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Eagle Point grows to 6,306 in '03

It's growing so fast only one other Oregon town grew faster

Out-of-state house buyers helped make Eagle Point the second-fastest-growing community in Oregon from 2002 to 2003, according to U.S. Census figures.

The bedroom community grew 8.13 percent to 6,306 residents, and Central Point grew 5.59 percent to 14,630, the sixth highest in the state.

Happy Valley, a Portland suburb that increased 9.32 percent to a population of 6,475 from 2002 to 2003, was the fastest growing community in Oregon.

Keith Kenney, a real estate broker with RE/MAX Ideal Properties, said 75 percent of home buyers he's dealt with in Eagle Point come from out of state, particularly the San Francisco Bay Area.

They're finding Eagle Point, especially the golf course, gives you the rural residential feel, but you still get city services, he said.

— Many out-of-state buyers find Medford reminiscent of areas they just left, with urban sprawl and traffic, said Kenney.

Also, many are looking for homes in the &

36;200,000 price range. If you're looking for affordable housing in this valley, where are you going to go? he said.

But housing prices won't stay low for long as long as demand stays high.

Homes in new subdivisions in Eagle Point that sold for &

36;174,900 last August are now commanding &

36;225,000, he said.

Vicki Macormic, a real estate broker with John L. Scott, said Central Point has a lot going for it, from its highly rated cheese factory to a top-scoring wrestling team.

Part of the community's appeal is its proximity to Medford, particularly the shopping.

People can get into Central Point and not have the population of Medford, she said.

Tom Humphrey, community development director for Central Point, said, People are being drawn to the city because of a new vitality while still having a sense of being a small town.

He cited the interest in the community by businesses such as Erickson Air-Crane, Dagoba Chocolates and Mellelo Coffee Roasters, which plans to place its corporate offices downtown.

On the other end of the growth spectrum, the tiny city of Granite in Grant County lost just one of its now 21 residents between 2002 and 2003. But that was enough to register as a 4.55 percent population loss, the state's largest.

Deschutes County, the Central Oregon home to resort destination Bend, continued to be the state's fastest-growing county, adding about 4,000 residents in just a year. Meanwhile, Gilliam County, in north-central Oregon, continued its downward slide, losing almost 100 residents between 2002 and 2003.

Among the state's population centers, Salem broadened its lead over Eugene in the race to be the state's second largest city, growing by 729 people. the end of 2003, Salem had 142,914 residents, the figures showed, to Eugene's 142,185.

Overall, Oregon's population rose 1.1 percent, to 3,559,596 residents.The Associated Press

2003 population followed by population change, 2002-2003:

pop.

% increase

Happy Valley 6,4759.32

Eagle Point6,3068.13

Turner1,5807.87

Sandy7,1866.92

Lafayette2,7776.60

Central Point14,6305.59

Creswell4,0245.42

Sisters1,1564.90

Redmond16,8224.80

Canby14,2384.68

Fastest shrinking cities in Oregon:

pop.% decrease

Granite214.55

Condon7034.48

Gilliam County1,7784.41

Lonerock 224.35

Arlington4924.09

Grass Valley1532.55

Wasco3432.28

Moro3042.25

Hines1,5602.07

Burns2,8802.04

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476, or e-mail

The Associated Press contributed to this report.