Mendocino County, California

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County of Mendocino
—  County  —
Official seal of County of Mendocino
Map of California highlighting Mendocino County.svg
Location in the state of California
Map of USA CA.svg
California's location in the United States
Country Flag of the United States.svg United States
State Flag of California.svg California
Region California North Coast
Incorporated February 18, 1850[1]
County seat Ukiah
Largest city Ukiah
 • Total 3,878.14 sq mi (10,044.3 km2)
 • Land 3,508.97 sq mi (9,088.2 km2)
 • Water 369.17 sq mi (956.1 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 87,841
 • Density 23/sq mi (8.7000000000000/km2)
Time zone Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)

Mendocino County is a county located on the north coast of the U.S. state of California, north of the greater San Francisco Bay Area and west of the Central Valley. As of the 2010 census, the population was 87,841, up from 86,265 at the 2000 census. The county seat is Ukiah.

The county is noted for its distinctive Pacific Ocean coastline, Redwood forests, wine production, microbrews, and liberal views about the use of cannabis and support for its legalization. It is estimated that roughly two-thirds of the economy is based on the cultivation of marijuana.[2]

The notable historic and recreational attraction of the "Skunk Train" connects Fort Bragg with Willits in Mendocino County via steam-locomotive trains and other vehicles.


Mendocino County was one of the original counties of California, created in 1850 at the time of statehood. Due to an initially low population, it did not have a separate government until 1859 and was under the administration of Sonoma County prior to that.

The county derives its name from Cape Mendocino, which was probably named in honor of either Antonio de Mendoza, Viceroy of New Spain, 1535–1542 (who sent the Juan Cabrillo Expedition to this coast in 1542), or Lorenzo Suárez de Mendoza, Viceroy from 1580 to 1583. Mendocino is the adjectival form of the family name of Mendoza.

Neither Spanish nor Mexican influence extended into Mendocino County beyond establishing two Mexican land grants in southern Mendocino County: Rancho Sanel in Hopland, in 1844 and Rancho Yokaya that forms the majority of the Ukiah Valley, in 1845.

In the 19th century, despite the establishment of the Mendocino Indian Reservation and Round Valley Reservation in 1856, the county witnessed many of the most serious atrocities in the extermination of the Californian Native American tribes who originally lived in the area, like the Yuki, the Pomo, the Cahto, and the Wintun. The systematic occupation of their lands, the reduction of many of their members into slavery and the raids against their settlements led to the Mendocino War in 1859, where hundreds of Indians were killed. The segregation continued well into the 20th century.


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 3,878.14 square miles (10,044.3 km2), of which 3,508.97 square miles (9,088.2 km2) (or 90.48%) is land and 369.17 square miles (956.1 km2) (or 9.52%) is water.[3]

Cities, towns, and other populated placesEdit

Adjacent countiesEdit

Indian reservationsEdit

Mendocino County has nine Indian reservations lying within its borders, the fourth most of any county in the United States (after San Diego County, California; Sandoval County, New Mexico; and Riverside County, California).

National protected areasEdit

Transportation infrastructureEdit

Major highwaysEdit

Public transportationEdit

The Mendocino Transit Authority provides local and intercity bus service within Mendocino County. Limited service also connects with transit in Sonoma County

The Greyhound Bus Lines currently serves Ukiah.

AMTRAK has bus service that connects Mendocino to passenger service on rail lines such as the "Coast Starlight".

The historic "Skunk Train" connects Fort Bragg, California with Willits in Mendocino County via steam-locomotive trains and other vehicles. Conceivably, it could be used for public transportation, as well as its recreational uses.


For commercial service, passengers in Mendocino County need to go to Eureka, one county to the north in Humboldt County, or to Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, one county to the south. More comprehensive service is available from Sacramento to the east or San Francisco, well to the south.

