2006 Archives

4 million and counting

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New figures released last week by California Department of Finance indicate that both San Bernardino and Riverside counties each passed the 2 million mark in population in 2006, making the two counties the 4th and 5th most-populous counties respectively in California. It also signals Inland Southern California has reached the 4 million mark in overall population, which places the region between San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont and Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale in national population rankings.

Although growth rates in the state as a whole have slowed recently (only 1.25% last year), the interior sections of the state -- and in particular Inland Southern California -- are indeed bucking the trend.

Overall, Riverside County was the only county in the state to rank in the top 5 in 3 demographic criteria -- overall size (5), numeric growth (1), and percentage growth (2).


Rancho Cucamonga


Victoria Gardens
Rancho Cucamonga

Galleria at Tyler


Percentage wise, Riverside's growth rate of 4.14% between July 2005-06 was second only to the 4.42% of tiny Yuba County (total pop. 71,938 -- less than the 2006 numeric gain in Riverside County alone). San Bernardino County's growth rate of 2.13% was good for 14th, joining Riverside as the only counties in excess of 1 million residents in the top 15 (of 58 counties) in growth rates.

Numerically speaking, Riverside led all counties in California with an additional 79k residents. San Bernardino was third with 41k additional residents. Together, the increase of 121k for the 2 counties -- a.k.a. Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario MSA -- comprised 26% of the total numeric increase (462k) statewide.

Since 2000, Riverside County has added 446k new residents while San Bernardino County has added 294k -- a total of nearly 750k, or nearly 25% of California's total population growth (3.3m) since the 2000 Census. As such, the region is on track to add at least 1 million residents between 2000-2009 -- or about the population of metropolitan Buffalo, NY.

The large increase in population has resulted in a commercial boom as well. Long an area of strong industrial/warehousing growth, the region has seen a recent surge in both retail and office space as the markets scramble to catch up with the rooftops:

Growth has been a theme for industrial, office and retail construction in Riverside and San Bernardino counties this year, and more of the same is to be expected in 2007, according to a new review and forecast by Grubb & Ellis Co.

Vacancy rates should be at record lows in the Inland region, the report says, and more square footage is under construction than ever before...

...Esmael Adibi, chief economist for Chapman University, said the Inland commercial real estate market has been excellent. There wasn't as much office construction as there should have been over the past decade, he said, and therefore growth over the last couple of years has been building up toward demand.

The Press-Enterprise

Since 2004, two major retail developments have opened (Victoria Gardens, Dos Lagos), one has been rebuilt (Riverside Plaza), one is currently undergoing a major expansion (Galleria at Tyler) and at least 3 others (Montclair Plaza, Temecula Promenade and Inland Center) are planning expansions. Likewise, the area immediately surrounding the Ontario Mills continues to be a draw for new retail.

In particular, Dain Fedora of Grubb & Ellis', points out the pent-up demand for high-end retail in the city of Riverside:

Riverside, he said, is likely to become a nexus for new high-end retail, because it boasts 90,000 households with incomes of at least $79,000.

The Press-Enterprise

Thus, we give a hearty welcome to the newcomers -- residents, retail and employers alike (and those yet to arrive).



Population Boom

County July 2000 July 2001 July 2002 July 2003 July 2004 July 2005 July 2006 Gain
Riverside 1.558* 1.621 1.685 1.766 1.845 1.924 2.004
+63k +64k +81k +79k +79k +80k +446k
4.04% 3.96% 4.80% 4.45% 4.30% 4.14%
San Bernardino 1.722* 1.771 1.815 1.869 1.923 1.974 2.016
+49k +44k +54k +54k +51k +42k +294k
2.83% 2.50% 2.98% 2.88% 2.63% 2.13%
Combined 3.280* 3.392 3.500 3.635 3.768 3.898 4.020
+112k +108k +135k +133k +130k +122k +740k
* millions
Source: California Department of Finance (Dec. 2006)

Festival of Lights

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This Friday marks the debut of an expanded Festival of Lights in downtown Riverside.

Along with the usual carolers, carriage rides, one-of-a-kind shopping/dining and millions of holiday lights, this year's FOL has grown to include a compact ice rink. Skating at the rink, located on the Main Street Pedestrian Mall between Mission Inn and University avenues, will cost $10 per hour with skate rentals running $3.

Mission Inn

Of course, the centerpiece of the FOL is the Mission Inn Hotel itself, decorated to the hilt with millions of lights and several hundred animated figures (the assortment of holiday decorations grows each year).

