It’s easy in the Inland Empire to feel surrounded by warehouses. But where is the logistics footprint largest?
Mike McCarthy thinks he knows. Using publicly available data, including information from county assessor offices, Riverside’s environmental consultant recently updated its list of inland communities with the largest acreage devoted to existing warehouses and planned.
The ranking helps residents hold elected officials who make land use decisions allowing warehouses accountable, McCarthy said.
“Understanding which cities are disproportionately affected is helpful for local residents to understand where they stand,” he said.
McCarthy’s rankings, updated from his first list in 2022, paint a picture of a region increasingly saturated with mega-warehouses, often a million square feet or more.
With its network of highways and rail lines, proximity to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, an abundance of flat, cheap and available land, and a blue-collar workforce, the Inland Empire is a logistics hub supplying Southern California and a nation. Thirsty for instant delivery of products ordered online.
While the warehouses employ thousands and provide an economic base in a region lacking the well-paying office jobs of coastal counties, some also blame logistics for a host of health problems associated with toxic exhaust fumes spewed by trucks to warehouses.
Critics also accuse the logistics industry of destroying local roads with a seemingly endless stream of semi-trailers and warehouse working conditions described as dangerous and stifling.
McCarthy, a member of Riverside Neighbors Opposing Warehouses, said he made two changes from his 2022 rankings. It included warehouses that have been planned and approved but not yet built. And he added unincorporated communities that are not officially part of a city.
Ontario, which was number one in 2022, remains at the top of McCarthy’s list.
“Ontario is still the warehouse king of the Inland Empire,” McCarthy said.
Moreno Valley, which ranked 11th two years ago, is now second.
The biggest factor in Moreno Valley’s jump, McCarthy said, is the global logistics center, which will include 40.6 million square feet of warehouse space on 2,610 acres — roughly the equivalent of 700 football fields – once completed.
About 2.6 million square feet of the center has been built and occupied, Eric Rose, a spokesman for the center’s developer, Highland Fairview, said by email. Engineering for the next phase of infrastructure is complete, and construction is expected to begin as early as April, he added.
Moreno Valley Mayor Ulises Cabrera said in a text message that while logistics brings an “economic boost” to the city, “we must address its impacts on air quality, wages, social benefits and pressure on infrastructure, particularly affecting our most vulnerable communities.”
The city also needs to “pivot” to sectors such as “technology, renewable energy supply chain, manufacturing, artificial intelligence and health care,” Cabrera said.
“This balanced approach aims not only to improve our economic landscape, but also to ensure a better quality of life, by providing residents with opportunities that go beyond just salary. »
Fontana is third on the list. Lands controlled by the March Joint Powers Authority, Perris, Rialto, Chino, Jurupa Valley, Beaumont and Rancho Cucamonga round out the top 10.
Menifee is a new entry in the top 20, which was previously unranked. McCarthy said Menifee is on the latest list because “there’s just a lot of planned activity going on on the (city’s) border with Perris on Ethanac Road.”
Some cities rank lower on the list than in 2022.
Chino went from No. 4 to 7, Riverside went from 10 to 13, Corona went from 12 to 16 and Colton went from 15 to 18.
“The biggest trend I’m seeing is just the continuation of logistics sprawl,” McCarthy said.
“Cities that host new activities for planned warehouses are further from ports. We’re talking about Moreno Valley, Beaumont, Mead Valley, Temescal Valley (and) Menifee. All of this is 80 to 100 miles from the ports.
McCarthy said he was “a little surprised” to see the biggest changes on his list happening in Riverside County.
“I don’t know if it’s just because the cities in San Bernardino County are more built up,” he said. “But almost every big change on my list happened at Riverside.”
The list gives pause to Ana Gonzalez, executive director of the Jurupa Valley-based Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice.
“We are heartbroken” because the list includes cities where the center has worked with residents to mobilize against warehouse growth, Gonzalez said.
The list also includes heavily Black and Latino communities, Gonzalez added. “We’re just seeing this perpetration of environmental racism in our communities. »
Gonzalez said the list highlights the need for state government to step in to stem the tide of logistics development. POLITICO reported last month that Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, D-Hollister, asked lawmakers to form a “warehouse task force” to get a handle on problems associated with warehouses in a way that doesn’t kill not warehouse jobs.
Top 10 warehouses
Using public records, Riverside environmental consultant Mike McCarthy compiled a list of the 20 inland cities and unincorporated communities with the largest acreage devoted to warehouses. Here are the top 10.
- Moreno Valley
- Joint March Powers Authority
- Jurupa Valley
- Rancho Cucamonga
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