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Orting is a city in Pierce County, Washington, United States. The population as of 2018 is 7,700

according to the City of Orting.



Orting is an Indian word meaning "Prairie in the woods." It applied to a prosperous village lying in the valley between the Puyallup and Carbon Rivers in Pierce County. The early settlers near the present townsite were the Lane and Whitesell families. They were members of the famous Longmire expedition which, in 1853, left the established Oregon Tail at the Dalles and turned northward through the Yakima Valley to Puget Sound.[1] The question of naming Orting still remains unanswered. One version credits the name to Civil Engineer Black of the railroad, a man who was to have said the Indian meaning was "A prairie in the woods." When the town was named in 1889, it incorporated under "Town of Orting" and was the only town in the United States. In March 1980, the town was renamed "City of Orting.".[2] In 1861, the Whitesells were about to go back to their place after the Indian War. The first ever recorded claims for the land in Orting were made in 1854 by William Henry Whitesell (also the first postmaster), Thomas Headley, Daniel Lane and Daniel Varner. The city was built in 1877 and the population rose quickly after the railroad was built, as it made transportation in and out of the city much easier. On March 15, 1865, the Meekers of Puyallup received the first hop roots to the valley from Charles Wood of Olympia. The roots were planted and found to grow well in the fertile soils of the valley. About August was time to harvest. Indians came from Canada and made camp for the summer. The settlers banded together to get all the hop picked.[3]

The Northern Pacific Railroad[4]Edit

In April 1889, the Northern Pacific Railroad sold 80,000 acres of timberland in Pierce County, Washington, to a Wisconsin-Minnesota syndicate. All of the land was within 30 miles of Tacoma. The contract of sale involved the construction of a railroad to be known as the "Tacoma Southern" which was to be used to get the timber to tidewater. This road was to become part of NP by stumpage sales. The cost of the land was $11 per acre and it was estimated that in the first few years, 60% of the 75,000,000 board feet would be sent east on the NP. During 1888, after preliminary surveys in August, an eight-mile railroad branch was built from Orting, on the Tacoma-Seattle line to Lake Kapowsin. The charter actually was that of the "Tacoma, Orting and Southeastern" and operations began by the NP on June 24, 1889. The town was called "Whitesell's Crossing" because the railroad ran right through the Whitesell property.


Orting is located at 47°5′46″N 122°12′19″W / 47.09611°N 122.20528°W / 47.09611; -122.20528 (47.096071, -122.205401).[5]0.07 square miles (0.18 km2)

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.80 square miles (7.25 km2), of which 2.73 square miles (7.07 km2) is land.[6]


Census Pop.
Est. 20167,693[7]14.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
2015 Estimate[9]

2010 censusEdit

As of the census[10] of 2010, there were 6,746 people, 2,184 households, and 1,688 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,471.1 inhabitants per square mile (954.1/km2). There were 2,361 housing units at an average density of 864.8 per square mile (333.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.9% White, 1.5% African American, 1.4% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.5% Pacific Islander, 2.4% from other races, and 5.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.2% of the population.

There were 2,184 households, of which 48.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.5% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 22.7% were non-families. 16.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.01 and the average family size was 3.34.

The median age in the city was 32.7 years. 30.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 31.8% were from 25 to 44; 19.5% were from 45 to 64; and 10.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.7% male and 49.3% female.

2000 censusEdit

The median income for a household in the city was $53,464, and the median income for a family was $55,335. Males had a median income of $41,486 versus $26,438 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,951. About 4.2% of families and 6.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.2% of those under the age of 18 and 15.8% of those 65 and older.

Salmon fishingEdit

Orting is nestled between the Carbon and Puyallup Rivers. The Voights Creek Hatchery is located just outside Orting and plays a central role in the healthy runs of salmon that bring fishermen from far and wide to enjoy the challenge of landing a big salmon.

Washington State Soldiers HomeEdit

Washington was still a growing territory during the war years from 1861 to 1865. When the Civil War was raging, the women of Washington Territory tried to relieve the suffering of the wounded soldiers on far-away battlefield by preparing aid for them in the form of clothing.[11] was the reason for the Home Creation.

On January 18, 1891 the final vote was made to where to put the Washington State Soldiers Home. The legal satus of chosen Land, an Orting Oracle article stated that a warranty deed to the 157 acres had been received stated by state two months previous to the sites selection. The legal description of the site valued at $10,000.

The account of the ceremony that was held on July 4 at the Home did not appear in any of the record that was available. On March 13, 1907, the state legislature passed the act establishing it.

