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Best Western Moreno Valley Hotel and Suites 24840 Elder Avenue Moreno Valley CA 92557
IEHomeServices 10983 Fenton Rd Moreno Valley CA 92557
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About Moreno Valley

Moreno Valley is a city located in Riverside County, California. As of January 1, 2006, the population of Moreno Valley was 174,565. 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 Empire's population centers. Neighboring Riverside, California is the county seat and largest city in the county; the two cities are closely tied, sharing March Air Reserve Base, among other things.


Moreno Valley, California
Official flag of Moreno Valley, California
Official seal of Moreno Valley, California
Motto: "People, Pride, Progress"
Location in Riverside County and the state of California
Location in Riverside County and the state of California
Coordinates: 33°56′35″N 117°13′42″W / 33.94306, -117.22833
Country United States
State California
Counties Riverside
 - City  51.6 sq mi (133.6 km²)
 - Land  51.2 sq mi (132.7 km²)
 - Water  0.4 sq mi (0.9 km²)
Website: http://www.ci.moreno-valley.ca.us

A view of Moreno Valley looking west down Ironwood Avenue. Box Springs Mountain is visible at right.

A view of Moreno Valley looking west down Ironwood Avenue. Box Springs Mountain is visible at right


Prehistory to 1800s

Moreno Valley was originally inhabited by Native Americans of the Shoshone tribe. They were hunter-gatherers. The first Europeans to see the area were Spanish scouts sent from Mexico 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 States as a state in 1850, Americans began to move into the area. The Tucson-to-San Francisco 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 Mountains to the north. Brown began performing this service in 1883. In 1899, the city of Redlands 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.


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 County 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 Base. 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).

By 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.
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 Mall (on which used to be the Riverside Raceway 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 Best Buy, 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-Mart was opened in early 2006 (233,000 sq. ft., huge for a traditional Wal-Mart) next to the Moreno Valley Auto Mall. This is also the site of the first Super Target in California, which opened in July 2007. The exit off state route 60 is the main way to the Moreno Valley Golf Resort.

Recent proposals to turn March Air Reserve Base to a major commercial airport has been debated in 2005, but the plan was rejected by the Riverside county board of supervisors. 

March Air Reserve base has a ball park facility, where the semi-pro baseball Inland Empire (now Moreno Valley) 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 Airport and LA/Ontario International Airport. 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., interrupting sleep and reducing property values for miles around the airport. 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.

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.  . The city council's resolution includes the 92555 zipcode within the boundaries of the area, as reported by the Press Enterprise newspaper. More information about Rancho Belago can be found at http://www.ranchobelago.com.



Moreno Valley is located at 33°55'35" North, 117°13'42" West (33.926267, -117.228345)GR1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 133.6 km² (51.6 mi²). 132.7 km² (51.2 mi²) of it is land and 0.9 km² (0.4 mi²) of it is water.

Southern Moreno Valley, viewed looking south down Kitching Street.
Southern Moreno Valley, viewed looking south down Kitching Street.

Moreno Valley is located at a geographic crossroad. To the east lie the San Gorgonio Pass and Coachella Valley; to the south are Lake Perris, Perris, the San Jacinto Mountains, and the route to San Diego; to the north are the San Bernardino Valley and San Bernardino Mountains. In the west are neighboring Riverside and Los Angeles and Orange Counties. The heavily-traveled routes of California State Highway 60 (locally called the Moreno Valley Freeway) and Interstate 215 both pass through the city. It lies under approach paths for both Los Angeles International Airport and Ontario International Airport.

A Moreno Valley household
A Moreno Valley household

One of the most visible geographical features in Moreno Valley, visible from almost anywhere in the city, is Box Springs Mountain. 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 20 August 2007. Several Eagle Scout projects have been dedicated to maintaining the letter.

Demographics and diversity

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

As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 142,381 people, 39,225 households, and 33,380 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,073.1/km² (2,779.3/mi²). There were 41,431 housing units at an average density of 312.3/km² (808.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 32.84% White, 19.88% African American, 0.94% Native American, 5.92% Asian, 0.51% Pacific Islander, 20.08% from other races, and 5.83% from two or more races. 38.41% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Formerly depicted as a white, Republican and yuppie community in the 1990s, any local would indicate otherwise a more diverse one in terms of race or ethnicity, politics, religion and income. Moreno Valley now has more of a "minority-majority" of non-Hispanic whites, African Americans and Latinos of any nationality. Other growing segments of Moreno Valley's population are Korean Americans, Chinese Americans, Vietnamese Americans, Filipino Americans, Cuban Americans, Puerto Ricans, Arab Americans, Iranian Americans, Russian Americans, and Albanian Americans. A great deal of immigration and war refugee settlement occurred in Moreno Valley, due to the presence of March Air Force (now the Air Reserve) Base was a major local employer and used to handle refugees in the 1970s and 1980s.

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 $62,564. 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:

Charles R. White is the current Mayor, and WIlliam H. Batey II is the current Mayor Pro Tem. The current City Manager is Robert Gutierrez.

Public Safety

The City is serviced by its own regional station of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, while as in most Riverside County cities, Cal-Fire(California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention) has the fire services contract, with five stations, and more to open soon as the population increases further. American Medical Response provides Advanced Life Support ALS, Paramedic services for all of Riverside County, including Moreno Valley.

Education and healthcare

Primary and secondary

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 four high schools: Moreno Valley, Canyon Springs, Valley View, and Vista del Lago. Val Verde District serves part of southern and eastern Moreno Valley, in addition to parts of Perris, 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.


One of the three campuses of Riverside Community College (RCC) is located in the city, 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 Norco. No other higher education facilities are located in the city, although the RCC main campus and University of California, Riverside are located in neighboring Riverside. California State University, San Bernardino is another popular school for city high school graduates.


There are two hospitals in Moreno Valley:

Notable residents


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Resolution of "Rancho Belago"
  3. ^ a b Moreno Valley: Demographics. Retrieved April 23, 2007.
  4. ^ California Department of Health Services

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