Redding, California

City of Redding
—  City  —
Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay
Nickname(s): Jewel of Northern California
Location of Redding in Shasta County, California
Country United States
State California
County Shasta
Settled 1873
Incorporated October 4, 1887
Founder Pierson B. Reading
 - Mayor Patrick H. Jones
 - City Council Dick Dickerson

Rick Bosetti
Missy McArthur

Mary Stegall
 - City Manager Kurt Starman
 - Total 59.6 sq mi (154.4 km2)
 - Land 58.4 sq mi (151.4 km2)
 - Water 1.2 sq mi (3.1 km2)
Elevation 495 ft (151 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 80,865 (2,000)
 - Density 1,363.8/sq mi (534.3/km2)
 - Demonym Reddingite
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP Code 96001, 96002, 96003, 96049, 96099
Area code(s) 530
FIPS code 06-59920
GNIS feature ID 0277582
Redding from space, April 1994

Redding is a city in Northern California. It is the county seat of Shasta County, California, USA. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 80,865 and has grown to approximately 108,741 due to recent annexations.

Redding is the state's largest city north of Sacramento, as well as the northernmost designated metropolitan area and city with over 100,000 people in California. It is the fourth largest city in the Sacramento Valley and the northernmost in the Central Valley.



Situated along the Siskiyou Trail, an ancient trade and travel route connecting California's Central Valley and the Pacific Northwest, the site of Redding was occupied by Native Americans of the Wintu tribe from about the year 1000. During the early 1800s, Hudson's Bay Company trappers and members of the United States Exploring Expedition passed through the site of Redding, while traveling along the Siskiyou Trail.

The first non-native settler in the area was Pierson B. Reading, an early California pioneer. Reading was an admirer of John Sutter, and in 1844, Reading received the Rancho Buena Ventura Mexican land grant for the area occupied by today's Redding and Cottonwood, California, along the Sacramento River. At the time it was (by over 100 miles) the northernmost non-native settlement in California.

Later, when the Southern Pacific Railroad built its rail line through the Sacramento Valley, it decided that the cost of making a small westerly detour to reach the pre-existing mining town of Shasta was not in its interest. Instead the railroad routed the tracks through an area with the inauspicious name of Poverty Flats and what was to become the town of Redding was born. Named by the Southern Pacific for railroad man Benjamin B. Redding, the town was rechristened "Reading" in 1874, to honor local pioneer Pierson B. Reading. However, the railroad would not recognize the change, and the original name, Redding, was restored in 1880.

Redding incorporated in 1887 with 600 people. By 1910, Redding had a population of 3,572 supported by a significant mineral extraction industry, principally copper and iron. However, with the decline of these industries, which also produced significant amounts of pollution damaging to local agriculture, the population dropped to 2,962 in 1920. By 1930 the population had recovered to 4,188 and then boomed during the 1930s with the construction of nearby Shasta Dam. The building of the dam, which was completed in 1945, caused the population to nearly double to 8,109 by 1940 and spurred the development of the bedroom towns of Central Valley (now Shasta Lake City) and Project City - together named after the Central Valley Project.

In the 1950s the city continued to grow with the expansion of the lumber industry, the building of Whiskeytown and Keswick Dams, and the completion of Interstate 5 in the late 1960s. By 1970, Redding had grown to 16,659 people. In the 1970s, the area of Enterprise on the eastern bank of the Sacramento River was annexed into Redding immediately increasing the city to around 35,000, and bringing the total population to 41,995 by the time of the 1980 census. A major reason the residents of Enterprise supported this annexation was the cheaper power provided by the city's municipal utility which receives power from the dam. However, the 1970s also saw difficult times for the lumber industry as housing construction plummeted during the 1973-75 recession. Unemployment in Shasta County during that time peaked at over 20%. With the increase in environmental regulations the logging industry never fully recovered and the city had to shift economic gears once again.

After a retail and housing boom of the late 1980s,the city grew to 66,462 in 1990. This boom continued until the mid 1990s and then a slight slowdown occurred, bringing the population to 80,865 in 2000. The most recent population estimate is 90,898.[1]

In recent decades an influx of retirees from the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles seeking lower cost housing and a slower pace of life has caused a shift in the city's economic base towards the service sectors of medical, legal, retail and tourism. However, the unemployment rate is still consistently above the state average, and with few industrial jobs, wages tend to be low.

Geography and geology

Redding is located at (40.576606, -122.370325).[2] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 59.6 square miles (154.4 km²). 58.4 square miles (151.4 km²) of it is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km²) of it (2.01%) is beneath water.

Redding is nestled at the very northwestern end of the Central Valley, which transitions into the Cascade foothills. The city is surrounded by mountains to the north, east, and west; and fertile farm land to the south. Outermost parts of the city are actually part of the Cascade foothills, whereas southern and central areas are in the Sacramento Valley.

