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Federal Way, Washington

Federal Way, Washington
Federal Way Transit Center clock, in the shape of a cut log, with The Commons At Federal Way mall and other City Center Core retail development in the background.
Federal Way Transit Center clock, in the shape of a cut log, with The Commons At Federal Way mall and other City Center Core retail development in the background.
Flag of Federal Way, Washington
Motto: It's all within reach
Location in Washington
Location in Washington
Federal Way, Washington is located in USA
Federal Way, Washington
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Washington
County King
Incorporated 1990
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Mayor Jim Ferrell
 • Deputy mayor Jeanne Burbidge
 • Total 22.46 sq mi (58.17 km2)
 • Land 22.26 sq mi (57.65 km2)
 • Water 0.20 sq mi (0.52 km2)
Elevation 515 ft (157 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 89,306
 • Estimate (2014)[3] 93,425
 • Density 4,011.9/sq mi (1,549.0/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−7)
ZIP code 980[01]/[03]/[23]/[63]/[93]
Area code(s) 253
FIPS code 53-23515
GNIS feature ID 1534582[4]

Federal Way is a city in King County, Washington, United States. Federal Way is located between Seattle and Tacoma. Its northwestern boundary is Puget Sound. It is bordered by Des Moines and Kent on the north, Auburn as well as Lakeland North and Lakeland South in unincorporated King County on the east, Milton on the south, and Tacoma as well as Fife Heights and Dash Point in unincorporated Pierce County on the southwest. The population was 89,306 at the 2010 Census.[5] Federal Way is currently the 10th largest city in Washington State and the 5th largest in King County, according to the Census Bureau's 2013 population estimate.[6]


  • History 1
  • Commerce and attractions 2
    • Downtown tower projects 2.1
  • Government 3
  • Growth 4
  • Economy 5
    • Largest employers 5.1
  • Geography 6
    • Surrounding cities 6.1
    • Climate 6.2
  • Demographics 7
    • 2010 census 7.1
    • 2000 census 7.2
  • Local media 8
  • Notable residents 9
  • Sister cities 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


Originally a logging settlement, the area was first called "Federal Way" in 1929, when Federal Way School District #210 was created.[7] 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.[7] Federal Way High School opened in 1930, and the local Chamber of Commerce adopted the name in the early 1950s.[8] The city was incorporated on February 28, 1990.[8]

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.

Trilliums at Dash Point State Park

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.[9]* 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.[10]
  • 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.

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].[11] 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.[12] In August 2009, United suggested scrapping the Symphony plan and instead building a performing arts center on the property, a proposal the city rejected.[13]

In September 2009 the South Korean development firm Lander Korus joined onto the project with United.[14] 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,[15] 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.[16] The developers are banking on the city's recently granted EB-5 visa qualification to encourage foreign investment in exchange for permanent resident status.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20] As of May 2013, plans for a downtown park and plaza complex were underway.[20] 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.[21] The pole holds a 15 by 25 foot (7.6x4.6 m) flag.[22] 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.


The Federal Way City Council consists of seven at-large seats who serve for staggered four-year terms. In November 2009, the citizens of Federal Way approved Proposition 1 Led by City Council Member Jim Ferrell, 52%–48% to change the form of government from a Council–manager government to a Mayor-Council or "Strong Mayor" government.[23] Federal Way voters elected former mayor and state representative Skip Priest as mayor on Nov. 2, 2010.


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,[24][25] 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)[26]

On August 21, 2007, residents of the proposed East Federal Way annexation area rejected annexation to Federal Way by a 66% to 34% margin.[27] 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.[28]

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.[29] The King County Council declined to act on the proposal, and the county elections board denied the group a ballot item.[30]


Largest employers

According to the City's 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[31] the largest employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Federal Way Public Schools 2,584
2 Xerox Commercial Services Business Services 1,210
3 Weyerhaeuser Company 1,158
4 St. Francis Hospital Medical Services 875
5 World Vision Inc. 852
6 Wild Waves Theme Park 632 (2010)
7 United States Postal Service 616
8 ACS 560 (2009)
9 City of Federal Way 476
10 Walmart Supercenter #3794 386
11 Coldwell Banker Danforth & Associates 246 (2009)
12 Virginia Mason Federal Way 235
13 Telecom Labs Inc. Communications 225
14 Fred Meyer 220
15 Costco 214
16 Walmart Store #2571 183
17 Target 178
18 Garden Terrace Alzheimer's Center Health Services 163


Federal Way is located at (47.312960, −122.339173).[32]

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.[1]

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.[33]


2010 census

As of the census[2] 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 inhabitants per square mile (1,549.0/km2). There were 35,444 housing units at an average density of 1,592.3 per square mile (614.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 57.5% 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.

