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Moreno Valley is a city located in Riverside County, Californiamarker. As of January 1, 2008,. A relatively young city, its rapid growth in the 1980s and the 2000s propelled it to its status as second-largest city in Riverside County by population, and one of the Inland Empiremarker's population centers. Neighboring Riverside, Californiamarker is the county seat and largest city in the county; the two cities are closely tied, sharing March Air Reserve Basemarker with the city of Perrismarker and is north of Lake Perrismarker.


Prehistory to 1800s

Moreno Valley was originally inhabited by Native American of the Shoshone tribe. They were hunter-gatherers. The first Europeans to see the area were Spanish scouts sent from Mexicomarker to explore the area. They blazed a number of trails, including the Anza Trail, which cuts through the Edgemont area of present-day Moreno Valley. Little attention, however, was paid to the relatively dry Moreno Valley area.

U.S. settlement

When California entered the United Statesmarker as a state in 1850, Americans began to move into the area. The Tucsonmarker-to-San Franciscomarker route of John Butterfield's Overland Mail Company passed through Moreno Valley. Some farmers began to occupy the area. They relied upon Frank E. Brown's Bear Valley Land and Water Company to provide them water, which was collected and pumped from Bear Valley in the San Bernardino Mountainsmarker to the north. Brown began performing this service in 1883. In 1899, the city of Redlandsmarker won a lawsuit in which the city claimed eminent domain over the Bear Valley water; the resulting loss of service forced most of Moreno Valley's inhabitants to move. The valley first acquired its current name, "Moreno Valley," at this time; the name is derived from Frank Brown's name ("moreno" is Spanish for "brown").

March Field

The revival of Moreno Valley began in 1918, when the United States Air Force (then the United States Army Air Service) constructed March Field on the outskirts of Riverside as part of its World War I expansion. March Field was initially used to train fighter pilots. Although it was closed in 1922, it was reopened in 1927 and eventually became a full Air Force base. The presence of March caused the unincorporated communities of Sunnymead, Moreno, and Edgemont to develop and grow. In World War II, March again became a training ground for military pilots.

Riverside International Raceway

From 1957 to 1989, Riverside International Racewaymarker occupied the current site of the Moreno Valley Mall. The Riverside International Raceway (Sometimes known as RIR or Riverside Raceway) race track was in operation from September 22, 1957, to July 3, 1989. Races held at the Riverside International Raceway included IMSA,NASCAR, Indycar, NHRA drag racing and AMA motorcycle racing.


Moreno Valley experienced explosive growth in the 1980s; by 1984, the valley's population was 49,702 (contrasted with 18,871 residents in 1970). The state economic boom fueled the construction of new houses and businesses. This growth led to a push for incorporation. Although similar measures had failed in 1968 and 1983, a measure to form the city of Moreno Valley was approved by voters in 1984. The communities of Edgemont, Sunnymead, and Moreno were incorporated on December 3, 1984 to form the general law city of Moreno Valley. The first City Council was also elected in 1984, composed of Bob Lynn, Judith A. Nieburger, Steven Webb, J. David Horspool (first Mayor Pro Tem), and Marshall C. Scott (first Mayor). The City Seal and Motto were adopted the following year.

Bust and boom

By 1990, Moreno Valley had exploded in population growth to become the second largest city in Riverside Countymarker with a population of over 118,000. Growth continued until about 1992.

In the 1990s, the robust Moreno Valley economy deteriorated, largely due to the statewide economic downturn. Many people began to leave the city. March was also downsized to its present status as March Air Reserve Basemarker. The surplus land was given to the March Joint Powers Authority, made up of representatives of Riverside County and the cities of Riverside, Moreno Valley, and Perris for development. The dismal economic trend began to reverse in the late part of the decade, however. Companies such as Aurora Modular, U-Haul, and Lowe's moved major operating facilities to the city or neighboring municipalities (although Aurora later filed for bankruptcy).

Man-made lake in the Sunnymead Ranch community of northern Moreno Valley.
the early 2000s, the arrival of so many newcomers to Riverside County and the soaring cost of living in Los Angeles and Orange County combined to make the less-developed southern half of the Inland Empire a very attractive place for industry. However, congestion on the Moreno Valley Freeway (which is the city's main connection to Los Angeles, via the Riverside and Pomona freeways), severe air pollution, and new residents' NIMBYism may represent a significant barrier to Moreno Valley's further growth.