Elevation can vary greatly in different parts of Redding, because the city is extremely spread out. Downtown Redding is 495 feet (151 m) on average, whereas anywhere to the north, east, or west of downtown ranges between 550–800 feet. Southern portions range between 400 and 500 feet (150 m). This is why outermost fringes have a better chance of snow in the winter than right in the central area.

The Shasta Dam on the Sacramento River provides a considerable level of flood protection for Redding. The dam is capable of controlling flows up to 79,000 cubic feet (7,300 cubic meter) per second. However, flows larger than 79,000 cubic feet (7,300 cubic meter) per second occurred in both 1970 and 1974, exceeding the capacity of Shasta Dam.[3]

Soils in and around Redding are mostly of loam or gravelly loam texture, well drained, with red or brown mineral horizons. They are slightly or moderately acidic in their natural state.[4]


Winter (October–April) provides the most precipitation of any season in Redding—the weather tends to be either rainy or foggy and snow occurs at times. Summers are hot and dry, but rain is possible, usually a thunderstorm. The average daily maximum temperature in July stays near 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Redding has an average possible sunshine of 88%, the second-highest percentage (after Yuma, Arizona) of any US city.[5] While snow in Redding is uncommon, it did occur in 2010. Redding gets sleet and freezing rain but rarely; snow is more common. Frost occurs commonly in December through February, less often in March or April. Redding can have chilly to cold winters like the rest of the Central Valley, of which Redding is the northernmost part. In spring rain is common. Tornadoes are extremely rare; flooding occurs only near the river.

Climate data for Redding, California (1961-1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 55.3
Average low °F (°C) 35.7
Precipitation inches (mm) 6.06
Avg. precipitation days 13.1 8.7 12.3 7.9 7.2 4.0 0.6 0.9 2.1 4.1 6.8 10.2 77.9
Sunshine hours 226 256 312 351 395 423 451 421 338 314 251 204 3,942
Source: [6]


There are several rare and endangered species in Redding and its immediate vicinity. The Redding Redevelopment Plan EIR notes the California State listed endangered species, slender Orcutt grass (Orcuttia tenuis), occurs in eastern Redding near the municipal airport, where vernal pools are known to exist. This endemic grass is a Federal Candidate for listing and is endangered throughout its range, confined to several populations, and seriously threatened by agriculture, overgrazing, and residential development. Vernal pools provide the preferred habitat for this plant, which the California Native Plant Society considers as a rare and endangered species. An ecology park at Turtle Bay in Redding has been created to allow study of native flora and fauna of the local area.[7]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1880 600
1890 1,821 203.5%
1900 2,946 61.8%
1910 3,572 21.2%
1920 2,962 −17.1%
1930 4,188 41.4%
1940 8,109 93.6%
1950 10,256 26.5%
1960 12,773 24.5%
1970 16,659 30.4%
1980 41,995 152.1%
1990 66,462 58.3%
2000 80,865 21.7%
Est. 2008 92,690 14.6%

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 80,865 people, 32,103 households, and 20,995 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,383.8 people per square mile (534.3/km²). There were 33,802 housing units at an average density of 578.4/sq mi (223.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.70% White, 1.05% African American, 2.23% Native American, 2.95% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 1.64% from other races, and 3.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.43% of the population.

There were 32,103 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.1% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families. 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was above age 64. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 92.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,194, and the median income for a family was $41,164. Males had a median income of $35,985 versus $24,652 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,207. 15.6% of the population and 11.3% of families were below the poverty line. 21.2% of those under the age of 18, and 7.5% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

According to the 2000 census, there were 114,424 people in both the city and unincorporated areas of Redding's 3 ZIP codes. There were 31,585 people in 96001, 4,254 live west of the city limits or in nearby Keswick. In 96002, there were 30,333 people, 2,361 of which lived in Churn Creek Bottom. In 96003, there were 41,463 people, 10,543 of which lived in either unincorporated areas of Redding or Shasta Lake City, northern and western portions of Bella Vista, including all of Jones Valley. and don't have a P.O. box. Of the entire population, 86,223 lived in the city or urban areas and 17,145 lived in the country.

The California Department of Finance lists the 2008 population at 92,690 within the current 2000 census boundaries. The City of Redding lists over 106,000 because of recent annexations. Some areas of north and west Redding have recently been annexed.


In the state legislature Redding is located in the 4th Senate District, represented by Republican Sam Aanestad, and in the 2nd Assembly District, represented by Republican Jim Nielsen. Federally, Redding is located in California's 2nd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +13[9] and is represented by Republican Wally Herger.

Redding was the proposed capital of the State of Jefferson, a failed 1940's-origin secessionist movement which includes rural Northern California and Southern Oregon. The movement was born from economic troubles in the area, in addition to a perceived indifference from leaders in Salem and Sacramento to the needs of rural citizens of their respective states.[10]

City government

The City Council is composed of Patrick H. Jones (mayor), Missy McArthur (vice mayor), Richard "Dick" Dickerson, Mary Stegall, and Rick Bosetti. The city manager is Kurt Starman.

