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Redmond is best known as the birthplace of the Microsoft Corporation, but it has grown into a business center and beautiful residential community. With trails, parks, rivers and lakes in all directions, Redmond has a mix of suburban and rural feel with close access to big-city employment opportunities. Redmond is a part of the highly-regarded Lake Washington school district. Its population is nearly 55,000, which is spread out to many suburban neighborhoods while Redmond's downtown is a mix of a quaint historic town and newer retail developments.
Redmond is a city in King County, Washington, United States, located 15 miles (24 km) east of Seattle. The population was 54,144 at the 2010 census and an estimated 71,929 in 2019. Redmond is commonly recognized as the home of Microsoft and Nintendo of America. With an annual bike race on city streets and the state's only velodrome, Redmond is also known as the "Bicycle Capital of the Northwest".
Native Americans have lived in the Redmond area for over 10,000 years, based on artifacts discovered at the Redmond Town Center archaeological site and Marymoor Prehistoric Indian Site. The first European settlers arrived in the 1870s. Luke McRedmond filed a Homestead Act claim for land next to the Sammamish Slough on September 9, 1870, and the following year Warren Perrigo took up land adjacent to him. The rivers and streams had so many salmon that the settlement was initially named Salmonberg. More settlers came, and with the establishment of the first post office in 1881, the name of the community was changed to Melrose. The new name was derived from the Perrigos' successful inn, Melrose House, which upset McRedmond. After becoming postmaster, he successfully petitioned to have the name changed to Redmond in 1883.
The abundant forests and fish of Redmond provided jobs for loggers and fishermen, and with those jobs came demand for goods and services, bringing in merchants. The logging industry expanded significantly in 1889 when the Seattle, Lake Shore and Eastern Railway built a station in the center of town. The first plat for Redmond was filed on May 11, 1891, encompassing much of the area now known as downtown. After reaching the necessary population of 300, Redmond was incorporated on December 31, 1912.
Redmond experienced an economic downturn in the 1920s. Prohibition forced saloons to close, cutting off a large portion of the city's tax base. The forests were declining after heavy logging, causing lumber mills to shut down. The deforested land was suitable for farming. Agriculture became Redmond's primary business, keeping residents fed during the Great Depression. When the U.S. entered World War II, shipyard jobs and other wartime work came to Redmond.
After the war, Redmond's expansion began in earnest. The city expanded over thirty times larger in area through annexations between 1951 and 1967. From 1956 to 1965, Redmond was bordered by the town of East Redmond, which was formed by rural homeowners and later dissolved by the Washington Supreme Court. The completion of the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge across Lake Washington in 1963 allowed Redmond to flourish as a suburb of Seattle. In 1978, the U.S. Census Bureau proclaimed Redmond the fastest growing city in the state. Many technology companies made the city their home, and the increasing population demanded more retail shops. By the late 1980s, Downtown Redmond had become "a series of strip centers surrounded by parking lots", sparking plans for a mixed-use revitalized downtown.
Redmond underwent a commercial boom during the 1990s, culminating in 1997 with the opening of Redmond Town Center, a major regional shopping center on the site of a long-defunct golf course. In recent years the city has been experiencing growing pains as a result of its rapid expansion, particularly in the areas of urban sprawl and traffic congestion. During rush hour it can take upwards of two hours to travel from the beginning of SR-520 at Avondale Road to downtown Seattle, a mere 16 miles (26 km) away. These problems are being mitigated by the expansion of SR-520 and the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, as well as the planned light rail service via the East Link Extension from Seattle to Redmond to open in 2023.
Redmond is bordered by Kirkland to the west, Bellevue to the southwest, and Sammamish to the southeast. Unincorporated King County lies to the north and east. The city's urban downtown lies just north of Lake Sammamish; residential areas lie north and west of the lake. Overlake, the city's second urban center, is to the west of Lake Sammamish. The Sammamish River runs north from the lake along the west edge of the city's downtown.
Redmond is located at 47°40′10″N 122°07′26″W.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.94 square miles (43.87 km2), of which 16.28 square miles (42.17 km2) are land and 0.66 square miles (1.71 km2) are water.
Several companies in the high-tech industry are based in Redmond. The largest employer in the city by far is Microsoft Corporation, which moved its headquarters to Redmond in 1986. Microsoft has over 40,000 blue badge FTEs (full-time employee), 45,000 orange badge contractors (as of June 2012, there are over 94,000 workers, and over half are contractors), and more than 8 million square feet (750,000 square meters) of office space in the Seattle area Eastside region, primarily in Redmond, with additional offices in Bellevue and Issaquah (90,000 employees worldwide). In June 2006, Microsoft purchased former Safeco's Redmond campus at 4515–5069 154th Place NE for $220.5 million.
Other companies with headquarters in Redmond include Nintendo of America, Genie Industries, Physio-Control (now part of Stryker), Visible.net, WildTangent, Solstice (acquired by Samsung) and Data I/O.
In 2015, SpaceX and Hyperloop Genesis announced of opening a facility in Redmond. Their focus will be R&D and manufacturing for a proposed internet communications satellite constellation and new transport systems.
Unlike Bellevue and other neighboring cities, the city of Redmond does not have a business and occupation tax on income. However, to help offset the costs of road improvements for businesses, a business license fee of $55 per employee was approved in 1996. As of 2016, the fee is $107 per employee.
Redmond has designated the following landmarks:
According to the city's website, Redmond has 47 public parks totaling over 1,351 acres (547 ha). Many of these are neighborhood parks with picnic tables and sports fields or courts. The largest park within the city is not owned by the city – it is King County's 560 acres (2.3 km2) Marymoor Park, one of the most popular in King County. It features a climbing rock, a model airplane flying field, a 48-acre off-leash dog park, an outdoor theater, sports fields such as baseball and soccer, a playground, tennis courts, a community garden, cricket pitch, and a velodrome, which hosts the FSA Star Crossed – Redmond cyclo-cross competition in September.
The city offers over 59 miles (95 km) of public trails for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. The Sammamish River Trail connects to the Puget Power trail, the Burke-Gilman Trail (in Bothell), and the East Lake Sammamish Trail.
60 Acres Park is known for its soccer in the spring through fall and RC electric airplanes and gliders in the winter time.
In 2004, Redmond North Little League won the Northwest region and participated in the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, PA. With Redmond North claiming the Northwest, it is the third team from Washington to claim the Northwest since its inception in 2001. Previous Washington champions were Bainbridge Island (2001), Richland (2003).
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