Ashland on list of top retiree towns

Ashland is being called one of the nation's top towns for on-the-move retirees to settle down in.

Where to Retire magazine, a publication aimed at retirees in pursuit of a new hometown, will feature Ashland in its upcoming issue as one of the top eight tempting low-tax towns in the nation.

"Ashland is a recreational and cultural playground, especially appealing to today's active baby boomers and retirees," said Mary Lu Abbot, editor of Where to Retire. "And, there's the added bonus of a lower-than-average tax burden on retirees."

The bimonthly magazine bases its tax burden rankings on in-house research methods made popular through a series of books and reports it has published since beginning in 1992.

Abbot said the research takes into consideration state and local tax levies in 203 cities across the U.S., as well as health care, climate, crime and other factors before naming the eight cities to represent their respective regions.

"Ashland has among the lowest total tax burdens of all those surveyed," she said. "Having no state sales tax is a factor, and local property taxes are low compared with other cities."

In addition, Abbot said individuals don't have to pay personal property taxes in Ashland, whereas people in many other communities pay that sort of tax on their motor vehicles.

In no particular order, Ashland will be featured alongside: Port Townsend, Wash., Kalispell, Mont., Carson City, Nev., Oxford, Miss., Vero Beach, Fla., Abingdon, Va., and Portsmouth, N.H. in the Where to Retire's upcoming issue, available Dec. 20., under the title, "8 Tempting Low-Tax Towns."

"Ashland has been nominated in these types of polls before "… but we're always working to invite a younger more active visitor." said Katharine Flanagan, marketing director of the Ashland Chamber of Commerce. "However, we always invite back our loyal visitors, which makes up a good portion of the retiree population."

She said Ashland's central location between San Francisco and Portland is probably one of the attributes that attract retirees, as well as the Rogue Valley's benchmark healthcare providers.

"It sort of underscores why we are on the map," Flanagan said, of Ashland's addition to Where to Retire's list, "but any press is good press."

Ashland City Council member Carol Voisin said Ashland's economic diversity is one of the things the city prides itself on.

"I don't think we're so gentrified in Ashland yet; I think that's one thing the council wants to prevent," she said. "We want a diverse population, and hopefully we can get that "… It's certainly not a goal to make it appealing to retired folk."

Ashland is a welcoming community, Voisin said. That's why she moved to the Rogue Valley's southernmost town in 2000, and, In her mind, that's what attracts most people to Ashland.

"What we want to do is make it a whole community, and retirees are a part of that," she said, "but it should be appealing to all ages."

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-499-1470 or email

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