years of age or older made up 5.8%. The average household size was 3.01 people, and the average family size was 3.34.

The median age in the city was 32.7 years: 30.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.8%, between the ages of 18 and 24; 31.8%, from 25 to 44; 19.5%, 45 to 64; and 10.2%, 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.7% male and 49.3% female.[3]


Washington Soldiers Home[edit]

The Washington Soldiers Home, provides nursing care, medical care, and support services for veterans and family members.[12] It is located on the Orting Kapowsin Highway southwest of the city. Nearby, the Soldiers Home Cemetery contains 2,265 graves, including four Medal of Honor recipients from the American Civil War.[13]


The Voights Creek Hatchery is located outside Orting, attracting fishermen through its salmon.

Parks and murals[edit]

Orting's parks are filled with trees. Picnics are common in the center of the historic downtown area. Historic murals are scattered on buildings throughout the city.

Daffodil Parade[edit]

Orting is the fourth and final stop in the annual Daffodil Festival Parade. With the exception of 2020, a cancellation due to Covid-19, the parade has gone through downtown Orting since 1934. It draws over 10,000 people in early April to festivities in downtown Orting. The parade can be seen in late afternoon. It also goes through the cities of Tacoma, Puyallup, and Sumner. School bands play, and the Daffodil Queen appears.

Public safety[edit]

The Orting Police handle law enforcement within city limits, comprising 11 commissioned officers and 1 full-time working civilian. Despite large growth in population, the police department's staffing levels have experienced little change.

In November 2016, the City of Orting paid $250,000 to former Orting police officer Gerry Pickens in order to settle a racial discrimation lawsuit. Pickens was the first black officer in the city's history and was fired a few days before his probationary period was to end. His personal vehicle was spray-painted with a racial slur and a threat to not sue the police chief.[14] The legal settlement was controversial at the time as it occurred despite the release of an independent investigation into Pickens’ employment with the city revealed numerous reports of Pickens’ on-duty misconduct, neglect of duty, dishonesty, and general incompetence in his role as a Police Officer.[15]

Orting Valley Fire & Rescue handles all fire and medical aid service needs in the city and the surrounding unincorporated area. It operates three stations.


The Orting School District operates four schools:

  • Orting Primary School (grades Pre-K–3)
  • Ptarmigan Ridge Elementary School (grades K–5)
  • Orting Middle School (grades 6–8)
  • Orting High School (grades 9–12)


Orting is close to Washington State Route 162. The closest Sounder commuter rail station is in Sumner, Washington.

Foothills Trail[edit]

The Pierce County Foothills Trail is a paved trail built on an old railroad bed. It runs through Orting to South Prairie in one direction and to Sumner in the other. Activities allowed on the trail include walking, bicycling, horseback riding, skating, skateboarding, and scooter riding. Motorized vehicles are prohibited. Although the trail was built for recreation, many bicycle commuters use it.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "City of Orting – City of Orting".
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Washington: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019". United States Census Bureau. May 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  8. ^ "Ground Zero: Orting Washington | Mount Rainier". www.uccs.edu.
  9. ^ "March 2008 - City of Orting commits itself anew to the Bridge for Kids Project". Bridge for Kids. Orting, WA. Archived from the original on June 13, 2008.
  10. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved July 25, 2013.
  11. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 21, 2019.
  12. ^ "Washington Soldiers Home Orting | WDVA". www.dva.wa.gov. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  13. ^ "Washington Soldiers Home Cemetery, Orting" (PDF). Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  14. ^ Gillie, John (October 10, 2016). "After Orting fired him, officer claimed racial discrimination. Now the city is paying him $250,000". The News Tribune.
  15. ^ [1] "Report on Independent Investigation into Accusations Against Orting"
  16. ^ "Athletics at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games: Men's Pole Vault Qualifying Round". SR/Olympics Sports. Sports Reference. Archived from the original on April 17, 2020. Retrieved January 5, 2017.

External links[edit]