Value Village

Bellevue, Washington

Bellevue ("BELL-view") is a rapidly growing city in King County, Washington, U.S., across Lake Washington from Seattle. Long known as a suburb or satellite city of Seattle, it is now categorized as an edge city or a boomburb. In 2003 the Census Bureau estimated the city had a total population of 112,344, making it the fifth largest city in the state and the largest on the Eastside of King County. According to the Washington State Office of Financial Management's April 1, 2008 estimate, the city has a population of 119,200.

Downtown Bellevue is undergoing rapid change. It is currently the second largest city center in Washington state with over 35,000 employees and 5,000 residents. Lincoln Square, which opened in 2005, and a recently-completed overhaul of the former Qwest building into a new City Hall appear to be the leading edge of a development boom. Over the next few years, the area will see the construction of several additional high-rises and other projects for office, residential, and retail space.

Based on per capita income, Bellevue is the 15th wealthiest of 522 communities in the state of Washington. Bellevue was recently named number 1 in CNNMoney's list of the best places to live and launch businesses.

Bellevue is French for "Beautiful View"

History and growth

Bellevue was founded in 1869 by William Meydenbauer and was officially incorporated on March 21, 1953. Prior to the opening of the Lake Washington Floating Bridge in 1940, Bellevue was a rural area with little development. Once the bridge opened, access from Seattle improved, and the area gradually grew into a bedroom community.

Following the 1963 opening of a second bridge across the lake, the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, the city began to grow more rapidly. It has since become one of the largest cities in the state, with several high-rise structures in its core and a burgeoning business community.

Reflective of Bellevue's growth over the years is Bellevue Square, now one of the largest shopping centers in the region. Opened in 1946, Bellevue Square underwent a significant expansion in the 1980s. More recently, an expansion to Bellevue Square along Bellevue Way called "The Lodge" and the new One Lincoln Tower promise to strengthen downtown Bellevue's role as the largest Seattle Eastside shopping and dining destination. The Bravern, a large mixed-use project currently under construction, will feature a Neiman Marcus (the first in the Pacific Northwest), along with an assortment of upscale stores.

The City's long-term plans include the Bel-Red Corridor Project, a large-scale planning effort to encourage the redevelopment of a large northern section of the City bordering the adjacent town of Redmond. Patterned after what many civic leaders consider the successful redevelopment of the downtown core, early plans include "superblock" mixed use projects similar to Lincoln Square. Premised on the eventual approval of the extension of light-rail to the Eastside, the City hopes to mitigate transportation problems impeding earlier efforts in redeveloping the downtown core; viewed as an economic development opportunity by many in the business and building development community, the process has focused on infrastructure and the encouragement of private construction in a large-scale urban renewal effort.


Downtown Bellevue is undergoing rapid change. It is currentlythe second largest city center in Washington State with over 40,000 employees and 6,000 residents. Downtown Bellevue has seen many new buildings built, and many more being built. There is another project like Lincoln Square being built on the old Safeway location. Downtown Park is near the busy part of Downtown Bellevue. With all the projects being built Downtown Bellevue will have a residents population of over 15,000 and a work force of over 70,000.

Here some of the buildings:


Bellevue is located at (47.597554, -122.159245).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 33.9 square miles (87.8 km²), of which, 30.8 square miles (79.6 km²) of it is land and 3.2 square miles (8.2 km²) of it (9.29%) is water.

The city's name is derived from a French term for "beautiful view". Under favorable weather conditions, scenic vistas of the Olympic Mountains and Cascade Mountains can be viewed from hilltops (and strategically-positioned high-rise buildings) within the incorporated city.

The city lies between Lake Washington to the west and the smaller Lake Sammamish to the east. Much of Bellevue is drained by the Kelsey Creek watershed, whose source is located in the Larsen and Phantom Lake greenbelt and whose outlet is near where Interstate 90 meets Lake Washington's eastern shore. The city is bisected by Interstate 405 running north-south, and the southern portion is crossed from west to east by Interstate 90. The State Route 520 freeway roughly delineates the upper reaches of Bellevue.

South of I-90 the city’s Eastgate neighborhood continues up Cougar Mountain. To the west of Cougar Mountain, Bellevue includes Coal Creek and Factoria.

Bellevue is bordered by the cities of Kirkland to the north and Redmond to the northeast along the Overlake and Crossroads neighborhoods. Across the short East Channel Bridge, I-90 connects Bellevue to Mercer Island to the southwest. Issaquah is to the east, down I-90 at the south end of Lake Sammamish. The city is also bordered to the west by the extremely wealthy suburbs of Medina, Clyde Hill, Hunts Point and Yarrow Point. The south end of Bellevue is bordered by the city of Renton, and to the southeast, the relatively recently incorporated city of Newcastle.


