The film, “Shakespeare in Love” from a few years ago reintroduced the movie-going public to William Shakespeare, but Ashland, Oregon has always had a love affair with the Bard. This jewel of a town greets thousands of theater-goers each February through October as it hosts the renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Costumed Shakespearian actors stroll the streets greeting visitors, and many of Ashland’s seniors get involved in the festivities by volunteering to usher at performances or by supporting the Tutor Guild. This vibrant small city has a long standing respect for history and a love of the arts and is often chosen as a retirement spot because of its enriching cultural community.
Ashland sits nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, just off of Interstate 5, in southwestern Oregon. Southern Oregon State College is located here, and for those who love to shop, nearby Jacksonville has a variety of antique shops and art galleries. Medford, the area’s commercial center, is just 15 minutes away, giving Ashland’s 17,000 citizens a combination of small town ambiance and big city culture. Seniors here also enjoy biking, fishing, golfing, hiking and skiing in the nearby Cascades.
This part of Oregon is ideal for retirement for several reasons: the cost-of-living is generally less than the national average, property taxes are low, there is no state sales tax, medical care is top-notch and recreation opportunities are plentiful. A drawback may be that this area has four distinct seasons, and winters can get cold.
Climate: Four distinct seasons; January’s average high temperature is 45 degrees, and the low is 30 degrees. The average summer temperature high is 90 degrees, and the low is 54 degrees. The region receives an average of 20 inches of rain and 10 inches of snow a year. Relative humidity averages 70%.
Cost-of-Living: Above average
Health Care: Ashland Community Hospital has 48 beds and is a full service , primary care facility. The nearby Rogue Valley Medical Center in Medford has 300 beds and is the largest medical care facility in the area.
Housing: An increasing number of Californians are discovering the area, and prices are rising; an average home currently costs about $375,000. Retirement communities are available in nearby Medford. Apartment rentals (two bedrooms) range from $800 to $950 a month, and single family home rents begin at about $900 a month.
Taxes: No state sales tax. State income tax is 5% to 9%, graduated, over $5,000. Property taxes are 1.6%. Social security is not taxed.
Safety: An average of 55 crimes per 1,000 population, slightly higher than the national average. Violent crimes are rare.
Contact: Ashland Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 1360, Ashland, Oregon 97520, (503) 482-3486.