THE MEXICAN POPULATION


IN KITTITAS COUNTY


TABLE OF CONTENTS


1.GEOGRAPHY


2. ECONOMIC HISTORY


3. POPULATION


4. CIVILIAN LABOR FORCE


5. UNEMPLOYMENT


6. INDUSTRIES, EMPLOYMENT, AND WAGES


7. OCCUPATIONAL PROFILE


8. MARIA MONTOYA


9. CWU PROFESSOR PHIL GARRISON




GEOGRAPHY


Today there are numerous explanations as to the origin and particulars on why Kittitas County was named this particular name. Through evidence accumulated by archaeologists, findings of fossils and fragments show that Native Americans were inhabitants in Kittitas Valley almost three-hundred years ago. As early as the 1700’s, the Psch-wan-wap-pams--early forerunners of the contemporary Yakima Nation-- occupied the entire stretch of land along the Yakima river, including the Kittitas Valley. These Indians were known as the Kittitas or Upper Yakima Indians.


Kittitas County was organized in November of 1883 by the Washington Territorial legislature and signed into law by Territorial Governor W.A. Newell. The county was then separated from the northern part of Yakima County.


Kittitas County is located east of the Cascade Range in the geographical center of the state. Chelan County is to the north, Yakima County is to the south and Grant County is to the west of Kittitas.


Among Washington counties, Kittitas County ranks eighth in size with a geographic area of 2,308 square miles.


The terrain in the county’s northwest corner is rugged and heavily forested wilderness due to the southern extension of the Wenatchee National Forest. At higher elevations there is a series of major rivers carrying snow-melt out of the Cascades and into the Kittitas Valley.


Flowing out of the mountains, the Cle Elum and Teanaway rivers feed into the Yakima River which flows across the rest of the county (including Ellensburg) before winding south into Yakima County.


Spreading out from the Cascade Range are the Wenatchee Mountains, which run the length of the county’s northern border. From these mountains run the Naneum and Caribou creeks which end up to join the Yakima River south of Ellensburg.


To the south, the Saddle Mountains, Manastash and Umtananum ridges form a physical barrier that runs east and west to form the county’s southern border with Yakima County.



THE ECONOMICS OF KITTITAS COUNTY



Even though Kittitas County has a rural, natural resource heritage, the county has rapidly moved away from total dependence of the natural resources and is converging into a number of different areas.


The most significant aspects of Kittitas County economy today is a dramatic increase in population, large services and trade sectors, an immensely large government sector, and a relatively high unemployment rate.


Kittitas County natural-resource based industries, continue to provide a fair amount of employment and remain a vital part of the local economy. Agriculture in the rich Kittitas Valley is thriving. Employment has risen in recent years and accounts for over 5 percent of the total work force.


The manufacturing sector is also driven by the local natural resource base. Greatest employment is found in food processing, followed by lumber and wood products. Altogether, manufacturing employs over 700 workers.


Services and trade accounts for 45 percent of nonagricultural employment in Kittitas County. The bulk of these 4,820 workers were employed in relatively low-paying industries, such as restaurants, food stores, tourist-related occupations, etc.


The county\'s strongest industry is the government. It provides stability to Kittitas County that comes from a large number of relatively secure, well-paid jobs. Central Washington University is the institution that bulges the county\'s government sector: throughout Washington, jobs at the state-government level account for one-fourth of government employment; in Kittitas County they account for almost one-half.


Unemployment in Kittitas County is associated with the large increase in population that has occurred in the past five years. In-migration has jumped in recent years, driving up the population, there just are simply not enough jobs for all who want to work. In 1990, there were 11,690 people working and 1,190 people looking for work; in 1993 there were 12,230 people working and 2,220 looking for work.


The number of jobs increased, but the economy is not producing enough to meet demand. In 1993-1994 migration swelled the population by over 2,000. 1993\'s unemployment rate was 15.4 percent--the highest of any


county in Washington state.


Large increases in government employment are doubtful. Initiative 601 has capped state expenditures, there\'s no reasonable expectation for an increase in the federal presence, and local government must be