Bellevue is the main Eastside hub for both the local transit authority, King County Metro, and Sound Transit, the regional transit system. The Bellevue Transit Center, which serves both Metro and Sound buses, is located in the heart of the downtown business district and is connected to Interstate 405 by NE 6th St. and a direct-access Texas T HOV ramp. Local buses run into Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Renton, and the University District; regional buses go to Bothell, Lynnwood, Everett, Seattle, Renton, Kent, Auburn and Federal Way, among other cities.

The East Link light rail line is planned to run from Seattle through Mercer Island and Bellevue before ending in Redmond. A measure including this and other regional road and transit projects went before voters in November 2007 and was defeated, so it is uncertain when East Link will be built, if at all. The financial uncertainty of the area's numerous transportation projects reflect the political fragmentation of the Puget Sound area. What is becoming apparent are the increasing costs associated with the central Puget Sound's regional transportation infrastructure.

Bellevue is also served by a railroad, a Burlington Northern branch line known as the Woodinville Subdivision, which includes the historic Wilburton Trestle. This local freight line is the subject of a controversial plan by King County to remove the rails and replace them with a bicycle trail. In response, a grass roots movement has sprung up to both save the railroad and begin a rail transit service on it as an alternative to the heavily congested I-405 freeway, which runs roughly parallel to it.

Government and politics

Bellevue has a Council-Manager form of government with seven, non-partisan council members elected at large for staggered four-year terms. The City Council selects a Mayor from among its members, who serves as council chair but has no veto power. As of 2006, the mayor is Grant Degginger and the city's manager is Steve Sarkozy.

The position of Mayor is largely ceremonial in Bellevue as the City Manager runs the City's day-to-day operations. The mayor runs council meetings, helps choose the issues that get on the council's meeting agendas, and serves as the city's most visible spokesperson. The position of Mayor is part-time. In practice, operational authority is held by the City Manager, the position that supervises an employee/consultant form of municipal authority. Indeed, more consideration is given the selection of City Manager than many candidates for City Council, the position of Mayor elected not by popular vote but by the seven members of Council.

In the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Bellevue residents cast 57.10% of their votes for Democrat John Kerry.


Bellevue is home to Bellevue Community College (BCC) and City University. The highly rated BCC is the largest community college in Washington and the third largest institution of higher education in the state.

The city hosts the Bellevue School District. There are four main public high schools - Bellevue High School, Interlake High School, Newport High School, and Sammamish High School, as well as two alternative high schools, International School and Robinswood High School.

At the elementary level, Bellevue is home to the Eastside's only Waldorf Education, at Three Cedars School, and to several Montessori schools.


With its immediate proximity to Redmond, home of Microsoft, and direct highway access to Seattle via Interstate 90 and State Route 520, Bellevue is now home to the headquarters of many small and large businesses. Many of these are technology companies, most started in the 1990s. The city has numerous thriving commercial districts. It also immediately borders the tiny but extremely affluent Lake Washington “Gold Coast” district (Medina, Hunts Point, Clyde Hill, and Yarrow Point), whose residents include Bill Gates and control a large portion of the local wealth . Besides Bellevue Square, there are three major shopping centers in the city: Factoria Mall to the south, Crossroads Mall to the East, and the Overlake Shopping District in the north.

Companies headquartered or with major operations in Bellevue include:

