Portola Valley, California

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Portola Valley, California
Town of Portola Valley
The Portola Valley Town Center, looking towards the East
The Portola Valley Town Center, looking towards the East
Official seal of Portola Valley, California
Location in San Mateo County and the state of California
Location in San Mateo County and the state of California
Portola Valley, California is located in the US
Portola Valley, California
Portola Valley, California
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 37°22′30″N 122°13′7″W / 37.37500°N 122.21861°W / 37.37500; -122.21861Coordinates: 37°22′30″N 122°13′7″W / 37.37500°N 122.21861°W / 37.37500; -122.21861
Country United States
State California
County San Mateo
Incorporated July 14, 1964[1]
 • Mayor Maryann Derwin[2]
 • Vice Mayor Craig Hughes[2]
 • Total 9.10 sq mi (23.57 km2)
 • Land 9.10 sq mi (23.56 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)  0.02%
Elevation 459 ft (140 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 4,353
 • Estimate (2016)[4] 4,597
 • Density 505.28/sq mi (195.09/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 94028
Area code 650
FIPS code 06-58380
GNIS feature ID 1659786
Website www.portolavalley.net

Portola Valley (94028) an incorporated town in San Mateo County, California, United States, which was founded in 1964. It's one of the wealthiest ZIP codes in America, with the highest per-capita income level in the country. Portola Valley is characterized by its rural charm, particularly exemplified in the fact that the town has more miles of trails than it does roads.

Portola Valley is one of the wealthiest towns in the United States, with a median household income of over $250,000 a year. Within the State of California, Portola Valley is ranked within the top 5 wealthiest ZIP codes, the zip code 94028, which encompasses the whole of Portola Valley, had the 9th most expensive housing prices within the country according to Forbes Magazine in 2013.[5] Portola Valley, according to the most recent available data, is the wealthiest ZIP code in America based on per-capita income--ranking above nearby ZIP codes 94027 (Atherton, 2nd Respectively) and 94022 (Los Altos Hills, 7th Respectively). See: California ZIP Codes and Per-Capita Income.


Portola Valley was named for Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portolá, who led the first party of Europeans to explore the San Francisco Peninsula in 1769, the town was officially incorporated in 1964.[6] The town's long history dates back to 1834, when land was used for the Rancho Corte de Madera primarily for cattle grazing. Another place of interest within the town was the Searsville area (now owned by Stanford). Searsville's redwood trees were logged and used for building housing. Evidence of logging can be seen by walking through the preserve and examining the abnormal redwood growth from where the trees used to stand. Today, Portola Valley maintains its small-town charm and rural feel with a population of under 5,000 people, as well as boasting to have more miles of trails than roads to preserve its natural beauty.

Portola Valley has also been included many times on lists of America's wealthiest ZIP codes. Initially, Portola Valley was an exclusive vacation community for wealthy San Franciscans who would make trips down during the summer in horse and buggy, it kept growing and eventually became central to the tech industry and Silicon Valley as an alternative to the hustle and bustle of more crowded cities, providing a quiet rural refuge directly in the heart of the Peninsula for over 4,000 residents.

Below is a small sample of the many spots on elite ZIP code lists Portola Valley has earned. Note that years when 94028 has cracked the top 10 most expensive ZIP codes on a national level have been highlighted in bold.

  • 2005: 4th Most Expensive ZIP Code in America (Advertising Age)[7]
  • 2006: 21st Most Expensive ZIP Code in California (Forbes)
  • 2007: 21st Most Expensive ZIP Code in America (Forbes)[8]
  • 2008: 10th Most Expensive ZIP Code in the Bay Area (CityData)[9]
  • 2009: 37th Most Expensive ZIP Code in America (Forbes)[10]
  • 2010: 31st Wealthiest ZIP Code in the US (Forbes)[11]
  • 2011: 7th Wealthiest ZIP Code in America (Forbes)
  • 2011: 5th Wealthiest ZIP Code in America (Bloomberg)[12]
  • 2013: 9th Most Expensive ZIP Code in America (Forbes)[13]
  • 2013: 3rd Wealthiest Neighborhood in Silicon Valley (Silicon Valley Business Journal)[14]
  • 2014: 8th Most Expensive ZIP Code in America (The Atlantic)[15]
  • 2014-2016: 2nd Wealthiest ZIP Code in the Bay Area (Silicon Valley Business Journal) [16]
  • 2015: 5th Most Expensive ZIP Code in Silicon Valley (PropertyShark)[17]
  • 2015: 11th Most Expensive ZIP Code in America (CNBC)[18]
  • 2015: 33rd Most Expensive ZIP Code in America (Forbes)[19]
  • 2015: 2nd Most Affluent ZIP Code in the Bay Area (SF Business Times)[20]
  • 2016: 10th Most Expensive ZIP code in America (Business Insider)[21]
  • 2016: 6th Wealthiest ZIP Code in California (World's Top Ten Lists)[22]
  • 2016: 4th Wealthiest ZIP Code in the Bay Area (Property Shark/KQED)[18]
  • 2016: Wealthiest ZIP Code in America (American Community Survey/FindTheHome)[23]
  • 2017: 5th Wealthiest ZIP Code in the Bay Area (Curbed San Francisco)[24]


Portola Valley is located at 37°22′30″N 122°13′7″W / 37.37500°N 122.21861°W / 37.37500; -122.21861 (37.375023, -122.218635),[25] on the eastern slope of the Peninsula Coastal Range of the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Windy Hill Open Space Preserve is on the town's southwest side and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is on the north side of town. It is off Interstate 280, near Woodside, just west of Palo Alto and Los Altos and south of Menlo Park, and is in a mostly wooded area, with some open plains.

