Pasco officials say the city’s Top 10 ranking for population growth in Washington is partially due to annexations that have been chipping away at the so-called doughnut hole.
The city, as of April 1, is believed to have 2,320 more residents since the same date in 2015, according to the state’s Office of Financial Management.
That number includes last summer’s annexation of 688 acres of unincorporated land, which resulted in 1,224 more people officially calling Pasco home.
As City Manager Dave Zabell sees it, they’re “people who were already here,” in comparison to people who packed up and moved into Pasco from near and afar.
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“They were already using city streets to access city businesses within the urban core and to go to work,” Zabell said.
“From an annexation, a lot of times you don’t often feel the impact from new people moving in, because the folks were here. Now they’re officially a part of the city from a boundary standpoint.”
That bump helped Pasco come in at No. 10 in the state for population growth. Seattle captured first place, followed by Sammamish, Bellevue, Tumwater, Tacoma, Vancouver, Federal Way, Renton and Everett.
A lot of people are finding it a good place to move to and raise a family and work and make a home. To the new people, welcome to Pasco.
City Manager Dave Zabell
Renton became the state’s eighth city to exceed 100,000 population.
Overall, 122,300 people migrated to the state in the past year. That’s an estimated growth of 1.73 percent — the largest percentage increase since 2007.
Now, 7,183,700 people call Washington their home.
Of that increase, 102,400 moved into incorporated cities and towns, for a total of 4.6 million residents.
In the past six years, Pasco has gained nearly 11,000 residents, an increase of 18 percent.
That is based on census numbers, which show the city’s population at 59,781 in 2010 and an estimated 70,560 this year.
While Zabell attributes “a good chunk,” or about half of the growth to annexations, the other 50 to 55 percent are new to Franklin County and likely the Tri-Cities overall, he said.
“Anybody who is familiar with the area knows you can look on an aerial map and see there was a lot of housing going into Pasco in the mid-2000s,” he said.
“A lot of folks moved into areas north of (Interstate) 82 and the western part of the city, as well as a significant number of new subdivisions in the eastern part of the city.”
Last year, the city reached almost 300 building permits for single-family homes, Zabell said. That’s not a big number compared to the permits issued in 2005-08, but it’s still “fairly healthy” growth considering where the economy is right now.
And with all of the new homes and apartment buildings, Pasco still has incredibly low vacancy rates
“Really, you can’t build a house fast enough in the Tri-Cities,” Zabell said.
People want to live closer to where they work, Zabell said, noting the number of jobs created in Pasco in the past decade in the industrial park and King City area.
Pasco, Kennewick, Richland and West Richland had a leg up on growth over the rest of the state in the past 10 years because the Mid-Columbia was not as adversely affected by the Great Recession, he said.
So comparing the area to the rest of the state is “really not apples to apples,” but comparing what’s going on now in Pasco to previous years shows it’s just a moderate rate of growth.
Pasco definitely will be touting this Top 10 placement in economic development materials to show it is one of the fastest-growing cities, Zabell said.
“A lot of people are finding it a good place to move to and raise a family and work and make a home,” he said. “To the new people, welcome to Pasco.”