1990 to 2000

Population: 40,500
Area: 16.3 square miles

By the early 1990s Renton had evolved into a more balanced community with a diverse—and thus more stable—economic base; including numerous retail, manufacturing, and distributing ventures. Boeing’s successes continued to lead the city’s employment figures, and late in the decade white-collar workers organized their first-ever strike in the history of the United States, on the part of aviation engineers.

But Renton was moving away from complete dependence on the future of aviation, and a level of diversification has grown that few city founders could have dreamed about. Even as Longacres Race Track closed its doors after 60 years, technology firms, microbreweries, an art glass shop, and the highly successful gaming/trading cards giant Wizards of the Coast represented a new entrepreneurial spirit. Attempts to reinvigorate the downtown core continued, with the proliferation of antique and specialty shops and the relocation of the auto dealers that had occupied Burnett Avenue out to Grady Way.

The youth movement arrived in the form of thousands of music fans who flocked to the Jimi Hendrix Memorial in Greenwood Cemetery as his music enjoyed a popular revival. 

The city’s five neighborhoods organized, bringing the government’s awareness of their needs and desires into sharper focus. Several attempts to annex additional neighboring areas failed—for the time being. With the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, new families began immigrating to the city, contributing new ideas and cultural traditions.

Toward the end of the decade, city hall moved once again, to a new location on Grady Way near the site of the old Renton Coal Mine. Additionally, the city partnered with other major stakeholders to promote Renton as “Ahead of the Curve.”

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