Inland Empire (California): Wikis


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Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario
Map of Inland Empire (IE)

Common name: Inland Empire (IE)
Largest city Riverside
Other cities  - San Bernardino
 - Moreno Valley
 - Ontario
 - Rancho Cucamonga
 - Victorville
 - Palm Springs
 - Twentynine Palms
Population  Ranked 14th in the U.S.
 - Total MSA - 4,026,135[1]
 - Density 147.5/sq. mi. 
Area 27,298 sq. mi.
70,669 km²
State(s)  California
 - Highest point San Gorgonio Mountain 11,499 feet (3,505 m)
 - Lowest point Death Valley -220 feet (-67.1 m)

The Inland Empire (I.E.), colloquially known as the IE[2][3] and the 909,[4] is a metropolitan region centered around the cities of Riverside and San Bernardino in Southern California. The United States Census Bureau defines the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metropolitan area as consisting of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties; while the New York Times refers to this area as the Inland Empire,[5][6], residents of certain areas within the two counties, such as the Coachella and Temecula Valleys, consider themselves separate from the Inland Empire.[4] The Census Bureau-defined area covers more than 27,000 square miles (70,000 km2) and is home to over 4 million people; it is the third most populous metropolitan area in California and 14th most populous in the United States.[1] Over 80% of the area's population resides on the floor of the San Bernardino Valley.[7]

The label Inland Empire evolved informally to distinguish the inland region of Southern California from the coastal regions of Southern California.[citation needed] The Inland Empire is the largest of the three main regions of Southern California in terms of land area.[citation needed]

At the end of the 19th century, the region was a major center of agriculture, including citrus, dairy, and wine-making. Agriculture declined through the 20th century, and since the 1970s a rapidly growing population, fed by families migrating in search of affordable housing, has led to more residential, commercial, and industrial development.



Drawing of San Bernardino (1852)

Prior to the mid-19th century, the area was sparsely populated by Native Americans; the Spanish and Mexicans who once controlled the area considered it largely unsuitable for colonization. The first group of White American settlers arrived over the Cajon Pass in 1851, in the form of Mormon pioneers who were the first settlers of San Bernardino. Although the Mormons left a scant six years later, recalled to Salt Lake by Brigham Young during the church's standoff with the US government, more settlers soon followed.

The entire landmass of Southern California was subdivided according to the San Bernardino Meridian, which was first plotted as part of the Public Land Survey System in November 1852, by Col. Henry Washington. Base Line road, a major thoroughfare, today runs from Highland to San Dimas, intermittently along the absolute baseline coordinates plotted by Col. Washington.[8] San Bernardino County was first formed out of parts of Los Angeles County on April 26, 1853. While the partition once included what is today most of Riverside County, the region is not as monolithic as it may sound. Rivalries between Colton, Redlands, Riverside and San Bernardino over the location of the county seat in the 1890s caused each of them to form their own civic communities, each with their own newspapers. On August 14, 1893 the Senate allowed Riverside County to form out of land previously in San Bernardino and San Diego counties, after rejecting a bill for Pomona to split from LA County and become the seat of what would have been called San Antonio County.[9]

Arlington Heights Citrus Groves, Riverside circa 1903

The arrival of railroads and the importation of navel and Valencia orange trees in the 1870s touched off explosive growth, with the area quickly becoming a major center for citrus production.[10][11][12] This agricultural boom continued with the arrival of water from the Colorado River and the rapid growth of Los Angeles in the early 20th century, with dairy farming becoming another staple industry. In 1926, Route 66 (now known as Foothill Boulevard) came through the northern parts of the area, bringing a stream of tourists and migrants to the region. Still, the region endured as the key part of the Southern California "Citrus belt" until the end of World War II, when a new generation of real-estate developers bulldozed acres of agricultural land to build suburbs.[10] The precursor to the San Bernardino Freeway, the Ramona Expressway, was built in 1944, and further development of the freeway system facilitated the expansion of suburbs and human migration throughout the Inland Empire and Southern California.