From 1901 to 1906 The Home had several commander inducing H.J. Coffman, S. A Callvert, C.H. Hyde and Perhaps the best known Willis L. Ames. On March 13, 1907 the state legislature passed the act establishing the Washington Vertans' home and little less than three year later this new facility was opened. When the new home was begun the governor planned to appoint George Tibbet who had served on both investigate committee of the Orting Home.

During the 1914-16 period while the great World War was raging in Europe, the Home was still receiving Civil War veterans at the ratio 15 to 1, even though that conflict had ended 50 years before. Admittees during this period number: 1 Mexican War, 16 Indian War, 407 Civil War and 43 Spanish–American War. Orting remain today the only town in the whole United States which has both a soldiers' home and a colony where veterans and their wives and widow can live in their own homes.

The veteran population in Washington State on June 30, 1969, was 457,000 an increase in the past years of approximately 100,000 and much rapid increase than even before.

City parks and muralsEdit

Orting is known for its beautiful parks filled with huge shade trees making places for picnics and relaxing right in the center of the historic downtown area. Visitors will enjoy the Orting Valley Farmer's Market in the North Park, Fridays from 3pm-7pm, during the summer months.[12] A walking tour map is available at the library on the corner of Train and Washington. The map shows the route to the historic murals scattered on buildings throughout the town. Throughout town there are views of Mt. Rainier in the distance.

Mount RainierEdit

Mount Rainier as seen from the High Cedars Golf Course in Orting, bordering the Puyallup River

Mt. Rainier was called Mt. Orting. On May 11, 1917, it was officially named Mt. Rainier.[2] The town sits in a fertile valley between two major rivers, the Carbon and Puyallup Rivers, and it is built on several layers of lahar deposits. Based on past lahar flow and the structure of Mount Rainier, Orting has been designated the most at-risk town in the event of lahar activity from the mountain. The local schools regularly stage lahar evacuation drills, and residents have been informed as to lahar escape routes. Local citizens are progressing toward designing the Bridge for Kids, a walking bridge across the Carbon River that could be used for recreation and rapid evacuation up the hill toward Cascadia, Washington.[13]

Public Safety/ LaharEdit

The city of Orting, population 7,700, is located at the confluence of the Carbon and Puyallup rivers in the Puget Sound Lowlands. The valley floor represents layers of deposits from old lahars. At least 60 lahars have flowed off Mount Rainier into its draining river valleys in the past 10,000 years, with the largest events occurring about 500 years ago. In the advent of a Lahar, the key is to get to higher ground about 50 feet up, to steer clear of the dangerous flow. There is Lahar testing first Monday of every Month.[14] Scientists predict that lahars could reach Orting in as little as 30 minutes from origin. Authorities have installed a system of lahar sirens throughout the area, activated by sensors on Mt. Rainier.


  • Orting Primary School (grades K–2)
  • Ptarmigan Ridge Intermediate School (grades K-5)
  • Orting Middle School (grades 6–8)
  • Orting High School (grades 9–12)

Foothills TrailEdit

The Foothills Trail is a paved trail built on the old railroad bed. It runs through Orting, to South Prairie in one direction and to Sumner in the other. Its primary function is recreation, however it is also utilized by many commuters on bicycles. The trail is for walking, bicycling, horseback riding, skating and skateboarding and scooter traffic. It is set aside for nonmotorized vehicles only.

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ Howell, Ida (4/5/1953). "Orting Is the Indian Word Meaning 'Prairie Village'". Seattle PI. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ a b Rushton, Alice (1981). The History of the Town of Orting. Washington: Heritage Quest. p. 28.
  3. ^ Rushton, Alice (1989). The History of the Orting 1854-1981. Heritage Quest. pp. 23–37.
  4. ^ Renz, Louis (1980). The History of Northern pacific Railroad. Walla Walla: YE Galleon Press.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  7. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  8. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved July 25, 2013.
  9. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on October 19, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  11. ^ Furney, Muriel (1974). A History of Washington Soldiers' Home & Colony 1891-1971. Monroe: Reformatory Industries Printing Plant. p. 2.
  12. ^ "Orting Valley Farmers Market - Facebook".
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ Pinsker, Lisa (April 2004). "Paths of Destruction: The Hidden Threat at Mount Rainier". Geotimes. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
  15. ^ "Notable People - Orting - LocalWiki". Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  16. ^ "Local OHS Grad Produces Hollywood Feature Film - Orting News". Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  17. ^ "Athletics at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games: Men's Pole Vault Qualifying Round | Olympics at". Olympics at Retrieved 2017-01-05.

External linksEdit