Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce in Yakima, Washington :: About Yakima :: Relocation Info

Yakima Valley Tourism - Vist Union Gap

Relocation Info

Unique Geographic Advantage

Yakima Valley

The Yakima Valley is located in south Central Washington and is known for its quality and quantity of agricultural crops, large wine and craft beverage industry, blue skies and affordable housing. Take advantage of Yakima’s affordable housing, time-saving commutes, skilled business community and knowledgeable civic leaders. Discover Yakima’s beauty, quality and diversity in its people, landscape and products.

The Yakima Valley is surrounded by numerous recreation areas, including Mount Rainer National Park; Mount Adams; Goat Rocks and William O. Douglas wildernesses; the Wenatchee National Forest; Yakima River Canyon Scenic Byway; many lakes and streams as well as the Oak Creek, L.T. Murray and Saddle Mountain wildlife areas and the Hanford Reach National Monument. Other recreational areas include the Ahtanum Multiple Use Area, Toppenish National Wildlife Area, White Pass Scenic Byway, Mather Memorial Parkway and Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. To see what you can experience in the Yakima Valley, go to www.visityakima.com or www.yakima.org.

Climate

The climate of the Yakima Valley is mild and dry, having characteristics of both maritime and continental climates modified by the Cascade and Rocky Mountains.

The summers are dry and hot, and the winters are cool with light snowfall. There is an average of 300 days of sunshine each year with a normal total of 7.98 inches of precipitation. The average length of the growing season is 195 days.

Average Temperatures:

Month                 High      Low

January               36.7       19.7

April                     63.5       34.7 

July                      87.8       53.0 

October              64.15    35.1

Elevation:                           1,066 feet

Sunshine:                            300 days

Rain:                                     7–10 inches

Snow:                                   14–25 inches

Temperature ranges:    highs 37–100 F/lows 20–58 F

National Weather Service forecast: 541-276-4493

Washington state road and pass information: 511 or 800-695-7623

City of Yakima

The Greater Yakima metro area is situated east-west in a landscape of gentle slopes and rich silt-loamy soils of a river basin. Looking north you see Yakima Ridge-Cleman Mountain with Mount Rainer in the background, and the Naches River flowing through the valley. As you look south, you see Rattlesnake Hills-Ahtanum Ridge with Mount Adams in the background. The Yakima River flows north-south through Selah Gap and Union Gap, connecting the Kittitas Valley with the greater Yakima Valley.

                                                                         City of Yakima                                    Yakima County

Date of incorporation:                      December 10, 1883                                         1865

Form of government:                        Council — Manager                                   Commissioner

County seat:                                                       N/A                                                           Yakima

Population rank (WA state)                          10                                                                   8

Land area:                                           27.69 square miles                                 4,296 square miles

Population density:                        3,724 per square mile                              57 per square mile

Urban growth area:                            41 square miles

Vacant land:                                               3,291 acres

Incorporated areas:                                     -----                                                                    14  

Population:                                                 93,257                                                             247,044

Unincorp. area population              approx. 14,000                                                     87,664

There are over 250 manufacturing firms in the Yakima area, which produce a variety of products including farm implements, wood products, metal products, packaging, plastic products, clothing, aircraft parts and recreational vehicles.

Yakima County is Washington state's leader in value of farm output, with a mature and diverse agricultural base. Yakima County continues to lead all counties in the nation in the production of apples, hops, sweet cherries, pears and mint, and ranks 12th nationally in value of total agricultural products sold, with crop sales topping more than $1 billion annually. With its farm production base, the Yakima area is also a major food processing region.

Yakima Valley Home Affordability

The Yakima area boasts some of the most affordable housing statistics in Washington. Based on the most recent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data, the average county existing home sale price hovers around $176,800. Per Zillow, the median home sale price from October 2016 to November 2017 was $190,900. According the U.S. Census Bureau, the average monthly rental 2010–2016 was $776. For the third quarter of 2017, the median resale price for Yakima County was $209,300, according to the Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies in the University of Washington. (Comparatively, the average resale price for Washington state, in the same quarter, was $363,200.)

