The Quiet Roar

The Quiet Roar!

 

I just left a private tour of the historic 1100-seat Holly Theater in Medford and I couldn’t help to think how this area has grown and what an amazing combination of live theater, wineries and outdoor activities we offer.  No wonder we were just voted one of the “10 Best Wine Travel Destinations in the World” * by Wine Enthusiast Magazine and Jacksonville was written up in Smithsonian Magazine as one of the “Top Small Towns to Visit.” *  Southern Oregon has a deafening roar from the sounds of growth. It’s an energy that wasn’t here before: our Valley is alive with growth!   Local businesses are growing and national businesses are moving in. Listen to the roar, do you hear it? From new subdivisions to new vineyards, from new retailers to new restaurants, are we the newest up-and-coming place to live? It’s amazing if you add it all up and look at everything going on in our small valley!

 

Retailers, Restaurants & Commerce

I watch in amazement at the influx of new businesses and additional locations of existing businesses as they multiply in our Valley.  What do they know? What growth studies are they privy to? HomeGoods, In & Out, Five Guys, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Field & Stream, Forever 21, a new Starbucks by Rogue Regional Medical Center…and Costco is getting ready to build a larger store in Central Point. Recently, we saw the reopening of the train between California and Oregon through the Siskiyou tunnel, and Timber Products break ground on a new plant next to the current plant in Medford. Local businesses are expanding with BeerWorks coming to Jacksonville, Immortal Spirits opening in Medford, the Point Restaurant opening a second location in Medford, Rogue Federal doubling the size of their headquarters, Garrison’s Furniture opening in Phoenix, and our own WillowCreek Jacksonville doubling its size in Jacksonville.

 

Tourism & Wine

Jim Belushi is bringing a great deal of notoriety to our valley as well as raising money for the Holly Theater and the rebuilding of Butte Creek Mill, but our wine industry is our true new ambassador. It’s amazing to me to think that Wine Enthusiast Magazine voted Southern Oregon as one of the “10 Best Wine Travel Destinations in the World.” Yes, top 10, in the “World!”  For those who live outside of Southern Oregon, we were once known for our Shakespeare Festival, Britt Festival, Crater Lake and the Rogue River; but now, wine steals the show. On the backroads of the Rogue Valley and in the Applegate Valley, you can see stretch limos, Jubilee Trolley, Bravo Excursions and Wine Hopper bringing tourists and locals to over 40 wineries. The wine scene is expanding everyday with DANCIN planting new vineyards along South Stage, 2Hawk building a 14,000 square foot Winery and Del Rio adding 175 acres of grapes. We have seen Naumes, known for growing pears, plant rows and rows of grapes extending from the far side of Carpenter Hill to Pioneer Road and we have seen North Applegate Road get planted in grapes from the township of Applegate past Kubuli Road and around the corner. One of the newest kids on the block, Belle Fiore Winery, is something straight out of Napa with its multi-story, ornate production facility of 20,000 square feet, beautiful Italian-style construction, lots of inside and outside seating and a ballroom. The surprise is that it’s packed on the weekends and after work. Rogue Valley International Airport is experiencing record traffic and the City of Medford has allocated funds for a feasibility study to build a convention center. “Build it and they will come.”

 

 

Homes & More Homes

Never is the roar so evident as the sights and sounds coming from Caterpillar tractors preparing new subdivisions in hopes of keeping up with the demand. We have seen the median price of a home in Jackson County increase by 55.6% over the last five years. Buyers are flocking back to the market in higher numbers since 2005.  Driven by years of recession, low interest rates and a growing population in both numbers and age, we are currently experiencing a lack of housing resulting in a boom in construction. Neighborhoods are now buzzing with big trucks, contractors, and homes popping-up seemingly overnight. In Ashland, Verde Village, near the dog park, is moving forward on a development of 53 homes. In Medford, they have started Stewart Meadows subdivision between Stewart and Garfield and continuing from the golf course down to Hwy 99.  What was once the Cedar Links golf course is now being developed after years of delay and the east side of North Phoenix Road is dotted with new homes rising from the ground. Even Jacksonville is about to see the old dump acreage developed into 2.0+ acre lots, on First Street off of South Oregon Street is Timber Ridge Estates with 25 lots and on Third Street is Andrews Place with 15 lots. Add to all of this the “Green Rush” where irrigated farm land is being gobbled up by newly licensed Cannabis growers and the Quiet Roar is not so quiet.

