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Puyallup, Washington

Coordinates: 47°10′33″N 122°17′37″W / 47.17583°N 122.29361°W / 47.17583; -122.29361
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Puyallup, Washington
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Flag of Puyallup, Washington
Official seal of Puyallup, Washington
"Working To Be Your Community of Choice"
Location of Puyallup, Washington
Location of Puyallup, Washington
Coordinates: 47°10′33″N 122°17′37″W / 47.17583°N 122.29361°W / 47.17583; -122.29361
CountryUnited States
Named forPuyallup tribe
 • TypeCouncil–manager[3]
 • MayorDean Johnson[4]
 • Total14.24 sq mi (36.89 km2)
 • Land14.13 sq mi (36.61 km2)
 • Water0.11 sq mi (0.28 km2)
Elevation43 ft (13 m)
 • Total42,973
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,996.89/sq mi (1,157.07/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
Area code253
FIPS code53-56695
GNIS feature ID1533368[6]

Puyallup (/pjuːˈæləp/ pew-AL-əp) is a city in Pierce County, Washington, United States, located about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Tacoma[9] and 35 miles (56 km) south of Seattle.[10] It had a population of 42,973 at the 2020 census.[7] The city's name comes from the Puyallup Tribe of Native Americans and means "the generous people." Puyallup is home to the Washington State Fair, the state's largest fair. The name of the city is notably used in mailing addresses for adjacent unincorporated areas, such as the larger-populated South Hill.


Ezra Meeker (near lower right) at the 1926 dedication of his own statue by Alonzo Victor Lewis in Puyallup's Pioneer Park, on the site of his original cabin

The Puyallup Valley was originally inhabited by the Puyallup people, known in their language as the spuyaləpabš, meaning "generous and welcoming behavior to all people (friends and strangers) who enter our lands."[11] The first white settlers in the region were part of the first wagon train to cross the Cascade Range at Naches Pass in 1853.[12]

Native Americans numbered about 2,000 in what is now the Puyallup Valley in the 1830s and 1840s. The first European settlers arrived in the 1850s. In 1877, Ezra Meeker platted a townsite and named it Puyallup after the local Puyallup Indian tribes, 11 years after departing from Indiana.[13] The town grew rapidly throughout the 1880s, in large part thanks to Meeker's hop farm, which brought in millions of dollars to Puyallup, leading to it eventually being incorporated in 1890, with Ezra Meeker as its first mayor.[14] The turn of the 20th century brought change to the valley with the growth of nearby Tacoma and the interurban rail lines. The Western Washington Fairgrounds were developed giving local farmers a place to exhibit their crops and livestock. During the early part of World War II due to Executive Order 9066, the fairgrounds were part of Camp Harmony, a temporary Japanese American internment camp for more than 7,000 detainees, most of whom were American citizens. Subsequently, they were moved to the Minidoka relocation center near Twin Falls, Idaho.[15]



Puyallup is approximately 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Tacoma and 35 miles (56 km) south of Seattle.[16] It is situated along the Puyallup River, which flows from Mount Rainier to Commencement Bay in Tacoma.[17]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.04 square miles (36.36 km2), of which 13.93 square miles (36.08 km2) is land and 0.11 square miles (0.28 km2) is water, mainly consisting of the Puyallup River estuary.[18] As it is bordered largely by unincorporated Pierce County, the closest neighbors include the city of Sumner to the northeast, Fife and Edgewood to the north, Tacoma to the northwest, Summit and Midland to the west, South Hill, Graham and Frederickson to the south, McMillin and Orting to the southeast, and Alderton to the east.

Danger from Mount Rainier


Downtown and the valley neighborhoods of Puyallup would likely be damaged or destroyed by a lahar in a moderate or large eruption of nearby Mount Rainier. A study by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), published in 2009, showed that Puyallup has the highest number of dependent-population facilities, public venues, and overall community assets within lahar hazard zones.[19] The Washington State Department of Natural Resources estimates that the Puyallup Valley could experience $6-12 billion in damage from a major lahar.[20]

Puyallup has a high vulnerability to lahars due to its position along the Puyallup River, downstream of the western flank of Mount Rainier, which includes the Puyallup Glacier. This section of Mount Rainier has the highest potential for producing massive landslides that become long-lasting lahars.[21] The entire Puyallup Valley is built on thick deposits of the 5,600-year-old Osceola Mudflow, an example of one of the largest lahars Mount Rainier could produce.