Electricity, Gas, Water, Sewer and Refuse

Pacific Power: 888-221-7070

Cascade Natural Gas: 888-522-1130

Yakima Water Sewer Refuse: 509-575-6080

Yakima Waste Systems: 509-248-4213 or 800-572-9738

Important Telephone Numbers

Emergency: 911

County Health Information: 509-575-4040

Poison Control: 800-222-2333

Social Service Needs: 211

Washington State Patrol: 509-575-2320

Yakima City Police: 509-575-6200

Yakima County Sheriff: 509-574-2500

Yakima Fire Department 509-575-6060

Licenses, Permits and Certificates

Voter Registration: 509-574-1340 or 509-574-1350

Driver’s License: 509-454-4217 or 509-575-2775

Vehicle License: 509-574-1380 or 509-574-1370

Marriage License: 509-574-1335

Birth, Marriage, Divorce and Death Certificates: 360-236-4300

Immigration: 509-452-7733 or 800-375-5283

Newspapers

Yakima Herald-Republic: 509-248-1251

Yakima Valley Business Times: 509-457-4886

El Sol de Yakima: 509-249-6184

Central Washington Senior Times: 509-457-4886

The Review-Independent: 509-314-6400

Yakima Valley Tourism — Visitors Welcome

The Yakima Valley is a prime destination in Washington state. Our farm-fresh experience, international reputation as a wine destination, 300 days of sunshine and the abundance of outdoor adventures draw visitors from around the globe.

Tourism is important to our local economy. In 2016 visitors spent more than $380 million in Yakima County. More than 3,800 jobs have been created in tourism-related industries. Tourism created an additional 1,520 jobs for Yakima County in support industries, including finance, construction, food processing, education, insurance, real estate and wholesale trade.

Visitors to Yakima County generated nearly $34 million in state and local taxes in 2016 — new revenues that supported our local roads, police and fire services, parks and other vital community services. Future room nights booked grew 20 percent.

The mission of Yakima Valley Tourism (YVT) is to stimulate economic development by marketing the Yakima Valley for conventions, groups and leisure travel. Central to its destination branding is Yakima Valley’s agricultural heritage, evidenced through wine tourism and farm-fresh experiences.

One of YVT’s duties is to manage the Yakima Convention Center, the premier meeting facility in Central Washington. This 76,000-square-foot facility offers a first-class venue for conventions, events, banquets and meetings. In 2016, it hosted over 93,000 people during 480 event days, which brought in more than $10 million to the local economy. In addition, the YTV has a very active Sports Commission, whose role is to attract and serve amateur sporting events to the Yakima Valley. In 2016 sports tourism held 535 events (up 8 percent from 2015) that generated an estimated $46.6 million (up 7 percent from the previous year). To learn more, go to www.visityakimavalley.org.                    

 

Economic Diversity

Yakima: A Pro-Business community

Our Central Washington community located along Interstate 82 has a diversified economy with a well-established presence in agriculture, logistics and distribution, food processing, industrial machinery and supplies, business and professional services, health and medical industries, and aerospace.

Agriculture

“The Fruit Bowl of the Nation” is an apt nickname for the abundance of agriculture produced in Yakima County. In fact, Yakima County ranks first in the United States in the number of all fruit trees and is the 12th-largest agriculture-production area in the U.S. The region produces an abundance of apples, cherries, pears, grapes, blueberries and many other fruits, plus a wide variety of vegetables, seeds, field crops and cereal grains, making the Yakima Valley one of the top agricultural producers in the nation. The region also supplies over 75 percent of hops in the USA. Additionally, Yakima County has surpassed Whatcom County as Washington’s leading area for dairy production.

 As the state's leading agricultural county, the Fruit Bowl of the Nation has a large and highly varied farm base complemented by diverse nonagricultural interests.

Washington State Tree Fruit Association

509-452-8555 or visit www.wstfa.org

Established in 1917, the Washington State Tree Fruit Association is a nonprofit trade association that serves the Yakima Valley fruit industry. The association includes two types of membership: General Members are packers and shippers of fresh produce from the Yakima region. Associate Members are local organizations that support the work of the association but are not eligible for general membership. Please contact the association office for more information on membership classes and eligibility for membership.

Washington State Fruit Commission

509-575-2587 or visit www.wastatefruit.com or www.nwcherries.com

The Northwest Cherry/Washington State Fruit Commission website is intended to be a great resource for all your cherry and soft-fruit needs. Whether you're looking for a delicious recipe, searching for health information or want to know when our fresh cherry season is, this is the site for you! Enjoy!

Hop Growers of America

509-248-7043 or visit www.usahops.org

The Pacific Northwest is one of the most fertile and productive growing areas in the world. Made up of the states of Idaho, Oregon and Washington, the region has become the top producer of high-quality hop varieties.