 

So the next time you drive by the Holly Theater, just smile and think about how it’s a small part of the excitement coming to our valley and just the beginning of the Quiet Roar.

 

 

Home prices increase by over 55%

Over the last 5 years the median price of real estate in Jackson County has increased 55.6%! What makes these numbers even better is that most of the price increase has come in the last three years as 2011 and 2012 weren’t great years for real estate values. Homes are selling quickly, pending sales are up and the number of homes available on the market is dropping. To everyone’s surprise, interest rates have stayed low and are still below 4%.  There is a general housing shortage in Jackson County and new home starts aren’t keeping up with the demand. From 2007 – 2013, during the housing crisis, there were very few homes or apartments built in Jackson County and we’re feeling that now. We have had population and age growth so lots of millennials are now moving out of their parent’s basement looking for housing. Retirees are back in large numbers and many of them who tried to retire in the late 2000’s had to wait for their equity to return in their homes and their 401K’s to return to pre-recession values. On the rental front, rental rates are going up yearly and the supply is going down; so, there is lots of competition for rental homes, especially those priced under $1,000 month.

  • First quarter median home prices in Jackson County up 55.6% over the last 5-years
    • Rural Homes prices increased 28.4% with the current median price at $297,000
    • New home prices increased 52.1% with the current median price at $250,850
    • Central Point prices increased 72.5% with the current median price at $222,200
    • East Medford prices increased 42.6% with the current median price at $240,000
    • West Medford prices increased 79% with the current median price at $146,500
    • Jacksonville prices increased 24.2% with the current median price at $399,900
    • Ashland prices increased 45.6% with the current median price at $349,900
  • Inventory of homes for sale is down to 780 homes. A decline of nearly 20% from same time last year
  • Distressed home sales are down. Bank owned sales are down to 4.1% of the total home sales and Short sales are down to 1.4% of the total home sales. These are great numbers and it means that the number of distressed homes is low enough to not affect the overall sales prices of non-distressed homes.
  • Homes Sold are up 13% over the same time last year. About 80 more homes sold the first quarter over the same time last year.
  • Homes Pending are up 25% over the same time last year. About 50 more homes are selling per month compared to the same time last year.
  • New listings are down 2.5% over the same time last year – combine that with more buyers in the market and the days on the market fall by 32.4%.
  • Inventory is down to 2.3 months’ supply, which is down almost 37% from the same time last year

The housing outlook in Jackson County should remain the same for the rest of 2016 as interest rates stay low, the economy picks up, unemployment continues to decline and population growth increases. New housing developments have started on the old Cedar Links golf course and at Stewart Meadows between Garfield, Hwy 99 and Stewart but it may be too late for the finished homes to be available in 2016. All in all, the housing market has bounced back and is going strong!

 

Jacksonville Voted Top 20 Small Towns to Visit by Smithsonian Magazine

“Jacksonville’s gold deposits were discovered in the 1850s, and the town’s past still glitters today, literally. The famed Jacksonville Inn was actually built out of sandstone that had specks of gold in it.

The town thrived as a commerce capital until its fate changed when, in 1884, the railroad connecting eastern Oregon with a national rail network bypassed Jacksonville, and the economy tanked. In a strange twist of fate, the town’s poor fortune was actually what helped preserve its the 19th-century charms. Left mostly untouched for years, its historic buildings led it to become the first town in America to be named a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

Artifacts are still being dug up that explore Jacksonville’s gold rush past. In 2004, road work uncovered broken Chinese bowls and tea cups along with other objects that shed a light on its short-lived Chinatown, Oregon’s first, created when Chinese immigrants moved to Jacksonville during its boom. A narrated history walking tour provides a fascinating learning experience about the town’s preserved homes and buildings.

The town’s wineries have come into focus in the past few decades. The Applegate Wine Trail runs through Jacksonville, which is home to six tasting rooms in town, as well as wineries just outside it. Those looking for an alcohol-free beverage can do no better than Good Bean. The raved about coffee shop delivers a tall order, one of the best cups in Oregon.