The region experienced significant economic and population growth through most of the later half of the twentieth century. In the early 1990s, the loss of the region's military bases and reduction of nearby defense industries due to the end of the Cold War lead to a local economic downturn.[5][13] The region as a whole had partially recovered from this downturn by the turn of the century through the development of warehousing, shipping, logistics and retail industries, primarily centered around Ontario.[14] However, these industries have been heavily affected by the global late-2000s recession.[6]

Name origin

The term "Inland Empire" is documented to have been used by the Riverside Enterprise newspaper (now The Press-Enterprise) as early as April 1914.[15] Developers in the area likely introduced the term to promote the region and to highlight the area's unique features. The "Inland" part of the name is derived from the region's location about 37 miles (60 km) inland from the Pacific Ocean (from Huntington Beach) and east of Downtown Los Angeles; it originally referred to the acres of citrus groves that once extended from Pasadena to Redlands during the early half of the 20th century.[16] The Inland Empire today is considered to stretch from the Los Angeles County - San Bernardino County border through the San Bernardino Valley, encompassing the San Bernardino Mountains and the high and low deserts to the Nevada and Arizona state lines.[4]


Major subregions of the Inland Empire.
Yucca Valley after the December 2008 winter storm.

Physical boundaries between Los Angeles and the Inland Empire from west to east are the San Jose Hills splitting the San Gabriel Valley from the Pomona Valley, leading to the urban populations centered in the San Bernardino Valley.[citation needed] From the south to north, the Santa Ana Mountains physically divide Orange County from San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. The Santa Rosa Mountains, as well as the Southern California portion of the Sonoran Desert, physically divide Riverside County from San Diego County. Interconnectivity provided by one of the most comprehensive freeway systems in the United States has eroded any sense of physical boundaries between the Inland Empire and the greater Los Angeles area.[citation needed]

Unlike most metropolitan areas that have grown up around a central city, the Inland Empire centers around two large sized cities, Riverside and San Bernardino,[citation needed] with the help of many other small cities and unincorporated communities that together form the 14th-largest metropolitan area in the nation. Los Angeles County and Orange County border the Inland Empire to the west; Inyo and Kern to the north, San Diego and Imperial County to the south and the States of Arizona and Nevada to the east.

Suburban sprawl, centering around the cities of Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ontario, spreads out to form a unified whole with the Greater Los Angeles Area, with further development encroaching past the mountains into the outlying desert areas. The San Bernardino valley floor houses roughly over 80% of the total human population in the Inland Empire.[7]

Elevations range from 11,499 feet (3,505 m) at the top of the San Gorgonio Mountain to 220 ft (-67.1 m) below sea level at the Salton Sea. The San Bernardino mountains are home to the San Bernardino National Forest and the resort communities of Big Bear Lake, Lake Arrowhead, and Running Springs. The Santa Ana River extends from Mt. San Gorgonio for nearly 100 miles (160 km) through San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange counties before it eventually spills into the Pacific Ocean at Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. While temperatures are generally cool to cold in the mountains, it can get hot in the valleys. In the desert resort of Palm Springs, near Joshua Tree National Park, summer temperatures can reach well over 110 degrees.

The developed area of the IE consists of the Chino Valley, Coachella Valley, Cucamonga Valley, Menifee Valley, Murrieta Valley, Perris Valley, San Bernardino Valley , Temecula Valley, and Victor Valley.[citation needed] The Inland Empire is popular for recreational activities such as skiing the San Bernardino Mountains.[citation needed] In Southwestern Riverside County, Lake Elsinore is popular among boating enthusiasts.[citation needed]

The Inland Empire is also referred to, sometimes derogatorily, as the 909, after one of the region's larger area codes.[4][17] In 2004, because of growing demand for telephone numbers, most of Riverside County was granted a new area code, 951.[17]


Boxcars, Rialto, California

Inexpensive land prices (compared to Los Angeles and Orange Counties), a large supply of vacant land, and a transport network where many highways and railroads intersect have made the Inland Empire a major shipping hub. Some of the nation's largest manufacturing companies have chosen the Inland Empire for their distribution facilities including Toyota Motor Corporation's North American Parts and Logistics Distribution (NAPLD) center in Ontario and APL Logistics in Rancho Cucamonga. Whirlpool Corporation recently leased a 1,700,000-square-foot (158,000 m2) distribution center in Perris that is larger than 31 football fields and one of the biggest warehouses in the country.[18] These centers operate as part of the system that transports finished goods and materials from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to destinations to the north and east such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Denver. More than 80% percent of the state's imported cargo is shipped through the Los Angeles/Inland Empire Corridor.[19] However, with the global economic downturn, industrial vacancies have doubled from 6.2% in 2007 to 12.4% to 2008. In San Bernardino and Redlands, vacancies are as high as 22%.[20]

