Ukiah (pronounced /juːˈkаɪ.ə/ ew-KYE-ə; formerly, Ukiah City) is the county seat and largest city of Mendocino County, California. With its accessible location (along the U.S. Route 101 corridor several miles south of CA 20), Ukiah serves as the city center for Mendocino County and much of neighboring Lake County. In 1996, Ukiah was ranked the #1 best small town to live in California and the sixth best place to live in the United States.
Ukiah is located in the Ukiah Valley at , with an elevation of 633 ft (193 m) above sea level. The city has a total area of 4.73 sq mi (12.3 km2), all land.
Ukiah has a temperate Mediterranean climate. Average rainfall for the area is 36.96 in (94 cm) per year. Measurable precipitation occurs on an average of 82.1 days per year. The greatest monthly precipitation was 24.76 in (62.9 cm) in January 1995 and the greatest 24-hour precipitation was 6.18 in (15.7 cm) on December 22, 1964. Light snowfall occurs about every other year. The greatest recorded snowfall was 1.5 in (3.8 cm) on March 2, 1976.
|Weather data for Ukiah, California|
|Record high °F (°C)||82 |
|Average high °F (°C)||56 |
|Average low °F (°C)||35 |
|Record low °F (°C)||10 |
|Precipitation inches (mm)||7.96 |
|Source: The Weather Channel. September 2008|
The average high temperature is 73.5 °F (23.1 °C). Average low temperature is 46.1 °F (7.8 °C). Temperatures reach 90 °F (32 °C) on an average of 65.6 days annually and 100 °F (37.78 °C) on an average of 14.4 days annually. Due to frequent low humidity, summer temperatures normally drop into the fifties at night. Freezing temperatures average 34.2 days per year. The record high temperature was 119 °F (48 °C) on July 22, 1995, and the record low temperature was 10 °F (−12 °C) on December 9, 1972. July is normally the hottest month with a normal high of 91.4 °F (33.0 °C) and a normal low of 55.3 °F (12.9 °C). December has normally the coldest temperatures with a normal high of 55.6 °F (13.1 °C) and a normal low of 36.2 °F (2.3 °C).
When Ukiah was founded in 1856, by S. Lowry, it was part of Sonoma County. When the state legislature created Mendocino County in 1859, Ukiah was chosen as the county seat.
Ukiah sits in an area known as the Yokayo Rancho, one of several Spanish land grants in Alta California. The Yokayo grant that makes up the majority of the Ukiah valley takes its name from the Pomo word meaning "deep valley" and lends it to the name of the city itself, Ukiah being an anglicized form of Yokayo.
Hops were once a predominant crop grown around Ukiah and, indeed, a refurbished hop kiln can be seen at the north end of Ukiah east of Highway 101 where many of the old fields were. Much of Ukiah's early population was supported by the lumber boom of the late 1940s, with the logging of redwood being a major industry.
As of the census of 2000, inside the city limits, there were 15,497 people in the city limits, 5,985 households, and 3,656 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,275/sq mi (1,265/km²). There were 6,137 housing units at an average density of 1,296/sq mi (501/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.53% White, 0.96% African American, 3.79% Native American, 1.68% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 9.67% from other races, and 4.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 19.31% of the population.
There were 5,985 households out of which 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.2% were married couples living together, 15.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.9% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,707, and the median income for a family was $39,524. Males had a median income of $31,608 versus $24,673 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,601. About 13.2% of families and 18.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.4% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.
As a community, Ukiah has roughly twice the number of people (including Redwood Valley, Potter Valley, Calpella, and Talmage) than the census reports. During the business day an average of 40,000 people work inside the city limits, or in the business and residential neighborhoods to the north and south.
In the state legislature, Ukiah is located in the 2nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Pat Wiggins, and in the 1st Assembly District, represented by Democrat Patty Berg. Federally, Ukiah is located in California's 1st congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +10 and is represented by Democrat Mike Thompson. Ukiah is the tribal headquarters for both the Pinoleville Pomo Nation and the Potter Valley Tribe.
Ukiah is known for wine production and the Ukiah vicinity is now home to some of the most prestigious wine labels in the nation, including Fetzer, Fife, Parducci, Frey, and Bonterra. Ukiah vintners are known for innovating with organic and sustainable practices.
Ukiah is a major producer of pears. Alex R Thomas & Company owns hundreds of acres of Bartlett pear orchards on the east side of the Ukiah Valley. For nearly 90 years, many local residents and migrant workers have been employed packing the pears for domestic and foreign consumption. On December 1, 2008 the company announced it would be shutting down major operations at the end of the year. Smaller orchards are owned by other local families.
The Ukiah Valley is home to two breweries, the Mendocino Brewing Company and the Ukiah Brewing Company. The Ukiah Brewing Company is America's first certified organic brewpub, and the nation's second organic restaurant. The Mendocino Brewing Company is internationally renowned as a brewer of traditional ales. Established in 1983 as the first California Brewpub in Hopland, they have now relocated to Ukiah with a state-of-the-art brewery.
Other important Ukiah products include marijuana, grapes (wine and non-wine use) and lumber. The Ukiah area is at the headwaters of the Russian River and its rich bottomland supports many small and mostly organic farms that grow fruits and vegetables and supports sheep and cattle.