Emergency services for the largely unincorporated county are coordinated through Howard Forest Station, a local Cal Fire station just south of Willits.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 55
1860 3,967 7,112.7%
1870 7,545 90.2%
1880 12,800 69.6%
1890 17,612 37.6%
1900 20,465 16.2%
1910 23,929 16.9%
1920 24,116 0.8%
1930 23,505 −2.5%
1940 27,864 18.5%
1950 40,854 46.6%
1960 51,059 25.0%
1970 51,101 0.1%
1980 66,738 30.6%
1990 80,345 20.4%
2000 86,265 7.4%
2010 87,841 1.8%


The 2010 United States Census reported that Mendocino County had a population of 87,841. The racial makeup of Mendocino County was 67,218 (76.5%) White, 622 (0.7%) African American, 4,277 (4.9%) Native American, 1,450 (1.7%) Asian, 119 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 10,185 (11.6%) from other races, and 3,970 (4.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 19,505 persons (22.2%).[7]

Population reported at 2010 United States Census
The County
two or
more races
or Latino
(of any race)
Mendocino County 87,84167,2186224,2771,45011910,1853,97019,505
two or
more races
or Latino
(of any race)
Fort Bragg 7,2735,43951160108141,1653362,313
Point Arena 449305210011823150
Ukiah 16,07511,592174601412342,3858774,458
Willits 4,8883,862342166854792241,008
two or
more races
or Latino
(of any race)
Albion 1681501450084
Anchor Bay 3403012521121729
Boonville 1,0356309187234029520
Brooktrails 3,2352,8182287264109169329
Calpella 6794653253014538256
Caspar 509474308032115
Cleone 61851813307914124
Comptche 15914601105610
Covelo 1,255611144751004996163
Hopland 75652143810014241263
Laytonville 1,227839162441016057141
Leggett 12210103000184
Little River 1171130100032
Manchester 1951510410291048
Mendocino 8948345813162742
Philo 349171245015710204
Potter Valley 646516213209716154
Redwood Valley 1,7291,43276310115561305
Talmage 1,130503327273427842366
two or
more races
or Latino
(of any race)
All others not CDPs (combined) 48,88138,5883012,492541574,8512,0519,605


Mendocino vineyard

A vineyard in Mendocino county

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 86,265 people, 33,266 households, and 21,855 families residing in the county. The population density was 25 people per square mile (9/km²). There were 36,937 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 80.8% White, 0.6% Black or African American, 4.8% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 8.6% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. 16.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 12.2% were of German, 10.8% English, 8.6% Irish, 6.1% Italian and 5.6% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 84.4% spoke English and 13.2% Spanish as their first language.

There were 33,266 households out of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.9% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 27.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.5% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 27.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 98.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.1 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $35,996, and the median income for a family was $42,168. Males had a median income of $33,128 versus $23,774 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,443. About 10.9% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.5% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.


Mendocino County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year GOP Dem Others
2008 26.8% 10,721 69.6% 27,843 4.0% 1,620
2004 33.7% 12,955 63.5% 24,385 2.8% 1,089
2000 35.7% 12,272 48.3% 16,634 16.0% 5,504
1996 29.9% 9,765 45.7% 14,952 24.4% 7,975
1992 21.8% 7,958 50.2% 18,344 28.0% 10,236
1988 41.9% 12,979 55.4% 17,152 2.6% 816
1984 52.1% 16,369 45.9% 14,407 2.1% 646
1980 44.1% 12,432 38.2% 10,784 17.7% 5,008
1976 45.5 9,784 49.5% 10,653 5.0% 1,072
1972 51.0% 11,128 43.3% 9,435 5.7% 1,251
1968 46.4% 8,305 44.3% 7,935 9.3% 1,664
1964 34.7% 6,322 65.1% 11,869 0.2% 36
1960 49.3% 9,301 50.2% 9,476 0.5% 94
1956 56.9% 10,327 42.8% 7,767 0.2% 43
1952 60.9% 10,897 38.1% 6,813 1.1% 191
1948 50.5% 6,368 44.1% 5,553 5.4% 682
1944 45.9% 4,655 53.8% 5,452 0.4% 36
1940 42.5% 5,345 56.1% 7,055 1.3% 169
1936 35.8% 3,670 62.7% 6,432 1.6% 164
1932 35.2% 3,365 61.4% 5,867 3.3% 319
1928 63.4% 4,810 34.6% 2,628 2.0% 150
1924 56.5% 3,465 12.0% 739 31.5% 1,933
1920 65.8% 4,443 26.5% 1,789 7.7% 517

Mendocino is a strongly Democratic county in Presidential and congressional elections.[9] The last Republican to win a majority in the county was Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984. It is part of California's 1st congressional district, which is held by Democrat Mike Thompson. In the state legislature Mendocino is in the 1st Assembly district, which is held by Democrat Wes Chesbro, and the 2nd Senate district, which is held by Democrat Noreen Evans. As of April 2008, the California Secretary of State reports that Mendocino County has 47,168 registered voters. Of those, 22,264 (47.2%) are registered Democratic; 11,422 (24.2%) are registered Republican; 4,179 (8.9%) are registered with other political parties, and 9,303 (19.7%) declined to state a political party.