Wine Yakima Valley

509-965-5201 or go to http://wineyakimavalley.org

Wine Yakima Valley is the membership trade organization representing the wines, wineries, vineyards and growers of the Yakima Valley. The Yakima Valley Appellation is the oldest and most diverse wine-growing region in Washington state. Yakima Valley is the backbone of the Washington wine industry. It was the first appellation to be established here, and it remains the most significant. Yakima Valley vineyards supply more than half of Washington’s wine production, and they are the source of this state’s best wines. Wine Yakima Valley supports and promotes the local industry through events such as Secret Crush, Red Wine & Chocolate, Spring Barrel Tasting and Catch the Crush. It also develops and promotes the region through various promotional, trade and media events.

Good Fruit Growers

509-575-2315 or visit www.goodfruit.com

The GFG Buyer's Guide is the ultimate fruit-industry resource for growers.

Distribution

Centrally located within the Pacific Northwest, Yakima County is ideally situated for businesses distributing products to regional, national or Pacific Rim markets. Interstate 82, two rail companies, an efficient regional airport and express freight companies provide distribution-oriented firms the transportation choices they need to ensure key products get to market on time. Yakima is especially attractive to growing distribution companies because its logistical assets are complemented by attractive operating cost, affordable real estate options, and a high-energy labor force.

Manufacturing

Our region is home to a host of industrial machinery manufacturers and with industrial suppliers that use metal, wood, plastic, and fiberglass to produce key components for businesses around the world. Low-cost electric power, nationally recognized technical training schools and the region’s superior logistical location help local companies thrive in this sector. These assets, along with the Yakima Valley’s reputation for crafting flexible solutions for businesses, create attractive opportunities for growing machinery or industrial supply manufacturers.

Health Care

With two major hospitals and satellite facilities for cancer care, children’s special needs, rehabilitation, chest pain clinic, hospice, wound care, and an Osteopathic Medical School — the first medical school in the Pacific Northwest in over 60 years — Yakima County is one of Washington state’s key regional centers for health care services. As a growing center for health care education, specialized medical treatment, and health care–oriented businesses, Yakima County has resources that help health care companies thrive.

Retail Trade

Yakima’s retail scene continues to grow with new businesses, from innovative, locally owned boutiques to national chains. The Valley Mall has added a number of national chain stores and continues to expand with a greater variety every year. Growth of the valley’s retail community reflects confidence in Yakima’s future and the resilience of our local economy during challenging economic times.

Aerospace Industry

The Yakima Valley hosts several companies that support Washington state’s aerospace industry. Whether they make flight landing gear, aircraft interiors or light sport airplanes, the region’s aviation companies enjoy relatively low operating costs, special state incentives and a cadre of highly skilled workers. With affordable real estate options and sites available at the Yakima Air Terminal, our region offers expanding aerospace companies the room to grow and the resources to succeed.

Target Industries for Yakima County

Yakima County offers a growing variety of industries including supply-chain management, regional distribution centers and medical-supplies distribution. An agricultural cluster of wineries, orchards, dairy and agricultural farms, and food processing all add to the valley’s growth. As a regional medical center, the valley offers specialized cardiac and cancer care. Manufacturing includes a wide variety of products sold around the world, including aerospace components. Yakima is also home to call centers, back-office financial, and office administration services.

Yakima Training Center

The Yakima Training Center (YTC), located nine miles north of Yakima, borders the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range and the banks of the Columbia River. The 327,000-acre training center is a high desert covered with sagebrush, volcanic formations, dry gulches and large rock outcroppings. YTC has vast, flat valleys separated by intervening ridges, which are suited to large-scale mechanized or motorized forces. Much of the steeper terrain resembles areas of Afghanistan, making it ideal for training military units destined for overseas duty stations. Twenty-five ranges, including the state-of-the-art Multi-Purpose Range Complex and Shoot House, are available for individual or collective military training.

Viticulture Areas and Wineries

Since the early 1980s, the cultivation of wine grapes and number of wineries have grown by leaps and bounds in the Yakima Valley. In 1983, the Yakima Valley American Viticulture Area was named the first AVA within Washington. New varieties of grapes are planted every year, and the Yakima Valley holds one-third of the vineyards in Washington state. The most widely planted varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Riesling. The Yakima Valley hosts 80-plus wineries and produces approximately 40 percent of Washington state’s wine, and Washington is the second-largest premium wine producer in the nation. The wine industry brings an estimated value of $3 billion to the state.