Places of interest

In 2004, the Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay was completed. The dramatic pedestrian span was designed by the noted Spanish architect-engineer-artist Santiago Calatrava and links the north and south campuses of the 300-acre (1.2 km2) (809,000 m²) Turtle Bay Exploration Park. The pylon holds up the bridge support cables and also acts as a sundial (which is accurate only on the summer solstice - June 21 or 22) .

Turtle Bay Exploration Park, located along the banks of the Sacramento River, contains a museum and 20-acre (81,000 m2) gardens. The campus features permanent and changing exhibitions hilighting art, history, horticulture, forestry and natural science.

The historic Cascade Theatre [1] which opened in 1935 has been restored and now operates as a multi-use performance venue. The theater is an example of Art Deco architecture of the period. It was listed on the California Register of Historic Resources on November 5, 1999 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 17, 2002. The Cascade Theatre was also the recipient of Art Deco Society of California Preservation Award on March 18, 2000.

Redding is the largest city in the northern Sacramento Valley as well as the largest city on the 470-mile (756 km) stretch of Interstate 5 between Sacramento, California and Eugene, Oregon. Both Redding and its neighbor to the south, Red Bluff, are popular with tourists who use the cities as bases to explore Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lake Shasta, and other natural attractions.

Redding is served by the Redding Municipal Airport and has two major hospitals.

Library Park, in downtown Redding is the spot where the old Carnegie library building once stood. Built in 1903, the library was torn down in 1962 to make room for the park that is now used for the "MarketFest".


There are 6 middle schools, 46 elementary schools, 5 charter schools, and 30 private schools in Redding. Redding has three major high schools including:

Other high schools in this area include:

Redding also has five colleges and universities:

Redding has schools that offer technical training:



The Redding Record Searchlight is the main newspaper circulated daily throughout Shasta County.

After Five, a monthly newspaper magazine focusing on local entertainment, was founded October 28, 1986 in Redding.

"A News Cafe", started by former Record Searchlight columnist Doni Greenberg, is a growing network for human interest stories and current events.


Channel Call Sign Network
12.2 KHSL-DT2 The CW
17.1 KXVU-LD Telemundo
20.1 KCVU-DT Fox
21.1 KRVU-LD MyNetworkTV
26 KGEC-LP Religious
27.1 KUCO-LD Univision
35.1 KKTF-LD Telefutura
41 KRHT-LP Azteca America



Major Highways

Rail transportation

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Redding, operating its Coast Starlight daily in both directions between Seattle, Washington and Los Angeles, California. Amtrak California also provides Thruway Motorcoach service to Stockton or Sacramento for connections to the San Joaquins, which serve the San Francisco Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and the Los Angeles area via bus connections.

Redding provides a city bus transportation system called RABA (Redding Area Bus Authority). RABA provides routes throughout the city of Redding and also provides transportation throughout Redding's suburbs.

Air Transportation

Air Transportation for the Redding area is provided by two general aviation airports. Redding Municipal Airport, located south of Redding, has scheduled regional airline service from two airlines, Horizon Air, and SkyWest (United Express). The smaller Benton Airpark is located on the western side of Redding.

City Districts/Neighborhoods

  • Layton Oaks
  • Windsor Estates
  • Buckeye Terrace
  • Redwood Estates
  • Downtown
  • Girvan
  • Westwood Manor
  • Buckeye
  • Shasta View Gardens
  • Bonnyview
  • Enterprise
  • Churn Creek Bottom (unincorporated, pop. 2,361)
  • Oasis
  • Mt. Shasta Mall (Dana Dr/Hilltop)
  • West Ridge
  • Mary Lake (includes Mary Lake (California))
  • Western Ranches (a.k.a Greenbelt)
  • Bluffs
  • Stanford Hills
  • Gold Hills
  • Miracle Mile
  • Parkview
  • Plateau Circle
  • Kutras Tract
  • Garden Tract
  • College Highlands
  • Hacienda Heights
  • Quartz Hill
  • Boulder Creek
  • Spring Hill
  • Tierra Oaks (Redding/Shasta Lake City)
  • Lake Redding Estates
  • Greenwood Heights
  • Ridgewood Estates
  • Sunset Terrace
  • Sunset West
  • The Knolls
  • Country Heights
  • Edgewood Estates

Notable residents

Notable people who were born in or lived in Redding include:

Surrounding towns


  2. "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. Environmental Impact Report for the Redding Redevelopment Plan, Earth Metrics, City of Redding and California State Clearinghouse Report (1990)
  4. Web Soil Survey -- select Shasta County, California
  5. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sunshine - average percent (%) possible, accessed 2 March 2010.
  6. "Average Weather for Redding, CA - Temperature and Precipitation". Retrieved December, 2009. 
  7. Kim A. O'Connell, Ecology Park at Turtle Bay, Architecture Week, September, 2002
  8. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. "Will Gerrymandered Districts Stem the Wave of Voter Unrest?". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  10. "A move to secede on California-Oregon border". Campaign Legal Center Blog. Retrieved 2008-10-06. 

External links