Report notes growth in jobs and new homes in county’s urban areas

According to King County officials, people living here enjoy some of the best job and residential options in the region.

  • Wednesday, May 28, 2008 12:00am
  • News

According to King County officials, people living here enjoy some of the best job and residential options in the region.

That anecdotal idea is being borne out by a new report that shows roughly half of the nearly 300,000 new jobs and 225,000 new housing units within the Puget Sound region that were created over the past decade occurred in King County. And virtually all of that growth occurred in designated urban growth areas, according to county officials who released the findings.

The findings are part of the 2008 King County Benchmarks report on land-use between 1995 and 2006. The report details the progress of countywide planning policies and their impact on the environment and overall quality-of-life.

“This report points to the continued effectiveness of land-use policies that direct growth into areas where public amenities are already available, while maintaining open space including forestland and other natural areas,” said County Executive Ron Sims.

Sims said county policies guide growth and land-use by encouraging dense urban development within a designated Urban Growth Area, while preserving and protecting rural and resource lands.

In a review of 11 indicators, including employment statistics, housing starts and acreage preserved as open space, the report – described by Sims as a collaborative effort between the county and cities – notes:

• While nearly 10,000 new housing units have been added to urban centers since 2001, more than 876,000 acres of forestland have been maintained, representing 64 percent of the county’s total land area.

• Within the designated Urban Growth Area, single-family and multi-family residential densities from 2001-05 were higher than those during the previous five-year period.

• Sixteen percent of King County’s residential growth since 2001 has been in urban centers, through the addition of nearly 10,000 new housing units.

• Including newly designated areas, urban centers accommodated 37 percent of countywide jobs by 2006, combining with manufacturing industrial centers to collectively gain 111,000 new jobs between 1995 and 2006.

• King County has capacity for 289,000 new housing units within the Urban Growth Area, more than twice the capacity needed to accommodate the remaining household growth target set in the countywide planning policies.

• The Urban Growth Area can accommodate about 400,000 new jobs in commercial and mixed-use zones and 123,000 new jobs in industrial zones – nearly double the capacity needed to accommodate the remaining employment growth targets.

The benchmark program began in 1994 to provide information for King County and local jurisdictions to use for setting environmental goals and evaluating the effectiveness of environmental policies.

Sims said the reports that emerge from the program gauge the effectiveness of growth-management policies and help lead to changes of policies that aren’t having a desired outcome.

The report is available online at

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

U.S. Department of Justice logo.
Renton man sentenced for killing of woman in Olympic National Forest

Authorities say the he brutally beat to death the California woman who he was having an affair with.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen. Photos courtesy of FBI
FBI arrests Auburn couple after 11-day manhunt

The couple was previously convicted for fraud and skipped sentencing on April 29.

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Dozens of King County Sheriff’s Office employees left jobs instead of getting vaccinated

This added on to the existing number of vacancies in the department.

Environmental microbiologist Dr. Natalie Prystajecky with some of her staff members at the BC Centre for Disease Control. Photo: Submitted
Wastewater testing for COVID-19 coming to Interior Health

Testing can tell whether cases are rising or falling in a community

King County logo
King County audit finds backlog of property tax exemption applications for seniors, people with disabilities, and disabled veterans

The auditors found that program expansions lead to three-times the amount of applications.

Most Read