1980 to 1990

Population: 30,612
Area: 16.1 square miles

As the city’s downtown core continued to slide, activists that included Renton’s future mayor, Kathy Keolker, organized to stop the location of pornographic theaters in the city center. Their work led to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the rights of cities to regulate such businesses; it remains the law of the land to this day.

In 1982 Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park was dedicated in honor of the city's longest serving and most influential parks director. An archaeological excavation was conducted on the site of a Duwamish longhouse, located at the foot of Earlington Hill behind today’s Fred Meyer Store.

For some time Renton had celebrated its past through a summertime “Western Days” promotion that featured a parade, races, and events in Liberty Park. In 1986 “Renton River Days” put a new spin on the old festivities. Renton Community Center was also opened, offering a number of recreational activities, events, and classes to residents.

By the end of the 1980s, Renton was swept up in a wave of home-building and business growth that encompassed Seattle and the Eastside. The city’s location at the pivot point between the Eastside and South King County, however, meant growth was always ready to swing into stasis.

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