Crater Lake National Park is a scenic drive from Jacksonville, making it a great day trip from Jacksonville. The journey offers some spectacular views of Oregon’s countryside, and those with the time should take a detour to the Lost Creek Reservoir, at the Mill Creek Falls turn-off. A switchback hike rewards with a beautiful waterfall at the end.

Every summer, a concert series in Jacksonville memorializes one of many who came to Jacksonville in search of gold, photographer Peter Britt. He spent much of his time in town capturing its historic legacy, which people can now look back on today. The Britt Festival, which runs all summer, takes place on his old estate. This year’s lineup boasts Diana Ross, Grace Potter and Hunter Hayes, among others.”

Mansky, Jackie. “History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Smithsonian.” History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Smithsonian. Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Apr. 2016. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

4 Signs That Your Garage Door Need Replacing

18568570_sWhether you own your home and are looking to put it on the market, or you own your home and you rent it out, you know the importance of maintaining the value.

One of the major ways to retain the value of your home, is to keep the aesthetics and the functionality of the home in-tact. One part of your home that embodies both the aesthetics and functionality is your garage door.

Your garage door is a good portion of the curb appeal of your home as it is a major piece of the exterior of your home.

It is also the largest point of access to your home, making the functionality and security of the garage door extremely important.

Installing a new garage door can be a stressful experience if you weren’t expecting to have to do it. Luckily, there are some signs that your garage door will give that tell you it is time to schedule maintenance or have a new door installed.

Some of those signs are:

  • When the garage door opens and closes, if there are significant creaks, pops, clicks, and signs of straining – it is definitely time to schedule a maintenance appointment and inspection. These are signs that the door needs to be calibrated and the runners and springs need grease.
  • When you are pulling into your driveway and you look at your garage door, if you notice any signs that it is sagging or bending then it is likely off-balance and when you open or close the door it could damage other parts of the system.
  • If your energy bills are suddenly very high this could be a sign that your garage door is not as energy-efficient as it was before and you should probably consider having it replaced with a newer model that works more efficiently
  • If you push the button on your remote and the garage door is slow to respond or it doesn’t respond at all, it is likely that the system needs some maintenance and you should call and schedule an appointment.

Addressing issues that your garage door is having sooner than later is the best way to avoid a malfunction that leaves you and your car stuck inside of the garage because the garage door won’t open.

Southern Oregon Voted Top 10 Wine Destinations in 2016

Shakespeare Festival
Once known for its Shakespeare festival, wine now steals the show in Ashland.
Oregon MapThe story of Oregon wine no longer begins and ends with Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, as many of the state’s most exciting new offerings hail from Southern Oregon. The region’s six American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) begin at the California border and extend north nearly to Eugene, with many of the 120 wineries clustered around the town of Ashland, famous for its annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Crater Lake, the Oregon Caves, Rogue River rafting and miles of pristine seashore are among southwest Oregon’s plentiful year-round attractions, rounding out a visit for any wine lover. —Paul Gregutt

Where to Dine
In Ashland, head to Amuse for a French-influenced, locally sourced menu and an excellent wine list. At Liquid Assets Wine Bar, great by-the-glass options and a full bar go along with outstanding gazpacho. In warm weather, opt to try the French menu on the terrace at the intimate Loft Brasserie. Granola pancakes are the must-order dish at busy breakfast joint Morning Glory.

Roseburg is another source of great eats: Salud Restaurant & Brewery has a wealth of tapas and live music. Brix Grill serves a steakhouse-style dinner menu with local wines.

Where to Stay
Five acres of lush gardens, hiking trails, mountain views and live music events are highlights of the cozy Country Willows Inn in Ashland. Located downtown is the restored, circa-1925 Ashland Springs Hotel. For a Roseburg pick, Delfino Vineyards has a wine country cottage nestled in the midst of a picturesque ranch and vineyard. On a budget? The Victorian Hokanson’s Guest House dates to 1882 and offers comfortable, affordable rooms.

Other Activities
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is the centerpiece of the summer season, but Ashland’s three stages host a wide range of both contemporary and classic works year-round. Don’t miss the region’s breathtaking natural scenery, including Crater Lake National Park (the site of an extinct volcano), hiking, rafting and fishing in the Rogue and Umpqua rivers, or the state parks along the Southern Oregon seashore.

Budget Tip
Want to drink with the locals in Ashland? Join the crowd at Standing Stone Brewing Company downtown for a Double IPA. (You’ll find good, cheap eats here, too).

