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Some of the increase was from immigration, and some from annexation of portions of the surrounding area.In 1958 the United States Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization designated Santa Rosa as one of its eight regional headquarters, with jurisdiction over Region 7, which included American Samoa, Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah.Santa Rosa continued as a major center for civil defense activity (under the Office of Emergency Planning and the Office of Emergency Preparedness) until 1979 when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was created in its place, ending the civil defense's 69-year history.When the City Council adopted the city's first modern General Plan in 1991, the population was about 113,000.By the 1850s, a Wells Fargo post and general store were established in what is now downtown Santa Rosa. Census, in 1870 Santa Rosa was the eighth largest city in California, and county seat of one of the most populous counties in the state.In the mid-1850s, several prominent locals, including Julio Carrillo, son of Maria Carrillo, laid out the grid street pattern for Santa Rosa with a public square in the center, a pattern which largely remains as the street pattern for downtown Santa Rosa to this day, despite changes to the central square, now called Old Courthouse Square. Census records, among others, show that after California became a state, Santa Rosa grew steadily early on, despite initially lagging behind nearby Petaluma in the 1850s and early 1860s. Growth and development after that was steady but never rapid.
The rapid growth that was being criticized as urban sprawl became routine infill development.The city was a convenient location for San Francisco travelers bound for the Russian River.The population increased by 2/3 between 19, an average of 1,000 new residents a year over the 20 years.Santa Rosa annexed the community of Roseland in November 2017.Beginning on the night of October 8, 2017, five percent (5%) of the city's homes were destroyed in the Tubbs Fire, a 45,000-acre wildfire that claimed the lives of at least 19 people in Sonoma County.