To combat lahar danger, Pierce County maintains the Mount Rainier Volcano Lahar Warning System, implemented in 1998 by the USGS. The system includes lahar warning sirens and volcano evacuation route signs. The city of Puyallup has also taken part in major exercises to prepare the community, specifically the Puyallup School District, for a lahar. The 2019 Evacuation Exercise took place on May 17, 2019, and involved around 8,000 students and staff from the school district, practicing the evacuation from the valley in the event of an oncoming lahar.[22] The exercise, conducted with neighboring school districts and law enforcement departments, was considered a success, and a similar exercise took place on March 21, 2024.[23]



Puyallup experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen classification: Csb; Trewartha classification: Do). Winters are cool and wet, with high temperatures averaging in the mid to upper 40s and lows near freezing. The surrounding hills (averaging 500 feet (150 m) above sea level) often experience the extremes of winter, with more frequent lows below freezing and greater snowfall. Snowfall is rare, and often only occurs on a few days a year, sometimes as early as November, and as late as April. Spring brings less rain and milder temperatures, with highs regularly in the mid 50s (12–14 °C), to around 60 (15 °C). Spring often records the first 70 °F (21 °C) temperature. Summers are warm and dry, with highs in the 70s most days. Many days can max out in the 80s, and occasionally the 90s. Readings above 100 °F (37.7 °C) are very rare; on July 29, 2009, during a prolonged period of hot weather, Puyallup recorded a temperature of 105 °F (40.5 °C), the warmest since records have been kept. Summer thunderstorms happen occasionally, but are often isolated and rarely (if ever) severe. Storms often roll off the Cascades and into the surrounding areas; they are usually a result of warm moist air from monsoons in the southwestern United States. Summer is warmest in July and August, and occasionally September. By October and the fall season, temperatures start to drop and precipitation increases.


Historical population
2022 (est.)42,452[8]−1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[24]
2020 Census[7]

2010 census


As of the 2010 census, there were 37,022 people, 14,950 households, and 9,528 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,657.7 inhabitants per square mile (1,026.1/km2). There were 16,171 housing units at an average density of 1,160.9 per square mile (448.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.4% White, 2.1% African American, 1.4% Native American, 3.8% Asian, 0.7% Pacific Islander, 2.1% from other races, and 5.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.9% of the population.

There were 14,950 households, of which 32.8% had children under age 18 living with them, 45.8% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.3% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.7% had someone living alone who was aged 65 years or older. The average household size was 2.43 persons and the average family size was 2.98.

The median age in the city was 36.8 years. 23.6% of residents were under age 18; 10.2% were between ages 18 and 24; 27% were from 25 to 44; 26.8% were from 45 to 64; and 12.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.0% male and 52.0% female.

A modern condominium project near Pioneer Park

2000 census


As of the 2000 census, there were 33,011 people, 12,870 households, and 8,519 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,719.2 people per square mile (1,049.9/km2). There were 13,467 housing units at an average density of 1,109.3 people per square mile (428.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.88% White, 1.50% African American, 1.01% Native American, 3.27% Asian, 0.34% Pacific Islander, 1.94% from other races, and 4.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.67% of the population.

There were 12,870 households, out of which 36.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.7% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.8% were non-families. 26.9% of all households were made up of individuals, 9.5% of which were 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 27.3% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $47,269, and the median income for a family was $57,322. Males had a median income of $43,562 versus $27,281 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,401. About 4.7% of families and 6.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.2% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.



Puyallup valley


The valley in which Puyallup was originally settled forms the town. Its fertile soil is optimal for the acres of daffodils which were grown for distribution worldwide, and are featured in the town's annual spring parade. The Puyallup River meanders between the hills, through the glacial basin, from its namesake glacier on Mt. Rainier, terminating in Puget Sound at the Port of Tacoma. It is cold, silty, and brown, sometimes green. From most perspectives in the town of Puyallup, Mt. Rainier is visible to the southeast.

Downtown Puyallup has several notable landmarks, including Ezra Meeker's mansion, which was built and inhabited by one of the town's founding families, who made their way to Puyallup via the Oregon trail. The downtown shopping district is made up of historic buildings, which date to the town's origin. Pioneer Park is a community focal point, which boasts a public library, a park with a playground, and walking paths. As the focal point of the park, there is a bronze statue honoring Ezra Meeker. A new element is the public stage by the public library. At the public stage local musicians put on free shows for the public. Southeast Puyallup is also where the Pierce County Foothills Trail begins.

Ezra Meeker's mansion

Ezra Meeker Mansion in 2015

The Ezra Meeker Mansion, an Italianate Victorian structure completed around 1890, was the residence of Oregon Trail pioneer Ezra Meeker and his wife, Eliza Jane. Meeker, known as the "Hop King," lost his wealth due to a disease that affected the hops industry. Despite this, he gained fame for retracing the Oregon Trail and erecting monuments along its route to preserve its history. Today, the mansion operates as a small house museum, managed by the Puyallup Historical Society at Meeker Mansion. The venue is also available for weddings, teas, and other social gatherings.[25]

Washington State Fair


Puyallup is home to the Washington State Fair. It is one of the ten largest U.S. state fairs, attracting over one million people each year. The city itself is built around the Puyallup Fairgrounds, which can be seen prominently from neighboring South Hill. The fair traditionally runs for 21 days in September; there is also a "Spring Fair" which takes place for four days in April. The fair serves as an anchor for local businesses and restaurants. Previously named the "Puyallup Fair", it received its current name in 2013. "Do the Puyallup" has been its long-standing promotional slogan.

