mission viejo

Mission Viejo, California

Mission Viejo (anglicized pronunciation ) is a city located in southern Orange County, California in the Saddleback Valley and has been named the safest city in the US according to a 2007 Morgan Quitno crime statistic survey (compiled from FBI data). Mission Viejo is considered one of the largest master planned communities ever built under a single project in the United States, and is rivaled only by Highlands Ranch, Colorado in its size. As of the 2007 census, the city had a total population of 98,483.

Mission Viejo is suburban in nature and culture. The city is mainly residential, although there are a number of offices and businesses within its city limits. The city is planned and features a very large number of single-family homes, some condominiums, a two-year community college, and a regional mall.

Mission Hospital is the largest hospital in south Orange County and serves as the area's regional trauma center. It also offers one of two CHOC (Children's Hospital of Orange County) locations providing outstanding care for children. Mission Hospital is a critical asset to the region. It is undergoing a multi-year campus expansion, which includes emergency services, conference and medical office space as well as a new in-patient hospital tower. Other medical facilities and offices have clustered around the hospital. It is conveniently located off the I-5 Crown Valley Parkway exit about half a mile from the freeway.

The city's name is a reference to Rancho Mission Viejo, a large Spanish land grant from which the community was founded. There is no Spanish mission in Mission Viejo, and the name is an improper use of a masculine adjective with a feminine noun. The correct Spanish term meaning "old mission" is "misión vieja."

Recreational activities abound; the city has numerous parks; there are about two per square mile. The city has three golf courses, The Mission Viejo Country Club, Casta del Sol Golf Course, and the recently finished Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club. At the center of the city is a man-made lake, Lake Mission Viejo, a private association for Mission Viejo residents with custom waterfront homes, condominiums, boat rentals,and swim beaches.


The hilly region which Mission Viejo occupies was primarily used as cattle and sheep grazing land, as it was of little use to farmers. It was one of the last regions of Orange County to be urbanized due to its geologic complexity. Englishman Juan (John) Forster, husband of Mexican Governor Pío Pico's sister Ysidora, acquired the Rancho Trabuco (future Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita) from Santiago Arguello. Forster provided fresh horses to American military forces led by Commodore Robert F. Stockton and General Kearney on their march from San Diego to retake Los Angeles during the Mexican-American War. The force camped in Lake Forest along their march.

Early developers in the 1960s dismissed most of the land in the area as simply "undevelopable". In the early 1970s, urban planner Donald Bren, who would later become the president of the Irvine Company, drafted a master plan which placed roads in the valleys and houses on the hills, and contoured to the geography of the area. The plan worked, and by 1980 much of the city of Mission Viejo was completed. During the late 1970s and the 1980s, houses in Mission Viejo were in such high demand that housing tracts often sold out before construction even began on them. The houses and shopping centers in the city are almost uniformly designed in a Spanish mission style, with "adobe"-like stucco walls and barrel-tile roofs. Many point to Mission Viejo as the first and largest manifestation of Donald Bren's obsession with Spanish architecture, which would again become apparent with his developments in Irvine and Newport Beach.

After Donald Bren sold his interest in the Mission Viejo Company. The Mission Viejo Company was headed by Philip J. Reilly, and James Toepfer and the company was purchased as a subsidiary of the Phillip Morris Company. The Mission Viejo Company continued as the master builder of the city. The company expanded its operations and went on to build the Lakes project in Tempe Arizona, Mission Viejo Aurora in Colorado and were the initial master planners of Highlands Ranch, both suburbs of the Denver Metropolitan area.


The Seal of the City of Mission Viejo was designed and drawn by Carl Glassford, an artist and former resident of the city.


Mission Viejo is located at (33.612739, -117.656038).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 49.3 km² (19.0 mi²). 48.3 km² (18.7 mi²) of it is land and 1.0 km² (0.4 mi²) of it (1.94%) is water. A significant portion of the surface water is held in Lake Mission Viejo, an artificial lake stretching approximately one mile from Olympiad Road to Alicia Parkway along Marguerite Parkway.


