Quality Of Life
Briefly, Medford has a very good quality of life. The weather here is very nice. Rarely too cold, but you need to like hot weather if you stay here in August and September, when it often is in the triple digits for several days. Not a lot of cooling at night, as evening breezes are rare in the Summer. Heavy ice-fog in the Winter can make air traffic problems for days. The politics here are moderately conservative, as it is a working-class town that is still fairly patriotic. You won't, however, have to worry too much about religious people, as they seem to be rare as hen's teeth. Surprising, as there are a lot of churches here. I've started to wonder if they are facades instead of real buildings. But then, Oregon has been recognized as the most non-religious state in the nation. In reality though, there are some very good churches and wonderful people that attend. You'll find a welcoming congregation. The people here are quite friendly and courteous. Initially, you'll be quite surprised to find that someone might actually make eye contact with and say "hello" just for the heck of it.
The job market is not great, but improving. Other than the high taxes, it is a great retirement area and a lot of retirees do live here and seem to enjoy it. If you are retired and have a good income, you may come to feel that your being taken advantage of with the high rate of tax and your probable low use of the infrastructure. I pay more income tax here than I would in California, due to the tax structure of being almost immediately in the top bracket. If you are a big spender, you might find the absence of a sales tax will offset the high income tax rate. Of course, if you get lost and end up in Ashland, they have their own little sales tax to bite the hand that feeds them (tourists). You'll find that if you own a home, you will be asked to pay a lot towards a lot of things you will never use. The medical care and facilities are way above average for an area with this population. Top rate medical care is available. The Medford Police Department does a great job and they are professional and courteous. They have a difficult job. There is a major meth problem in southern Oregon they must deal with and a college a short distance away, so there is the requisite marijuana problem as the children there try to learn to spread their wings and become their own little beings. The Fire Department and the non-profit ambulance service is top notch. Unfortunately, the city falls prey to a lust for easy money and uses sneaky white vans to "hide in plain sight" and take videos of speeding cars for ticketing. If there is a downhill incline, expect one to be there to take advantage of a moment of inattention to your speedometer, as you pick up a bit of speed. They also use cameras in certain intersections for the same purpose. These things tend to make you feel you are living in a police state at times. Perhaps, even more of a nuisance, are the one-way streets all over in the downtown area.
The downtown area is trying to revitalize itself, but does have to contend with the loss of people wanting to go there. Other than to go to particular function, I find that I almost never go downtown, as the one-way streets are confusing and dangerous, as you spend half your time looking upward for one-way signs, instead of watching the traffic in an intersection. Hard to imagine this has not been corrected. Downtown could otherwise be a fairly nice place to browse around. The main shopping mall is okay for a small town. Don't expect to go there at Christmas time and find any hint of the Christmas spirit however. It's not there. Then again, it is hardly to be found anywhere here. You'd do better going the Bay Area for a "Christmas Shopping Experience", surprisingly. If you are into "P.C." and a "holiday season" pleases you, you might be right at home. If you are into outdoor activities, you will like the Rogue Valley and surrounding mountains and rivers. It is a beautiful area. I've lived here around 6 years and love that part of this area. If I sound a bit disillusioned, yes I am. I'm considering moving on. I left California for a good reason, but found that I didn't go quite far enough north or east to lose their influence. My mistake, but you may find this area to your complete satisfaction. There are certainly much worse places you could live. Believe me, I lived in the Bay Area. If you come here, I wish you well. You would be hard pressed to find nicer people and the residents take care of their own in time of need, better than any place I've seen. Good luck to you.
Truth | Medford, OR