  • 180 Solutions, Inc. - "Permission based" marketing software - aka spyware.
  • 5TH Cell - A video game developer that works on handheld, mobile and PC.
  • ArenaNet - PC game developer famous for Guild Wars; many ArenaNet employees used to work for Blizzard Entertainment.
  • Brio Realty – A national real estate company that utilizes the internet to deliver better home buying experiences for its customers.
  • - North America'sa lrgest e-distributor of fine and specialty chemicals.
  • Clark Nuber - A regional accounting firm headquartered in Bellevue.
  • Coinstar, Inc. - Owner and operator of coin-exchanging kiosks found in supermarkets.
  • - An online pharmacy and information site for health, beauty, wellness, personal care, and pharmacy products.
  • Eddie Bauer - Relocated its Headquarters from Redmond, WA to a 28-story office tower at Lincoln Square, which was completed in mid-2007. It shares this tower with Microsoft's North American Sales Headquarters.
  • Expedia, Inc. – An online travel company, which will occupy Tower 333 beginning November 2008.
  • The Generations Network - Headquartered in Bellevue, version 2.0 of is a secure social networking service which allows anyone to create a family or group website (e.g., a class reunion site, a club site) within a matter of minutes.
  • InfoSpace - A growing Internet private-label search engine and online directory that survived the bust of the 1990s. It’s reemerging in the mid 2000’s with a mobile entertainment offering.
  • Microsoft - Leases the top 15 floors of the 28 story Lincoln Square office tower, across the street from Bellevue Square. The North American Sales Group is Headquartered in the building and shares it with Eddie Bauer's world Headquarters. (Microsoft Pacific Northwest District already occupies space in Bellevue at Civica Office Commons.)
  • Orahealth Corporation – A pharmaceutical manufacturer specializing in oral health care products
  • Paccar Inc – A multinational technology company that manufactures heavy duty Class 8 trucks (Semis) sold around the world under the Kenworth, Peterbilt, DAF and Leyland nameplates.
  • QFC - Quality Food Centers, headquartered in Bellevue, is a Washington and Oregon chain of upscale grocery stores. (A wholly-owned subsidiary of Kroger).
  • ShareBuilder - An online broker allowing investors to automatically and regularly invest in stocks and ETFs, even in small amounts.
  • Symetra - Life insurance company.
  • T-Mobile – Headquarters for their US operations are located in Factoria, a neighborhood of Bellevue. They operate an all-digital, national wireless phone network, and a Wi-Fi network with over 18,000 public locations.
  • Uievolution - A mobile software company (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Square-Enix).
  • Value Village - A second-hand clothing chain. (Also known as Savers).
  • Valve Corporation – A video game developer made famous by its first product, Half-Life.
  • WizKids - Non-electronic game developer producing everything from collectible miniatures games to board games.


As of the census of 2000, there were 112,344 people, 45,836 households, and 29,060 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,563.6 people per square mile (1,411.4/km²). There were 48,396 housing units at an average density of 1,574.0/sq mi (607.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 74.33% White, 1.99% African American, 0.32% Native American, 17.39% Asian, 0.23% Pacific Islander, 2.54% from other races, and 3.19% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.32% of the population. Bellevue residents are known as Bellevueites.

There were 45,836 households out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.0% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.6% were non-families. 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.1% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 32.6% from 25 to 44, 25.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 98.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.6 males.

According to a 2006 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $76,757, and the median income for a family was $89,020. Males had a median income of $56,456 versus $37,124 for females. The per capita income for the city was $36,905. About 3.8% of families and 5.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.7% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.

Bellevue was rated one of the 25 safest cities in America, based on the per-capita incidence of violent crime. On the same subject, the Bellevue Police Department is strongly supported by the community.

Bellevue is rapidly growing in size and diversity, a fact which outdates old censuses. It is now home to a larger percentage of nonwhite residents than Seattle. Nearly a third of the city's residents are foreign-born, up from a quarter five years ago. Bellevue has the highest percentage of foreign-born residents among major cities in the state. In 2005, 32% of residents are nonwhite. The largest communities come from China, India, Russia and Mexico, attracted to business and tech industry jobs, manual labor jobs, quality schools and parks.

Bellevue has the largest and most affluent Asian population in the state. As of 2005, 25% of the city's residents identify themselves as Asian, a rise from 17% in 2000. East Indian and Chinese communities have doubled in size since 2000.


Bellevue is the site of the popular annual Bellevue Arts and Crafts Fair (originally Pacific Northwest Arts and Crafts Fair), held since 1947 at the end of July.

The Bellevue Arts Museum first opened in 1975, then moved to Bellevue Square in 1983. In 2001 the museum moved into its own building, designed by Steven Holl. The museum subsequently ran into financial difficulties and was forced to close to the public in 2003. After a lengthy fundraising campaign, a remodel, and a new mission to become a national centre for the fine art of craft and design, the museum re-opened on June 18, 2005 with an exhibition of teapots.

The Rosalie Whyel Museum of Doll Art contains one of the largest doll collections in the world—more than a thousand dolls—displayed on two floors of a Victorian-style building.

Opened in December 2005, Bellevue’s newest museum to date is KidsQuest Children’s Museum. Located in Factoria Mall, a shopping complex in the midst of a major remodel, its primary visitors are mothers and care givers with children from pre-crawlers to 12 years of age. Its 10,000 square foot space houses play and discovery areas, exhibits, offices, educational activities and classroom space.

The biennial Bellevue Sculpture Exhibition draws thousands of visitors to the Downtown Park to view up to 46 three-dimensional artworks from artists around the country.

Bellevue holds an annual Strawberry Festival to celebrate its strawberry farming history.


Bellevue was home to the American Basketball Association team, the Bellevue Blackhawks. The Blackhawks in 2005, despite being ranked 13th in the league, made it to the championship game in front of 15,000 fans in Little Rock, Arkansas. The team has been inactive since 2006.

Notable residents

Points of interest


Sister Cities

Bellevue has the following sister cities:

See also


External links

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