The event is scheduled to kickoff with the "switch-on" ceremony at 6:15 p.m., Friday, Nov. 24.

Parking is free on weekends and holidays and after 5 p.m. weekdays, including within the 4 city-owned parking garages (we suggest using the Orange Square garage located at Ninth and Orange streets).

Reservations are recommended for the various horse-drawn carriages as well as dinner at any of the Mission Inn restaurants, Mario's Place or Cafe Sevilla -- particularly on weekends and days in and around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. And if you're planning an overnight stay, advanced reservations are highly recommended for either the Mission Inn or Marriott hotels.




Video: 2006 Festival of Lights

Audio Slideshow: 2006 Festival of Lights

Out & About - 11/18/2006

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Saturday, November 18, 2006 - The weekend heading into Thanksgiving finds downtown Riverside in a state of transformation as finishing touches are being made to holiday decorations ahead of the annual Festival of Lights, which officially begins the Friday after turkey day.

This year, a new addition to an expanded FOL had workers assembling a compact ice rink. Slated to open in time for next weekend's FOL kickoff ceremony, the rink is situated on the Main Street Pedestrian Mall between Mission Inn and University avenues.

Oh, and during our stroll around downtown we noticed that the long-awaited Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is now open at the base of the California Tower. CB&TL joins fellow coffee purveyor Starbucks in joining the downtown mix.

In other news, the Mission Inn Coffee Co. has been officially replaced by Bella Trattoria Italian Bistro. Also, the small band stage outside City Hall is no more (likely in preparation for the eventual re-opening of Ninth Street thru the pedestrian mall). And the massive rebuilding of the 60/91/I-215 freeways interchange continues to move along.

Riverside embraces the 'Lights'

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Now that the Orange Blossom Festival is officially kaput, officials in Riverside are eyeing an enlarged Festival of Lights as a quasi-replacement for the annual citrus celebration.

Already a great success in its own right, the annual FOL draws tens of thousands of visitors from throughout Southern California during the winter holidays. The centerpiece of the nightly event is the historic Mission Inn, aglow with millions of holiday lights and animated figures. The festivities extend to the adjacent Main Street Pedestrian Mall where horse-drawn carriages and carolers stroll amongst one-of-a-kind shops.

The event, which began as a modest hotel-only event in 1993, has since grown into one of the premier holiday lights displays in the country:

Mission Inn - Campanario

Mission Inn - Spanish Patio
The festival has become nationally known -- an article in People magazine in 2005 put a photo of the Mission Inn all lit up next to a photo of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York City. The Press-Enterprise

With the city's backing, an enlarged event will add an outdoor ice rink and expanded holiday decorations/lights throughout downtown.

In light of the growing popularity of the FOL, reservations are recommended for the various horse-drawn carriages as well as dinner at any of the Mission Inn restaurants, Mario's Place or Cafe Sevilla -- particularly on weekends and days in and around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. And if you're planning an overnight stay, advanced reservations are highly recommended for either the Mission Inn or Marriott hotels.

Although we lament the complete loss of the Orange Blossom Festival and hope the city revives some sort of citrus heritage celebration and/or arts & culture expo in the near future, we agree that an expanded Festival of Lights could turn out to be a much bigger boon to the city. After all, instead of one huge weekend event, the FOL lasts nearly 6 weeks.

Not a bad "replacement," to say the least.




Out & About - 09/24/2006

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Sunday, September 24, 2006 - A few photos and thoughts while browsing various new home developments in both Riverside and Corona.

The trip begins with the Alta Cresta development in southeastern Riverside. In most respects, Alta Cresta is the second major phase of the city's master-planned Orangecrest development, both of which actually began as a county projects prior to annexation into Riverside. New neighborhoods taking shape include those at Mission Ranch: Windsong, Hawksbury, Ardenwood and Turnbridge. Each tract offers large homes (2,600 - 4,304 sq. ft.) with many on large lots (10,000 sq. ft.). However, most also come with hefty price tags ($555,000 - $769,000).

Next up are new home developments in the La Sierra area of southwestern Riverside, namely those along the reconfigured Dufferin Avenue (now McAllister Parkway). Homes in the Bridgeport and Stone Harbor communities are also quite large, (3,200 - 5,100 sq. ft.) and likewise tend to also be on larger lots. The optional casita is a novel idea found at a Stone Harbor model. Prices range from $728,000 - $923,000. Similar homes are on the horizon at the Sierra Estates tract.

