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My future fellow Orengonians: I'm currently living in Boise, ID. and have been for several years. But the unchecked sprawl, the worsening traffic, the weather extremes, and the increasingly bad air quality have me seriously contemplating a move to Oregon--a state I have visited many times and loved! I've narrowed my choices down to Roseburg and Grants Pass: two places I've visited briefly and seem like a nice quiet, laidback place to live.
So please opine! What do you think is the main "feel" of each town? The attitudes, overally town personalities? I don't need demographics; just honest opinions on what you like/dislike about each place.
Hey, thanks a lot for your time!
I lived near Roseburg about 19 years ago. Only lived there for about a year. I liked the area, people seemed nice enough, I just couldn't find a full time job and ended up driving 2 hours one way for work. At that time it seemed to be a "depressed" area. I am not familiar with how it is now. I do know that it has grown alot.
I now live near Grants Pass (for almost 6 years). I really like the area alot! We live out on acreage, but I do alot of business in Grants Pass. Of all the places I have lived, this feels like home! I have no thoughts of leaving. If you need something that Grants Pass doesn't offer, you can always be in Medford in 30 minutes. Traffic can get heavy in some areas, but it's nothing you can't live with. I think the people in general here are laid back and friendly. There doesn't seem to be large populations of any extreme.
Roseburg is more of a rough-around-the-edges blue-collar town, while Grants Pass is becoming, comparably, more and more civilized every year with the influx of interstate immigrants. Roseburg is solidly conservative, and Grants Pass is moderate with a definite libertarian edge to it. Grants Pass is and feels bigger and has more of a bustle to it, and also has more "cultured" things going on (even if they are quaint) than Roseburg does.
They both have similar roots as small Southern Oregon logging towns, but Grants Pass has turned toward the future more and is now more "cosmopolitan" (in the small, former Oregon logging town sense of that word ).
Basically, Roseburg still kind of feels like a logging town, like it didn't really leave the 80s, and I think there actually still is an operating mill there. Grants Pass just doesn't have that vibe so much anymore. Both towns have grown, but Grants Pass has grown more. With that has come sprawl, traffic, and worsening air quality. But compared to Boise I'm sure it's nothing.
The Grants Pass area is more beautiful with the Siskiyou Mountains right in your face surrounding the city, and is also closer to the redwoods and close to the coast. I also find the city itself more aesthetically pleasing than Roseburg. Not to say Roseburg isn't a nice place to live, but I prefer Grants Pass, personally. There is just more going on and it's becoming more liberal every year.
If I had to complain about Grants Pass, I'd say it's growing too fast and not in the best way possible. There is a Little Mexico neighborhood that is a little sketchy at night, and lots of cholos from SoCal (lots of Southern Californians here in general, for better and/or worse). I saw a skinhead about a month ago which was quite a shock, but I think that was an isolated incident of an outsider, because it's not a racist town at all. Also, it's still a fairly conservative small town with a fairly conservative small town attitude. The politics in the city are terrible... We just recalled all of our city councilors in a special election. They were crooks basically, but still. Also, people in Eugene and Portland are friendlier than they are in Grants Pass, generally.
Roseburg might be a more quiet, laid-back place to live than Grants Pass now that I think about it, unless you relegate yourself to rural Josephine County...
Thanks alot backdrifter! Yo gave me the exact type of answer I was seeking. Good job, and I appreciate your taking the time. And hey--I know exactly what you mean about the huge influx of Californians. Part of the problems with Boise now is due to the infestation we've had who have Californicated our once fair town. Boise has lost much of what once made it unique, and nowadays, heck: you could plop someone down in the middle of town from a spaceship and tell them they were in a northern california town and they would believe it. Boise, Idafornia! LOL
Hi, concerning Roseburg vs Grants Pass my questions are: Which has more fog? and is it a low lying fog affecting traffic visibility? And having read that the air quality can be a problem with little to no winds to clear out the valley in Roseburg, is Grants Pass any better as far as that goes? Thanks in advance for your input.