Affordable Living

The Yakima Valley, located in south Central Washington, is known for the quality and quantity of its agricultural products, blue sky and cultural diversity. Take advantage of the area’s time-saving commutes, skilled business community and knowledgeable civic leaders, and discover the region’s beauty, quality and diversity in its people, landscape and products.

The area boasts a knowledgeable, committed civic leadership; cooperative city and county governments; a full cadre of economic development organizations; a business resource center; and a Chamber of Commerce determined to make the Yakima Valley a business-friendly environment by working closely with area businesses.

The region has what industry is looking for in a new location:

  • A moderate climate
  • Convenient, inexpensive access to major customer markets and raw materials
  • Strong, multimodal transportation network
  • Low-cost land
  • Affordable commercial space
  • Established telecommunication infrastructure
  • Quality, low-cost utilities — e.g., electricity, natural gas and water
  • No inventory taxes, and numerous incentives available and access to capital
  • Medical school research university
  • Available pool of workers
  • Low labor costs for a low- to moderately-skilled workforce
  • Competitive wages

Global Connectivity

The valley’s business community enjoys a 200-mile radius of most Pacific Northwest markets and ports such as Seattle’s Puget Sound, Portland and Spokane. With immediate accessibility to interstate, rail and air routes, Yakima has become a regional business hub. Goods can be transported east-west via Interstate 82 and State Route 12, as well as north-south via Interstate 97. The east-west Interstate 90 is 35 miles north of Yakima, and the east-west Interstate 84 is 80 miles south.

The Yakima Air Terminal (YKM)

The Yakima Air Terminal offers air connections with major airlines flying out of Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle and also supports business jets and lightweight aircraft. The Yakima Air Terminal is a suitable location for businesses needing manufacturing and/or maintenance facilities in Yakima and is a mere 20-minute flight to Boeing Field in Seattle. Contact the airport at 509-575-6149 or www.yakimaairterminal.com.

The Airporter Shuttle offers frequent round-trip service from Yakima to Sea-Tac Airport and downtown Seattle (Amtrak). The two pickup/drop-off points in Yakima are the Yakima Air Terminal and Smitty’s Café & Conoco (3508 Fruitvale Blvd). Contact the shuttle at 509-225-RIDE or 866-235-5247 or www.airporter.com.

Cost-Effective Commercial Real Estate

Yakima real estate, especially property along I-82, is considered some of the most attractive commercial real estate in Washington. Over 500 acres of industrially zoned property is situated along Highway 24 between Yakima and Moxee. Yakima’s low energy cost, excellent distribution characteristics and available labor force, among other factors, motivate manufacturers and investors to locate businesses and to invest in the region.

Building and industrial sites are listed on the Yakima County Development Association website at www.ycda.com.

Numerous Incentives Available

The City of Yakima offers a money-back guarantee for commercial and residential building projects to help ensure that plans are reviewed on a timely basis.

There is no unitary or inventory tax, and there is no tax on interest, dividends or capital gains for a business located in Washington.

The City of Yakima offers the following incentives and resources to support new and expanding businesses:

  • Business & Occupation (B&O) Tax Credits
  • Site Development Assistance
  • Employee Placement and Training Assistance
  • Business loans
  • Industrial Revenue Bonds
  • Special Valuation-Historical Tax Credits
  • Downtown Housing Property Tax Incentives
  • Community Empowerment Zone Sales Tax Deferrals

For more information, visit www.yakimawa.gov.

Telecommunications

Yakima is supported by multiple long-haul telecommunications providers such as POPs (Points of Presence) and quality high-bandwidth capacity. Wireless infrastructure and wireless services are comparable to major markets. High-speed internet Wi-Fi hot spots have existed in the Yakima area since the 1990s. Fiber-optic cables are in place and supported by state-of-the-art digital switches that provide high-speed internet connectivity.

Quality Infrastructure and Utility

Yakima’s energy and water rates are very attractive — less than many surrounding markets — and suppliers provide stable year-round service.

Youthful Population

Yakima County has a low median age of 32.8 years versus the national average of 37.7 years. This lower median age is appealing for companies looking to locate or expand in the Yakima Valley. Yakima offers a workforce with bilingual capabilities and a highly competitive labor-cost environment.