Although the region's large industries have been affected by the late-2000s recession, the Inland Empire is projected to remain California's fastest-growing region for some time to come.[21] Yet, the area is also projected to remain one of the least educated areas of the state with the lowest average in annual wages in the country.[21] A 2006 study of salaries in 51 metropolitan areas of the country ranked the Inland Empire second to last, with an average annual wage of $36,924.[21] However, inexpensive land prices and innovative institutional support networks have attracted some small businesses owners and technology start-ups into the area.[6]

While urbanization continues to cut into agricultural lands, the Inland Empire still produces substantial crops. Although 10,000 acres (40 km2) of irrigated land was lost between 2002 and 2004, agriculture still brought in more than $1.6 billion in revenues to the two-county region in 2006.[11]


Housing construction visible from the air in Fontana in San Bernardino county, since 1980 the city's population grew by 150,000 residents.

Since the 1950s, the area has evolved from a rural to a suburban environment. In addition to existing cities such as Riverside and San Bernardino, the region now comprises numerous suburban cities known as bedroom communities such as Rancho Cucamonga. Affordable home ownership is the primary motivation behind the growth in these Inland Empire communities as homes there are generally less expensive than comparable homes in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. The steady rise in population and the demand for housing has led to a dramatic increase in single-family residential construction on lots of 1/4 acre (1,000 m²) or more (as opposed to high-density development such as multi-level apartments or condominiums). Much of the vacant land is rapidly being developed to the chagrin of those who grew up living 'in the country'. In addition, much of the land that was used for agriculture is now being sold by their owners and being converted for use for more intensive purposes such shopping centers, industrial warehouses, etc. This continuous development, due to the various interests involved, has become seemingly unplanned and uncontrolled suburban sprawl.[22] The Inland Empire was declared the nation's worst example of sprawl according to a study by Smart Growth America in 2002.[23][24]

Foreclosures have risen by 3,500% since 2006.[25] In 2010, the area ranked fourth in the nation in the number of foreclosures, with one filing for every 133 households.[26] The city of Perris initiated a program to paint the brown lawns of abandoned homes green as a way to cut down on the appearance of blight.[27]


Retailing in the area has increased to keep abreast with the rapidly growing suburban population. The region is home to several large upscale shopping malls, including the Shoppes at Chino Hills in Chino Hills, Ontario Mills in Ontario, Promenade Mall in Temecula, Moreno Valley Mall in Moreno Valley, Victoria Gardens Mall in Rancho Cucamonga and the Inland Center mall in San Bernardino. In fiscal year 2006, retail sales in San Bernardino County grew by 11.9% to $31.2 billion, while sales in Riverside County were up 11.3% to $29.6 billion.[28]

Panorama of the "Town Square" at Victoria Gardens Mall in Rancho Cucamonga

Environmental quality

Smoggy haze in the Inland Empire.JPG Generally clear day in the Inland Empire.jpg
The Inland Empire is subject to smog conditions on a regular basis as seen here, looking south, from the north terminus of Haven Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga. Note how the street 'fades' into the smoggy haze and the Santa Ana Mountains are completely obscured. The Inland Empire is also subject to Santa Ana Winds that lead to generally clear days, free of smog or the marine layer. Note how the street that 'faded' into the smoggy haze and the Santa Ana Mountains that were completely obscured in the image to the left is now visible.

