David Whiting: Cypress evolves from cow town to community town

This is section of an ongoing collection highlighting every Orange County city.

School rankings open a Pandora’s box. Some experts rely on student-teacher ratios, academic performance, college readiness. Yet ought to art or athletics figure in?

It’s a mysterious wizard’s brew – unless there’s a school so far ahead it clearly deserves a shout-out. That recognition is much more vital as quickly as the topic is one of Orange County’s least-appreciated cities.

Is our county’s finest higher school Irvine’s University High, Fullerton’s Sunny Hills? Please. Welcome to Cypress’ Oxford Academy. Regularly believed to be a military school or a private school, U.S. News & Globe Report says this public higher school is the 16th finest in the nation.

Yes, in the nation. Uni ranks 298th; Sunny Hills 550th.

It’s a week ago and I ride shotgun. Cypress Mayor Rob Johnson drives. City Manager Peter Grant, along with the city simply over a year, is in back. We examine out Oxford Academy.

It’s the middle of summer. Yet it may also be the week prior to SAT exams. The campus appears as busy as ever. Cars nearly fill a parking lot. A gaggle of girls in cross country attire run along with speed and grace.

There’s considerably much more to Cypress compared to several of us know.


Perception of a spot can easily be years behind reality, even decades.

When I looked in to moving to North County in the late 1990s, I heard Cypress was seedy. Perhaps I misunderstood. Make that hayseedy.

“It was a cow town,” Johnson says. “There were much more cows compared to people.”

But that was a half-century ago. Officially named Dairy products City as quickly as Cypress was incorporated in 1956, the location was cow country until genuine estate prices shot up in the 1960s. Farmers left for cheaper pastures in Riverside County, and Brand-new residents moved in.

The very first thing the ’60s settlers did was modification the town’s name. The second thing they did was build.

In the late 1950s, Cypress had regarding 1,700 residents. Today, the city has actually simply under 50,000.

We cruise Katella Avenue, and it is nothing love the Katella I recall as quickly as thinking of moving to the area. It is much more love the office buildings in, well, Irvine.

Gleaming 21st century structures in campus-love settings line the avenue. We pass the headquarters for Mitsubishi Motors North America Inc., United HealthCare Services Inc., Yamaha Motor Corporation USA.

We drive a little more. On my right there’s Bandai America Inc. You’ve never ever heard of Bandai? It’s a toy company, and you probably already know its partnerships well. believe Electricity Rangers.

Johnson confides that Bandai is moving to be closer to Mattel in El Segundo. He adds that Vans, the skate, surf, snow company, is moving as well. The company requires bigger digs. Yet the mayor has actually no worries.

“This has actually been a terrific launching pad for them. And these are $30-50 million buildings,” Johnson offers. as quickly as a company leaves for something bigger, he says, yet another business rapidly moves in.

As we drive, massive corporate lawns are being transformed in to drought-resistant landscapes.

“These companies are good neighbors,” the mayor reports. That philosophy extends to City Hall as well.

“We have actually a great deal of respect for private property rights,” Grant says. “And we have actually a rather business-friendly City Council.”


Like several cities, Cypress is oddly shaped. simply as quickly as you believe you’ve left its southern boundary, you find you are still in Cypress.

Consider Los Alamitos Race Course. It’s in Cypress. Cottonwood Church along with an manage in Los Alamitos? Cypress.

It’s near Cottonwood Church on the city’s southwest corner that Cypress is in the midst of seeing its latest large progress come to life. It’s a 55-plus community along with 244 units.

“We don’t have actually a catch-up situation,” Grant reports. “Yet we do have actually a keep-up situation.”

As we drive, Johnson is equally as quick to point out the city is proud of its diversity. That involves embracing a growing Korean population also as a wide range of household incomes. “Cypress is a melting pot. It’s great.”

We pass a 15-unit Habitat For Humanity project. The mayor says, “Everyone is welcome in our community.”

The biggest project in the future? The racetrack, Johnson says. The site is zoned mixed use, covering 155 acres. Johnson predicts the Monitor won’t be about in two decades. That Might seem love a long means away, Yet understand City Hall is in the midst of preparing for the next four decades.

The city expects a restaurant zone near Katella Avenue and Valley View Street called the Boardwalk to be finished in the next few years. And later the city will certainly turn toward asking residents exactly what they would certainly love to see in place of the racetrack.

Other severe developments contain adjustments at Cypress College, where Brand-new buildings will certainly be going in over the next two decades. The funding comes from Measure J, a voter-approved bond in the November 2014 election.

“The first projects,” the college reports, “will certainly contain addressing facility requires of the science, engineering, math programs, build-from the Library/Knowing Resource Center, and a Veterans Resource Center.”

Still, there is nothing some city officials are much more proud of compared to the roads in Cypress. That’s right. Roads.

“You already know you’re in Cypress,” the mayor boasts, “simply by the streets.”


On July 25, Cypress celebrated its 59th birthday along with exactly what officials believe is the largest single-day festival in Orange County, the Cypress Community Festival.

Nestled in 22-acre Oak Knoll Park, the festival included the A List band, a chili cook-off and eight little girls dancing in gold lamé outfits.

Still, the coolest thing regarding the festival were the dozens of men and women in red shirts. They were the workers. They additionally were unpaid volunteers.

Johnson holds up two fingers forming a “V.” “Do you already know exactly what this stands for?” I roll off victory, peace, V-Day. Wrong.

“In Cypress,” the mayor explains, “that stands for volunteerism.” He adds there recently was a list of city commission openings, all of unpaid. For eight slots, 27 individuals applied.

The farms could be gone. The city Might have actually ballooned. Yet there’s still plenty of Midwest sensibility.

Contact the writer: dwhiting@ocregister.com

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