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Oro Valley is located on the northwest side of Tucson, now starting just north of Ina (at Suffolk Drive) and extends northward through the community of Rancho Vistoso. The area around Oro Valley was home to American Indian tribes for many decades, followed by Spanish explorers in the 1700's.

After the Gadsden purchase (the purchase of what is now Arizona south of the Gila River from the county of Mexico), Americans began to settle in the area in 1874 and ranching became the commercial center of Oro Valley. The old ‘Steam Pump' ranch is a historic site in Oro Valley that the Town Council desired to maintain its historic nature even though the prime commercial real estate parcel beckoned development. Today a commercial development is there, but a section preserved so residents and visitors can learn and reminiscence about our history.

The Oro Valley Police Department is second to none. Many people joke about ‘speed traps' in Oro Valley since Arizona Highway 89 cuts through the town. Many people don't realize that Oro Valley's first police department was run by the Rural/Metro Fire Department. Chief Fred Roof was the first Police Chief. Later, after a municipal police department took over Fred continued with Rural/Metro and served the community for many years. Other great police chief's were Warner Wolf (who later sat on council for several years) and now Danny Sharp.

One of the key founding principals of Oro Valley in 1974 was the fact there is no town property tax. Revenues to fund government activity comes from a mix of speeding tickets (actually, the get very little from this), impact fees, building permits, sales tax, etc. While no property tax is appealing, this can cause the council to make tough decisions in tough economic times. Now, this is not to say that people in Oro Valley don't pay tax, they do. They pay Pima County Property Tax, school district tax, community college tax, fire district tax, etc.

One of the main draws to Oro Valley is quality of life. In 2005, Oro Valley was named as one of Americas Top-Rated Cities by Grey House Publishing. The award specifically mentioned the quality of the schools, medical facilities and golf courses. The economy is driven by shopping, resorts, the bio-tech industry. There is also lots to do in Oro Valley; there are culinary arts, performing arts , golf courses, and lots of parks and recreation opportunities.

The school system in Oro Valley is managed by the Ampitheater School District. The public schools consist of four elementary schools, one middle school and two high schools. In addition to public schools, Oro Valley is home to the excellent Pusch Ridge Christian Academy private school. Here, students begin in 6 th grade and continue through high school in a rigorous college preparation academia.

The housing opportunities in Oro Valley are vast. Starting in southern Oro Valley there are neighborhoods that offer horse privileges, and larger parcels of land. The Oro Valley Country Club offers country club style living with wonderful golf. The area around the Sheraton El Conquistador offers smaller parcels, and smaller homes with less yard maintenance. The gated community of La Reserve is on the eastern edge of Oro Valley and is situated against the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Coronado National Forest. La Reserve offers larger homes in a mountain side type community. There are numerous smaller subdivisions located in central Oro Valley. One of these is the Copper Creek neighborhood. This is a neighborhood where you actually know your neighbors. There is a real sense of community here. In the northern part of Oro Valley, Rancho Vistoso starts just north of Tangerine Road. There are basically two parts of Rancho Vistoso. Sun City Vistoso and the rest of Vistoso. Sun City Vistoso is age restricted and all other parts are not age restricted.

Golder Ranch Fire District primarily serves the Town of Oro Valley. Over the years Rural/Metro's boundaries have contracted as folks have opted to be served by a not-for-profit fire department. The Mountain Vista Fire District serves Oro Valley south of Linda Vista utilizing a contract for resources from Rural/Metro Fire Department.

North of Oro Valley is the community of Catalina and the retirement community of Saddlebrook.


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