Finally, we end with two developments in southern Corona: Dos Lagos and The Retreat. Both are master-planned communities and both include championship golf courses (and championship golf course prices - upwards of $1,000,000 at The Retreat). In particular, we again found the optional "walk-up casita" at one of The Retreat models a nice touch and the elevation styles at Dos Lagos uniquely different.

Not to be overlooked, Dos Lagos also includes an outdoor lifestyle center -- The Promenade Shops at Dos Lagos -- which is set to open October 6th. It will be Corona's first large-scale, mall-like development. Tenants include Coach, Talbots, Coldwater Creek, White House | Black Market, Banana Republic, Z Gallerie and Wood Ranch BBQ among others.


Out & About - 09/16/2006

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Saturday, September 16, 2006 - A few photos and thoughts while strolling the Main Street Pedestrian Mall in downtown Riverside.

The weather was sunny and mild as folks browsed the quaint stores or grabbed a bite to eat. Paper covers the windows of the future Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, which is scheduled to open shortly at the base of the California Tower. Valet parking was very busy at the Mission Inn hotel as both restaurant and hotel guests arrived and departed. The outdoor dining area for the hotel's Las Campanas restaurant was brimming with chatter as patrons ate lunch al fresco. No doubt the interior restaurants were much the same.

Walking past the long-shuttered Imperial Hardware building, one can't help but notice the semi-rusty, mid-century facade above that harkens back to a different era when downtown was the epicenter of shopping with such outlets as Sears and JCPenney. The building itself goes back to the early 1900s when it first opened as Franzen Hardware and later became Westbrook's (likely hidden behind the current metal facade is the 1930s art deco facade of Westbrook's). There's been talk recently of an office building proposed for the site.

Oh, and we noticed Starbucks' new downtown location, which is a couple blocks north of the pedestrian mall, is now open.

Giant Orange ArtVenture

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"Welcome to Riverside"

"Riverside...And All that Jazz"

This weekend marks the last time you'll be able to see all (or nearly all) of the large "art" oranges in downtown Riverside as the very successful "The Giant Orange Artventure" is coming to an end.

Last June, after many months of artistic preparation, 32 fiberglass oranges were "planted" in various locations throughout downtown. Each of the 4-foot-round oranges was sponsored by local businesses/philanthropists for $5,000 each and painted/decorated by artists, most of which had local roots. Proceeds from the exhibit support the Riverside Art Museum.

Though the majority of the oranges depict local history, the artistic expressions range from abstract art to snippets of Ralph Waldo Emerson. To truly appreciate the intricate artwork that went into the oranges, one needs to give close inspection. And though there are many great examples to appreciate, our favorite -- "Under the Citrus Sun" -- is located in front of City Hall. The representation of Riverside's skyline, Mission Inn and Fox Theater via the use of mosaics is exquisite. Another favorite is "Our Emerging City" by artist Ada M. Passaro.

The public exhibit, coordinated by the Riverside Art Museum's Art Alliance, was patterned after Chicago's popular "Cows on Parade" (1999), wherein artists painted fiberglass cows that were later auctioned off.

Beginning September 13th, many of the oranges will be relocated to other public and private spots, though some will likely remain close to their original spots (our hope is that a number of them remain, particularly on the downtown pedestrian mall). At least 4 ("Riverside: Vision of an Enlightened City" / "Bearing Fruit" / "La Naranja" / "The Squeeze") will be acutioned off October 13th at a special fundraising event with the proceeds again benefiting the Riverside Art Museum.

See all 32 of the giant oranges.


"Our Emerging
"Picked By

Sources: Riverside Art Museum, The Press-Enterprise

UC Riverside given high marks

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California's UC campuses, including UC Riverside, each earned high marks in a recent college guide issued by Washington Monthly.

Carillon Tower - UC Riverside

Promoted as a counter-list of sorts to the one produced by U.S. News and World Report -- which weighs heavily toward private institutions -- the Washington Monthly list ranks 245 national universities according to three primary categories:

  • performance as an engine of social mobility
  • fostering scientific and humanistic research
  • promoting an ethic of service to country

In other words, are the schools doing what they're intended to be doing -- producing quality, well-rounded students and future leaders as opposed to simply chasing research/alumni dollars (which invaribly favor private institutions)?