As of the census of 2000, there were 93,102 people, 32,449 households, and 25,212 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,926.4/km² (4,990.1/mi²). There were 32,986 housing units at an average density of 682.5/km² (1,767.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 83.15% White, 1.15% African American, 0.37% Native American, 7.73% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, 3.82% from other races, and 3.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.10% of the population. "Mission Viejo, a safe place! For you and your money" was a common slogan adopted by locals and city council members during the sixties and early seventies and helped to create the thriving Masonic population that settled within the region during the time. There were 32,449 households out of which 39.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.1% were married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.3% were non-families. 17.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.22.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 24.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.7 males.

According to a 2006 estimate, the median income for a household in the city was $93,206, and the median income for a family was $99,857. Males had a median income of $61,849 versus $38,743 for females. The per capita income for the city was $33,302. 2.3% of families and 3.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 4.8% of those age 65 or over.

According to a 2007 Morgan Quitno crime statistic survey (compiled from FBI data), Mission Viejo is the safest city in the US.


Of the 56,286 registered voters in the city, 31,090 (55.2%) are Republicans, 14,319 (25.4%) are Democrats, 8,790 (15.6%) declined to state political affiliation, and the remaining 2,087 (3.8%) are registered with a minor party.

In the state legislature Mission Viejo is located in the 33rd Senate District, represented by Republican Dick Ackerman, and in the 71st Assembly District, represented by Republican Todd Spitzer. Federally, Mission Viejo is located in California's 42nd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +10 and is represented by Republican Gary Miller.


The Saddleback College ballpark hosted the Mission Viejo Vigilantes minor league baseball team of the Western Baseball League from 1996-2001. Now the ballpark has a semi-pro collegiate team, the Orange County Fire.

There is also a soccer facility, now used by the town's youth soccer program, that was used as a training field by the United States men's national soccer team before and during the 1994 FIFA World Cup, hosted by the United States.

Skateboard parks are included in some of the recreational facilities throughout Orange County as well such as; Bebee Park, Rancho Santa Margarita, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, San Clemente, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Vans Skatepark at the Block at Orange, Etnies of Lake Forest, and Anaheim West.

Mission Viejo has a major youth athletic facilities, Mission Viejo Youth Athletic Park. The park consists of eight baseball fields and five soccer fields. It is host of Little League District 55 , Little League District 68 , and AYSO Region 84 Amenities:

The Mission Viejo Nadadores swimming and diving team won a string of national championships and produced a number of Olympians and world record holders in the 1970s and 1980s. Olympians included Shirley Babashoff, Brian Goodell, Larson Jenson, Maryanne Graham, Nicole Kramer, Casy Converse, Marcia Morey, Dara Torres, and Greg Louganis. Torres, 40, is now considered the fastest women swimmer in America.


Mission Viejo is served by two school districts, the Capistrano Unified and Saddleback Valley Unified School Districts. Capistrano Unified serves the eastern, northeastern, and southern portions of the city with eight schools. As of 2006, all high school students in the Capistrano Unified portion of Mission Viejo attend Capistrano Valley High School. Students from western Mission Viejo (north of Oso Parkway and west of Marguerite until Alicia Parkway) attend Saddleback Valley's Mission Viejo High School. Far northern Mission Viejo attends Saddleback Valley's Trabuco Hills High School, though most of that school has students from Rancho Santa Margarita and Lake Forest. Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita served the eastern half of the city from 2001- 2006, but now does not serve Mission Viejo as the city has been consolidated to three high schools to unify district students by their city.

Silverado, Mira Mesa, and Pathfinder are continuation and adult schools within the city.

Saddleback College, near the Shops at Mission Viejo and Capistrano Valley High School, is a large community college in the southern half of the city. In addition, the University of California, Irvine, Chapman University and Soka University of America are nearby in adjacent cities.

Skateboard parks are included in some of the recreational facilities throughout Orange County as well such as; Bebee Park, Rancho Santa Margarita, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, San Clemente, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Vans Skatepark at the Block at Orange, Etnies of Lake Forest, and Anaheim West.

Elementary Capistrano Unified

Saddleback Valley Unified


  • Al Ridah Academy- an Islamic Elementary School

Middle school

High school


External links



Public high

Public intermediate

Public interlevel

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