When to Go
Go in May or early June, when the blossoms are out and the roads are clear, or September and October for splendid, sunny harvest days and cool nights.

Where to Taste
Along the I-5 corridor between Ashland and Medford are numerous tasting rooms, ranging from the rustic RoxyAnn Winery to the grandiose Belle ­Fiore Winery. Dancin Vineyards is one of the newest and most impressive, with an all-star lineup of Chardonnays and pizza.

Driving further west, you’ll find the Applegate Valley, a rustic hideaway that’s home to Cowhorn, a biodynamic vineyard and farm with exceptional Rhône-inspired wines.

In nearby Jacksonville, a charmingly authentic gold-mining town, stop at South Stage Cellars to taste wines from over a dozen wineries that use its grapes. Driving further west, you’ll find the Applegate Valley, a rustic hideaway that’s home to Cowhorn, a biodynamic vineyard and farm with exceptional Rhône-inspired wines. Nearby, Red Lily Vineyards has a well-appointed tasting room.

The city of Roseburg is another important location for wining and dining. Must-see wineries in the vicinity include Abacela, where Tempranillo and other Iberian grape varieties constitute the main focus; and Delfino Vineyards, a mom-and-pop operation with an excellent Dolcetto.

Local in the Know
Marilyn Hawkins, president of public relations firm Hawkins & Company, lives and works in the Ashland area and is an unabashed wine lover. She recommends the Ashland Tuesday Market for everything from fresh salsa and chèvre to morels, Japanese eggplant, pottery and more.

Hawkins also recommends First Friday Artwalk. “Ashland has a strong and diverse art gallery scene,” she says.

And if you want views of the gorgeous Rogue Valley, get outside and take “an invigorating 90-minute stroll around Roxy Ann Peak, just east of Medford.”

Prominent Wines
The all-inclusive Southern Oregon AVA was approved in 2004. Wrapped into it are the Rogue Valley, Applegate Valley and Umpqua Valley AVAs, plus tiny Red Hill Douglas County and Elkton. Generally warmer and drier than the Willamette Valley, the region supplies much of the value-priced Pinot Noir in bottles labeled, simply, “Oregon.” Tempranillo is the defining grape—pioneered 20 years ago by Abacela, it’s now almost ubiquitous. Be on the lookout for racy Rieslings and Gewürztraminers in cooler locations. Rhône and Bordeaux varieties thrive, as do Chenin Blanc, Dolcetto, Mondeuse, Petite Sirah and even Zinfandel.”

“10 Best Wine Travel Destinations 2016 | Wine Enthusiast Magazine.” Wine Enthusiast Magazine. 7 Jan. 2016. Web. 06 Apr. 2016.

3 Benefits Of A Cool Roof

21145897_sWhether you are looking to put your house on the market this coming spring season or you are gearing up to have new renters move in, this is the perfect time of year to get a head start on all of those spring cleaning tasks that go a long with these activities.

Owning a home is a lot of responsibility and being a landlord is that much more. But, the benefits of owning a home – either for you and your family to reside in and make beautiful memories or as an investment property – are significant and the better you care for your home the greater the benefits.

Going into the spring and summer months, most people are starting to think about what kinds of home improvement projects they should spend their time and resources on. Things like landscaping, plumbing, and energy-efficiency are all at the top of the list. Consider adding the installation of a cool-roof to your list. These energy-efficient installations work to reflect the sun’s rays away from your home.

This is done with the use of highly-reflective paint, a reflective sheet covering, or reflective tiles and shingles configured into a roofing pattern. Most any type of residential or commercial building will benefit from a cool roof.

Some of the more desired benefits to have a cool roof installed are:

  • Dramatic reduction of power bill. When you have a cool roof installed, the materials of the roof are essentially pushing away the rays of the sun so they don’t get absorbed into your home.
  • If there are rooms in your home where the air conditioner doesn’t quite cool off, a cool roof will eliminate this problem as those areas won’t heat up the way they do with the traditional roof.
  • The longevity of the roof is extended as the heat is not absorbed by the roofing materials, reducing the sun damage.

One of the best ways to improve the value of your home and have a dramatic impact on the energy-efficiency of your home is to have a cool roof installed. Cool roofs are designed to reflect sunlight and absorb less heat than standard roofs, and provide the above benefits.