The result of this ongoing development has resulted in greater employment opportunities, increased affluence of the populace, and homeownership. Unfortunately, increased traffic congestion, degradation in air quality, and loss of open and environmentally sensitive land has been the negative result.[29] The solution to these problems is not simple. The presence of so many municipal jurisdictions within the Inland Empire which often have different 'visions' for their respective futures means that no two cities can mutually agree on a solution or, just as common, have unequal means for implementing one. The lack of an organized or unequal enforcement of existing laws and policies further undermines any solution that could be proposed. Lastly, the pace at which development occurs (fast) versus the ability of government to respond to changes (slow) means that it could easily take years, if not decades, for a viable solution (such as new roads, pollution controls, etc.) to go into effect.[30]

Air pollution

Air pollution, or suspended particulate matter locally generated from the increased number of automobiles in the area, from point sources such as factories, dust carried into the air by construction activity, and the contribution of similar pollutants from the Los Angeles area has regularly caused the Inland Empire to be at, or near, the bottom of many air quality ratings. In 2004, the EPA rated the San Bernardino-Riverside area as having the worst particulate air pollution in the United States (although the San Joaquin Valley in central California had the worst overall air pollution).[31] The air pollution problem is exacerbated by the region's location which is surrounded by mountain ranges to the north and east; the mountains 'contain' these aerosols which otherwise would be carried out of the region by the prevailing winds which typically flow from west to east.

Water pollution

Water pollution has also been found in the Santa Ana River and Cajon wash, and pollutants from the March Air Reserve Base and Stringfellow Acid Pits have contaminated much of the groundwater in Riverside County.[7] In 1997, perchlorate, a chemical used to produce explosives, was discovered to be seeping into the groundwater under Rialto in a plume that continues to grow. In 2007, the Rialto City council petitioned the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for Superfund status to clean up the origin site. The sites comprising March Air Reserve Base, Norton Air Force Base and the Stringfellow Acid Pits have already been classified as EPA Superfund toxic waste sites.[32]


I-10, 215 Interchange traffic, south of downtown in San Bernardino.

Traffic congestion problems on the roadways, as with elsewhere in Southern California, is, simply stated, the result of the steady increase in the number of vehicles and a transportation infrastructure network that has not been expanded accordingly. Many of the existing freeways were completed in the late 1970s. With the exception of the segment of the Foothill Freeway, State Route 210 (SR 210) between San Dimas and San Bernardino recently completed in July, 2007. New freeways or highways "Fix Up's" are indeed being planned, such as the expansion of the length of the 215 freeway around Inland Center Mall, and the bridges connecting the 215 and 60 freeways. Another problem is the jobs vs. housing imbalance. In general, most of the higher paying jobs are located in Los Angeles and Orange County. Thus, workers must commute daily up to two hours (each direction) on the existing network. As the population increases, the problem is most certainly going to increase as well. Forbes Magazine recently ranked the area first in its list of America's most unhealthy commutes, beating out every other major metropolitan area in the country, as Inland area drivers breathe the unhealthiest air and have the highest rate of fatal auto accidents per capita.[33]

According to a 1999 report by the Surface Transportation Policy Project, the Inland Empire lead in fatal crashes caused by road rage.[34][35] The theft of copper, brass and other metals from highway and road fixtures has also lead to decreased public safety on IE roads and freeways.[36] Gas siphoning has also been noted as a problem for vehicles left unattended in the region.[37]

Public Transportation

The Bi-County region, unlike many major metropolitan areas, does not highly depend on public transportation. Less than 5% of the IE's 1,249,224 working-age residents use public transportation to get to work each day.[38] Omnitrans is the largest commuter in San Bernardino County, while the Riverside Transit Agency is the largest in Riverside County. Metrolink commuter rail provides service to many points throughout the Inland Empire and into the Greater Los Angeles area. Riverside and San Bernardino are the two transportation hubs of the Inland Empire.


Three major airports serve the Inland Empire Metropolitan Area: Ontario, Palm Springs, and San Bernardino. However there are many general aviation airports across the Bi-County region.

