Vashon, Washington

Vashon, Washington

Vashon is a census-designated place (CDP) in King County, Washington, United States. It covers an island alternately called Vashon-Maury Island or Vashon Island, the largest island in Puget Sound south of Admiralty Inlet. The population was 10,123 at the 2000 census. At 37 square miles (96 km²), it is about 60 percent larger in area than Manhattan [ New York—Place and County Subdivision] , United States Census Bureau, accessed 2007-12-11.] , with about 1/150 the population.

Vashon has two ferry terminals. The southern terminus of the Vashon Highway is the Tahlequah Ferry Terminal, connected to the Point Defiance neighborhood of Tacoma by a Washington State Ferries run. The northern terminus of the Vashon Highway is the Heights Dock at Point Vashon, which services the state ferry docks at Southworth, Fauntleroy in West Seattle, and Downtown Seattle. There are no bridges to connect the island with the mainland.

The island was named on May 28, 1792, by the explorer George Vancouver after his friend James Vashon of the Royal Navy. At that time, Vashon Island was separate from the neighbouring Maury Island, but today the hamlet of Portage sits on an isthmus built by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers that connects the two.

Based on per capita income, Vashon ranks 32nd of 522 areas in the state of Washington to be ranked.


Vashon is located at coor dms|47|24|58|N|122|28|6|W| (47.416198, -122.468211).GR|1

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 37.0 square miles (95.8 km²).


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 10,123 people, 4,193 households, and 2,838 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 273.9 people per square mile (105.7/km²). There were 4,867 housing units at an average density of 131.7/sq mi (50.8/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 93.61% White, 0.45% Black or African American, 0.70% Native American, 1.56% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.87% from other races, and 2.75% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.56% of the population.

There were 4,193 households out of which 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.3% were non-families. 23.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 4.6% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 34.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $58,261, and the median income for a family was $67,010. Males had a median income of $50,201 versus $36,426 for females. The per capita income for the island was $31,983. About 4.6% of families and 6.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.2% of those under the age of 18 and 2.2% of those 65 and older.


The economy of Vashon Island is heavily based on residents commuting to Seattle and Tacoma. While orchards and strawberry farms formerly played a major role in the Vashon economy, the pressures of suburban residential development have all but eliminated any major commercial agriculture on the island. Many small farms operate on the island, providing locals with fresh organic produce, milk, and eggs. Despite the changes, the island continues to observe the tradition of holding a strawberry festival every July.

Vashon's economy took another hit in recent years when it lost two of its major industrial employers: K2 Sports moved its manufacturing to China, and the Seattle's Best Coffee roastery operation was closed shortly after SBC was bought by Starbucks. Currently, the largest manufacturer on Vashon is Pacific Research Laboratories, locally referred to as "The Bone Factory."

Maury Island is home to numerous AM transmitters. Built in 1941, KIRO 710 has two massive towers for its 50,000 watt transmitter. KIRO is 50,000 watts day/night. KTTH 770 which operates with 50,000 watts during the day and 5,000 watts at night. KTTH shares towers with KPTK. KIRO and KTTH are owned by Bonneville International.

There was a tower originally built in 1946 for KEVR 1090AM, which later became KING radio and is now KPTK. KPTK, 50,000 watts day/night, now operates 3 towers. CBS ownes KPTK. This site is shared with KTTH.

On Vashon Island, radio station KVI 570 has a single tower on a beach in Tramp Harbor, nicknamed "KVI Beach." KVI is owned by local owner Fisher Broadcasting and operates 24 hours a day at 5,000 watts. Fisher also owns KOMO 1000 has a three tower setup on the northeast corner of Vashon Island. KOMO is 50,000 watts day/night.