Portola Valley can generally be divided into 7 subdivisions: Central Portola Valley, The Ranch, Corte Madera, Los Trancos/Vista Verde, Woodside Highlands, Westridge, and Blue Oaks.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 9.1 square miles (24 km2), 99.98% of it land and 0.02% of it water.

Local Attractions[edit]

  • Felt Lake
  • Ford Field
  • Alpine Hills Tennis and Swimming Club
  • Ladera Oaks Country Club
  • Ladera Tennis and Swimming Center
  • Hidden Valley Farm
  • Arastradero Preserve
  • The Village Restaurants and Shops
  • Alpine-Portola Junction
    • Roberts Market
    • Triangle Park
    • Portola Valley Hardware
    • Ron Ramies Auto Repair
    • Portola Cafe Deli
  • Hiking and Biking Trails
  • Portola Valley Schools
    • Ormondale Elementary School
    • Corte Madera Middle School
    • Woodside Priory High School (Private)
  • Ladera Shopping Center
  • Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
    • Searsville Lake
      • Searsville Dam
  • Portola Valley Town Center
  • Villa Lauriston

An estate located at 5050 Alpine Road, encompassing almost 29 acres. Villa Lauriston was initially commisioned by the founder of Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1970 4,996
1980 3,939 −21.2%
1990 4,194 6.5%
2000 4,462 6.4%
2010 4,353 −2.4%
Est. 2016 4,597 [4] 5.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[26]


The 2010 United States Census[27] reported that Portola Valley had a population of 4,353, the population density was 478.7 people per square mile (184.8/km²). The racial makeup of Portola Valley was 3,960 (91.0%) White, 12 (0.3%) African American, 5 (0.1%) Native American, 242 (5.6%) Asian, 1 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 29 (0.7%) from other races, and 104 (2.4%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 175 persons (4.0%).

The Census reported that 4,309 people (99.0% of the population) lived in households, 9 (0.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 35 (0.8%) were institutionalized.

There were 1,746 households, out of which 518 (29.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,149 (65.8%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 70 (4.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 35 (2.0%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 37 (2.1%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 21 (1.2%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 420 households (24.1%) were made up of individuals and 290 (16.6%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47. There were 1,254 families (71.8% of all households); the average family size was 2.93.

The population was spread out with 1,001 people (23.0%) under the age of 18, 145 people (3.3%) aged 18 to 24, 538 people (12.4%) aged 25 to 44, 1,496 people (34.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,173 people (26.9%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 51.3 years. For every 100 females there were 98.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.2 males.

There were 1,895 housing units at an average density of 208.4 per square mile (80.5/km²), of which 1,392 (79.7%) were owner-occupied, and 354 (20.3%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 9.8%. 3,702 people (85.0% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 607 people (13.9%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the most recent data from Trulia, Portola Valley's median household income is estimated to be $250,001.[28]


As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 4,392 people, 1,772 households, and 1,269 families residing in the town, the population density was 487.5 people per square mile (188.3/km²). There were 1,772 housing units at an average density of 193.6 per square mile (74.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 4,210 White, 29 African American, 22 Native American, 217 Asian, 5 Pacific Islander, 54 from other races, and 64 from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 149.

There were 1,772 households out of which 532 had children under the age of 18 living with them, 1,176 were married couples living together, 68 had a woman householder with no man present, and 431 were non-families. 339 of all households were made up of individuals and 226 had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the town the age distribution of the population shows 1021 persons under the age of 18, 90 from 20 to 24, 867 from 25 to 44, 1492 from 45 to 64, and 938 who were 65 years of age or older, the median age was 47.5 years old. For every 100 women there were 96.8 men. For every 100 women age 18 and over, there were 91.7 men.

The median income for a household in Portola Valley, including earnings, is $244,771 and the median income for a family was $180,893. Men have a median income of over $200,000 versus $172,585 for women, the per capita income for Portola Valley is $152,128. About 18 families and 104 people were below the poverty line, including 38 of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.

Portola Valley School
Location 775 Portola Road
Coordinates 37°22′56″N 122°13′40″W / 37.38222°N 122.22778°W / 37.38222; -122.22778
Area 0.5 acres (0.20 ha)
Built 1904
Architect LeBaron R Olive
Architectural style Mission/Spanish Revival
NRHP reference # 74000557[29]
Added to NRHP June 28, 1974


The Portola Valley Elementary School District has two public primary schools: Ormondale School (with grades K-3) and Corte Madera School (grades 4-8). Portola Valley is one of the few (perhaps only) school districts that has a school named after a race horse (Ormonde).[citation needed]

Portola Valley is also home to a Roman Catholic Benedictine monastery and an independent college-preparatory Roman Catholic day and boarding school, Woodside Priory School, with grades 6-12.

