Federal Way is a city in King County, Washington, located within the Seattle metropolitan area. The population was 89,306 at the 2010 census and an estimated 96,289 in 2019. Take a look below for 25 fun and amazing facts about Federal Way, Washington, United States.
1. Federal Way is the tenth-largest city in Washington and the fifth-largest in King County, according to the Census Bureau’s 2019 population estimate.
2. Originally a logging settlement, the area was first called “Federal Way” in 1929.
3. 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.
4. The name “Federal Way” was first used in 1929 when five existing schools consolidated operations into School District #210 and planned construction of Federal Way High School, which opened in 1930 and gave its name to the school district.
5. The local chamber of commerce adopted the name in the early 1950s.
6. Attempts to incorporate the city were voted down in 1971, 1981 and 1985.
7. The voters eventually approved incorporation as a city on February 28, 1990; the official act of incorporation was held at the Sportsworld Lanes bowling complex.
8. Until 2014, Federal Way was home to Weyerhaeuser, the largest private owner of softwood timberland in the world.
9. Weyerhaeuser had opened much of its land in Federal Way to the public, including two botanical gardens: the Rhododendron Species Foundation and Botanical Garden, and the Pacific Bonsai Museum.
10. 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 headquarters of World Vision International.
11. Other attractions in the city include the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center, which features an Olympic-size swimming pool which has been used for the 1990 Goodwill Games and 2012 US Olympic Swim & Dive Trials.
12. Celebration Park includes sports fields, a playground, and wooded trails.
13. The city has also developed many lakefront and neighborhood parks, playgrounds, and trails.
14. The 40-acre (16 ha) PowellsWood Garden, known for its outstanding structural plantings and perennial borders, is located off South Dash Point Road.
15. 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.
16. Wild Waves Theme & Water Park, the largest amusement park in the region, opened in 1977 on the south side of the city. It 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.
17. Federal Way is locally identified by its 1990s semi-urban development, characterized by landscaped off-street multi-structure apartment complexes and shopping centers.
18. The Commons at Federal Way, the city’s only indoor shopping mall, is located on South 320th Street and Pacific Highway South (State Route 99) near the city’s main Interstate 5 exit.
19. 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 the Star Lake and Camelot neighborhoods in Lakeland North and the neighborhoods of Parkland, Lakeland, and Jovita in Lakeland South. All of these neighborhoods are located east of the city proper.
20. In 2004, the city annexed the Northlake, East Redondo, and Parkway neighborhoods, adding over 2,700 people and nearly 1 square mile (2.6 km2) of area. While Federal Way had previously considered Auburn’s West Hill, Auburn annexed that along with Lea Hill in 2007.
21. 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, 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 (18.1 km2) to the city, creating the sixth largest city in Washington by population, at over 106,000 residents and nearly 29 sq mi (75 km2).
22. On August 21, 2007, residents of the proposed East Federal Way annexation area rejected annexation to Federal Way by a 66% to 34% margin.
23. 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.
24. 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.
25. The King County Council declined to act on the proposal, and the county elections board denied the group a ballot item.