During World War II, the Puyallup Fairgrounds became the Puyallup Assembly Area (euphemistically referred to as "Camp Harmony") and were used as an internment camp for United States citizens or residents of Japanese descent or origin.[26]

Daffodil Festival parade


Puyallup also hosts and is origin of the annual four-part Daffodil Parade, which takes place every year in Tacoma, Puyallup, Sumner, and Orting.

The parade includes many groups and has many floats, most of which are covered in daffodils, or are themed in the daffodil season. Most of the local junior high and high school marching bands also march. Car clubs, veteran groups and also some businesses are a part of the parade.

Antique district

East side of 100 block of S. Meridian; in foreground, an antique shop in a former J.C. Penney

Puyallup is known for its myriad antiques stores, many of which are located next to each other on the main north–south street of Meridian. Puyallup is one of many cities and towns in Washington that contains an 'old-fashioned' downtown shopping area.

Paul H. Karshner Memorial Museum


The Karshner Museum is the only K–12 teaching museum owned and operated by a school district west of the Mississippi. The essential education and curriculum-based program serves the Puyallup School District's 20,000 K–12 student population. Since 1930, the Karshner Museum has provided hands-on and curriculum-based learning experiences to thousands of students through the museum visit program. The education trunk or "Discovery Kit" program has served students, teachers and community members since the 1970s. These Kits utilize real or replica artifacts for the purposes of bringing history, art and culture to life in the school classroom.


Starting in 1995, the regional nonprofit organization Valley Arts United began working with local volunteers to support a rotating selection of outdoor public artwork. Consisting mostly of statuary dispersed about the downtown core, this collection has grown to a collection of about 32 permanent pieces. New works are added regularly.[27]

Farmers' market

Pioneer Park Pavilion

The Puyallup Main Street Association produces the Puyallup Farmers' Market each year. The market is open Saturdays (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) from mid-April to mid-October, with a Holiday Market in December (together with the lighted Santa Parade – first Saturday of December). Puyallup Farmers' Market is the largest market in Pierce County and one of the largest in the state. Thousands of people come each week to purchase produce, plants and seeds, flowers, baked goods, meats and cheese, food, local handcrafts, and more. Free live entertainment. The market fills Pioneer Park and the modern pavilion building, and takes over Elm and 4th streets.



The Puyallup School District has 35 schools attended by more than 22,534 students. The district is the ninth largest in Washington state, extending to neighboring South Hill, parts of Tacoma, and the Edgewood area.[28] Some local schools hold annual warning drills on account of the dangers of lahars in the event of an eruption of Mount Rainier, which would leave students with a maximum of 15 minutes to find higher land or the top of a building.[29][30]

Puyallup is also home to Pierce College Puyallup, a community college that opened in 1990. It is one of the two main campuses belonging to the college, the other being Pierce College Fort Steilacoom in Lakewood.

The city is served by the Puyallup Public Library, which was established in 1913 and has been housed in its current building in Pioneer Park since 2002. It is not affiliated with either the Tacoma Public Library or the Pierce County Library System.



The Herald is the local newspaper for eastern Pierce County. It is published once a week on Wednesdays. The paper is distributed by The News Tribune.[31]



Puyallup is located at the intersection of State Route 167 and State Route 512, with freeway access to Lakewood and the Green River Valley. The city is also served by Pierce Transit buses and Sounder commuter rail at Puyallup station.

The city is located near the Pierce County Airport (KPLU), a small municipal airport in South Hill.

