Contact Us


Rancho Ortega Blog discusses matters of public interest in South Orange County, including the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

The writings of Don Juan Ortega on the Rancho Ortega Blog are the personal views of the author. This blog is not authored by nor does it have any affiliation whatsoever with any other person, place or entity using the name "Rancho Ortega" (or any similar name).

We have installed some new anti-spam software, and we are going to try again with open registration. Registration and sign-in information are available at the bottom of the far right column. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, you may email us at



Ortega Highway Between I-5 and Del Obispo to Close for Three Weeks

As part of the Ortega/I-5 interchange project, starting on Monday, November 3rd, crews will close Ortega Highway between the I-5 interchange and Del Obispo Street in San Juan Capistrano for approximately three weeks to work on reconfiguring the road alignment. As you may remember, the intersection of Ortega and Del Obispo will be reconfigured allowing [...]

Property Owner, City Leaders Clash Over New Retail Proposal for “Plaza Banderas” Site

Gretchen Stroscher Thomson owns property in downtown San Juan Capistrano. Her family is one of the ranch owning families on which much of San Juan Capistrano was built. In fact, the famous Walnut Grove restaurant was on her family’s land, as were the actual walnut groves for which the legendary San Juan restaurant was named. [...]

Planning Commission Delays Vote on Downtown San Juan Hotel Project

The Capistrano Dispatch has an article about the San Juan Capistrano Planning Commission’s decision last week to delay an approval vote on a large development project proposed for downtown San Juan Capistrano adjacent to Historic Town Center Park. The $43 million project would include a 136-room boutique hotel, 33 residential townhomes and 2,700 square feet [...]

The Sun Came Out and the Cars Kept Moving

Like clockwork, as soon as the calendar flipped over to June, with it arrived the gloom. It was overcast, drizzly and dreary all weekend. Perhaps that was metaphorically appropriate. Was it the calendar or the Ortega bridge lane reduction that brought June gloom upon us?

As readers know, crews closed the southern half of the [...]

Keep Calm and Carry On

And so it begins…

According to a Caltrans alert, construction crews will this week close the outside lane in each direction on Ortega Highway between Del Obispo Street and Rancho Viejo Road in order to install temporary traffic signals on Ortega at the northbound and southbound I-5 on- and off-ramps. Stay informed! For more information [...]

San Juan Chamber Asks City Council to Temporarily Open El Horno Street During Construction

In a letter to the San Juan Capistrano City Council, the San Juan Chamber of Commerce requests that the El Horno Street undercrossing be temporarily opened during the I-5/Ortega Highway interchange construction project. With a little pat on the back, we want to remind our readers that we suggested the exact same thing in a [...]

Latest Information on the I-5/Ortega Interchange Project Schedule

Here at Rancho Ortega Blog, we try to bring you as much information as possible about the upcoming I-5/Ortega Highway Interchange Project so that you can plan in advance and minimize your inconvenience. We first warned you about Carmageddon. We next highlighted some of the road closures and detours and previewed the construction phases. Most [...]

Caltrans Announces I-5/Ortega Interchange Closures and Detours

On its project site for the I-5/Ortega Interchange Project, Caltrans has announced the duration of the closures affecting the Ortega Interchange and the official detour routes. For those of you who are unaware, Caltrans will be essentially shutting down the I-5/Ortega Highway interchange for an extended period of time to improve the design of the [...]

Carmageddon Coming to San Juan Capistrano

The Mayans predicted that the world would end in December 2012. South County commuters who rely on the I-5/Ortega Highway interchange may soon believe that the Mayans were right. Carmageddon, in the form of the I-5/Ortega Highway Interchange construction project, is coming!

Caltrans has unveiled plans for the new 5/Ortega interchange. Assuming that funding for [...]