In 2000, Mendocino County voters approved Measure G, which calls for the decriminalization of marijuana when used and cultivated for personal use.[10] Measure G passed with a 58% majority vote, making it the first county in the United States to declare prosecution of small-scale marijuana offenses the "lowest priority" for local law enforcement. Measure G does not protect individuals who cultivate, transport or possess marijuana for sale. However, Measure G was passed at the local government level affecting only Mendocino County, and therefore does not affect existing state or federal laws. The city of Berkeley has had a similar law (known as the Berkeley Marijuana Initiative II) since 1979 which has generally been found to be unenforceable.[11]

In 2008, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors placed Measure B on the June 3 county-wide ballot. After three months of hard-fought campaigning and national attention, voters narrowly approved "B", which repealed the provisions of 2000's Measure G.[12][13] However, opponents of Measure B intend to continue the challenge in court, as the wording of Measure B relies heavily on S.B. 420's state limitations which were recently ruled unconstitutional by the California supreme court. On July 3, the Sheriff and District Attorneys offices announced that they would not be enforcing the new regulations for the time being, citing pending legal challenges and conflicts with existing state law.[14] In April, 2009, Sheriff Tom Allman issued his department's medical marijuana enforcement policy, which includes the provisions of Measure B and also cites the California Supreme Court Ruling narrowly defining "caregiver" in the state's medical marijuana law.[15]

In 2004, Measure H was passed in Mendocino County with a 57% majority, making it the first county in the United States to ban the production and cultivation of genetically modified organisms.

On Nov. 4, 2008 Mendocino County voted 63.2 % against Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.


As of 2011, the elected District Attorney of Mendocino County is C. David Eyster, the elected Sheriff and Coroner is Thomas D. Allman, and the appointed Chief Executive Officer is Carmel Angelo. Mendocino County is legislatively governed by a board of five supervisors, each with a separate district.[16] The first district is represented by Carre Brown, and serves the central-eastern region of the county, including Potter Valley, Redwood Valley, Calpella, and Talmage. The second district, represented by John McCowen, serves Ukiah. The third district, in the northeastern quadrant of the county from Willits north to Laytonville and Covelo, is represented by John Pinches. The fourth district covers the northwestern quadrant of the county, including the coast from Caspar northwards through Fort Bragg; its supervisor is Kendall Smith. The supervisor for the fifth district is Dan Hamburg; his district covers the southern portion of the county, including the coast from Mendocino to Gualala, the Anderson Valley, the western outskirts of Ukiah, and portions of the Russian River valley near Hopland. Hamburg also previously served as a county supervisor, and also served one term as a Congressman in Washington, D.C.


Fort Bragg California aerial view

Aerial view of the mouth of the Noyo River on the Pacific Ocean at Fort Bragg

from south to north:



A Beach Near Elk

Parks, reserves and related placesEdit

Ecological Staircase trail

Ecological staircase trail in Jug Handle state nature reserve

Islands off mendocino

Islands off the Mendocino coast


Community Colleges

Local Schools

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Chronology". California Counties. California State Association of Counties. Retrieved 2012-05-14. 
  2. ^ Regan, Trish. 'Marijuana Inc., Inside America's Pot Industry' [televised documentary]. Mendocino County, California, USA: CNBC, Incorporated. Retrieved on 2009-03-15Wp globe tiny.
  3. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau. 
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ "Mendocino County, California". political info. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  10. ^ "Mendocino County Personal Use of Marijuana Initiative". CA NORML News. California National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. November 8, 2000. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  11. ^ Suzanne La Barre (March 31, 2006). "Legal Limbo for Pot Users?". Berkeley Daily Planet. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  12. ^ Measure B on the June 3 ballot, Ballotpedia.
  13. ^ It's official: Marijuana reform effort passes - Ukiah Daily Journal
  14. ^ Mike Geniella (July 3, 2008). "Mendocino County won't enforce pot measure". web site (The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, CA). Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  15. ^ "Directive on Medical Marijuana 2009-04-03-NO.1". Mendocino County Sheriff's Office. April 3, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  16. ^ Mendocino County district boundaries, retrieved 2010-08-21.

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Template:California North Coast

Coordinates: 39°26′N 123°26′W / 39.43, -123.43

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Mendocino County, California. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

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