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Old 09-20-2006, 12:18 AM
 
28 posts, read 209,188 times
Reputation: 26
Default The Pros & Cons of Living in Ashland vs. Bend

I love Oregon and want to relocate! (Yes, I'm another Californian (non-native) wanting to move north. My husband and I are debating the pros and cons between Ashland and Bend. We're mid-forties with two elementary age kids, looking for a slower paced life in a small to mid-sized community with good schools in/near the mountains with lots of outdoor activities.

Anyone care to comment on the following?

Schools: The Ashland school district is excellent, but the school population is declining. Parents with younger kids can't afford housing. More retirees are moving in. Elementary schools have been closed. Bend, on the other hand is growing, but are the schools too over crowded? Is it accurate to say that Bend schools are good, but not as great as Ashland?

Weather: Bend has more sunny days, but is colder. How much colder - less than ten degress, or more like 10 - 15 degrees colder? Ashland has milder winters, but more fog/clouds. Does Ashland really get the same type of fog/clouds as Medford 12 miles north?

People/Politics: We're concerned that Ashland is almost all liberals. That's 95% of what we see/hear in the local paper. Is this accurate? We'd like a little more balance. Which way does Bend lean - liberal or conservative? Any general differences in the types of people. Maybe more retirees in Ashland, more families in Bend?

Urban growth: Bend is growing leaps and bounds, I hear. Does the local govt. have a well thought out strategic plan for growth? Or, is Bend becoming urban sprawl? (I am already aware of the jumps in housing prices.)

Outdoor recreation: How would you rate the hiking, mountain biking, fishing, rafting, winter skiiing between the two? Does Bend have the edge here?

Any feedback is appreciated!

 
Old 09-22-2006, 09:19 AM
 
28 posts, read 209,188 times
Reputation: 26
Smile Would you rather live in Bend or Ashland?

The people on this forum are so great. I love the information sharing, insights and opinions. I was hoping to hear your thoughts about Bend vs. Ashland. Anyone out there care to share? Thanks!
 
Old 09-22-2006, 11:25 AM
 
Location: coos bay oregon
2,096 posts, read 5,781,923 times
Reputation: 1188
Hi Kiwi, I cant help you really on Bend vs Ashland (although my mom is currently in the process of moving to Bend, in her opinion, its Heaven on Earth. - but I will say Howdy, and welcome to the Oregon forum! And give you the general encouragement to visit both places, a couple times if you can, talk w/the locals in person if possible before you make your final desicion. -
Good luck!
Tiffany
 
Old 09-29-2006, 10:28 PM
 
28 posts, read 209,188 times
Reputation: 26
Default to Steve97415 -

Steve97415:

You have such great insights on this forum. I'm interested in your input on Bend vs. Ashland in regards to the areas in my original post above (schools, weather, politics, urban growth and recreation). Care to comment?

If if there's anyone else out there who knows more about Ashland let's hear it!

Thanks,
Kiwi
 
Old 09-30-2006, 03:59 PM
 
1,309 posts, read 3,818,389 times
Reputation: 1667
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi View Post
I love Oregon and want to relocate! (Yes, I'm another Californian (non-native) wanting to move north. My husband and I are debating the pros and cons between Ashland and Bend. We're mid-forties with two elementary age kids, looking for a slower paced life in a small to mid-sized community with good schools in/near the mountains with lots of outdoor activities.

Anyone care to comment on the following?

Schools: The Ashland school district is excellent, but the school population is declining. Parents with younger kids can't afford housing. More retirees are moving in. Elementary schools have been closed. Bend, on the other hand is growing, but are the schools too over crowded? Is it accurate to say that Bend schools are good, but not as great as Ashland? Probably not. Bend schools generally rate among the highest in the state. The emptying of the Baby Boomers' nests is a nationwide phenomenon that is bringing declining enrollment to school districts everywhere in the country. You can't escape from it without time travel capability. Housing in Bend is no more affordable than it is in Ashland.

Weather: Bend has more sunny days, but is colder. How much colder - less than ten degress, or more like 10 - 15 degrees colder? More like 10-15 degrees, but it's a difficult comparison because the two are on different sides of the Cascades and so have very different climates. Bend is in a basin-and-range continental climate in the lee of the Cascades; Ashland is in an elevated river valley climate in the Siskiyous with some marine exposure. The thermal profiles may not look that different, but they start on a different point on the scale.




Ashland has milder winters, but more fog/clouds. Does Ashland really get the same type of fog/clouds as Medford 12 miles north? Yes, it's all part of the same valley with no topographical features to impede the flow of fog. When you run water in your bathtub, does the water all stay at the faucet end, or does it seek its own level and fill the entire tub? Marine air is a fluid, too, and will do the same thing in a river valley. Ashland is marginally higher than the other towns and there will be rare days when it is foggy in Medford and clear in Ashland, but it's not a significant factor.