From 1957 to 1989, Riverside international Raceway used to occupy the site the Moreno Valley Mall currently sits.
The mall is on the northern end of the old raceway property.
Nevertheless, Moreno Valley's coming of age can also be seen in the growth of the area around the Moreno Valley Mallmarker (on which used to be the Riverside Racewaymarker property from 1957 to 1989) and nearby Day Street, which straddles the border between Moreno Valley and Riverside. The area has seen massive construction in recent years, attracting Lowe's, Starbucks, Outback Steakhouse, and other stores often seen as prestigious. A Pat & Oscar's and PFF Bank & Trust are being built, and rumors of Famous Dave's and Barnes & Noble coming to the area have emerged lately. These establishments are often seen as appealing to the upper-middle class; this appeal may help attract attention and money to the city.

On the east end of the city off Moreno Beach Drive, a new Wal-Martmarker was opened in early 2006 (233,000 sq ft., huge for a traditional Wal-Martmarker) next to the Moreno Valley Auto Mall. This is also the site of the first Super Target in California and the first (and only) Best Buy store located within Moreno Valley city limits, which opened in July and October 2007, respectively. The exit off state route 60 is the main way to the Moreno Valley Ranch Golf Course, once included in Golf Magazine's Top 75 Golf Courses in the USA.

Recent proposals to turn March Air Reserve Basemarker to a major commercial airport has been debated in 2005, but the plan was rejected by the Riverside county board of supervisors, until further notice. However, the coming of quieter, more environmentally friendly aircraft and cheaper security procedures and utilities may signal a re-consideration of the plan. In May 2008 the March JPA approved opening the facility to general aircraft.

March Air Reserve base has a ball park facility, where the semi-pro baseball Inland Empire (now Rancho Belago) Rockets of the Southern California League play in the summer months season.

DHL controversy

While some may view DHL's selection of March Air Reserve Base as its new Southern California hub as a "bright spot", the March JPA and March Global Port operations that brought DHL have been a matter of considerable controversy. DHL selected the March airport over San Bernardino International Airportmarker and LA/Ontario International Airportmarker. The DHL facility commenced operations in October 2005 (previously expected to be running by March 2005). While initial claims were that the facility would employ 250 workers in its initial stage, it's not presently clear how many are actually employed by the facility. Many workers are part time and low paid; others are "independent contractors."

Neighboring residents filed an unsuccessful lawsuit to block the zoning change necessary to allow DHL's operations. Subsequent to the lawsuit, it became apparent that developer March Global Port and the March Joint Powers authority had misled the public concerning the intended flight paths of the DHL planes. The planes fly over thousands of residences between 11:00 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. Initially claiming that flights would follow local freeways to the north, March JPA officials ultimately admitted the intention was to fly the "Skyes-8" departure pattern that would cover considerably more geography than that disclosed on maps published in the local Press-Enterprise and other communications to the public. In actual practice, DHL has not limited its flights to either the originally published flight path nor the Skyes-8 departure, often flying directly south and over neighboring Murietta. Most Moreno Valley residents remain unconcerned, due to the fact that the flight paths avoid most of Moreno Valley and instead fly over Riverside (city) Riverside County, Perris, Murietta and other neighboring cities.

Also, significant errors were made in the public documentation concerning the proposal to bring DHL, resulting in overestimating March JPA revenues by approximately $16 million in this project that is already highly subsidized by the public through use of "surplus" land from March's former operations as a USAF base. In addition, Riverside County must expend approximately $500,000 annually to provide security, drug sniffing dog teams and the like for the many DHL flights.

Further, when DHL operations commenced, a complete failure of oversight by the March JPA resulted in unpermitted and highly dangerous fuel storage and refueling operations that continued for about four months, until ultimately shut down by the Riverside County Fire Marshal.

In November 2008, due to escalating financial losses associated with deteriorating macroeconomic conditions, DHL announced it was leaving the U.S. market and would shut its operation associated with March Air Field in January 2009.

Rancho Belago

On February 13, 2007, the City Council passed, by a vote of 4-1, a controversial resolution christening the eastern half of the city (roughly from Lasselle Street to Gilman Springs Road) "Rancho Belago", a pastiche of Spanish and Italian words. [16007][16008] . The city council's resolution includes the 92555 zipcode within the boundaries of the area, as reported by the Press Enterprise newspaper.


Moreno Valley is located at 33°55'35" North, 117°13'42" West (33.926267, -117.228345) .

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 51.6 square miles (133.6 km²), of which, 51.2 square miles (132.7 km²) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (0.9 km²) of it is water.

