About Pierce County
Located just 36 miles south of Seattle and 28 miles north of the state capital of Olympia, Tacoma is the heart of the Puget Sound Metropolitan area. The city itself rests on the shores of Commencement Bay and the Puget Sound, while Mount Rainier looms in the distance. Pierce County sustains a diverse collection of ecological settings, ranging from working farmlands to protected old-growth forests.
Tacoma thermometer readings rarely stray above 80 or dip below 40 degrees, resulting in an incredibly temperate climate. Most of the yearly 40 inches of rainfall occurs between October and March, with December being the wettest month. Snowfall varies from year to year, but generally melts before it accumulates to any significant depth. However, extensive snow pack in the surrounding mountain ranges makes for great winter skiing conditions.
The altitude in the city of Tacoma ranges from sea level to 440 feet, while the nearby Mt. Rainier, also located in Pierce County, soars to 14,411 feet.
Tacoma is home to over 200,000 residents, making the city the third largest in Washington State. Pierce County population is approximately 700,000, while the state census is close to 6 million.
More affordable than most neighboring communities, Tacoma's housing market is active.
As of October of 2007, the median price for a home in Pierce County was $266,157, more than $100,000 less than the median price of $387,500 for a home in King County. The average rent in Tacoma is $840 for a one-bedroom, compared to Seattle, where the average rent is $1,460 for a one-bedroom.
Affordability combined with a charming variety of neighborhoods and classic craftsman-style homes have made Tacoma an extremely desirable place to call home.
Tacoma is one of the West's most ecologically diverse areas, home to tide-flats, forests and salmon creeks. Many industrial sites once deemed too polluted for life are now seeing returns of native birds and fish as a result of significant environmental cleanups. Several of the Commencement Bay sites once placed on the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund list have already been de-listed, including the first marine-Superfund site in the nation to be removed from the catalog.
Since opening in downtown Tacoma in 1990, The University of Washington Tacoma (UWT) has grown from one building housing 176 students to a state-of-the-art university home to roughly 2,500 students. New construction will expand the campus by 40 percent in the next few years. UWT plans for future growth with its campus master plan, which encompasses a 46-acre footprint in downtown Tacoma. The University's Computing and Software Systems programs supports the technological needs of Tacoma businesses. Interdisciplinary arts and science is the campus' most popular degree program, followed by business administration offering degrees in both a Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Business Administration. Other programs include nursing, education and social work.
In addition to UWT, Pierce County is also home to a number of other private and public universities and colleges, including the University of Puget Sound, Pacific Lutheran University, City University, Clover Park Technical College, Bates Technical College, Pierce College, Tacoma Community College, Evergreen State College-Tacoma and Washington State University Puyallup.
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