Ventura County Cities & Towns

Source: Wikipedia


Camarillo (pronounced "kama-ree'o") is a city in Ventura County, California. 
The population was 57,077 at the 2000 census. A January 1, 2006, California 
Department of Finance estimate lists the population at 64,034. 
The Ventura Freeway (U.S. Route 101) is the city's primary thoroughfare.

Camarillo is named for Adolfo Camarillo, one of the few Californios 
(pre-1851 California natives of Spanish ancestry) to preserve the city's 
heritage after the arrival of Anglo settlers. As with most cities in 
Ventura County, it is noted for its resistance to urban sprawl. 

Some of the most desirable land in the city limits, located on the 
north and south sides of the Ventura Freeway, is permanently zoned 
for agricultural use. Recently, however, the city has seen a great deal 
of growth that has been decried by some area residents as environmentally 
destructive and not well enough planned. However, other residents have 
welcomed the much needed new housing and shopping opportunities 
this growth has brought, along with new schools and parkland. 

It is also home to the Ventura County, California Sheriff's Department 
Academy, as well as the department's other assets; such as the VCSD Air Unit, 
SWAT Unit, Bomb Squad, and Reserve Officer Academy.



Camarillo is located at 34°13'32?N 119°1'56?W. According to the 
United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.0 sq mi. 
0.04 mi. of the area (0.11%) is water.

Camarillo is located in the eastern Oxnard Plain, with the 
Santa Susana Mountains to the north, the Camarillo Hills to the northwest, 
the Conejo Valley to the east, and the western reaches of the 
Santa Monica Mountains to the south.



As of the census of 2000, there were 57,077 people, 21,438 households, 
and 15,242 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,015.3/mi. 
There were 21,946 housing units at an average density of 1,159.4/mi. 

The racial makeup of the city was 80.66% White, 1.50% African American, 
0.52% Native American, 7.23% Asian, 0.20% Pacific Islander, 
6.32% from other races, and 3.57% from two or more races. 

Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.54% of the population.

There were 21,438 households out of which 33.0% had children under the 
age of 18 living with them, 59.7% were married couples living together, 
8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.9% 
were non-families. 24.1% of all households were made up of individuals 
and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. 

The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 
6.5% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% 
who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. 

For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females 
age 18 and over, there were 90.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $62,457, and the 
median income for a family was $72,676 (these figures had risen 
to $78,677 and $92,683 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). 

Males had a median income of $51,507 versus $36,240 for females. 

The per capita income for the city was $28,635. About 3.6% of families 
and 5.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.9% 
of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.


Quality of Life

Camarillo and the surrounding area has a temperate and livable climate, 
often referred to as a Mediterranean climate. Its location in a coastal 
valley brings mild ocean breezes and temperatures in the 70's throughout 
most of the year. 

An average rainfall of 13 inches occurs primarily from November to February. 
The city has over 300 days of sunshine a year and an average humidity of 62%.

Snow has only fallen about 3 times in the last thirty years and is 
seldom more than a dusting. Snow is often visible during the winter 
months above the 4,000-foot level in the mountains to the north. 

The proximity of the ocean sometimes causes morning fog 
in the spring and early summer.

Camarillo is primarily a bedroom community made up of large housing tracts, 
with elementary schools and small strip malls serving the nearby neighborhoods. 

The primary public high schools serving Camarillo are Adolfo Camarillo High School 
in Mission Oaks and Rio Mesa High School, just over the Oxnard/Camarillo line. 

A new high school near the intersection of Lewis Road and Las Posas Road is planned. 

The YMCA recently opened a new facility on Village at the Park Drive, and a new 
library was constructed and opened on March 31, 2007.

The incidence of all types of crime committed in the city is far below 
the national average. Ventura County crime rates in general are low, and 
have fallen in the last 2 years, from 2007 to 2008, according to FBI reports 
of cities with 100,000 or greater population.

Many sports leagues, including adult leagues, such as baseball, basketball, 
football, and the largest AYSO soccer league west of the Mississippi are 
located in Camarillo. 

An outdoor in-line hockey rink was recently put into Freedom Park, 
near the Camarillo Airport.



At the city's incorporation in 1964, a council-manager form of 
government was created. The five member city council is elected 
at large for four year terms. As of January 2009 the mayor of 
Camarillo is Don Waunch, who also served as mayor in 2004, and has 
been a Councilmember since 2000. Mayor Waunch was preceded as 
mayor by Charlotte Craven, who has served as mayor five terms, 
and has been a council member since 1986.

The council is responsible for establishing policy, enacting laws 
and making legal and financial decisions for the city. A city manager, 
hired by the council and answerable to it, is responsible for the day 
to day operation of the city. He is charged with overall management 
of the five city departments and 97 full time employees. 

Services such as water, sewer, trash collection, street maintenance 
and traffic engineering are provided by a combination of contractors 
and city employees.

Police services are provided by the Ventura County Sheriff's 
Department under contract to the city, headquartered in a 
police station owned by the city. The Sheriff's department 
helicopter fleet is hangared at Camarillo Airport. 

