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Yakima, WA

With an average of 300 days of sunshine a year and breathtaking vistas, it is easy to understand why Yakima, Washington, is rapidly growing. The city saw a 33 percent increase in population between 1990 and 2000. By 2007 about 75,000 people lived within the city limits. Yakima is located in central Washington, at the confluence of the Naches and Yakima Rivers. The Yakima Indians inhabited the area when the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through the valley in 1805. Lewis and Clark's report of rich soil and abundant wildlife attracted homesteaders and trappers.

ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES

  • Agriculture: Yakima sits in the middle of the Yakima Valley, a productive and diverse agricultural region. The valley has more 3,000 farms covering more than 1.6 million acres of land. Wine grapes are the number one crop, followed by apples, cherries, pears, and hops. The region ranks number one in the United States for hops and apple production.
  • Manufacturing: Yakima has a solid manufacturing base. In fact, Yakima County is home to more than 250 manufacturing companies. Historically, these companies have provided jobs for the rapidly expanding population.
  • Tourism: Tourism is a growing industry in Yakima. The city is being promoted as a destination for wine lovers, and many of the local wineries have opened tasting rooms. Also, the city's sports teams and the Yakima Convention Center are attracting an increasing number of visitors. In 2007, Yakima County visitors are estimated to have spent more than $300 million and contributed to the generation of more than three thousand jobs.
  • Military: The Yakima Training Center is a United States Army Training Facility located on 323,000 acres to the north of Yakima. The base is one of the army's premier training areas and employs more than 400 military and civilian personnel.

Important employers in the Yakima Valley include:

  • Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital
  • Washington State Social & Health Services
  • Yakima School District No. 7
  • County of Yakima
  • Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center
  • City of Yakima
  • Yakima Nation Legends Casino
  • Yakima Valley Community College
  • Shields Bag & Printing

NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS

Yakima's downtown neighborhood fell into disrepair over the years, but currently the Committee for Downtown Yakima (CDY) is leading an effort to revitalize the area. The nonprofit organization is dedicated to promoting downtown Yakima, fueling economic development and improving the experience of visitors to downtown. The committee is funded by contributions from area businesses and matching funds from the city. The CDY has helped attract new hotels, condos, and restaurants to downtown, as well as update the facades of buildings and install new streetscape.

EDUCATION

Yakima has a fair share of higher educational institutions for a city of its size. They are:

  • Central Washington University, a state school with undergraduate degrees in arts and science, business, professional education, and technical fields. The university also offers master's degrees in arts and sciences and professional education.
  • Heritage College, a private four-year college with degrees in business administration, social sciences, and teacher education.
  • Yakima Valley Community College, a two-year public school that offers associate's degrees in arts and sciences and vocational and technical training.
  • Perry Technical Institute, a school that was founded in 1940 to educate technicians and craftspeople.

SPORTS TEAMS

Fans of professional sports will find plenty of excitement on Yakima's active sports scene. The city is home to four minor league sports teams and is known as the sports capital of central Washington.

Yakima Bears: The Bears are a minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team. The team has played their games at Yakima County Stadium since it opened in 1993.

Yakima Sun Kings: The Sun Kings are a member of the Continental Basketball Association. The team, which plays at the Yakima Valley SunDome, won the CBA Championship in 2007.

Yakima Reds: The Reds are a soccer team that plays their home games at Marquette Stadium.

Yakima Mavericks: The Mavs are a minor league football team that plays at the five-thousand-seat Zaepfal Stadium.

ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

Yakima offers a diverse cultural scene that reflects the city's historical roots in agriculture and the railroad industry.

American Hop Museum: The nation's only hop museum is located in nearby Toppenish. The museum preserves and displays historical hop-producing equipment, photographs, and artifacts.

Larson Gallery: Founded in 1949, the Larson Gallery is the largest and oldest noncommercial art gallery in central Washington. It hosts art exhibits, workshops, and educational events.

Northern Pacific Railway Museum: The Northern Pacific Museum is located in a historic railroad station in Toppenish. Visitors can tour the restored depot and view exhibits that explain how trains contributed to the growth of the Yakima Valley.

Yakima Valley Museum: This museum is dedicated to the history of the Yakima Valley, including the valley's natural history, Native American culture, the pioneer era, and the agriculture industry. It is housed in a 65,000-square-foot facility in Yakima's Franklin Park.