Opinion

Federal Way’s upward mobility | Andy Hobbs

Everyone’s life story, whether as thick as a dictionary or thin as a pamphlet, starts with page one. Incorporated as an official city in 1990, Federal Way’s so-called page one began when Native Americans settled the area, long before Captain George Vancouver’s arrival in 1792.

Incorporation marked a significant step in Federal Way’s development. Federal Way reached a necessary and inevitable tipping point. The population had grown enough to justify creating a government. The leadership had matured enough to deliver this option for the area’s residents. Pride for the area had evolved enough to make incorporation possible. The step to incorporate made it possible for Federal Way to form its own police department, providing more adequate public safety and fostering more growth. At this moment, Federal Way’s first mayoral election represents another milestone.

By all accounts, Federal Way is bursting with upward mobility.

The city’s life story is still being written. If Federal Way’s life cycle were displayed on a graph that measured its maturity, the line or arc would travel upward, with the peak still ahead. The city’s government, infrastructure and culture continue to mature.

With incorporation, Federal Way’s flowers showed their first signs of blooming. The blooming will rise to an inevitable peak, just like a rose that grows from a seed into its most fragrant and healthy best. The next tipping point will mark the beginning of the end, at least for Federal Way’s peak performance. That point could be decades or even centuries away, but there is proof such a peak exists, whether for a suburb like Federal Way or a metropolis like New York City. Consider that in the past 60 years, Detroit burned brightly as a beacon of industry — before burning out like a struck match. The once mighty Motor City is ready to repeat the cycle, perhaps with stronger footing. Detroit’s search for rebirth marks a new life story, a sequel of sorts, that begins with a new page one.

Federal Way has yet to peak, which means it has yet to decline. How does a city peak for generations and stave off decline? By creating opportunities within its own borders. Citizens and leaders who tap Federal Way’s momentum will nudge the city toward its full potential, whatever and whenever it may be. Growth is the surest sign of being alive and well. To resist the direction of growth is one matter, but to oppose growth outright seems self-defeating.

Federal Way’s life story is far from finished. As the city enters the municipal equivalent of young adulthood, Federal Way can either stay busy growing or get busy dying.

Mirror editor Andy Hobbs: editor@federalwaymirror.com

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