Portal:San Francisco Bay Area

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The San Francisco Bay Area Portal

California Bay Area county map
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The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, is a populated region that surrounds the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California, United States. The region encompasses the major cities and metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, along with smaller urban and rural areas. The Bay Area's nine counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Home to approximately 7.44 million people, the nine-county Bay Area contains many cities, towns, airports, and associated regional, state, and national parks, connected by a network of roads, highways, railroads, bridges, tunnels and commuter rail. The combined urban area of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose is the second largest in California (after the Greater Los Angeles area), the fifth largest in the United States, and the 56th largest urban area in the world.

The United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB) does not use the nine-county definition of the San Francisco Bay Area. The OMB has designated a more extensive 12-county Combined Statistical Area (CSA) titled the San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area which also includes the three counties of San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, and San Benito that do not border San Francisco Bay, but are economically tied to the nine counties that do. The southernmost portion of Sacramento County has direct access to Suisun Bay, which lies immediately to the east of San Pablo Bay, but is not counted as one of the counties of the Bay Area.

The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its natural beauty, liberal politics, entrepreneurship, and diversity. The area has high incomes, performing above the state median household income in the 2010 census; it includes the five highest California counties by per capita income and two of the top 25 wealthiest counties in the United States. Based on a 2013 population report from the California Department of Finance, the Bay Area is the only region in California where the rate of people migrating in from other areas in the United States is greater than the rate of those leaving the region, led by Alameda and Contra Costa counties. (more...)

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LLNL Aerial View.jpg
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is a federal research facility in Livermore, California, founded by the University of California in 1952. A Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), it is primarily funded by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and managed and operated by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS), a partnership of the University of California, Bechtel, Babcock & Wilcox, URS, and Battelle Memorial Institute in affiliation with the Texas A&M University System. The laboratory was honored in 2012 by having the synthetic chemical element livermorium named after it. (more...)

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Medical Marijuana ID offices, San Francisco
Mary Jane Rathbun (December 22, 1922 – April 10, 1999), popularly known as Brownie Mary, was an American medical cannabis activist. As a hospital volunteer at San Francisco General Hospital, she became known for illegally baking and distributing cannabis brownies to AIDS patients. Along with activist Dennis Peron, Rathbun lobbied for the legalization of cannabis for medical use, and she helped pass San Francisco Proposition P (1991) and California Proposition 215 (1996) to achieve those goals, she also contributed to the establishment of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, the first medical cannabis dispensary in the United States.

Rathbun was arrested on three occasions, with each arrest bringing increased local, national, and international media attention to the medical cannabis movement, her grandmotherly appearance generated public sympathy for her cause and undermined attempts by the district attorney's office to prosecute her for possession. The City of San Francisco eventually gave Rathbun permission to distribute cannabis brownies to people with AIDS, her arrests generated interest in the medical community and motivated researchers to propose one of the first clinical trials to study the effects of cannabinoids in HIV-infected adults. (more...)

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Old fire station, Livermore
Livermore (formerly Livermores, Livermore Ranch, and Nottingham) is a city in Alameda County. The estimated population as of 2011 was 82,039. Livermore is located on the eastern edge of California's San Francisco Bay Area.

Livermore was founded by William Mendenhall and named after Robert Livermore, his friend and a local rancher who settled in the area in the 1840s. Livermore is the home of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, for which the chemical element livermorium is named (and thus, placing the city's name in the periodic table). Livermore is also the California site of Sandia National Laboratories, which is headquartered in Alburquerque, NM, its south side is home to local vineyards. The city has also redeveloped its downtown district, the city is considered part of the Tri-Valley area, including Amador, Livermore and San Ramon Valleys. (more...)

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Recently in the Bay Area

2017
Warm Springs BART station on opening day
The United States of America, Arthur Szyk (1945)
Robert Taylor in 2008

The Bay Area by year

1890
Oakland Harbor Light

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Promotional poster for Mantra-Rock Dance 1967 musical event
image credit: Harvey W. Cohen

Did you know...

Emiko Omori and Victor Wong
Tim Stearns
The Oceanic, 1871
Ghost Ship warehouse interior

 • ... that filmmaker Emiko Omori (pictured, left, with Victor Wong) began her career in 1968 at KQED, becoming one of the first camerawomen to work in news documentaries?
 • ... that Fisher Creek is tributary to the largest freshwater wetland in Santa Clara County, Laguna Seca, a seasonal lake important to groundwater recharge and migratory birds?
 • ... that San Francisco based architect Jack Hillmer is known for his meticulously hand-crafted Modernist homes built from redwood, and was an exponent of what Lewis Mumford called the "Bay Region style"?
 • ... that Stanford University Department of Biology chairman Tim Stearns (pictured), together with his wife, medical researcher Susan Cleveland, tend a fruit tree orchard at their home in Redwood City?
 • ... that the Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company's flagship, the Oceanic (pictured), set a Pacific crossing record of 16 days and 10 hours, 8 days less than the ships of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company?
 • ... that the building consumed in the 2016 Oakland warehouse fire had at least ten complaints filed on it since 1998? (interior damage pictured)
 • ... that after Agnes Fay Morgan conducted a nutritional study with foxes, she presented her data wearing a stole made from the fur of her subjects?

Previous Did you know...

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January 2008

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Arturo Sandoval at the White House

The Festival del Sole is an annual ten-day jazz and classical music, food, wine, and art festival held in Napa Valley. Founded in 2006 by Richard Walker and Barrett Wissman, the festival attracts over 8,000 attendees annually. Performers at the festival have included Monica Mancini, Pinchas Zukerman, Dmitry Sitkovetsky and Arturo Sandoval (pictured, at a White House performance).

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~ Cal announcer Joe Starkey after The Play ended the 1982 Big Game

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GoldenGateBridge-001.jpg You are invited to participate in the San Francisco Bay Area task force, a task force dedicated to developing and improving articles about the San Francisco Bay Area.

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