Overall, the UC system is given high marks and has 4 schools ranked in the top 10: UC Berkeley (2), UCLA (4), UC San Diego (6) and UC Davis (10). While UC Riverside (22), UC Santa Barbara (57), UC Santa Cruz (68), UC Irvine (72) round out the UC campuses:

UC schools continue to rule... By our yardstick, University of California, Berkeley is about the best thing for America we can find. It's good by all of our measurements. The same goes for the rest of the schools in the UC system, four of which make our top 10, the rest of which make our top 80.

Washington Monthly

The No. 22 ranking for UC Riverside places it ahead of many highly-regarded colleges and universities, including Duke (23), Harvard (28), USC (33), Princeton (43), Pepperdine (78) and Emory (96).

The high ranking shouldn't be much of a surprise as UCR has consistently out-ranked many national universities the past 10+ years with regards to the number of faculty named fellows of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

As a side note, 3 local schools also rank high on the Liberal Arts list: Claremont McKenna College (10), Pomona College (15) and Harvey Mudd College (17).


Mall happenings

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Retail growth continues its torrid pace within Inland Southern California as both an existing mall and one currently under construction added to their ever-expanding tenant list.

The Galleria at Tyler, located at the 91 Freeway and Tyler Street in Riverside, has begun work on the first of two "lifestyle" components flanking the north and south ends of the 1.1 million square-foot mall. The "North Village," adjacent to the current Macy's (formerly The Broadway), will include outdoor plaza-style retail/restaurants topped by a 12-screen AMC theatre complex. Leases signed thus far include Elephant Bar restaurant and Orange County-based Robbins Bros. jewelers.

Nordstrom - Galleria at Tyler

Galleria at Tyler
near "North Village" project area

Promenade Shops at Dos Lagos
Poag & McEwen

The "South Village," on the freeway side of the mall directly in front of the former Robinson's-May (and soon-to-be Macy's), will essentially become the new southern entrance for the mall. This second expansion will include a free-standing PF Chang's (already underway) among other shops and restaurants, including an expected Yard House upscale brewery/restaurant:

Yard House will open new locations in Glendale, Arizona, October 2006; Waikiki, Hawaii December 2006; Las Vegas, Nevada May 2007; and Riverside, California June 2007.


Both projects, including a parking garage expansion, are expected to be completed in Fall 2007.

Major tenants already established at the two-level, 170-shop Galleria include JCPennys, Macy's, Nordstrom, Barnes & Noble, Disney Store, Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor Loft, Guess, Anthropologie, Hollister, MetroPark, Victoria's Secret, Carlton Hair Int'l, Gymboree, Hot Topic, PacSun, Jimmy'Z, LoveSac, Sharper Image, and Thomas Kinkade Gallery. A fourth anchor spot is currently open following the Macy's/Robinson's-May merger.

Down the road in Corona, construction continues on that city's first major shopping plaza and is on track for an October 2006 grand opening. Located at the junction of I-15 and Weirick Road in southern Corona, The Promenade Shops at Dos Lagos will be a 360,000 square-foot, outdoor lifestyle center within a pedestrian-oriented plaza overlooking twin lakes.

Developed by Memphis-based Poag & McEwen, the "Craftsman-styled" center is already 88-percent leased, including Banana Republic, Coach, Coldwater Creek, Z Gallerie, Ann Taylor Loft, Anthropologie, Victoria's Secret, Eddie Bauer, White House Black Market and Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill. As of yet, there are no major anchor tenants, though this may change with future phases as the center expands to an expected 575,000 sq. ft.

The Promenade Shops are part of the 543-acre, master-planned Dos Lagos development, which includes residential, retail, offices, an 18-hole championship golf course and 135 acres of open space.

The Riverside and Corona developments come on the heels of the highly successful, October 2004 opening of the upscale Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga and during a time when Inland Southern California continues to post impressive growth in many demographic categories. Between 2000 and 2004, the region's population grew 18% (3.25M to 3.82M), total personal income rose 71% ($25B to $43B) and taxable retail sales increased 40% ($75B to $104B), easily outpacing the rest of Southern California. (Source: LAEDC, Feb. 2006).

Needless to say, the numbers haven't slowed much since 2004 as the region continues to march toward the 4 million mark in population.

Now, if only the region could get that elusive professional sports team and much-needed local TV station...