Southern Moreno Valley, viewed looking south down Kitching Street.
Moreno Valley is located at a geographic crossroad. To the east lie the San Gorgonio Passmarker and Coachella Valley; to the south are Lake Perrismarker, Perrismarker, the San Jacinto Mountainsmarker, and the route to San Diegomarker; to the north are the San Bernardino Valley and San Bernardino Mountainsmarker. To the west lies neighboring Riversidemarker, as well as Los Angeles and Orangemarker Counties. The heavily-traveled routes of State Route 60 (locally called the Moreno Valley Freeway) and Interstate 215 both pass through the city. It lies under approach paths for Los Angeles International Airportmarker, John Wayne Airportmarker in Orange County, Ontario International Airportmarker and San Bernardino International Airportmarker.

One of the most visible geographical features in Moreno Valley, visible from almost anywhere in the city, is Box Springs Mountainmarker. This mountain at the northwest end of the city towers over the city, providing a concrete landmark. The face of the mountain that faces the city has a large "M" constructed upon it. This was built privately at the encouragement of the City Council, which argued it would foster unity. The letter is located on public land and is maintained entirely by charity. The letter had lights installed on December 3, 2005 to celebrate Moreno Valley's 21st anniversary of its incorporation and the completion of the repairs of heavy damage to the M, due to excessive rain the year before. The mayor at that time, Bonnie Flickinger, has said that the citizens liked it that way and that the council would try to get it to light up regularly. No lights have been installed as of 19 August 2007. Several Eagle Scout projects have been dedicated to maintaining the letter.


Southern California is well-known for year-round pleasant weather:

- On average, the warmest month is July.

- The highest recorded temperature was 115°F in 1960.

- On average, the coolest month is December.

- The lowest recorded temperature was 10°F in 1974.

- The maximum average precipitation occurs in February.


As of January 1, 2006 there were 174,565 people, 45,866 households, and 33,380 families residing in the city.

As of the census of 2007, there were 180,466 people, 51,061 households, and 33,380 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,779.3 people per square mile (1,073.1/km²). There were 55,458 housing units at an average density of 808.7/sq mi (312.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 23% Non-Hispanic White, 20% African American, 0.94% Native American, 8% Asian/Pacific Islander, 3% from other races, and 5.83% from two or more races. 46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 43,381 households out of which 54.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.6% were married couples living together, 17.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 14.9% were non-families. 11.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.61 and the average family size was 3.86.

In the city the population was spread out with 36.8% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 17.7% from 45 to 64, and 5.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 95.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $47,387, and the median income for a family was $48,965 (these figures had risen to $55,604 and $57,385 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $38,620 versus $26,492 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,983. 14.2% of the population and 11.6% of families were below the poverty line. 18.1% of those under the age of 18 and 9.7% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.



Moreno Valley is an incorporated common law city. It is governed by a council-manager government. The city is divided into five districts, each of which elect a representative. The council chooses two of its own members to serve as Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem. The council also selects the city manager. The current City Council consists of:

Richard Stewart is the current Mayor. Bonnie Flickinger is the current Mayor Pro Tem. The current City Manager is Robert Gutierrez. [16009]

According to the city’s most recent Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city’s various funds had $243.3 million in Revenues, $132.8 million in expenditures, $1,076.3 million in total assets, $195.3 million in total liabilities, and $293.8 million in cash and investments.

The structure of the management and coordination of city services is:

City Department Director
City Manager Robert G. Guttierez
Assistant City Manager Betsy Adams
Deputy City Manager Rick Hartmann
City Attorney Robert Herrick
City Clerk Jane Halstead
Community Development Director Kyle Kollar
Economic Development Director Barry Foster
Finance Director Steven M. Chapman
Financial & Administrative Services Director Steve Elam
Fire Chief John Clark
Human Resources Director Chris Paxton
Parks and Community Services Director Michael McCarty
Police Chief Rick Hall
Public Works Director / City Engineer Chris A. Vogt

State and Federal

In the state legislature Moreno Valley is located in the 37th Senate District, represented by Republican John J. Benoit, and in the 63rd, 64th, and 65th Assembly Districts, represented by Republicans Bill Emmerson, Brian Nestande, and Paul Cook respectively. Federally, Moreno Valley is located in California's 45th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +3 and is represented by Republican Mary Bono Mack.

Public Safety

Moreno Valley is serviced by its own regional station of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department for law enforcement. It also contracts for fire services with the Riverside County Fire Department through a cooperative agreement with Cal Fire (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection). Six paramedic engines and three truck companies provide both medical and fire related services to the city. American Medical Response ambulance service provides Paramedic transport services for Moreno Valley.


Moreno Valley's primary and secondary education needs are fulfilled by the Moreno Valley Unified School District and the Val Verde Unified School District. The former serves approximately 35,000 students, the bulk of the city's children, and has 35 schools, including five high schools: Moreno Valley, Canyon Springs, Valley View, March Mountain, and Vista del Lago High School. Val Verde District serves part of southern and eastern Moreno Valley, in addition to parts of Perrismarker, Mead Valley, and unincorporated areas. It serves about 13,000 students and maintains 12 schools; one of its high schools, Rancho Verde, is located in Moreno Valley. Some private schools exist, including the local Calvary Chapel Academy.