Airport IATA code ICAO code County
Ontario International Airport ONT KONT San Bernardino
Palm Springs International Airport PSP KPSP Riverside
San Bernardino International Airport SBD KSBD San Bernardino


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1900 45,826
1910 91,402 99.5%
1920 123,698 35.3%
1930 214,924 73.7%
1940 266,632 24.1%
1950 451,688 69.4%
1960 809,782 79.3%
1970 1,143,146 41.2%
1980 1,558,182 36.3%
1990 2,588,793 66.1%
2000 3,254,821 25.7%
Est. 2008 4,115,871 26.5%

The Inland Empire is described as a Metropolitan Statistical Area by the U.S. Census Bureau, notated as Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA. With 4.1 million people, it is the 14th largest metropolitan area in the United States. In addition, according to the 2000 Census, it is the fastest growing area in the state. Between 1990 and 2000, Riverside and San Bernardino counties added 700,000 to their population totals, an increase of 26%.[38] Between 2000 and 2008 Inland Empire's population expanded by 861,000 or 26.5%. According to census bureau's 2005-2007 estimatates 61.79% of the population was White (40.41% White Non-Hispanic), 7.49% Black, 5.74% Asian and 24.98% of other or mixed race. 43.90% were Hispanic of any race. 21.92 % of the population was foreign born.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2006, 33.1% of people in the Greater San Bernardino Area were overweight, and 30.8% were obese. Forbes Magazine ranks the area as the fourth fattest in the country.[39]

A substantial majority of residents (76.6%), last comparatively surveyed in 2001, rated their respective counties as good places to live. Over 81% of Riverside County residents indicated that their county is a very good or fairly good place to live, while about 72% of residents in San Bernardino County felt the same way. Survey respondents cited "nice living area," "good climate," and "affordable housing" as the top positive factors in assessing their respective communities. Smog was by far the most important negative factor affecting respondents’ ratings in both counties, while traffic was the 2nd highest concern in Riverside County and crime the 2nd highest concern among San Bernardino County residents.[40]


While the region as a whole has traditionally leaned more Republican than the rest of California, newer residents are less likely to identify with the Republican party than longer-term residents (36 percent to 42 percent), and the total number of residents identifying with the Democrats (34%) now slightly edges over the number identifying with the Republican party (33%). However, voting rates are lower than in the rest of the state, and as the population grows there is also a trend away from civic engagement entirely. Among more recent residents, only 19% belong to civic organizations and 9% have served as a volunteer in a community organization. By contrast, 28% of long-term residents belong to community organizations and 15% have volunteered. Whites and African Americans have the highest participation rates for nearly every type of political activity, while Latinos and Asian Americans lag significantly behind other groups in terms of volunteerism and organizational membership. However, the 2006 immigration protests have significantly boosted political participation among Latinos, with nearly one in seven participating in demonstrations and marches that year.[41]


The Redlands California Temple is one of four LDS temples in Southern California.

78% of Inland residents view themselves as Christians. 39% identify as Catholic, 14% as Protestant, and 25% as some other type of Christian. (36% of total Inland Christians view themselves as "born again.") 1% of the population are Jewish, 6% belong to some other religion, and 14% profess no religion. 27% of Inland residents attend some form of religious service once a week, 14% attend more than once a week, 15% once a month, and 14% only attend services on major religious holidays.[41][42]


While the crime index in Riverside and Ontario tends slightly over the national average, San Bernardino has a crime index consistently near or over twice that of the national average.[43][44][45][46] Reflecting nation-wide trends, violent crime in the region overall declined or remained consistent in 2009, despite the recession. In the city of Riverside, 14 homicides occurred in 2009, down from 20 in 2008, its highest total since 2003. All but three cases resulted in arrests. In San Bernardino, by contrast, 32 killings occurred in 2009, a number identical to 2008, but only a third of cases in San Bernardino led to arrests, due to a lack of witness cooperation in that city.[47]

Latino gangs have been active in the region since the area's citrus days while a continual migration of African American gangs from LA has flowed into the area since the Watts Riots.[9][48] Today, the number of gangs with roots from LA far exceeds the number of local gangs active in the IE, which is easily observable as gang members frequently identify themselves with tattoos bearing their home turf and affiliations.[49][50] The increased diversity in the region between 1990 and 2000 is also associated with a 20% increase in hate crime in the same period, mostly ascribed to increased gang activity.[51][52] According to data from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program, taken together, Riverside and San Bernardino counties showed a total of 51,237 crimes reported to county police/sheriffs (but not to city or other agencies) in 2006; this combined total exceeded the totals for all other California counties—considered individually—except for Sacramento.[53]

