Kent will soon get a street with a new name – Oberto Drive.
The Kent City Council is expected to vote Tuesday, Nov. 21, to rename a short section of South 238th Street near the West Valley Highway to Oberto Drive after a request for the change from company officials.
”We’re really excited that the city is willing to consider renaming the street in conjunction with our yearlong 100th year anniversary celebration in 2018,” said Steve Haft, Oberto senior vice president of human resources, in an email. “Oberto has called Kent home for almost 40 years.”
Oberto Brands is a family-owned business that produces all natural jerky, pepperoni and other smoked meats. Constantino Oberto founded the company in 1918 in Seattle before Oberto moved its headquarters in 1978 to Kent.
In 1997, Oberto built a new 100,000-square-foot headquarters and manufacturing plant in Kent, 7060 S. 238th St., to replace a smaller facility. The company has about 500 employees.
“The building is a landmark,” said City Councilman Dennis Higgins during a presentation by Oberto staff at the Nov. 6 Public Works Committee meeting. “Going anywhere on the west side of the Valley freeway you can find your bearings with the plant. …When you say Oberto Drive people will know exactly what you are talking about. As a consumer of your product, my dad and I have probably spent thousands of dollars on your jerky. I’m thrilled you are here and that it’s your 100th birthday.”
Oberto will pay the cost to change the street signs. Haft said Oberto reached out to the two other businesses that share the short section of South 238th Street.
“We spoke with Spearman Corp., and they were supportive of the name change,” Haft said. “We made several attempts to contact Public Storage, but unfortunately they did not return our calls.”
The city last renamed a street in 2013 when the upper section of South 228th Street (known as South 231st Way) became Veterans Drive to honor military veterans for their service.
“We don’t want to rename every street in town after a local business, but Oberto is located on a dead end street and it’s the largest building on the street,” said Chad Bieren, city Public Works deputy director who worked with the company on the name change. “It made sense to rename a street after a longtime business.”
Kent’s neighboring city of Tukwila has Costco Drive named after the Costco Wholesale store along the street in the southeast part of town.