People/Politics: We're concerned that Ashland is almost all liberals. That's 95% of what we see/hear in the local paper. Is this accurate? That's grossly exaggerated, but Ashland is a college town and so attracts people who can think for themselves. If you're uncomfortable around progressive thinkers or alternative lifestyle types, you probably don't want to live in Ashland itself. The RRV in general though, is rather conservative, especially in Josephine County where educational achievement is rather low. We'd like a little more balance. Which way does Bend lean - liberal or conservative? Bend is not a college town per se but there is some high tech industry and the populace tends to be quite well educated. The greater emphasis on a private sector economy would, I expect, even things out a bit. Any general differences in the types of people. Maybe more retirees in Ashland, more families in Bend? More yuppies in Bend, more hippies in Ashland. Reproductive fecundity is probably about the same.

Urban growth: Bend is growing leaps and bounds, I hear. Does the local govt. have a well thought out strategic plan for growth? Or, is Bend becoming urban sprawl? (I am already aware of the jumps in housing prices.) Oregon has centralized land use planning, so all local governments need to have comprehensive plans assembled with citizen input that meet state criteria. Whether any given "well-thought out" plan is a good plan depends on whom you ask. There is plenty of discontent with the amount of growth in Bend.

Outdoor recreation: How would you rate the hiking, mountain biking, fishing, rafting, winter skiiing between the two? Does Bend have the edge here? I would say so, it's the Boulder, CO of the PNW and few other cities in the country can compare. Ashland does well enough in outdoor recreation opportunities, though, and has the added advantage of the easy accessibility of the northern Sierras and the coast.

Any feedback is appreciated!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Old 10-03-2006, 09:37 AM
 
1,890 posts, read 3,950,782 times
Reputation: 1075
I'm an Oregon native and familiar with both cities- here is my take for what it's worth-
Bend- vacation oriented, numerous transplants, best skiing in Oregon nearby (Mt. Bachelor), nice downtown, lots of golf, great hikes nearby, 3 hours to portland
Ashland- great town, more isolated in feel b/c it isn't close to a major city, fewer vacationers compared to bend, but more retirees, winters are not as cold, but the skiing isn't as good.
I'd prefer Bend b/c I think its outdoor activities are unmatched, but Ashland is nice. Ashland just feels much more isolated to me b/c it is so far from a major airport. Also, if you like to ski, Bend is the place. If you have a young family, I'd pick Bend. Bend has its share of retirees, but Ashland feels like it is almost all retirees.
 
Old 10-03-2006, 09:41 AM
 
1,890 posts, read 3,950,782 times
Reputation: 1075
"politics"

If you are conservative, areas surrounding both towns have plenty of conservatives. I'm liberal and love liberals, so I have no idea why you would want to or seek rednecks, but there are plenty of them near both (Grants Pass near Ashland and Pineville near Bend). There is a large fundamentalist holly roller church in Bend if you like that.
 
Old 10-03-2006, 02:58 PM
 
252 posts, read 749,378 times
Reputation: 170
conservatives: rednecks and achievement challenged?
liberals: educated self thinkers? progressive mindset?

Where's the progressive mindset here? Is there a reason behind the name-calling? Basically conservatives need not apply.

I'm a somewhat conservative in a radical town (Hollywood, CA) so I would fit right in. I think more moderates and conservatives should move in. Then it will really become diverse, better for all.

Last edited by snb3; 10-03-2006 at 03:06 PM..
 
Old 10-03-2006, 03:04 PM
 
441 posts, read 1,171,754 times
Reputation: 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by JakeDog View Post
"politics"

If you are conservative, areas surrounding both towns have plenty of conservatives. I'm liberal and love liberals, so I have no idea why you would want to or seek rednecks, but there are plenty of them near both (Grants Pass near Ashland and Pineville near Bend). There is a large fundamentalist holly roller church in Bend if you like that.
Conservative does not equal "redneck."

The attitudes on this board towards conservatives really irks me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snb3 View Post
conservatives: rednecks and achievement challenged?
liberals: educated self thinkers? progressive mindset?

Where's the progressive mindset here? Basically conservatives need not apply.

I'm a somewhat conservative in a radical town (Hollywood, CA) so I would fit right in.
I agree. Certain posters imply liberal=tolerant and intelligent and conservative=non-sophisticated redneck. It's nauseating. As a conservative I don't like the attitude that prevails on this board with regard to that.

Last edited by Marka; 10-06-2006 at 02:46 AM.. Reason: merged
 
Old 10-03-2006, 03:10 PM
 
1,890 posts, read 3,950,782 times
Reputation: 1075
Depends on how you are a conservative-
if it is fiscal policy I can understand. If it's gays/"God" etc. I don't get it. Anyway, this isn't a political forum- rest assured that there are plenty of conservatives in both towns.
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