The region has also been noted as a capital of methamphetamine production.[54] The Riverside and San Bernardino county sheriffs' departments busted 635 meth labs in 2000; law enforcement has driven most of the meth production industry to Mexico since 2007, but many of the homes discovered to have been used as meth labs before 2006 have since been sold on the market before California law required rigorous decontamination, leading to a legacy of health hazards for unsuspecting renters and home-buyers in the area.[55]


There is a trend of lower educational attainment in the IE, which starts early. Only 37% of 3- and 4-year olds in the region are enrolled in pre-school, with only one school in the region for every 343 children, as compared to 48% enrollment in San Diego County. 35% of the IE's ninth graders do not graduate from high school, and only 37% of its college age residents enroll in a post-secondary education program of some sort. Only 24% of the IE's adult residents have attained a college degree or better. 25% do not possess a high school diploma.[38] According to CSUSB President Al Karnig, "We have a very low college attendance rate that is scantly above half of what the average is in other states. We have only have about 20 percent college graduates in the Inland Empire while the average in other states is 38 percent."[56][57] 21 inland area high schools rank in the top 100 in California for producing dropouts.[58]

Of Inland residents 25 years and over in 2004, Asians were the best educated. 44.4% had bachelor’s or higher degrees, and nearly 70% had at least attended college. Among Whites, 22.8% had 4-year degrees or higher, and 60.8% at least attended college. In the African American community, the number with bachelor’s or higher degree was 21.3%, and 65.2% had either a community college degree or had attended college. Only 6.9% of Hispanic adults had a 4-year or higher degree, and only 30.2% attended college at all.[59]

Among students transferring from Inland community colleges to private schools in 2004-05, the most frequent choice was the University of Phoenix.[60]


While the Inland Empire led the state in job-growth with 275,000 new jobs between 1990 and 2000, most are in comparatively low-tech fields. San Bernardino and Riverside counties are primarily host to service and manufacturing- or warehousing-oriented industries. Food and administrative services employ the most people in the Inland Empire, while for the state of California, the top industries are in administrative services and professional, scientific and hi-tech-oriented fields. 79.8% of the IE's job growth from 1990-2003 was in service-sector jobs.[61] Low-wage industries are abundant in the IE, and the high-tech and professional industries that are in the area actually pay more in other regions of California. As many as one-third of working adults commute out of the 27,000-square-mile (70,000 km2) region to find work, the highest proportion of any area in the country. Adding to gridlock, less than 5% of the IE's 1,249,224 working-age residents use public transportation to get to work each day. 14.5% carpool, while 79.7% typically drive alone to work in their cars.[38] In 2007, the region had an unemployment rate of 6.1%, while overall jobless claims in California were at 5.4 percent and 4.4 percent nationally.[62] In 2008, unemployment in the area increased to 9.5%, "3 percentage points higher than the national rate and 1.3 points higher than the state's rate of 8.2%."[63] Unemployment reached an all-time high of 15% percent in 2010, second in the nation only to Detroit among metropolitan areas with populations over 1 million.[64]


Various locations in the Inland Empire provide venues for cultural performances and entertainment. The Victoria Gardens Cultural Center, which is owned and operated by the City of Rancho Cucamonga, opened in the Fall of 2006 providing theatre, concerts and family entertainment to the region. The San Manuel Amphitheater in San Bernardino's Devore neighborhood is the nation's largest outdoor amphitheater.[citation needed] Ontario Mills draws more visitors annually than Disneyland, and San Bernardino's "Route 66 Rendezvous (the largest classical carshow in the US)," an annual street fair and classic car show, draws a half-million people from around the world.[65]


At 330 feet (101 m) high, the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa tower is the tallest building in the Inland Empire. Concerts and events are booked inside.

