Renton State of the City address focuses on economic growth, public safety

Mayor Armondo Pavone spoke about Renton’s position as a boon for economic success and the city’s stance on the Blake Decision.

Mayor Armondo Pavone hosted his first State of the City address, and the evening’s speech was brimming with major accomplishments throughout the city and goals for the coming years, reaffirming the effort to make Renton a “safe, healthy and vibrant community.”

“I can tell you, going through the pandemic and going through all of that chaos that was 2020, it really illuminated the city of Renton,” said Pavone on Tuesday, March 21.

Following a welcome reception and an opening performance by the Seahawks Blue Thunder Drumline, Pavone’s address at the Renton IKEA Performing Arts Center lasted well over an hour.

“This is the first State of the City in three years, so there was a lot to cover,” he said.

Pavon made note of Renton’s many boards and commissions for residents to become involved. He also spoke of a vision for the city.

“Renton is the center of opportunity in the Puget Sound region, where families and businesses thrive,” said the mayor, who is a small business owner himself. “What that means to me is that we focus on providing the best service possible to our residents.”

Pavone spoke about a city “business plan” that provides principles or “pillars” to help Renton thrive. Along with providing a safe, healthy and vibrant community, the pillars include:

  • Promote economic vitality and strategically position Renton for the future.
  • Support planned growth and influence decisions to foster environmental sustainability.
  • Build an inclusive, informed and hate-free city with equitable outcomes for all in support of social, economic and racial justice.
  • Meet service demands and provide high-quality customer service.

Public safety

Pavone spoke about “new and innovative solutions” for safety in the city, which he said included hiring 20 new police officers since 2021 and becoming nearly fully staffed for the first time in two decades.

“An informed and well-trained police force is crucial to achieving our goals,” the mayor said. “We have taken a proactive approach at improving officer performance, building trust, and providing unequal service. The department is continually completing skills training and emotional intelligence training, mandating new programs to achieve higher standards of service.”

One safety program Pavone talked about was Community Organizers Helping Officers Restore Trust (COHORT), which requires all law enforcement officers to go through a four-hour training course that focuses on “consistent strategies to listen and engage with communities of color in meaningful ways.”

Pavone talked about making the city cleaner; coordinating emergency preparedness campaigns; the establishment of the Equity, Housing and Human Services department; and how the city had adopted its first Housing Action Plan and created several affordable housing projects amid the city’s rapid population growth.

The mayor spoke about many different goals and future programs the city plans to implement. One of the most significant was Pavone explicitly saying that the city will testify in front of the Washington State Legislature to make changes to the laws that “limit accountability or the acceptance of treatment and services for those experiencing some of the core issues of addiction and homelessness.”

Pavone, and Renton Chief of Police Jon Schulst in a pre-recorded video, referred to what’s known as the 2021 “Blake Decision,” where the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that the state’s previous felony drug possession statute was unconstitutional.

He also said a new policing district that will be created in the downtown area.

Economy and outreach

In terms of Renton’s economic growth, Pavone talked about how the city averaged 652 business license applications per year between 2021 and 2022, and how Renton has been officially designated a Main Street community. He spoke about the city increasing its grant funding to over $55 million.

“These are art grants, tourism grants and planning grants,” Pavone said. “This is a measure of the commitment your city of Renton staff has to find new and innovative ways to make out tax dollars go further and keep Renton a forward-thinking and trend-setting city.”

Pavone also spoke about the city’s long-term partners like Boeing and Wizards of the Coast, and also the city’s recent and future partners like Topgolf, Alaska Airlines and Seattle Children’s Hospital campus.

Pavone talked about current construction projects, highlighting infrastructure work from the city’s various departments and initiatives to prepare the city for climate change.

The mayor also addressed the city’s need for eliminating racial, economic and social barriers. He highlighted various initiatives and programs to be more inclusive like diversifying recruitment, mandatory training that addresses bias, and the Mayor’s Inclusion Task Force, to name a few.

“We will seek opportunities for ongoing two-way dialogue with all communities,” he said, later referring to an engagement platform called “Bang The Table” that will be made available in the future. “Engage those historically marginalized and ensure we lift every voice, listen and act on what we learn. Listening is a significant part of our initiative and ongoing effort.”

Pavone also spoke about re-establishing the city’s Neighborhood Events, and creating Longacres, which will be home to the Sounders FC headquarters and practice facility.

“Communication was one of my priorities coming into office,” said Mayor Pavone. “And I felt the way cities communicate with the public and with businesses needed to change.”

The city will launch a new website early next year to “better serve our community and provide transparency in communication” and provide upgrades to the Council Chamber in order to improve access to Renton City Council meetings. To reach the city’s goals of “providing high-quality customer service,” Pavone also talked about a 2023 Community Satisfaction Survey and digitizing public records.

As the State of the City address drew to a close, Mayor Pavone encouraged attendees and residents to get involved in local government by attending Renton City Council meetings, which take place at 7 p.m. every Monday. He also encouraged people to apply for positions on a city board, commission, or task force, or to volunteer with the Parks and Recreation department. Contact the Mayor’s Office at

To watch the entire State of the City address with the full breadth of the city’s accomplishments, plans and goals, visit