Since the financial crash of 2007 Southern Oregon has suffered high unemployment and little growth -but that all seems to be changing. We have been watching quietly as new homes are being built in every corner of the valley, businesses continue to move, in and acres of grapes are being planted.
From Ashland to Eagle Point, Medford to Jacksonville there is movement and activity everywhere. When you’re driving around, try to count the number of new homes being built, new businesses moving in and acres of vineyards being planted. Here is my count:
Home Building and Commercial Development
There are currently 109 new homes for sale and 68 new homes pending in the valley. They range from $179,000 in Medford, Rogue River and White City, to $895,000 on Ashland Creek road in Ashland. Even our small town of Jacksonville currently has 16 homes under construction.
That’s just the beginning of what is to come as there are some large developments already approved and construction that has just started. Stewart Meadows Village, which is between Hwy 99 and Myers Lane and between Garfield and Stewart, has just broken ground on 79 acres and will have 190 homes as well as residential and retail. Sky Park received final approval by Medford and will consist of 26 residential units above the city owned parking lot at 206 Central. The Cedar Links development on the former Cedar Links Golf Couse has already seen a 5.5 acre park being built by the City of Medford and the rest is set to be developed for residential and some retail. Outside of Jacksonville the old dump is currently being developed into 2.5 and 5 acre residential lots.
On the commercial side we have 18 acres called the Southeast Village Center on North Phoenix and Barnett Road which is in final stages of approval with the Medford planning commission. Also, in final approval with the bureau of Indian affairs, is a 2.42 acre Coquille Indian tribe $26 million casino. This will be located on Hwy 99 at the site of Roxy Ann Lanes and Kim’s restaurant.
In downtown Medford on the heels of the new multi-story, One West, County Health and Lithia building we’re about to see a 47,000 square foot multi-story police station go up behind the new County Health building. Speaking of Lithia, they have built four new dealerships on Hwy 62 past Costco for Nissan, Honda, VW and BMW. And speaking of Costco, they are in talks with the city of Medford to build a new larger and more convenient location in the area next to Traders Joe’s and REI. Lastly, its’ true, “In and Out Burger” is coming to the Rogue Valley Mall.
If all of this is not enough, Medford, faced with the prospect of running out of buildable land in the near future, is seeking approval from the state to add another 1,650 acres to its urban growth boundary to help accommodate 15,000 new homes and enough land for commercial development. City officials are trying to figure out how much land it needs to handle anticipated growth over the next 20 years as the population increases from 76,000 to a projected 115,000, more than a 50 percent increase.
Vineyards and Wineries
We’re all enjoying a wave of new wineries such as DANCIN, Kriselle Cellars, 2 Hawk, Red Lily and Bella Fiore, but the industry seems to just be getting started. Pallet Wine, who makes the wine for over 20 clients including Harry & David, Irvin Vineyards, and Grizzly Peak, is expanding by 10,000 square feet so that they can handle their growth and vineyards are popping up all over Southern Oregon. You don’t have to drive far to see the hundreds and hundreds of acres of new grapes being planted on Carpenter Hill, North Applegate and the 19,000 vines that DANCIN is going to plant in the groomed field off of South Stage.
There are currently 47 wineries listed on the Southern Oregon Winery Association’s website and other vineyards that will soon open wineries outside Jacksonville, Ashland and the Applegate Valley. Wine tours are being given by “All aboard Trolley”, “Bravo Outings”, and the “Wine Hopper” who have grown from Mercedes Sprinter Vans to large bus-sized trucks.
So next time you’re driving around, start counting all of the new homes being built, and if you’re lucky to be driving through the countryside, take notice of those growing acres and acres of vineyards.