Established bands from the IE include Alien Ant Farm, The Bellrays, and the Voodoo Glow Skulls, from Riverside, and Cracker from Redlands. House music pioneer DJ Lynnwood got his start at the age of ten spinning records at KUOR in Redlands. Local hip-hop artists such as Saint Dog, Suga Free, and Lighter Shade of Brown have brought about some attention to the growing rap community in and around the area. A number of artists associated with the Palm Desert Scene have forged a new genre, "Desert rock." A Danish record label, Musikministeriet, recently opened up an office in Redlands in hopes of further cultivating the IE music scene.[66]

Frank Zappa performed in Upland on Foothill Boulevard during the early 1960s where he played shows on a makeshift stage for college crowds. Zappa also purchased Pal Recording Studio on Archibald Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga where the Surfaris had recorded the surf music classic "Wipe Out." He dubbed it Studio Z and began making recordings which eventually led to the founding of Zappa's group, the Mothers of Invention. Singer Ray Collins of the Mothers of Invention still lives in the area. Zappa specifically mentions Inland Empire in the song "Billy the Mountain."

From the late 80s until the late 90s, many up-and-coming musical acts, such as Rage Against the Machine, Blink-182 and No Doubt cut their teeth playing venues in Riverside.[67] However, these historic venues (Spanky's Cafe, the Barn at UCR, and the De Anza Theatre) have since been closed and converted to other purposes. Emerging music venues in the IE include the Showcase Theatre in Corona (recently closed), Red Planet Records in Riverside, the Vault in Redlands, the Buffalo Inn and The Wire in Upland, the Twins Club in Rancho Cucamonga, the Press Restaurant in Claremont, and the Glass House in Pomona.[68]

Performing arts

Orchestras in the IE include the Redlands Symphony, which performs at the University of Redlands, the Riverside County Philharmonic, which performs at the Riverside Municipal Auditorium, the San Bernardino Symphony, which performs at the California Theatre, and the Victor Valley Symphony, which performs at Victor Valley College. Theatrical Arts International is housed at the California Theatre as well. With the largest subscriber base in the Inland Empire, Theatrical Arts International presents the largest caliber tours available including such blockbusters as Cats, Hairspray, Mamma Mia, and Miss Saigon. There are many other large theater programs in the community. At Colton High School, they have a very large theater program that puts on shows in the fall and in the spring on one of the largest High School stages in the Inland Empire.


The Auto Club Speedway of Southern California (formerly California Speedway), located in Fontana, opened in 1997. It contains an oval, a road course and a dragstrip for auto racing. The Speedway is located approximately two miles from the former Ontario Motor Speedway site. The Riverside International Raceway, another defunt motorsport venue, was located about 7 miles east of Riverside.

Club League Venue Established Championships
Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino CaL, Baseball Arrowhead Credit Union Park 1941 5
High Desert Mavericks CaL, Baseball Stater Bros. Stadium 1993 3
Lake Elsinore Storm CaL, Baseball Lake Elsinore Diamond 1994 2
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes CaL, Baseball The Epicenter 1993 1
Ontario Reign ECHL, Ice hockey Citizens Business Bank Arena 2008 0
Inland Empire 5LINX ABA, Basketball N/A 2008 0
Riverside Rage ABA, Basketball Riverside Community College 2009 0



The Inland Empire is served by three major local newspapers. The San Bernardino County Sun, which serves primarily the San Bernardino Valley region, and the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, both owned by MediaNews Group. The Riverside-based Press-Enterprise also has a few editions over the area. For the High Desert, The Daily Press is the local newspaper. Palm Springs and the greater Coachella Valley are served by The Desert Sun. There is also an Inland Empire edition of the Los Angeles Times.Yes We Can Newspaper provides local news related content for the Inland Empire with concentration on Fontana,Riverside,Moreno Valley,Ontario,Montclair,Rancho Cucamonga among others. The Westside Story Newspaper is a local San Bernardino paper published by Mr. Wallace Allen. It provides literature for and about the African-American community.