The nearest public secondary school is Woodside High School, located in neighboring Woodside. Many children attend other public and private institutions such as Woodside Priory School (located within the town limits of Portola Valley), Menlo-Atherton High School, Summit Preparatory Charter High School, Everest Public High School, Saint Francis High School (Mountain View), Menlo School, Sacred Heart Preparatory (Atherton, California), Junípero Serra High School, and Crystal Springs Uplands School.

The city is served by the Portola Valley Public Library of the San Mateo County Libraries, a member of the Peninsula Library System.[30]


In the California State Legislature, Portola Valley is in the 13th Senate District, represented by Democrat Jerry Hill, and in the 24th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Marc Berman.[31]

Federally, Portola Valley is in California's 18th congressional district, represented by Democrat Anna Eshoo.[32]

Politically, Portola Valley leans slightly democratic based on voting patterns for past presidential elections.

Notable people[edit]


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  2. ^ a b "Town Council". Portola Valley, CA. Retrieved December 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jun 28, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Portola Valley, CA : History of Portola Valley". www.portolavalley.net. Retrieved 2017-03-16. 
  7. ^ "EXPLORING AMERICA'S RICHEST ZIP CODES". Retrieved 2017-04-07. 
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  9. ^ "Most Expensive Cities in The Bay Area (San Francisco, Irvine: condos, house) - San Francisco - Oakland - California (CA) - City-Data Forum". www.city-data.com. Retrieved 2017-04-07. 
  10. ^ Levy, Matthew Woolsey and Francesca (2009-08-27). "Full List: America's Most Expensive ZIP Codes". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-04-07. 
  11. ^ Ewalt, David. "Most Expensive ZIP Codes - Forbes.com". www.forbes.com. Retrieved 2017-03-16. 
  12. ^ "America’s Richest Zip Codes 2011". Bloomberg.com. 2011-12-07. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  13. ^ Brennan, Morgan. "America's Most Expensive Zip Codes In 2013: The Complete List". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  14. ^ "http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2013/12/05/silicon-valleys-5-wealthiest-zip.html#i4". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2017-04-07.  External link in |title= (help)
  15. ^ "ZIP Codes of the Super Rich". CityLab. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  16. ^ "http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/subscriber-only/2014/12/05/wealthiest-zip-codes.html". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2017-03-16.  External link in |title= (help)
  17. ^ "Top 20 Most Expensive Zip Codes in Silicon Valley | PropertyShark.com". PropertyShark Real Estate Blog. 2015-02-17. Retrieved 2017-04-07. 
  18. ^ a b Frank, Robert (2015-07-07). "The 20 most expensive ZIP codes". CNBC. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  19. ^ Schiffman, Betsy. "Full List: America's Most Expensive ZIP Codes 2015". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-03-16. 
  20. ^ "http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/real-estate/2015/11/where-the-money-lives-the-10most-affluent-zip.html#g3". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2017-04-06.  External link in |title= (help)
  21. ^ "The 25 most expensive ZIP codes in America". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-03-16. 
  22. ^ "Richest Zip Codes in California 2016-2017, Top 10 List". www.worldstopmost.com. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  23. ^ "The Top 20 Richest Cities in the U.S. | FindTheHome". places.findthehome.com. Retrieved 2017-04-12. 
  24. ^ "Most expensive Bay Area neighborhoods, ranked". Curbed SF. 2017-01-04. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  25. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  26. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  27. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Portola Valley town". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Real Estate Overview for Portola Valley, CA - Trulia". www.trulia.com. Retrieved 2017-04-13. 
  29. ^ National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  30. ^ "Portola Valley Library." San Mateo County Libraries. Retrieved on October 17, 2009.
  31. ^ "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved December 19, 2014. 
  32. ^ "California's 18th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 13, 2013. 
  33. ^ John Markoff (June 21, 2008). "Hewitt D. Crane, 81, Early Computer Engineer, Is Dead". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  34. ^ Laurance Zuckerman (June 2, 1996). "Cuthbert Hurd, 85, Computer Pioneer at I.B.M". New York Times. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  35. ^ Saratoga Horticultural Research Foundation (2003). "Manzanita introductions of the Saratoga Horticultural Foundation" (PDF). Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  36. ^ Lisa Kwiatkowski (February 25, 2005). "Bill Lane makes a gift of $5 million to endow Stanford's Center for the Study of the North American West". Stanford University. Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  37. ^ Military Vehicle Technology Foundation
  38. ^ "Vanderbilt taps board chair, vice chair". The Nashville Post. April 22, 2016. Retrieved August 27, 2017. Rothschild, of Portola Valley, California, is a venture development consultant with Accel Partners, a privately held international venture capital firm that invests in technology companies, primarily in the areas of software and networking. 

External links[edit]