is a city in King County, Washington, United States. A suburb situated 13 miles (21 km) southeast of Seattle, Washington, Renton straddles the southeast shore of Lake Washington. The city's population was 50,052 at the 2000 census. The State of Washington Office of Financial Management estimates the City of Renton's population to be 78,780 as of April 1, 2008. The population increased dramatically with the recent annexation of the Benson Hill communities directly southeast of the city. According to the data from the Office of Financial Management, Renton currently contains the 11th largest population in the state, and 5th largest in King County.
Based on per capita income, Renton ranks 100th of 522 areas ranked in the state of Washington.
The town of Renton was founded as a farming site by Erasmus M. Smithers who discovered coal there and brought in Charles D. Shattuck as coal mine operator.
Renton was incorporated as a city in 1901 (September 6) when coal mining and timber processing were the most important economic activities in the area. The town's population boomed during World War II when Boeing built their Renton Factory to produce the B-29 Superfortress. The factory has continued to operate since then, and still produces 737 aircraft. It also produced the Jetfoil and Pegasus class hydrofoils in the 1970s. As of 2001, 40% of all commercial aircraft in the air were assembled in Renton. Boeing remains the largest employer in Renton, which is home to over 10,000 employees and three of the aerospace giant's six major business divisions: Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Boeing Capital Corporation and the Shared Services Group. The local newspaper in the 1970s, the Record Chronicle, proclaimed the city the jet capital of the world.
Paccar has traditionally been a large employer in the city as well with its Kenworth Truck plant located in Renton's industrial area on the south end of Lake Washington. Game company Wizards of the Coast also is headquartered in Renton. Providence Health System has centralized certain of its operations in Renton and according to Mayor Koelker's 2007 State of the City address, expects to eventually have 1,000 workers at Southgate Office Park. Online social-networking website Classmates.com is also located in the aforementioned Southgate Office Park.
The city was involved in a 1986 Supreme Court case. In its decision on
, the Court upheld Renton's statute that no adult theater be located within of a school, park, church, or residential zone; the Court rejected the theater owners' argument that the statute violated the First Amendment.
Another State Supreme Court Case involving Renton was Scoccolo Construction v City of Renton. The contractor alleged that the City was responsible for delays in the project caused by third party utilities. The contractor prevailed making this an important precedent setting case for Washington State.
Recently, owing to its location at the confluence of three major freeways (I-5, I-405, and SR 167), Renton has become home to a number of destination retailers that draw customers from around the state, including the only Fry's Electronics and IKEA store in the state of Washington. Renton was also the starting point for the Spirit of Washington Dinner Train, which stopped service in the summer of 2007.