Riverside Community College operates a Moreno Valley campus, which serves 6,500 students. This campus is slated to become an independent community college at some point in the future, along with its sister satellite campus in Norcomarker. The city also claims one of the twenty-six campuses of Chapman University within its borders. Riverside Community College's main campus and University of California, Riversidemarker are located in neighboring Riverside. California State University, San Bernardinomarker is another popular school for city high school graduates.


According to the City's 2008 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 March Air Reserve Base 9,000
2 Moreno Valley Unified School District 3,752
3 Riverside County Regional Medical Center 2,215
4 Moreno Valley Mall 1,669
5 Riverside Community College 1,038
6 City of Moreno Valley 746
7 Val Verde Unified School District 734
8 Walgreens Co. 650
9 Riverside County DPSS 432
10 Moreno Valley Community Hospital (Kaiser Foundation) 430


There are two hospitals in Moreno Valley:
  • Kaiser Permanente Community Hospital, formerly Moreno Valley Community Hospital, is a General Acute Care Hospital with Basic Emergency Services as of 2008. [16010][16011]Kaiser Permanente officially acquired the Moreno Valley Community Hospital and took complete control in July 2008. Current Kaiser Permanente members began receiving notification of the purchase in March 2008. Moreno Valley residents will not feel the effects of the acquisition immediately, as Kaiser Permanente members were asked to continue using the nearby Riverside facility and the Moreno Valley Clinic for hospital services while the transition process is completed. Kaiser Permanente is planning to increase the size and capacity of the new hospital by adding a new 80+ patient tower and expanding the main facility, as well as increasing the size of the emergency and operating rooms.[16012][16013]

  • Riverside County Regional Medical Center is a General Acute Care Hospital with Basic Emergency Services and a Level II Trauma Center.
  • There is also a Kaiser Permanente clinic with no emergency services. It is one of two Kaiser Permanente-owned properties in Moreno Valley.

Notable residents

  • Kenjon Barner, college football player for the University of Oregon. (Jersey Number 24), attended Calvary Chapel Moreno Valley.

  • Jo-Jo Moore, college football player for the College of the Holy Cross. (Jersey Number 20), graduated from Rancho Verde High School (2007).

  • Daniel Carrol, third round draft pick by the Seattle Mariners, graduated in 2007 from Valley View High School.

  • Julio Rose , Executive Producer,MTV Network,Graduated from Valley View High School in 2000.

  • Jarred Endres, Comedian/Actor, played Bruno Steel on Fox's Oliver Beene.

  • Lacey Schwimmer, So You Think You Can Dance 2004 finalist and Dancing With The Stars participant, grew up in Moreno Valley and went to Ridge Crest Elementary.

  • Benji Schwimmer, So You Think You Can Dance Season 2 winner, grew up in Moreno Valley and went to Ridge Crest Elementary.

  • Bob Lynn, Alaska State House Representative, Alaska Legislature. Helped incorporate Moreno Valley, Member of first Moreno Valley City Council, second Mayor Pro-Tem.

  • Jeff Buckley, Singer/Songwriter, son of legendary folk singer Tim Buckley. Jeff lived on Myers Ave. during the late 1970s-early 1980s.

Sister CitiesRiverside


  1. State of California, Department of Finance, " E-1 Population Estimates for Cities, Counties and the State with Annual Percent Change—January 1, 2005 and 2006." Sacramento, California, May 2006. Retrieved April 23, 2007.
  2. "Inland airports' dream of cargo hubs grounded," Press-Enterprise newspaper, Thursday, November 20, 2008
  3. Resolution of "Rancho Belago"
  4. Moreno Valley, CA: Weather Facts Retrieved 2009-05-07
  5. Moreno Valley: Demographics. Retrieved April 23, 2007.
  6. Moreno Valley 2005-2007 Census Estimate. Retrieved March 23, 2009.
  7. City of Moreno Valley CAFR Retrieved 2009-08-13
  8. City of Moreno Valley CAFR Retrieved 2009-08-13
  9. City of Moreno Valley CAFR Retrieved 2009-08-13
  10. California Department of Health Services

External links

  • The History of Moreno Valley. Retrieved December 12, 2004.
  • Trone, Kimberly (Dec. 11, 2004). DHL Picks March. The Press-Enterprise, p. A1.
  • Wells, Devona (Dec. 11, 2004). Moreno Valley beefs up its restaurant offerings. The Press-Enterprise, p. E1.

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