Cle Elum Media Room: Facts

Cle Elum means "swift water" and its origins come from the Kittitas tribe, whose members resided here and relied on the nearby Yakima River. Originally the name of the city was Clealum. In 1908, Clealum was altered to Cle Elum.

Population: 1,872

Cle Elum was officially incorporated on February 12, 1902

The town was the birthplace of astronaut Dick Scobee, the commander of the Space Shuttle Challenger on the day of its explosion. Headed by John Bresko, Cle Elum was the first to have 'organized' skiing west of Denver, Colorado. Starting in 1921, 100-400 people would be on the ski hill every weekend through the winter. 1931 saw the largest crowd est. at 8,000 spectators for the ski jumping events. The depression ended the skiing and jumping events in 1934.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.83 square miles (9.92 km2), of which 3.82 square miles (9.89 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water. It borders South Cle Elum and Roslyn.

However, as part of the Development Agreement with the Suncadia Master Planned Resort, the city annexed the Bullfrog Sub-Area, which were lands comprising an area of 1.72 sq mi. As of 2018, the city of Cle Elum has a total land of 3.83 sq mi.


As of the census of 2010, there were 1,872 people, 857 households, and 500 families residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 95.9% White, 1.4% African American, 3.2% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.85% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.8% of the population. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.87. In the city the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.3 males.


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