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Amid Lakes and Forests in Rugged Southwestern Oregon, Charming, Hip Jacksonville is a Town Stuck in Time and a National Historic Landmark
Jacksonville is a nice little town nestled amid lakes, rivers and forests between the Cascade Mountains and the Klamath Mountains in rugged southwestern Oregon. It got its start when gold was discovered in 1851.
The new town boomed until 1925 when the railroad passed it by in favor of neighboring Medford. Jacksonville stopped growing and was for years essentially stuck in time. The result is a well-preserved commercial core with 19th-century Classical Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne and Craftsman style architecture. In fact, the entire town of Jacksonville is a National Historic Landmark. It has hip but understated charm and is popular with tourists who come for the history but also for the annual Britt Music and Arts Festival, a fun concert series that happens each summer and fall. Tasteful wineries, cozy B&Bs, eclectic bookstores, cool coffee houses and upscale retailers add to Jacksonville's appeal. Many residents travel to Medford, seven miles to the east, for extra supplies and services.
Housing is eclectic and includes downtown pioneer properties that have been renovated into beautiful condos as well as new Spanish Colonials on the outskirts of town. More than 320 acres of surrounding woodlands have walking trails. Gorgeous Crater Lake National Park is 90 minutes to the east.
Population: 3,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 57%
Cost of Living: 35% above the national average
Median Home Price: $615,000
Climate: January daytime highs are usually in the 40s and 50s, and lows are in the 20s and 30s. Summer daytime temperatures are in the 70s and 80s, and lows are in the 50s. On average, the area receives 19 inches of rain and seven inches of snow per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Providence Medford Medical Center is seven miles away in Medford and is accredited.
Public Transit: Yes, provided by Rogue Valley Transportation, and it runs to Medford.
Crime Rate: Well below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Split down the middle
Is Oregon Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Somewhat
Cons: The earthquake risk is 127% higher than the national average. This part of the country is no stranger to wildfires. In September, 2020, the Almeda Fire burned southeast of Jacksonville, bringing smoke filled skies and destroying two nearby towns.
Notes: Jacksonville has grown 5% within the last decade. Some long-time locals think it has become pretentious and a little too big for its britches. Racial diversity is minimal. The Pacific Ocean is three to four hours away by car. Home prices have increased 9% since a year ago.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Oregon became a territory in 1846, but its request to become a state was bogged down by Congress and the free versus slave state debate. Southern politicians finally allowed Oregon to enter the Union as a free state on February 14, 1859.
Although the 42nd parallel marks its southern border, water delineates most of the Beaver State's boundaries. The Columbia River separates Washington from Oregon on the north. The Snake River helps form the state's eastern border with Idaho. The Pacific Ocean is on its western edge.
Oregon is one of the country's most geographically diverse states and is characterized by volcanoes, dense forests, high deserts, and abundant bodies of water. For its latitude, its climate is mild. Mount Hood, at 11,249 feet, is the state's highest point. Crater Lake, the center of the state's only national park, is the deepest lake in the United States.
Timber, fishing, and hydroelectric power have pushed the state's economy in the past. Technology, however, is finding a firm footing. Tektronix and Intel helped establish the state's Silicon Forest. Notable companies who are or have been part of the forest include Google, eBay, Airbnb, and WebMD. Sportswear companies like Columbia and Nike also bring in billions to the state.
Portland, the state's most populous city, has more breweries in its boundaries than any other in the world. As of 2016, there were more than 60. The city boasts the world's smallest park. Mill Ends Park, dedicated in 1948, is a total of 452 square feet.
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