Historians say that today’s Kent was once beneath the sea until 5,000 years ago, when an explosion on Mt. Rainier sent mudflows and other debris into the sea. These flows carved a ravine into the landscape, which is known today to be the White River. This River created a fertile plain that lured many mid-1800 settlers into taking advantage of the lush farmland. The settlers utilized all the resources of the land by clearing the land of timber to make space for farms, and fishing in the river for salmon. Dairy farming became the dominant industry in the late 1800’s, and the first Carnation milk was produced in Kent in 1899. In 1914, a concrete dam was built in Auburn to divert the White River, and the White River Valley then turned into the Green River Valley. Farming remained the city’s dominant industry until 1963 when another dam was built and competed on the upper part of Green River. The dam then converted the land from a rich agricultural valley to a project of commercial development in the industrial, transportation, and distribution fields.
Being apart of the initial White River Valley and now the Green River Valley, Auburn has many of the same industrial development qualities as Kent. Auburn was founded by settlers in the mid-1800’s who were drawn in by the fertile soil of the valley. Because Auburn has the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe within the city limits, there had been many confrontational battles with the natives over the farming land. Auburn was also known for being a big railroad town. It was here that the junction of the Northern Pacific’s transcontinental met coastal routes and the extensive marshaling yards. Although since then many of the railroads operations have been shut down, the system still plays a role in the community today.
Kent is now the 10th largest city in Washington State. Despite the large advances in industrial developments, Kent still remains to have “small town” values. Many local residences can say that there is a sense of safety and security, where everyone looks out for everyone else in the community. Kent has an older community of those who had seen the agricultural boom in the late 1800’s to the mid-1900’s and then the commercial development that is still taking place today.
Today Auburn has become more commercialized and there are many attractions that draw people to this friendly community. Puyallup, named by the local Indian tribe, means “land of generous people.” Once small community, Puyallup is picking up its pace and expanding keeping certain values close at hand. Because Puyallup is expanding, the community maintains an atmosphere where people feel safe and secure, despite the loss of farmland and the growth of suburbia.
Within an eleven-mile radius there are 30,000 people living within the city limits pf Puyallup. Boeing, General Services Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, and Auburn Regional Medical Center contribute to the tens of thousands of jobs that are offered to the 36,000 plus people residing in Auburn today. The farmland and rural areas are still present, but more young professionals are starting families in these areas. Both commercial and residential construction is expanding, and there is now a major amphitheater halfway between Auburn and Enumclaw to draw crowds and jobs.
Interspersed with the commercial aspects of these southern cities are sprawling farmlands, clusters of residential housing communities and, closer to the urban areas, reasonably priced apartments and multiplexes. Pricing in these areas is more affordable than the cities the further from Seattle or Tacoma that you go. Average rental rates range between $0.50 to $1.25 per square foot.
Emerald Downs, The Super Mall, and the Muckleshoot Casino are just a few of the main attractions in Auburn. Every year, the Western Washington Fair attracts 1 million people to Puyallup in the fall, and other events that happen annually at the fairgrounds attract people from all over the state. There are a lot of fun festivals and parades, such as the Daffodil Parade and Spring Fair. Within the fertile valley, Puyallup produces flower bulbs, berries, and rhubarb.