Moving to Southern Oregon: Things you should know

Portland, Oregon, USA skyline at dusk with Mt. Hood in the distance.

With an estimated 4.19 million people residing on a land area of 98,466 square miles, Oregon has more space than people. But that’s just one of Oregon’s main appeals.

Comparatively less glamorous as its sunny neighbor in the south, Oregon attracts nature lovers, beer and wine enthusiasts, and adventure-seekers. For visitors and locals, Oregon is a gateway to the vast, natural expanse of the Pacific Northwest — from the high peaks of Mount Hood to the beaches and dunes of the Oregon Coast.

While it’s easy to get caught up in Portland, the state’s largest city only scratches the surface of what Oregon and its seven regions have to offer. Southern Oregon, in particular, offers a break from city life with its rich geographical diversity. Its cities, like Ashland and Medford, are also exciting places to be.

If you’re planning on moving to Oregon soon, here are several things you should know.

  1. There is no such thing as sales tax in Oregon

If you love to shop once in a while, good news− Oregon has no statewide sales tax. Some cities and towns, however, such as Ashland, have their own taxes in place, such as the 5 percent prepared food tax.

And if you are buying a car outside Oregon, you’re required to pay the vehicle use tax. If you don’t, you won’t be able to register and use your car in the state.

You can read more about this topic here.

2. The state government is gung-ho about recycling

In fact, the entire population of Oregon is all about recycling. The state has been cracking down on one-way bottles and cans since 1971, completely banning them under the Bottle Bill, the first of its kind in the United States. Under this law, you’ll need to pay a 10-cent deposit for each bottle and can you buy within state boundaries. Don’t worry, you’ll get a refund when you return the empty containers to designated redemption centers and participating stores.

If you’d like to actively participate in Oregon’s recycling efforts, click here.

3. Everyone’s right to go to the beach is sacred

Drive to any part of the Oregon Coast, park your car, and enjoy the coastal waters. Thanks to 1967 HB 1601, also known as the Oregon Beach Bill, the public is entitled to free use of all the beaches in the state. This landmark bill helped protect Oregon’s dramatic coastline from the threat of private ownership.

Here are four coastal hikes you wouldn’t be able to enjoy if not for the Oregon Beach Bill.

4. Better wine is in Oregon

American wine is almost always synonymous to California, but the better American wine is found in Oregon. In fact, there are two regions in the state that produce fantastic, award-winning wine.

Southern Oregon, for instance, is a gem hidden in plain sight of America’s viticulture. Thanks to the favorable climate and soil, this region can grow more than 70 grape varietals.

There are a six American viticulture areas or wine-producing regions in Southern Oregon. There’s Rogue Valley with its Bordeaux-style wines, Umpqua Valley with its powerhouse tempranillo, and unusual varietals like gewürztraminer and alvarinho.

Use this guide to explore Southern Oregon’s wine country.

5. “Farm-to-table” and “locally sourced” are not just trendy fine dining terms

The same pleasant climate in Oregon that allows wine grapes to flourish also lends itself to bountiful local produce. Local farmers’ markets offer such a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that you’ll be spoilt for choice and not realize it until you travel out of state.

Quality local produce regularly shines in fine dining menus like Ashland’s Hearsay Restaurant and Medford’s Pomadori Bistro & Wine Bar. If you prefer cooking at home but can’t seem to make the trip to a nearby farmers’ market, you can always sign up for a CSA share online and get home delivery. Supporting the local economy is not only gratifying, but also convenient.

6. Oregon is a bike-friendly state


Do you like to skip the car and push the pedal instead? You’ll be pleased to know that you can travel by bike all you want in Oregon. Bike paths criss-cross throughout the state, which makes biking a greener and healthier alternative to cars.

The League of American Bicyclists was so impressed with Oregon’s bike friendliness that the state ranked 5th in LAB’s 2017 list.

Here are some of Oregon’s most scenic bikeways.

7. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is a big deal

It has the word “festival” in its name, but the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) is more like an extended theater run than a festival. It takes place every year in the city of Ashland, running from February to October, contributing to Ashland’s reputation as Southern Oregon’s cultural center.

The OSF started with theater productions of the Bard’s plays, but now they have expanded to feature other works. The 2019 season even includes a restaging of “Macbeth” alongside mainstream plays like “Hairspray” and “Alice in Wonderland”.

8. Cannabis, on the other hand, is not such a big deal

Marijuana was decriminalized in Oregon back in the 1970s, and its recreational use officially went into effect in 2015.

Even though marijuana is legal in Oregon, recreational use is restricted to private spaces, and residents are only allowed to possess eight ounces at any one time. The state’s marijuana industry is heavily regulated, and the sale and consumption of the plant by those under 21 is strictly illegal.

Here’s a nifty infographic about recreational marijuana use in Oregon.

9. You’ll end up with more hobbies than you started with

Southern Oregon is a landscape of fast-flowing rivers, cascading waterfalls, hot springs, rolling vineyards, and mountain peaks. If you lead an active lifestyle, it’s very possible to dedicate your time to a different outdoor activity each season.

In the winter, you can take your skis up to the slopes of Mount Ashland. Explore the North Umpqua Trail on your mountain bike on a fine summer’s day. Gather a group of friends for whitewater rafting on the Rogue River. Pack a pair of binoculars for bird watching at the Pacific Flyway in Klamath Falls in the fall.

With an estimated 4.19 million people residing on a land area of 98,466 square miles, Oregon has more space than people. But that’s just one of Oregon’s main appeals.

Comparatively less glamorous as its sunny neighbor in the south, Oregon attracts nature lovers, beer and wine enthusiasts, and adventure-seekers. For visitors and locals, Oregon is a gateway to the vast, natural expanse of the Pacific Northwest — from the high peaks of Mount Hood to the beaches and dunes of the Oregon Coast.

While it’s easy to get caught up in Portland, the state’s largest city only scratches the surface of what Oregon and its seven regions have to offer. Southern Oregon, in particular, offers a break from city life with its rich geographical diversity. Its cities, like Ashland and Medford, are also exciting places to be.

If you’re planning on moving to Oregon soon, here are several things you should know.

Does Southern Oregon sound like the change of pace you’ve been looking for? Call Ashland Homes Real Estate today to find a home in this idyllic wonderland!


Get in touch with the team by calling 800.334.7499 / 541.482.0044 or send an email to info@ashland-homes.com.