Loved your description of Grants Pass, Backdrifter. It's Very Well done and accurate imo!
Enjoyed the comparison of Boise also. Some people have tried to get me to go there. The temperatures(I need mid range--not extreme) are one of the major reasons I wouldn't do well there.
I'm already freezing here in Grants Pass due to the weather, and somewhat the people.
They're polite and kind here. Can't really say anything negative, but they're not adding me to their friends list and I'm not used to that. I usually make friends quickly. Don't know if it's just here or the overall way of the Pac NW.
There definitely are lots of Californians here in GP, but not all necessarily from southern CA--pretty spread out from all over CA. I can't tell anyone is from CA(maybe a visitor or two) unless they tell me, and all have said they Love it here and would not consider going back. (btw--N CA and S CA--different planets).
Lots of people here are Duck dynasty wanna-be's ...ie-camoflauge city/long gray beards.
I've been here a few months and don't seem to be settling/fitting in, so thinking of moving on in the spring. Just don't know where.
I disagree on Larry's comment on lack of fog in GP. Very foggy and damp here! Then the fog freezes. Have only seen one full day of sunshine since I came here. It pops out for an hour or 3 occasionally(not daily), but mostly it's dark gray here at this time of year. Check the weather advisories--Lots of Stagnant Air in GP suprisingly.
GP has a cute, quaint and active downtown area, and what I call the big-box area, where most of the shopping is-- HomeDepot, WalMart, FredMeyer, BigLots, DollarStore, GroceryOutlet etc..and Winco on the way I hear.
Decent restaurant choices for a small city. LoL--4 of the Mexican restaurants are owned by the same family, so that's..um...interesting. Overall, the Mex food is better here than most places north of S. CA.
Can't comment much on Roseburg, other than since it's smaller, so there is less of everything--good and bad. Although it's closer to Eugene, so if you needed dashes/touches of city life or more choices, that could be a good thing.
I think you can get some land to spread out here if you want to, or be right in town. Build or buy a new, modern house or get one of the ahem "quaint" old mill houses, built before they included bathrooms, and hopefully fix it up.
It's a nice, easy drive to Medford(I-5 or back way) for shopping that isn't available in GP(Costco, Trader Joes, a Mall) and Ashland which is kind of fun in it's own way.
I've lived in both GP and Roseburg, and the description of Roseburg being stuck in the 80's is pretty accurate. There still are a couple of mills and plywood plants still operating in Roseburg, I really don't know what keep it a float.
Grants Pass on the other hand has positioned itself as a retirement community and tourist center of Southern Oregon. If it wasn't for the Californian's migrating here in the 70's I don't know how GP would have faired. I was raised in GP, and always like the town, people are friendly and will help when called upon to do so. It seems that the town always has something going on no matter what time of the year it is.
There are no mills left in Roseburg, but there are several in outlying communities and just outside the city limits. 100 car lumber trains still leave Douglas County twice a week. The Swanson mill on the south end of town is just outside the city limits and the Keller Lumber mill on the north end of town is also outside the city. Roseburg Forest Products is the largest privately held timber and building materials company in the USA, but its headquarters are in Dillard, just south of Winston. Con-vey Keystone is a big mill equipment fabricator that builds factory equipment for companies all over the west.
Grants Pass lost the lumber business when the feds shut it down. They had no choice but to become a tourist destination. There is not enough private timber land in Josephine County to support a mill, though I have heard that Rough 'n Ready in Cave Junction has started up again. Grants Pass does have a better selection of restaurants, and there is a stage theater there that gets medium tier touring acts. The experience is pretty rustic though, because the theater doesn't have heat or AC. The Britt Festival in Jacksonville is not that far away. Is the race track still operating? It used to be the last horse track in Oregon, but I haven't heard anything about it in years.
The Roseburg area still has hundreds of family wage mill and factory jobs. I have no idea how people make a living in Grants Pass.
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