Yakima is a city in and the county seat of Yakima County, Washington, and the state’s eleventh-largest city by population. Take a look below for 25 awesome and fun facts about Yakima, Washington, United States.
1. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 91,067 and a metropolitan population of 243,231.
2. The unincorporated suburban areas of West Valley and Terrace Heights are considered a part of greater Yakima.
3. Yakima is about 60 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Mount Rainier in Washington.
4. It is situated in the Yakima Valley, a productive agricultural region noted for apple, wine, and hop production.
5. As of 2011, the Yakima Valley produces 77% of all hops grown in the United States.
6. The name Yakima originates from the Yakama Nation Native American tribe, whose reservation is located south of the city.
7. The Yakama people were the first known inhabitants of the Yakima Valley. In 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition came to the area and discovered abundant wildlife and rich soil, prompting the settlement of homesteaders.
8. A Catholic Mission was established in Ahtanum, southwest of present-day Yakima, in 1847.
9. The arrival of settlers and their conflicts with the natives resulted in the Yakima War. The U.S. Army established Fort Simcoe in 1856 near present-day White Swan as a response to the uprising. The Yakamas were defeated and forced to relocate to the Yakama Indian Reservation.
10. Yakima County was created in 1865. When bypassed by the Northern Pacific Railroad in December 1884, over 100 buildings were moved with rollers and horse teams to the nearby site of the depot.
11. The new city was dubbed North Yakima and was officially incorporated and named the county seat on January 27, 1886. The name was changed to Yakima in 1918. Union Gap was the new name given to the original site of Yakima.
12. On May 18, 1980, the eruption of Mount St. Helens caused a large amount of volcanic ash to fall on the Yakima area. Visibility was reduced to near-zero conditions that afternoon, and the ash overloaded the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
13. The city of Yakima is located in the Upper Valley of Yakima County.
14. The county is geographically divided by Ahtanum Ridge and Rattlesnake Ridge into two regions: the Upper (northern) and Lower (southern) valleys. Yakima is located in the more urbanized Upper Valley, and is the central city of the Yakima Metropolitan Statistical Area.
15. The unincorporated suburban areas of West Valley and Terrace Heights are considered a part of greater Yakima.
16. Other nearby cities include Moxee, Tieton, Cowiche, Wiley City, Tampico, Gleed, and Naches in the Upper Valley, as well as Wapato, Toppenish, Zillah, Harrah, White Swan, Parker, Buena, Outlook, Granger, Mabton, Sunnyside, and Grandview in the Lower Valley.
17. The primary irrigation source for the Yakima Valley, the Yakima River, runs through Yakima from its source at Lake Keechelus in the Cascade Range to the Columbia River at Richland. In Yakima, the river is used for both fishing and recreation. A 10-mile (16 km) walking and cycling trail, a park, and a wildlife sanctuary are located at the river’s edge.
18. The Naches River forms the northern border of the city. Several small lakes flank the northern edge of the city, including Myron Lake, Lake Aspen, Bergland Lake (private) and Rotary Lake (also known as Freeway Lake).
19. These lakes are popular with fishermen and swimmers during the summer.
20. Yakima is one of the ten first class cities, those with a population over 10,000 at the time of reorganization and operating under a home rule charter.
21. The Yakima City Council operates under the council–manager form of government. The city council has seven members, elected by district and the mayor is elected by the council members.
22. Yakima’s City Manager serves under the direction of the City Council, and administers and coordinates the delivery of municipal services. The city of Yakima is a full-service city, providing police, fire, water and wastewater treatment, parks, public works, planning, street maintenance, code enforcement, airport and transit to residents.
23. In 1994 and 2015, the City of Yakima received the All-America City Award, given by the National Civic League. Ten U.S. cities receive this award per year.
24. The city council was elected at-large until a 2012 lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union was ruled in the favor of Latino constituents on the grounds of racial discrimination. The current city manager is Alex Meyerhoff, who was hired as an interim manager in November 2019.
25. The citizens of Yakima are represented in the Washington Senate by Republicans Curtis King in District 14, and Jim Honeyford in District 15, and in the Washington House of Representatives by Republicans Chris Corry and Gina Mosbrucker in District 14, and Republicans Bruce Chandler and Jeremie Dufault in District 15.