Medford, Oregon

Best Places to Retire in Oregon


Medford (population 68,000) is located on Interstate Hwy 5 in southern Oregon, 28 miles from the California line, and 13 miles north of Ashland. It is the largest city in Jackson County and serves as the county seat. Once known for timber, the area has changed to reflect a more service-oriented economy. Today, health care is the largest private employer, behind government, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and forest services.

Medford Downtown, which is the historic cultural and economic center of the city and Jackson County, has been designated as a National Historic District. Major renovation projects have been completed or are planned. The Medford Urban Renewal Agency is focused on the revitalization effort. The Downtown section houses most government agencies — city, county, state, and federal — and several hundred businesses. Rogue Community College has a downtown campus as well.

The city was founded in 1885 shortly after the Oregon & California Railroad completed its Portland line through Bear Creek Valley. This new town (originally “Middle Ford”) was established at the point where the railroad crossed the stream. Located at about 1,400 feet above sea level, the Cascade Range rises to peaks of 4,000 to 9,000 feet to the east. The Coast Range to the west has peaks from 3,500 to 5,500 feet. To the north is Umpqua Divide, which is 3,500 to 5,500 feet. To the south the Siskiyous reach 3,000 to 7,600 feet. Fifty-one percent of Jackson County is today Federal land.

Medford has a rich heritage, cultural attractions, and a busy events calendar. It takes pride in its “small town” lifestyle. It is said to offer “the best tax-free shopping in southern Oregon.” There are 10 public golf courses in the area; fishing or rafting on the Rogue River; hiking, bicycling, skiing and snowboarding. The beauty of nature is everywhere around you. The city has a good selection of eating establishments with 20 restaurants in the downtown area alone. There are over 2,000 hotels rooms in the area and tourism helps support a great number of amenities. It has good health care, and its own international airport with direct connections to many large cities. It is not surprising that Jackson County has become a popular retirement destination.

Arts & Culture

Ginger Rogers Theater is a 750-seat state-of-the-art European-style theatre with a stage that can accommodate large national concerts, dance and theatrical tours. It is owned and operated by Craterian Performances, a membership-based not-for-profit agency.

The Peter Britt Festival is a very prominent compliment to the area. Located on a mountainside in nearby Jacksonville, this 2,200 seat outdoor pavilion offers a very diverse music schedule featuring world-class performers. In addition to its classical series, which features an 85-100-member orchestra, the season offers gospel, blues, bluegrass, country and contemporary musicians — often to sold-out audiences.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, now nearly 70 years old, presents 12 plays in repertory, five by Shakespeare, and seven by other classic or contemporary playwrights. Its three theatres are the 1,200-seat outdoor Elizabethan Theatre, whose performance stage was inspired by the Fortune Theatre of Shakespeare’s time; the modern 600-seat Angus Bowmer Theatre; and the state-of-the-art New Theater, a perfect setting for intimate performances. It attracts over 100,000 visitors annually.

The Southern Oregon Repertory Singers, a 42-voice ensemble, have been performing since 1986. They offer a subscription concert series and regularly perform with many of the area’s leading musical organizations.

Its concert series is held in the South Oregon University Music Recital Hall.

The Rogue Valley Symphony offers a season series of five concerts performed in Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass.

Chamber Music Concerts presents an eight concert series performed at South Oregon University Music Recital Hall.

Southern Oregon Historical Society is a member-supported organization that operates the Jacksonville and Children’s Museums, History Store, Research Library & History Center in downtown Medford, and the 37-acre 1850s Hanley Farm in Central Point.

The Jackson County Library –


There are 10 public golf courses in the area and several private clubs.

Medford Parks and Recreation manages 23 city parks that offer a wide range of recreation opportunities. The department also manages a host of sports and special events activities.

Jackson County Parks and Recreation program operates 18 parks. Facilities include picnicking, camping, fishing, boating, water skiing, windsurfing, swimming, water sliding, river boating, hiking, rock climbing, hang gliding, and cycling. In addition, there are motor sports, including drag racing, karting and autocross, plus softball, Little League baseball, target shooting, music concerts and festivals, bird watching, and equestrian activities.

Jackson County Fair –

The nearby Rogue River National Forest offers hundreds of hiking trails, camping sites, and lakes, rivers and streams that can be fished. The Rogue River offers rafting, and there is snow skiing on Mount Ashland.

Crater Lake, located in south-central Oregon, is widely known for its intense blue color and spectacular views. This six-mile wide body of water and 20-mile circle of cliffs was created by the eruption of Mount Mazama almost 7,000 years ago. There are boat tours on the lake and you can stay at Crater Lake Lodge, or camp at Mazama Village. There are also a number of hiking trails, including some on Mount Scott at 8,929 feet. Snowfall in this area averages 533 inches per year.


Rogue Community College provides educational programs to over 13,000 students (3,400 full-time equivalent students) in lower division transfer, job training and developmental studies at its three locations: Grants Pass, Medford, and White City.

Southern Oregon University, 13 miles away in Ashland, has an enrollment of 5,300 students.

Senior Programs

Rogue Valley Manor Community Services provides a variety of opportunities for seniors to volunteer their services. Its programs include RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) and Foster Grandparent Program.

Providence Medford Medical Center offers a full range of health education programs and personal assistance. The free programs assist individuals in maintaining active, independent and healthy lifestyles.


Rogue Valley Medical Center is a 305-bed hospital in Medford. It is the regional referral trauma center and has been rated as one of the top 100 cardiovascular hospitals by Solucient from 2000-2002.

Providence Medford Medical Center is a 168-bed acute care hospital with a staff of more than 325 physicians.


Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport serves the city and all of the Rogue Valley. There are approximately 50 arriving and departing flights daily, with many non-stop flights to major cities.


Jackson County only receives around 20 inches of rainfall annually. It offers four distinct seasons of mild weather. Average temperatures in January are 37.6 degrees and 72.5 degrees in July. The growing season is 170 days. Average annual snowfall is 8.1 inches. Elevation is between 1300 and 1400 feet above sea level.


Mail Tribune –

Property Taxes

State Taxes

Chamber of Commerce

State Aging Agency


Jacksonville – 5 miles
Ashland – 14 miles
Grants Pass – 25 miles
Crater Lake – 76 miles
Eugene – 166 miles
Bend – 173 miles
Salem – 228 miles
Portland – 272 miles
Sacramento, CA – 310 miles

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