Issaquah balloons from small town to boomtown

February 21, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Most citizens did not need a decennial update from the U.S. Census Bureau to recognize Issaquah as a boomtown.

The dramatic increase in population is a recent phenomenon.

Issaquah started as a pinpoint on maps, a remote hamlet in the rough-and-tumble Washington Territory.

Even as Seattle boomed amid World War II and into the postwar era, Issaquah did not crest 4,000 people until the late 1960s.

The population growth continued at a deliberate pace until a Microsoft-powered population explosion caused Issaquah and other Eastside cities to expand as the last century barreled to a close.

Construction escalated in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as leaders funneled construction into instant neighborhoods: Talus and the Issaquah Highlands, both hillside urban villages. Issaquah also scooped up surrounding neighborhoods through annexations.

The recent surge in population also added diversity to a mostly Caucasian city. The upward trend in population added more Asian, Hispanic or Latino, and black residents to Issaquah.

Issaquah occupied the No. 6 spot on the fastest-growing cities list during the past decade.

The recession decelerated construction, although plans to remake the business district to add residences could propel another population boom in the decades ahead.

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