The Inland Empire is ranked 26th (June 2008) in the national radio market.[69] San Bernardino classic hits station KOLA 99.9 has the biggest reach of all Inland Empire stations, the strength of its signal carrying it as far south as San Diego, as far north as Kern County, to the northwest to Ventura County, and east to Indio and Salton Sea. KOLA is also one of the oldest and longest-running radio stations in Southern California.[citation needed] KFRG, more commonly referred to as K-Frog, is the region's country music leader and one of the most consistent performers in the local radio ratings.[citation needed] KCAL-FM is known as 96-7 KCAL Rocks and is the longest continually-programmed radio station in the area, playing rock music.[citation needed] X103.9 KCXX represents the alternative rock radio format in the area, and is owned and operated by former Green Bay Packer and NFL Hall of Famer Willie Davis.[citation needed] KVCR (FM) 91.9 is the Inland Empire's public radio station, broadcasting NPR, BBC World Service and other public radio programming. KCAA 1050 AM Radio provides locally produced news/talk/music programming and is the NBC News Radio station for the area with top broadcasters Don Imus, Paul Lane, Ed Schultz, Lou Dobbs, Barb Stanton, Roseanne Barr and features radio veterans Fred Plimley & Steven Naranjo Jr. - Your Music Team every Saturday from 1-4:00 PM.


While the Inland Empire has television channels licensed to their cities, only two channels, PBS member station KVCR-TV & Inland Hotspot TV[KIHS-TV], broadcast directly to the Inland Empire. The other channels broadcast to the greater Southern California market. FCC regulations prevent the Inland Empire from having a major network broadcast channel.[citation needed] Thus, the Inland Empire's source for most of its television comes from Los Angeles. The southern section of the Inland Empire may have San Diego television as their main source. In some areas just east of Yucaipa, primary television coverage is from the Palm Springs market.


While there are no large film production companies or studios based in the Inland Empire, on-location shoots accounted for a total economic impact of $65.2 million in the two-county region in 2006.[70] From 1994 to 2005, filming accounted for over a billion dollars ($1,228,977,456) in total revenues spent in the area. Some famous films shot in the Inland Empire include Executive Decision, U-Turn, Erin Brockovich, and The Fast and the Furious.[71]

While the David Lynch film Inland Empire is named after the region, no scenes were actually shot in the Inland Empire.[4]

Incorporated cities

Riverside County
Median Income,
Banning 1913 28,272 $51,395
Beaumont 1912 28,250 $43,395
Blythe 1916 22,178 $46,985
Calimesa 1990 7,415 $47,406
Canyon Lake 1990 10,939 $73,907
Cathedral City 1981 51,081 $56,904
Corona 1896 144,661 $125,291
Coachella 1946 35,207 $41,290
Desert Hot Springs 1963 22,011 $35,492
Hemet 1910 69,544 $32,894
Indian Wells 1967 4,865 $147,989
Indio 1930 71,654 $48,353
Lake Elsinore 1888 40,985 $64,954
La Quinta 1982 38,340 $74,369
Menifee 2008 77,984 N/A
Moreno Valley 1984 174,565 $61,306
Murrieta 1991 92,933 $77,309
Norco 1964 27,262 $72,905
Palm Desert 1973 49,539 $71,899
Palm Springs 1938 46,437 $51,403
Perris 1911 47,139 $37,982
Rancho Mirage 1973 16,672 $80,334
Riverside 1883 287,820 $57,230
San Jacinto 1888 31,066 $58,950
Temecula 1989 93,923 $77,034
Wildomar 2008 N/A N/A
San Bernardino County
Median Income,
Adelanto 1970 27,139 $31,444
Apple Valley 1988 70,297 $34,751
Barstow 1947 23,943 $36,737
Big Bear Lake 1981 6,207 $41,983
Chino 1910 81,224 $69,084
Chino Hills 1991 78,668 $103,404
Colton 1887 51,797 $41,884
Fontana 1952 181,640 $61,022
Grand Terrace 1978 12,380 $71,901
Hesperia 1988 85,876 $43,018
Highland 1987 52,186 $51,607
Loma Linda 1970 22,451 $49,211
Montclair 1956 36,622 $50,468
Needles 1913 5,759 $35,338
Ontario 1891 172,701 $50,688
Rancho Cucamonga 1977 172,331 $69,429
Redlands 1888 71,375 $63,463
Rialto 1911 99,064 $40,659
San Bernardino 1854 205,010 $31,405
Twentynine Palms 1987 24,830 $36,471
Upland 1906 75,169 $61,044
Victorville 1962 102,538 $50,531
Yucaipa 1989 51,784 $50,529
Yucca Valley 1991 21,044 $38,092


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