2000 census

As of the 2000 census, there were 83,259 people, 31,437 households, and 21,251 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,959.4 per square mile (1,528.6/km²). There were 32,581 housing units at an average density of 1,549.4 per square mile (598.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 61.1% White, 8.7% African American, 0.8% Native American, 17.5% Asian, 3.0% Pacific Islander, 4.2% from other races, and 4.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.5% of the population.

There were 31,437 households out of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.6% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.17.

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.

Local media

Two newspapers are published within Federal Way. The Federal Way Mirror[38] and the Federal Way News.[39] The city receives additional coverage from most major media sources in both Seattle and Tacoma.

In 2008 the Federal Way Historical Society worked with Images of America: Federal Way (ISBN 0-7385-5898-2), a photographic history of the traditional Federal Way area.[40]

Notable residents

Sister cities

Federal Way has the following sister cities:[45]


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ a b "Population Estimates".  
  4. ^ "Federal Way".  
  5. ^ "2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". American FactFinder.  
  6. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  7. ^ a b Historical Society of Federal Way (2004). "Early Federal Way Schools and the Naming of the Federal Way Area" (PDF). p. 2. Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b City of Federal Way. "City History". Retrieved May 10, 2010. 
  9. ^ Dash Point State Park
  10. ^ Friends of the Hylebos Wetlands
  11. ^ unknown (July 24, 2007). "Symphony is music to Federal Way's ears".  
  12. ^ "Developers changing their tune regarding Symphony development timeline". Federal Way News. July 21, 2008. Archived from the original on August 27, 2008. Retrieved August 11, 2008. 
  13. ^ Howard, Jacinda (Aug 28, 2009). "Council still holds out hope for big high-rise project". Federal Way Mirror. 
  14. ^ Howard, Jacinda (Sep 15, 2009). "Downtown high-rises: Federal Way investor joins Symphony project". Federal Way Mirror. 
  15. ^ Howard, Jacinda (Jun 18, 2010). "High-rise developers pursue land purchase in Federal Way". Federal Way Mirror. 
  16. ^ Howard, Jacinda (Sep 22, 2010). "Federal Way City Council to skyscraper developer: Where's your business plan?". Federal Way Mirror. 
  17. ^ Admiral Commercial Real Estate (March 12, 2010). "Another high rise complex is proposed for Federal Way". 
  18. ^ Howard, Jacinda (February 3, 2011). "Federal Way's high-rise deal dies". Federal Way Mirror. Retrieved February 4, 2011. 
  19. ^ Allmain, Greg (July 22, 2011). "Crystal Palace coming soon to downtown Federal Way". Federal Way Mirror. 
  20. ^ a b Allmain, Greg (3 October 2012). "Crystal Way developer misses deadline for downtown site | City explores alternative". Federal Way Mirror. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  21. ^ . Federal Way Mirror Retrieved 2015-10-02. 
  22. ^ . Federal Way Mirror Retrieved 2015-10-02. 
  23. ^ "King County Elections, 2009 General Election Results". November 24, 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  24. ^ PAA Community Level Subareas map
  25. ^ Federal Way Proposed Annexation Area map
  26. ^ Proposed East Federal Way Annexation Area
  27. ^ East Federal Way annexation information (King County)
  28. ^ Mike Archbold (August 22, 2007). "Two annexation areas passing".  
  29. ^ Hobbs, Andy (July 21, 2011). "Committee proposes new township in unincorporated King County". Federal Way Mirror. 
  30. ^ Jerry (2011-08-17). "Complaint filed with the courts". Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  31. ^ "City of Federal Way 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" (PDF). Retrieved June 14, 2014. 
  32. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  33. ^ Climate Summary for Federal Way, Washington
  34. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  35. ^ "CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING (1790–2010)".  
  36. ^ 1990 census population enumerated prior to incorporation as Federal Way CDP.
  37. ^ Portion of community returned as West Federal Way during the 1980 census with a population of 16,872.
  38. ^ Federal Way Mirror
  39. ^ Federal Way News
  40. ^ Maynard, Steve (November 21, 2008). "Federal Way's logging roots among nuggets of book". Retrieved December 8, 2008. 
  41. ^ "Floyd Little on NFL Hall of Fame ballot".  
  42. ^ Raley, Dan (September 10, 2003). "Catching up with ... Dan Spillner".  
  43. ^ Horner, Margo (December 27, 2006). "A phone call away from Donald Trump".  
  44. ^ Federal Way Public Schools. "Federal Way Public Schools Graduates of Note: James Sun". Retrieved October 8, 2009. 
  45. ^ "Federal Way Sister City Association". Retrieved September 17, 2008. 

External links

  • City of Federal Way
  • Federal Way Chamber of Commerce
  • The Historical Society of Federal Way
  • Federal Way History
  • Federal Way QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau
  • Federal Way, Washington at DMOZ
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