Today's Stop on the Land Use Trail: Ashland

Throughout the summer, we'll be featuring stops on our Land Use Trail. Today, July 30: Ashland. In the heart of the Bear Creek Valley, Ashland has balanced its growth with the assets that make it such an appealing place to visit and live: open spaces and working farmland, a thriving downtown, and a unique culture.

About: In the Rogue River/Bear Creek Valley at the base of the Siskiyou Mountains, Ashland is home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Lithia Park, and Southern Oregon University and is known for its unique culture. It has also consciously emphasized investment inside its urban growth boundary, protecting open space on the east side of Interstate 5 and helping revive underutilized areas. Both the Ashland Railroad Addition District and the Downtown District have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Fun Fact: Now in its 78th year, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival sold almost 400,000 tickets in 2012, over 80 percent of them to out-of-city visitors. Between these visitors and the festival’s spending, the total economic impact of the festival was estimated at nearly $167 million.

Another Cool Fact: Between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Ashland thrived on rail trading of its Orchard products to San Francisco and Portland. Agriculture remains an important industry in Jackson County, with over $65 million in sales in 2012. It brings in the state’s second-largest crop of pears.


Ashland is easily accessible from most of Oregon via Interstate 5.

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Going to Ashland this summer? Share your photos with us! We'll pass them on. Several ways to share!

See the whole Land Use Trail, featuring exceptional Oregon natural places, communities, and working lands from every corner of our state.

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Text by Nathen Lamb, Communications Intern. Photo: Jim Gardner. Creative Commons.