  • Galleria at Tyler
  • General Growth Properties, Inc. (Galleria owner)
  • The Promenade Shops at Dos Lagos
  • Poag & McEwen (Promenade Shops developer)
  • SE Corporation (Dos Lagos master developer)

  • New interchange partially opens

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    The first significant portion of the soon-to-be rebuilt 60/91/215 interchange in downtown Riverside opened this week, bringing some long-awaited relief for locals and commuters alike, many of which have come to despise the antiquated interchange.

    Westbound flyover
    Flash: View photo overlay

    The new eastbound connector, though still somewhat temporary in nature, should allow for smoother transitioning from eastbound Highway 91 to eastbound Highway 60/southbound I-215. Reconfiguring a portion of the existing eastbound 91 adjacent to the new connector will come next, eventually allowing for the full implementation of the new transition.

    When fully completed in late 2007, the interchange will also sport two new freeway-to-freeway connector ramps, auxiliary lanes and a wider main line allowing for future carpool/lane additions.

    Also included in the overall $320 million project are major improvements on the 60/215 portion between downtown Riverside and Moreno Valley, with new overcrossings, improved access to UC Riverside, carpool lane extensions and an eastbound truck-only lane.

    Though partially delayed due to initial funding obstacles and rising costs, the downtown interchange project was one of the key elements of a half-cent sales tax/transportation improvement package (Measure A) that Riverside County voters overwhelmingly approved (79%) in 1988 and extended an additional 30-years (69%) in 2002.

    No doubt, residents old and new alike will be glad to finally see the end is nearing for 'malfunction junction.'

    Photo Gallery: 60/91/215 interchange project



    Westbound flyover
    Westbound flyover
    above Spruce St.
    Westbound flyover

    Herman Ruhnau, AIA

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    Last month, one of Southern California's notable post-modern architects, Herman O. Ruhnau, passed away at the age of 93 in Riverside, a city in which he left a distinctive architectural legacy.

    A German by descent, Mr. Ruhnau was born Sept. 1, 1912, in Santa Barbara, eventually moving with his family to Pasadena before permanently relocating to Riverside. Ruhnau studied architecture at USC and served as an architect in the Navy during World War II, returning to Riverside following the war.

    Riverside County
    Administrative Center (1975)

    Riverside City Hall (1975)

    Original model of City Hall

    In 1950, Mr. Ruhnau was a founding partner of the Riverside architectural firm now known as Ruhnau, Ruhnau & Clarke. Among the buildings designed by Ruhnau's firm are two of the city's most prominent buildings: Riverside City Hall (1975) and Riverside County Administrative Center (1975):

    When architect Herman Ruhnau was commissioned to design a new City Hall for Riverside in the early 1970s, his initial vision was of a sleek white concrete and recessed-glass building whose six-stories rose like alternating layers of vanilla cake with chocolate filling.

    "Then we heard the cry: 'We want arches.'"


    (On Riverside County Administrative Center) ...initial plans drafted in the mid-1960s called for an eight- to 10-story concrete and steel vertically striped tower on a solid two-story concrete base. But before the tower could be erected...Ruhnau says county officials asked for an additional two or three stories.

    "We had only designed the foundation to hold 10 stories," he explains, "and the only way we could add the extra space was to redo the foundation, which was impossible, or to find some light building material that the foundation could hold."

    Mirrored glass became the answer.

    The Press-Enterprise (April, 1984)

    Ruhnau's firm specialized in public buildings and built numerous schools throughout Inland Southern California, including La Sierra High School (1969), Norte Vista High School and Sherman Indian High School, all in Riverside. Ruhnau also designed the city's Marcy Branch Library (1958) and worked on the designs for Corona Naval Hospital in Norco.

    Probably the most unique feature designed by the firm for Riverside that remains today is the downtown Main Street pedestrian mall (1966). Designed in response to the suburban exodus of retailers for large shopping malls -- including Riverside Plaza (1956) -- the pedestrian mall is making a comeback today as both residents, retailers and businesses alike rediscover its uniqueness and charm in the heart of downtown Riverside.

    The non-vehicular, park-like mall stretches for 7 city blocks (Tenth to Third streets) with only one interruption (Fifth to Sixth streets) and one yet to be fully developed portion (Fourth to Third streets). Major anchors along the mall include the Mission Inn, California Tower, UCR/CMP, UCR/Culver Arts Center, Riverside Marriott as well as two civic buildings: Raincross Square Convention Center and the aforementioned City Hall.