Notable people



  1. ^ "Welcome to Pierceland, Pam Roach – let the berating begin!". The News Tribune. January 4, 2017. Bow down to P-town: Whatever happens in Pierceland in the new political season, it's plain that Puyallup( is in charge, and Tacoma can learn to love scones.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Night Moves: Hive Dwellers, Daniel Blue, Keith Sweat, SweetKiss Momma, and others". Weekly Volcano. November 19, 2010. the best thing P-Town has going for it these days
  3. ^ "Governance System". City of Puyallup. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  4. ^ "Meet the Council". City of Puyallup. Retrieved March 31, 2022.
  5. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  6. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Puyallup, Washington
  7. ^ a b c "Explore Census Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 6, 2023.
  8. ^ a b "City and Town Population Totals: 2020-2022". United States Census Bureau. December 6, 2023. Retrieved December 6, 2023.
  9. ^ "Google Maps".
  10. ^ "Google Maps".
  11. ^ "Puyallup Tribal History". Puyallup Tribe. Archived from the original on October 21, 2020. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
  12. ^ "Puyallup, Washington – Living in the City of Puyallup". puyallup.com. Archived from the original on May 8, 2021. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
  13. ^ Meeker, Ezra (1909). Ventures and Adventures of Ezra Meeker: Or, Sixty years of frontier life; fifty-six years of pioneer life in the old Oregon Country; an account of the author's trip across the plains with an ox team in 1852, and his return trip in 1906; his cruise on Puget Sound in 1853, and his trip through the Natchess Pass in 1854; over the Chilcoot Pass and flat-boating on the Yukon in 1898. The Oregon Trail. Rainier Printing.
  14. ^ "Ezra's History". Meeker Mansion. Puyallup Historical Society. Archived from the original on February 28, 2019. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  15. ^ "The Land of the Generous People: History". The City of Puyallup. January 14, 2010. Archived from the original on January 12, 2010. Retrieved January 14, 2010.
  16. ^ "About Puyallup". City of Puyallup. Archived from the original on November 30, 2021. Retrieved December 28, 2021.
  17. ^ "Zoning Map". City of Puyallup. Retrieved December 28, 2021 – via ArcGIS.
  18. ^ "U.S. Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 1, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  19. ^ "Community Exposure to Lahar Hazards from Mount Rainier".
  20. ^ "Loss Estimation Pilot Project for Lahar Hazards from Mount Rainier, Washington".
  21. ^ "Mount Rainier - Living Safely with a Volcano in your Backyard".
  22. ^ "2019 Evacuation Exercise | Puyallup, WA". www.cityofpuyallup.org. Retrieved March 20, 2024.
  23. ^ "2024 Regional Lahar Evacuation Drill | Puyallup, WA". www.cityofpuyallup.org. Retrieved March 20, 2024.
  24. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  25. ^ "Meeker Mansion". meekermansion.org. Archived from the original on November 27, 2021. Retrieved December 29, 2021.
  26. ^ "Camp Harmony exhibit". U.W. Library. University of Washington. Archived from the original on February 20, 2017. Retrieved September 7, 2006.
  27. ^ "Valley Arts United". valleyartsunited.org. Archived from the original on July 21, 2006. Retrieved September 7, 2006.
  28. ^ "Overview of Puyallup School District". puyallup.k12.wa.us.
  29. ^ Horcher, Gary (June 4, 2018). "UW professor: Deadly Guatemala lahar could happen here". KIRO 7 News. Archived from the original on June 24, 2018. Retrieved June 24, 2018. ...lahar warning drills in school for four years...
  30. ^ "More than 5,500 students and staff practice safety in Lahar drill". news archives. Puyallup School District. September 30, 2014. Archived from the original on June 24, 2018. Retrieved June 24, 2018. ...Participating schools included Puyallup and Walker high schools, Kalles and Aylen junior high schools, and Stewart, Spinning, Shaw Road, Meeker, Maplewood, and Karshner elementary schools...
  31. ^ "About the Puyallup Herald". puyallup-herald.com. Archived from the original on April 3, 2008. Retrieved March 10, 2008.
  32. ^ "State of the Union guests". WhiteHouse.gov (archived). U.S. National Archives. 2002. Archived from the original on October 12, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2008.
  33. ^ "Chris Gildon's Biography". Vote Smart. Retrieved September 22, 2021.
  34. ^ "TRC #49: Homeopathy 101 + Harriet Hall Interview + Sex on the Mind Myth". The Reality Check podcast. Ottawa Skeptics. August 1, 2009. Archived from the original on September 18, 2009. Retrieved August 1, 2009. (Interview from 16:08 to 33:25)
  35. ^ Borzilleri, Meri-Jo (July 23, 2008). "Megan Jendrick knows competitive ecstasy and agony – both by the slimmest of margins". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 30, 2018.[permanent dead link]
  36. ^ "Lester retires with 200 wins, 3 World Series rings". ESPN.com. January 12, 2022. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  37. ^ Liu, Marian (September 5, 2008). "Neumo's show has rap, bluegrass, gospel, ... and success". The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  38. ^ "Gertrude Wilhelmsen Bio, Stats and Results". Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on April 18, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  39. ^ Plog, Kari (August 21, 2014). "South Korea's first astronaut lands in Puyallup to settle down". The News Tribune. Archived from the original on April 29, 2018. Retrieved April 27, 2018.

Further reading

  • Rodriguez, Ismael Jr. (May 2020). "We Wanted Them to be Educational". VFW Magazine. Vol. 107, no. 8. Kansas City, Mo.: Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. p. 46. ISSN 0161-8598. A VFW Post in Washington state raises $13,000 to build monuments for two local MOH recipients. The granite structures are located at the medal recipients' respective high schools.