KGNW 820 propagates its signal from three towers in the center of the island, KGNW operates 50,000 watts day and 5,000 night and is owned by Salem Communications.KJR 950 shares the towers at the KGNW site. KJR is owned by Clear Channel and operates 50,000 wattsday/night

People of note

Vashon Island has been home to many people of note.
* Karen Cushman, author, who produces fiction for mid-grade and young adult readers. One of her best known titles is the 1996 Newbery Award winning novel, THE MIDWIFE'S APPRENTICE.
* Jeweler and bellmaker Gordon R. Barnett []
*Gene "Bean" Baxter of the Kevin and Bean morning show on KROQ, an alternative rock-format radio station in Los Angeles, California, lives on Vashon Island.
*Gene Amondson, 2004 Prohibition Party presidential nominee, lives on Vashon.
*Berkeley Breathed, author of the political satire comic strip Bloom County, resided on Vashon for some time. He wrote a children's book based on a bicycle in a tree. The real-life tree, growing around a bicycle, can be seen on the island.
* Booth Gardner, former Washington state governor, lives on Vashon Island.
* Betty MacDonald once lived on Vashon and used the island as the setting of her book "Onions in the Stew."
* Basil Poledouris, film composer, spent the last four years of his life on Vashon Island, prior to dying in Los Angeles due to complications from cancer.
* John Ratzenberger, who played Clifford C. Clavin, Jr. on the television show "Cheers", and also voiced a character in "Toy Story", once lived on and still owns land on connected Maury Island. He also started a school on the island.
* Dan Savage, editor of "The Stranger" and the author of "Savage Love," a syndicated sex advice column, formerly lived on Vashon Island with his partner and adopted son. By his own account, he moved from Vashon because he was unsure that the local public schools would welcome the adopted son of gay partners.
* Tom Stewart, founder and chairman of Misty Isle Farms [] and Food Services of America, once lived on the island and moved to Arizona in 2006. Stewart, a prominent regional Republican leader, rekindled the Quartermaster Harbor fireworks show in 1991 after it was discontinued as Vashon Island's traditional local Independence Day celebration in 1989. In 1998, Stewart pled guilty to misdemeanor federal and local election-finance money laundering charges. He had to pay a $5 million fine and serve two months under house arrest, with work release, wearing an electronic ankle bracelet.
* Zach Mann, reality TV star from MTV's hit show The Real World
* Eva Larson, student of the neato variety currently living in Chicago, Illinois, famous for coining the phrase "Greetings Earthlings".
*Edith Derby Williams, historian, granddaughter of former US President Theodore Roosevelt, lived on Vashon Island from the 1960's until her death in 2008.
*Eyvind Kang, modern composer, lives on Vashon Island.
*Alex Borstein, actress noted especially for her work on Fox's MAD TV and as the voice of Family Guy's Lois Griffin, lives on Vashon Island.
* Paul Seibert, author of books, white papers, and articles about strategic planning, growth, branching and architecture for financial institutions. Principle of EHS-Design, Partner in Momentum Construction Company and founding partner of CEO Advisory Group. Paul lives on Vashon.

Places of note

One of the few Russian Orthodox Monasteries [List of Russian Orthodox Monasteries] in America [ [List of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in the United States] ] is located on Vashon Island. The monks gained notoriety years ago when they were threatened with a lawsuit by Starbucks for promoting a monastery coffee labeled, "Christmas Blend", which Starbucks claimed they owned rights to. The lawsuit was eventually dropped. Their story was included in a documentary exposing the evils of American corporations. []


External links

* [ Vashon Chamber of Commerice]
* [ Vashon-Maury Island Community Council]
* [ Vashon-Maury Business Information and More]
* [ Vashon-Maury News, Weather and Headlines]
* [ Vashon-Maury Map]
* []
* []
* Russian Orthodox Monastery []
* Bells []
* [ University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections – Oliver S. Van Olinda Photographs] A collection of 420 photographs depicting life on Vashon Island, Whidbey Island, Seattle and other communities of Washington State's Puget Sound from the 1880s to the 1930s.
* [ Photo of the Bike in the Tree.]
* []

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