Ventura County Fire Department provides fire protection, 
with four stations within the city limits.

The major source of city funding is sales tax revenue. 

The mix of retail and commercial businesses in the city provides 
a stable tax base. The recent addition of a Factory Outlet Center 
and a new shopping center has added to the sales tax revenues.




The Chumash Indians were the first known settlers in what is now known 
as Ventura County. Fishermen built their villages along the Pacific Coast 
near the mouths of the Calleguas Creek and Santa Clara River. Artifacts 
from their settlements are on display in the Ventura County Historical 
Museum and their paintings are still visible on canyon walls 
and in caves in the area.

European Exploration

The Portuguese navigator Juan Cabrillo, while exploring the Pacific coast 
for the king of Spain, came upon the Chumash in an area near Point Mugu. 
He explored the surrounding region and claimed it in the name of Spain 
in 1542. Cabrillo was followed in 1602 by Sebastian Viscaino on a mapping 
expedition for the King of Spain. 

The Chumash continued to inhabit the coast until 1768 when Russians, 
having established a settlement 800 miles to the north, 
launched expeditions challenging the Spanish land claims. 

In the 1700s the Spanish began settling California and built the first 
of what would become a chain of 21 missions in San Diego. 

Father Junípero Serra establish the ninth mission in Ventura in 1782 
bringing more settlers to the area and exposing the Indians who had 
settled around the mission to many European diseases to which they 
had no immunity. Their numbers diminished until the Chumash, once the 
largest Indian nation in California, had largely vanished by 1839.

Mexican Independence

By the early 1820s, Mexico had gained independence from Spain and shortly 
afterward California allied itself with Mexico. The Mexican land grant system 
was liberalized in 1824 resulting in many large grants in California and 
the proliferation of Ranchos north of the border. One grant to Jose Pedro Ruiz 
created Rancho Calleguas in 1837, in the area that is now Camarillo. 

The grant was later sold to Juan Camarillo and it was his sons, 
Adolfo and Juan, who are credited with the founding of the town 
that was to bear their name. The earlier proposed name of Calleguas 
was rejected as too difficult to pronounce.


At about same time the town of Springville had begun to form just 
to the west of the emerging town of Camarillo but when the Southern 
Pacific railroad was built and chose Camarillo as the location 
for a depot, Springville's existence was threatened. It is now 
only a dot on the map in an area south of the freeway at the 
western end of the current Camarillo city limits.

St. John's Seminary

Don Juan Camarillo donated 100 acres to be used as a seminary 
to be named in honor of Saint John the Evangelist. The Roman 
Catholic seminary was founded in 1927 as St. John's Seminary.

Early Growth

Camarillo's growth was slow from founding through World War II. 
In the late 1940s building lots on Ventura Boulevard, the main 
downtown street, were being offered for $450 and home lots on the 
adjoining streets were $250, with few buyers. Travel to and from 
Los Angeles was difficult, owing to the narrow, tortuous road 
climbing the Conejo Grade to the east of the city.

The main industry during this period was agriculture, and the area 
surrounding the small town was blanketed with orange, lemon and 
walnut groves. The State Mental hospital south of the town was the 
largest employer. A few houses had sprung up to the north and south 
of town center. 

The Oxnard Airforce Base, built during WWII to the west of town, 
the Navy Facility at Point Mugu and the Seabee base at Port Hueneme 
brought many service personnel to the area, but there was little 
private industry or other sources of non-agricultural employment.

Ventura Freeway

In the middle 1950s the Ventura Freeway, which bisected the town, 
was completed from L.A. to points north making it an easy 
one hour trip to Camarillo. 

The freeway was originally planned to follow the path of Potrero Road, 
south of Camarillo, which would have competely by-passed the 
soon to be city. However, after much debate, "city officials" 
persuaded Cal Trans to lay the freeway parallel to Ventura Blvd, 
creating the infamously steep decent from the Santa Monica 
Mountain Range, known as the Conejo Grade. 

The completion of the freeway facilitated the growth that followed. 
In 1962 the population was 7500 and 3M began construction for the 
Mincom and Magnetic Tape Divisions, which would ultimately 
employ 900 people, becoming the largest local employer. 

Housing tracts were built where orchards once stood. 
House prices were $14,000 to $65,000.

Incorporation in 1964

At this time plans were made for the incorporation of the city in to 
control the rapid expansion. Camarillo became a city in 1964 and soon 
put into place a General Plan and building codes that were to lead to 
an attractive city environment. In 1964 the closest traffic signal 
was 2 miles from the City center on the road to Point Mugu, 
and the first shopping center and supermarket were under construction. 

Much of the city was expected to be developed to the south of 
Ventura Blvd, however it was to the north that the new city grew, 
and the land south of Ventura Blvd remains reserved for agricultural 
use to this day.

Many of the home buyers during the 1960s were military veterans, 
who had been stationed at one of the local bases during their service. 

The temperate climate and the living conditions lured them back. 

With the establishment of both the Pacific Missile Range and the 
Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory at Port Hueneme many found 
employment that utilized their military training. 

