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2000: Growth points to the Points

The two Jackson County cities to see the most population growth from 2000 to 2010 — Central Point and Eagle Point — are expected to maintain the highest growth rates until 2068, according to a report from Portland State University’s Population Research Center.

Eagle Point grew from 4,952 residents in 2000 to 8,508 in 2010, while Central Point went from 13,310 to 17,736 in that 10-year span.

In the year 2000, Our Valley was titled “Growth,” and Mail Tribune reporters dissected current trends and future projections to come up with a portrait of what the valley might look like in 50 years.

As it turns out, the population forecasters we talked to were close to the mark in their predictions for where we’d be today.

In 2000, the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department estimated Eagle Point would grow to 9,530 residents by 2020, and the last snapshot offered by the U.S. Census Bureau said the city had 9,139 people in 2017.

Central Point was projected to reach a population 18,581 by 2020, and it had reached 18,234 by the end of 2017, the Census Bureau said.

Medford, which had a population of 60,561 people in 2000, was predicted to reach 80,043 people in 2020, and as of 2018, the county’s largest city had already hit 81,780.

Jackson County as a whole had 177,982 people in 2000, and Oregon’s Office of Economic Development predicted we’d have 221,665 people in 2020. According to the U.S. Census, we hit 217,479 people in July 2017.

Ashland’s population is lagging a bit in terms of predictions made in 2000. The city had 19,524 people in 2000 and was predicted to have 21,120 people in 2010 and 22,846 by next year. Instead, the city was at 21,117 people in 2017, according to the U.S. Census.

PSU’s population forecast predicts that 285,046 people will live in Jackson County in 2050. Estimates by the state in 2000 projected we’d have a county population of 264,933 in 2050, so the estimates for Southern Oregon are climbing.

The 2000 issue of Our Valley took all of those projections and asked experts how growth would play out on the ground in terms of traffic, parks, schools and quality of life.

With sky-high rents and a severe shortage of affordable housing — not just here but across the country — the issue urban planners are grappling with today is where people are going to live.

“I am confident that housing will be built,” says Michelle Glass, director of the Rogue Action Center, a nonprofit in Medford working toward solutions for the housing shortage among other issues. “I think the struggle is going to be making sure that we’re building the right kinds of diverse housing options in the right places, and that we’re getting a diverse mix of affordability levels.

“When you look at the housing needs analyses for any given city in our region, a lot of our cities actually have a surplus of luxury housing and a deficit of housing that is more workforce or affordable. And so I think that the specifics are going to really matter. I think that policy is going to be super important on the local and state levels.”

Policies she thinks would contribute in a positive way would include legislation that supports “diverse housing types,” she said.

“Re-allowing cottage housing, more townhomes, more duplexes is going to be really critical,” Glass said. “The majority of households in Oregon consist of one or two people now, and both millennials and retirees are wanting smaller homes, or needing more rental units.”

Glass said she’s encouraged by Medford’s affordable housing excise tax — a tax of one-third of 1 percent on major construction projects that would fund low- and middle-income housing projects in the city — and SB 608, a statewide rent-control bill that passed this year.

“I think stabilizing the rental market is a critical piece,” she said. “SB 608 was a critical first step.”

On the zoning and development code side, she pointed to HB 2001, which would allow for multiunit housing types such as duplexes to be built on lands zoned for single-family dwellings within the urban growth boundary of Oregon cities with populations greater than 10,000 and in counties with populations greater than 15,000.

A few quick facts provided by the U.S. Census Bureau about Jackson County population show that as of July 2017:

? The county had more people 65 and older (21.5 percent) than people 17 and younger (20.7)

? 89 percent of households had a computer

? 81.2 percent of households had a broadband Internet subscription

? 89.3 percent of people 25 and older had a high school diploma

? 26.8 of people 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher

? The median household income (in 2017 dollars) was $48,688

? The per capita income (in 2017 dollars) was $27,081.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4468.

New houses are under construction near RoxyAnn Winery off East McAndrews Road in Medford.{ } Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch