Sahalee (pronounced: Saha-li) is the largest city in the US state of Pacifica and is the principal city of the Sahalee metropolitan area. The city is a major port, financial, and cultural center in the Pacific Northwest and hosted the 1976 Winter Olympics. It is regarded as a Beta World City and is noted for its high population density and ethnic diversity.
The city proper has, as of estimates for 2010, a population of about 596,000, and is part of a greater metropolitan area with roughly 2.3 million inhabitants.
History of Sahalee
Early Settlement and Alaskan War
The region around Sahalee was inhabited by Salish Indians prior to European exploration. In the early 1820's, John Hunt built a cabin where downtown Sahalee today stands, and for almost twenty years Hunt and his family were the only real European-American presence so far north.
With the construction of Fort Bellingham in 1839, however, and the influx of settlers along the Oregon trail, the Fraser River delta became a potential location for a protected seaport. The growth of Alaska to the north began to become a concern for American leaders and so the first American soldiers were stationed at Fort Syracuse in 1850. The 1850's experienced small growth in the region as it was still far north from lands desired by American settlers.
The region was home to about 20,000 in 1884 when the Alaskans launched a massive offensive southwards. The Alaskan population in the region was always substantial and had previously been benign. The northern banks of the Burrard Inlet and the peninsula as a whole was the site of the Battle of Burrard, and the Huntsville township was burnt to the ground during the fighting.
Fraser Gold Rush and Early 20th Century Trade
With the town back in control after the war with Alaska, there were hundreds of thousands of soldiers from the South stranded in the Pacific Northwest, and this led to the first boom in the region. With the discovery of gold in the upper Fraser Valley in the 1890's, hundreds of thousands of additional men and women flocked north to Sahalee and its region. The city grew from a war-scarred frontier town of 1,000 to a swarming, squalid metropolis of 125,000 within six months in 1892, one of the biggest population explosions in American history. Tent cities known as "squatter camps" spread for miles in each direction from the population centers at Sahalee and Wamash, and there was on average about three deaths per week in one of the most violent, lawless and impoverished regions of the country. There was a great deal of conflict between the "left-behinds" - soldiers, usually Southerners, who had been stuck in the Fraser Territory due to an inability to afford a train ticket home - and the prospectors, known as "snatchers," who tended to be from the industrial Midwest or East Coast. Historian Robert Hines described Sahalee in the 1890's as, "Manifest Destiny gone wrong." In fact, a region which previously had been home to about 20,000 prior to the war was now home to nearly 350,000, as many were stuck waiting to travel up the river.
After statehood was achieved in 1899, the argument for the new leaders of Pacifica was where to place the new capital. Many favored the northern bank of the Fraser River in present-day Fraser, but remembered the war with Alaska and the ease with which that position was overrun, placing the capital firmly in Whiskey Bay. With the growth of the city as a major Pacific port, the region experienced an economic change in the 1910's and 20's, and Sahalee hosted a World's Fair in 1922 to showcase the beauty of the region. The evolution from frontier disaster to burgeoning major city was complete by the end of the 1920's, when the region's importance in producing Navy ships to fight in the Pacific War had finally provided low-skill, easy jobs for the region's poor and destitute, giving a proud blue-collar identity to thousands that still exists today.
Shipping and Tech Booms
Sahalee's population is about 68% Caucasian, 20% Asian-American, 8% African-American, and 2% Native American/Pacific Islander. Of the Caucasian population, about 64% is Non-Hispanic/Latino. The most commonly spoken language according to the 2010 census is English, at about 94%. About 3% of Sahalee residents spoke Russian as their first language.
The average personal income in Sahalee is roughly $50,340 per year, and the average family income is $70,450. Due to the city's financial sector and the presence of several universities, the income average is somewhat inflated, as many neighborhoods, especially Wires in South Sahalee, have very low income averages.
Sahalee, like its neighboring cities of Fraser and Wamash, has a large, blue-collar, Russian-speaking minority, a large presence of about 12% in the entire metropolitan area, especially in South Sahalee's Wires neighborhood.
Sahalee Public School District
The Sahalee Public School District serves the city of Sahalee proper as well as a handful of neighborhoods on the borders of Kirktown and Fraser. The city maintains 48 elementary schools, 3 K-8 schools, 13 middle schools and ten high schools, as well as two "alternative" 6-12 campuses. The district serves about 43,500 students.
Colleges and Universities
Sahalee is home to four institutions of higher education: the University of Pacifica's main campus in western Sahalee on the landform known as Point Nansett, Sahalee Community College, as well as the private Jesuit school of Sahalee University in __.
Culture and Arts
In 1978, the WFA added an expansion football franchise, the Sahalee Storm, that initially played at Royal Way Stadium but moved to the Stormdome in Downtown in 1985. The city also built Index Arena, a multipurpose center east of downtown, in 1982, ushering in the NBA expansion franchise Pacifica Grizzlies and the NHL relocated the financially failing Winnipeg Blue Bombers to the Index Arena as the Sahalee Sockeyes. In 1999, the Sockeyes built their own arena in downtown next to the Stormdome, and the Grizzlies joined them there in 2004. The Pacifica Beavers, the local baseball team, has always played at Wamash Metropolitan Stadium on Sea Island since their inception in 1974.