    Although a number of similar pedestrian malls were created as a response to the suburban phenomenon that deserted many downtowns during the post-war years, only a handful remain intact today, something residents and city leaders alike should remember when major changes are proposed.

    In 1974, Mr. Ruhnau was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. He received a lifetime achievement award from the Inland Chapter of the AIA this past April.


    Pedestrian Mall
    City Hall
    City Hall
    Riv. Co. Admin
    Riv. Co. Admin

    Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library, Rhunau Ruhnau Clarke, The Press-Enterprise, Los Angeles Times

    Then & Now - County Courthouse

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    Considered one of the finest examples of Beaux Arts Classical architecture in the nation, the Riverside County Courthouse is a gem among civic buildings.

    Designed by the architectural firm of Burnham and Bliesner of Los Angeles, the 1903 courthouse is patterned after the "Grand Palais" (Grand Palace) and "Petit Palais" (Little Palace) both from the 1900 Universal Exposition (World's Fair) in Paris.

    Riverside County Courthouse
    Main Street at Tenth Street
    Flash: View photo overlay

    Grand Palais
    Paris, France

    Riverside County Courthouse

    The courthouse, which originally cost a mere $160,280 to construct, was rededicated October 5, 1998 following a 3-year, $25 million renovation and seismic upgrade.

    The picturesque courthouse was the indirect result of an intra-county tax dispute. San Bernardino County -- of which at the time included present-day Riverside -- voted to raise taxes to fund expansion of the existing county courthouse located in downtown San Bernardino. However, this new tax was not taken lightly in Riverside, wherein higher property values equated to a higher share of the overall courthouse tax. Compounded by other similar issues, this new tax spurred Riverside officials to expedite proceedings that eventually led to the May 2, 1893 establishment of Riverside County.

    Of course, Riverside now needed to fund and build its own county courthouse. Fortunately, the city's continuing rise in wealth made such funding much easier. In fact, by 1895 -- just 2 years following the establishment of the new county -- the City of Riverside was the richest city per capita in the United States. As such, the city soon began the process of commissioning new civic buildings -- including the courthouse -- that reflected the city's new wealth and stature.

    However, had the city and county gone the expected route of building a Mission Revival-styled courthouse (as backed by influential Mission Inn owner Frank Milller), the elegant courthouse we see today may not have been. Instead, county supervisors were eventually persuaded in favor of a French-inspired, Beaux-Arts design. Without a doubt, the significance of that decision could not be more important today as the unique courthouse stands out among civic buildings.

    In 1930, a major expansion to the courthouse by local architect G. Stanley Wilson increased courtrooms on the back, or eastern elevation (Orange St.). Designed to mimic the original Beaux-Arts motif, the expansion fits in well against the original design. However, a bulky and spartan post-war addition to the southeastern elevation (Orange/Eleventh streets), though unique in its own way, stands out in stark contrast against the magnificently detailed facades of both the original and expansion.

    Regardless, thanks to the foresight of county supervisors in 1995, the grand courthouse will stand for generations to come, reminding residents and visitors alike of both the wealth and vision of the city's residents during the formative years.

    Flash: County Courthouse: 1960s - 2006

    Photo Gallery: Riverside County Courthouse


    Petite Palais
    Paris, France
    Riv. Co.
    Riv. Co. Courthouse
    1930s expansion
    Riv. Co. Courthouse
    Post-war addition

    Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Metropolitan Museum, "Colony for California" (Tom Patterson), The Press-Enterprise, WikiPedia

    Then & Now - Main at Ninth

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    One of the things that most facinates us are how places and/or buildings change -- or don't change -- over time. Sometimes it's a simple paint job on an old house or building while at other times an entire building -- or entire block -- is completely redeveloped. Such is the natural evolution of cities.

    Main Street at Ninth Street
    looking north toward
    University Ave. (Eighth St.)
    Flash: View photo overlay

    With that said, one of our favorite sections of this site is the "Then & Now" feature. A simple exercise in comparing and constrasting the same building, street or block from one time period to another. Maybe it's a 100-year-old photo or 50-year-old postcard, or simply a few years of passage. Whatever the timespan, it's interesting to see how much -- or how little -- things have changed from one era to another.

    First up, is a view looking north on Main Street at Ninth Street from 1949. Immediately on the right is Rouse's Department Store (green canopy) followed by the Kress Building (partially covered by palm tree). Standing tall is the 1911 First National Bank building. Beyond these is the now-gone Evans Building (red brick) and in the distance are two towers of the Mission Inn. Visible on the left is the top of the still-standing Loring Building (red, triangular-shaped roof) located at the corner of Seventh Street (Mission Inn Avenue) and Main Street.

