Los Osos

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Los Osos is an unincorporated community located in western San Luis Obispo County, California. The community is combined with Baywood Park to form the Census Designated Place of Baywood-Los Osos. In the 2000 census, the population estimate for the community was 14,351, although current town border signs read 14,377 occupants. The community is served by the 93402 and 93412 Zip Codes and area code 805.


Los Osos is located at 35°19'0" North, 120°50'8" West (35.316795, -120.8tits35605).


  • Los Osos is essentially a picturesque bedroom community for San Luis Obispo, which is about ten miles south-southeast, and to a lesser extent, Morro Bay, which is a couple of miles to the north. There is a small business district concentrated in just a few blocks along Los Osos Valley Road. Except for another few shops near the bay, the rest of the town is almost entirely residential. Los Osos has two major grocery stores, a post office, Los Osos Rexall Drug and Gift Store, Carlock's Bakery, several banks, a hardware store, two gas stations and various restaurants and other businesses. The town has a golf course as well. The locals frequent what is often called the area's best burger restaurant, Sylvester's Hamburgers and O'Steeni's Italian Food for great take out. La Casitas and Papillon restaurants offer great dinner spots. For other needs, residents must travel to Morro Bay or San Luis Obispo.

Los Osos has four public schools; Sunnyside Elementary, Baywood Elementary, Monarch Grove Elementary, and Los Osos Middle School. To go to high school, Los Osos students must go to Morro Bay High School (12 miles away) or San Luis Obispo High School (23 miles away).

There are only two roads in or out of Los Osos, South Bay Boulevard, which leads to Morro Bay via Highway 1, and Los Osos Valley Road, which goes to San Luis Obispo. Highway 1 can also be taken to Inclement weather and road construction occasionally forces the closure of one, or rarely both routes. Depending on one's destination, this requires a substantial detour. However, this has been much less frequent since the Chorro Bridge replaced the Twin Bridges on South Bay Boulevard.

Los Osos serves as the entrance to the beautiful Montaña de Oro State Park. Los Osos Valley Road reaches the coast at the south end of Estero Bay and continues south into the state park. Large, non-native groves of eucalyptus trees attract the annually migrating Monarch butterflies. Morro Bay State Park borders the northeast of the town. South Bay Boulevard travels through the middle of the park after it leaves Los Osos.

Los Osos' proximity to the Diablo Canyon Power Plant means that warning sirens are located throughout the town so that the residents will be able to evacuate if the power plant should suffer a meltdown or other adverse event. The sirens are also found in other cities nearby, including Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo and Avila Beach. Except for yearly tests, the sirens go largely unnoticed.


Native American Chumash were the first inhabitants of the local area. These peoples relied partially on the harvesting of fish and shellfish (e.g. Macoma nasuta) from Morro Bay. There is a large Chumash archaeological site on a stabilized sand dune in Los Osos dating to at least as early as 800 to 1200 AD. Cabrillo first encountered the Chumash in the year 1542.

Sewer Controversy

The community is divided over the issue of where a sewer should be built. The cost of the sewer is well over $150 million and many are worried they will have to move because they cannot afford a potential $200- to $300-dollars-a-month sewer bill. There has been a building moratorium for decades because the town's septic tanks are too numerous and concentrated to dissipate nitrates, which are not broken down by septic tanks. Nitrate levels are regulated by federal and state environmental agencies because of the pollutant's health hazards. The Los Osos Community Services District is the agency in charge of building the sewer. It also provides for the town's drinking water, drainage, parks, recreation, and street lighting. Fire and rescue services, and trash services are franchised to outside companies. The CSD was formed after citizens balked at the cost of the county's proposed sewer. However, the price of the current plan has ballooned as a project is repeatedly delayed.

There is also a controversy about where the sewer should be built. A location in the center of Los Osos (also known as the Tri-W site after the name of the property) was chosen, partly because of a desire for an additional park. Despite critic's claims, the County, water board and Coastal Commission all approved a sewer at the Tri-W site.

In August 2005, the CSD began building a sewer at the Tri-W site, contractors began work on the project and were advanced payments from State Revolving Fund loan. Following a recall election which replaced the majority of the CSD board and enacted an initiative measure that would require relocation of the project, the new board stopped building the sewer, despite a letter warning them of severe consequences from the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Due to the action of the new CSD board, the costs of the sewer project were greatly increased. In October 2005, the CSD defaulted on a low interest State Revolving Fund loan and the state subsequently refused to disburse additional funds and demanded immediate repayment. Project contractors filed suit for more than $23 million in lost profits and costs. State and regional water boards have used their regulatory power to impose fines against the district in the amount of $6.6 million for water pollution resulting from septic tank discharge of more than 1 million gallons per day. During February 2006 the Regional Water Quality Control Board, a state agency, threatened it would begin to issue cease and desist orders to citizens of Los Osos, and may require recipients to pump their septic systems every three years, and to stop using them by 2011.

On August 25, 2006, the district filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection in federal court. While the district had enough money to cover day to day needs, they did not have enough money to cover their legal fees and consultant fees. This action stays the legal actions against the district related to money owed. Contractor lawsuits and other actions seeking monetary damages or claims against the district will be held in abeyance while the district addresses its financial situation.

Additionally, legislation has been approved by the California legislature that would return control of construction of the wastewater treatment facility to the County of San Luis Obispo. The bill, AB 2701, was signed by the governor and went into effect January 1, 2007.

Origin of Name

In 1769, Gaspar de Portola's expedition found large numbers of Grizzly Bears in the valley near modern Los Osos. "Osos" being the Spanish word for "Bears", the town was so named. The expedition was part of a plan by Spain to further colonize and map Alta California due to increasing colonization by the English on the East Coast of North America and the burgeoning presence of Russian traders on the West Coast. (See: Fort Ross, Russian-American Company.) de Portola's expedition was only one of four mandated by Spanish Visitor General, José de Gálvez to map and explore Alta California in greater depth, following up on the previous expeditions most notably the Cabrillo party in 1542 and that of Sebastián Vizcaíno, who vaguely mapped and described the Monterey Bay in 1602-3.

Noteable People from Los Osos

  • Entertainment:
  • Adam Rose, first ever top winner of The Price Is Right $1,000,000 Spectacular
  • Sports:
  • Patrick Barrett, Race car driver
  • Ben Furbee, Pro mountain biker
  • Music:

Deeds of Flesh

Unique Leader Records

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City information courtesy Wikipedia. The city information on this page is provided under the GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL). The original city information used may be downloaded directly here and the modified city information provided here may be downloaded directly at here and is in turn licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. The author for purposes of the GNU FDL of this information is Bobo192 on the Wikipedia.

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