the Rose City
Location of Chehalis, Washington
|• Total||5.88 sq mi (15.23 km2)|
|• Land||5.81 sq mi (15.04 km2)|
|• Water||0.07 sq mi (0.19 km2)|
|Elevation||243 ft (74 m)|
|• Density||1,318.06/sq mi (508.88/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (PDT)|
|Area code(s)||360 Exchanges: 740,748|
|GNIS feature ID||1503929|
Chehalis ( // (
The Native American Chehalis people described, using their language and pronunciation, a location and village in present-day Westport, Washington that translates to American English as "place of sand" or "shifting sand".Early non-native explorers of the Pacific Northwest vocalized the words as "Chehalis" and proceeded to describe the original inhabitants as such.
In 1879, the town of Saundersville, Washington, named after S.S. Saunders on whose donation land claim it was founded, began to officially use the word "Chehalis" to denote its location to the Chehalis people and the Chehalis River. The translations were also fitting for the growing town due to the muddy bottomland along the Chehalis River which had long vexed stagecoach travelers on the Washington arm of the Oregon Trail between Kalama and New Market (now Tumwater).
Chehalis began as a settlement around a warehouse beside a railroad track in 1873, when the Northern Pacific Railroad built northward from Kalama to Tacoma, and ignored Claquato, then the county seat three miles to the west.After the Northern Pacific bypassed Claquato, the county seat was moved to Chehalis, leaving Claquato little more than a historical landmark. By 1874, a store was added to the warehouse, and a courthouse and several houses were constructed. Chehalis was incorporated on November 23, 1883.
Logging soon began in the nearby forests. Lumber workers of Scandinavian, English, and Scots-Irish descent arrived and settled in the neighboring valleys.In 1940, the chief local industries were: dairying, poultry raising, fruit growing, milk condensing, fruit and vegetable packing, brick and tile manufacturing, coal mining, portable house manufacturing, and fern shipping.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.55 square miles (14.37 km2), of which, 5.53 square miles (14.32 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.05 km2) is water.
The city straddles Interstate 5 at a point almost exactly halfway between Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. The historic downtown and most of the city's amenities lie on the east side of the freeway, nestled at the base of a small range of forested hills. On the west side of the freeway are parks, farms, a few subdivisions developed in the hills to the west, and a centralized shopping district, the Twin City Town Center. —weather permitting. Chehalis is a frequented stop by bicyclists while on the annual Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic.The Chehalis–Centralia Airport (CLS) is located immediately west of the freeway towards the northern end of the city. From numerous vantage points in the hills just west of town, one can see Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mount St. Helens
The Chehalis River winds its way through the valley in which the city resides, and is joined by a tributary, the Newaukum River. This confluence of waters, along with the intersections of tributaries and railroads within Chehalis, helped the city become known as "The Maple Leaf City".Both the Chehalis and Newaukum rivers are prone to flooding during periods of abnormally heavy or persistent rain, and the lowlands from the freeway westward are particularly susceptible to inundation. A variety of local groups, scientists, and government have organized a partnership called "The Chehalis Basin Strategy" to propose and research a combination of plans along the Chehalis River to mitigate flooding and to restore aquatic habitat for local Chinook salmon. The current proposal outlines several flood control reduction measures, including levee improvements at the local airport and a flood retention dam in Pe Ell.
This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Chehalis has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.
|U.S. Decennial Census |
As of the census 1,312.7 inhabitants per square mile (506.8/km2). There were 3,131 housing units at an average density of 566.2 per square mile (218.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.0% White, 1.7% African American, 1.3% Native American, 1.3% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 5.7% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.6% of the population.of 2010, there were 7,259 people, 2,868 households, and 1,655 families residing in the city. The population density was
There were 2,868 households, of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.9% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.3% were non-families. 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 3.02.
The median age in the city was 33.5 years. 24.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 12.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.9% were from 25 to 44; 22.6% were from 45 to 64; and 14.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.2% male and 49.8% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,057 people, 2,671 households, and 1,696 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,259.0 people per square mile (485.7/km2). There were 2,871 housing units at an average density of 512.2 per square mile (197.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.56% White, 1.35% African American, 1.46% Native American, 1.20% Asian, 0.24% Pacific Islander, 3.95% from other races, and 2.24% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.91% of the population. 18.4% were of German, 11.0% English, 11.0% American and 8.4% Irish ancestry.
There were 2,671 households, out of which 33.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 29.2% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 102.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $33,482, and the median income for a family was $41,387. Males had a median income of $32,289 versus $24,414 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,944. About 16.0% of families and 19.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.6% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.
Chehalis is served by a democratically elected city council of 7 members. This council selects an acting mayor from within its ranks.As of March, 2020, the current mayor is Dennis Dawes, a 26-year veteran of the Chehalis police force.
The city is located in District 2 of Lewis County and as of June, 2020, represented by County Commissioner Bobby Jackson.
Chehalis is recognized as being majority Republican and conservative, although slightly less so than Lewis County as a whole. The results for the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election for all Chehalis voting districts were as follows:
Chehalis is a sister city with Inasa, Shizuoka in Japan, now merged into the city of Hamamatsu, which continues the relationship.
Chehalis is considered a twin city with adjacent Centralia.
Notable trails not located within a Chehalis park include:
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Rainbow Falls State Park is a public recreation area on the Chehalis River one mile east of the town of Dryad, Washington. The state park's 129 acres (52 ha) feature 3,900 feet (1,200 m) of shoreline, the waterfall for which the park is named, and some of the last standing old-growth trees in the Chehalis Valley.
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