    The exact same view from 2006 shows that, first and foremost, Main Street has been removed, or rather, turned into the Main Street Pedestrian Mall (1966). Although the Rouse (UCR/Culver Arts Center), Kress (UCR/CMP) and First National Bank buildings remain standing on the right, all the buildings on the left have since been replaced by office buildings (partially hidden). Of course, foilage now also blocks the view of the two Mission Inn towers. However, peeking out between the trees on the lower left is the triangular-shaped roof of the Loring Building.

    Lastly, directly behind the camera sits City Hall (1975), which was built to anchor the south end of the pedestrian mall.

    Flash: Main at Ninth: 1949 - 2006

    Similar view (within
    shadow of City Hall)
    First National Bank
    and Kress
    Rouse Department
    Store (UCR/Culver
    Arts Center)

    Sources: City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library

    UCR unveils med school proposal

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    After years of consideration, UC Riverside unveiled plans earlier this week for what could become the sixth UC medical school in California -- and the first since 1967 (UC Irvine).

    The proposal, which now goes before the UC Regents later this year for approval, is envisioned as a major step in closing the gap in both the lack of adequate medical educational facilities statewide as well as the shortage of physicians in one of the nation's fastest-growing regions:

    UCR's Carillon Bell Tower

    "UCR hopes to take a leadership role in addressing the critical need for more physicians in our state and especially in Inland Southern California," UCR Chancellor France C�rdova said in a statement.

    The Press-Enterprise

    Currently, UCR teams up with UCLA's medical school in offering degrees via a cooperative agreement between the two campuses. The new UCR medical school is designed to build upon -- and eventually wean from -- that joint partnership, with the first class of graduates planned for 2016.

    The road to approval will by no means be easy, and even faces competition from a similar proposal expected this year from fledgling UC Merced. And although the demand and need for a UC medical school within Inland Southern California is clearly apparent, UCR officials will need strong commitment -- politically and financially -- from the region's communities to ensure the proposal's approval and ultimate success.

    Moreover, the establishment of a medical school would go a long way in strengthening the area's fast-rising economy, not too mention would be a nice feather in the cap for a region often overlooked in such state matters. But let there be no mistake, a medical school at UCR would be as beneficial to California as a whole as it would for the Inland region. And thus, the UC Regents and politicians in Sacramento would be wise to approve the establishment of such in the state's second most-populous metropolitan region.


    March Field AirFest 2006

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    This weekend marks the return of the USAF Thunderbirds to March Air Reserve Base near Riverside. The precision flying team has been making regular stops at the base's air shows for many years, the last being 2004.

    This weekend's show marks the homecoming of sorts for one of the Thunderbird pilots, Maj. Nicole Malachowski, who spent part of her childhood in Upland. She's also the first female pilot in the history of the Thunderbirds. Many of her relatives will be at this weekend's airshow.

    "It's exciting to be back in Southern California," Malachowski said Thursday after a practicing with the Thunderbirds over March, Riverside, Moreno Valley and Perris. "It's overwhelming and exhilarating and I'm enjoying this."

    The Press-Enterprise

    March Field AirFest

    USAF Thunderbirds

    Included in this weekend's airshow will be flight demonstrations of the Air Force's primary aircraft, including the F-15E "Strike Eagle," F-16 "Viper," C-17 "Globemaster," C-130 "Hercules," B-52 "Stratofortress," KC-135 "Stratotanker," as well as the F-22 "Raptor," and F-117 "Stealth Fighter."

    A U.S. Navy F-18 "Hornet" and Russian MiG-21 are also part of the flight demonstrations along with historic Air Force aircraft B-17, B-25, P-38 and P-51. Vietnam War-vintage helicopters, precision parachute teams and stunt pilots help round out the flight demostration activities. Numerous aircraft will also be on display -- and for walk-thrus -- along March's large tarmac.

    The airshow is the only such USAF show held in Greater Los Angeles and is usually one of the largest in the country. And due to the proximity to the Thunderbirds' home base of Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, family members of many of the pilots will be making the trek to March ARB for this weekend's airshow.

    The March Field AirFest is Saturday and Sunday, April 29-30, from 8 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., with the Thunderbirds performing at 3:15 p.m. both days. Admission is free.

    Photo Gallery: AirFest 2004


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