Other newcomers were those who worked and lived in the 
San Fernando Valley and were willing to endure the commute 
for the opportunity to raise their families in a smog-free, 
semirural environment. Still others relocated here with their 
employers, like 3M, and Harbor Freight Tools who built facilities 
in and around the city to take advantage of the large workforce.


Camarillo State Hospital & CSUCI

Camarillo State Mental Hospital and 
California State University, Channel Islands

Camarillo State Mental Hospital was established near the city 
in the 1930s so that persons suffering from mental illnesses or 
tuberculosis could recover in Ventura County's balmy climate. 

Jazzman Charlie Parker's "Relaxin' at Camarillo," written while 
he was detoxing from heroin addiction, is a tribute to the facility. 

The song "Camarillo" by punk outfit Fear is also written 
about the facility. The band Ambrosia released a song called 
"Ready for Camarillo" on their 1978 Life Beyond L.A. album. 
"Ready for Camarillo" also appeared as the single B side of their
hit "How Much I Feel." 

Perhaps the most famous song associated with the facility 
was "Hotel California," by The Eagles, which is widely rumored 
to be about lead singer Don Henley's brother's struggles to 
overcome a mental disorder. 

The former hospital is the now the site of California State University, 
Channel Islands. The University has retained the distinctive Mission 
Revival Style architecture bell tower in the South quad. 

The band Brazzaville released a video called "Camarillo" in 2007, 
with mental hospital like imagery and lyrics concerning lead singer 
David Brown's relative's stay in the institution.

Frank Zappa famously, and perhaps deliberately, mispronounced 
the city's name in the song Camarillo Brillo, also about a stay 
in the institution, but in this case to get clean.

The Camarillo State Hospital was closed in the 1990s and 
remained vacant until the site was converted into California 
State University, Channel Islands (CSUCI). CSUCI officially 
opened in August of 2002 and is now accredited by the WASC.


Mission Oaks

Mission Oaks is the name given by developer Pardee Homes to 
a 1,312 acre (2.05 square mile) parcel of land located in 
the north-eastern portion of the city. This parcel was developed 
as a planned community over the span of 35 years, and was completed 
in October 2004, The area developed by Pardee Homes makes up 
approximately 15% of Camarillo's total land. Due to the 
decades-long timescale of the project, many residents are 
unaware of Mission Oaks' proprietary nature, and the area 
east of Lewis Road (State Route 34), south of Somis and north 
of the 101 Freeway is generally thought of as Mission Oaks 
regardless of which company built the buildings in the area.


Camarillo Premium Outlets

In the mid 1990s multiple large retail centers, including 
one of California's biggest outlet malls and movie theater 
were built south of US 101 and west of Carmen Drive. 
These new retail centers have provided a large influx of 
cash to the city; from 1993 to 1998 sales tax revenues 
nearly doubled from approximately $3.5 million to 
approximately $6.5 million. On April 23, 2009, several 
new shops and restaurants opened at the Camarillo Premium
Outlets, designated "The Promenade." The Promenade 
is 220,000 square feet, while the Premium Outlets is 454,000. 
The new center has 45 stores and restaurants, bringing 
the total to about 160.


Camarillo Airport

Camarillo Airport (ICAO: KCMA, FAA LID: CMA) is a public airport 
located three miles west of the central business district of Camarillo. 
The airport has one runway and exclusively serves privately-operated 
general aviation and executive aircraft with no scheduled commercial service.

The Airport was originally established in 1942 when the California 
State Highway Department constructed an auxiliary landing field with 
a 5,000 ft runway, which was later extended to 8,000 ft in 1951 to 
accommodate what by then had developed into Oxnard Air Force Base. 

The airport runway was further extended in 1959 to accommodate 
jet fighter aircraft such as the Northrop F-89 and McDonnell F-101B, 
used as part of the Los Angeles area Air Defense network.

In Mid-1960s the base received 17 new F-106 Delta Darts. 

On January 1 1970, Oxnard AFB was deactivated and the base became 
surplus property. Oxnard had 99 Officers and 990 enlisted assigned 
prior to its closing. The last commanding officer of the 414th 
Fighter Group was Colonel Paul D. Cofer.

Camarillo Airport now serves as the current base of operations 
of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department Aviation Unit and the 
home of the VCSD's Training Facility and Academy, the Ventura County 
Criminal Justice Training Center. The Camarillo Airport also serves 
as the base of operations for the Ventura County Fire Department 
and facilitates the Oxnard College Regional Fire Academy and the 
Ventura County Reserve Officers Training Center.


Camrosa or Santa Rosa area

A rural region northeast of Camarillo, California may be 
referred to as Santa Rosa or Camrosa. Camrosa is believed 
to be a contraction of Camarillo and Santa Rosa. 

The area includes just over a five mile distance along 
Santa Rosa Road from the city limit east to Moorpark Road. 

The area is unincorporated as of 2007. Wired telephone service 
to the area appears to come from the Camarillo telephone exchange.


This page was last updated January 22, 2010.