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.