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Ashland Emergency Food Bank 2017 501c3 Files

Ashland Sneak Preview March 2017

501c3 Files

Ashland Emergency Food Bank (AEFB)

By Adam and Sophia Bogle

Every other month, the AEFB gets a huge influx of of food all on one day that arrives in the iconic green bags from the Ashland Food Project. It is quite an event that lasts for hours and takes a small army of volunteers to pull off. At the end of the day the shelves are so full if feels like there is enough to feed everyone forever. But, inevitably, this food does not outlast the need until the next delivery.

This is what the new AEFB director, Traci Darrow, finds herself contemplating as she steps into the shoes of Pam Marsh. Pam was elected in November as our newest State Representative from Southern Oregon. While some of the challenges of running the food bank may seem daunting, Traci is coming at it from a useful background of politics and nursing. Her last job was Chief Nursing Officer at Rogue Community Health. She jokes that it should have been called “Chief Networking Officer”. Her position there was all about case management and putting people together with the resources they needed. Perfect practice for running the food bank.

The AEFB relies on a huge network of businesses, other non-profits and volunteers so as to help the most people with the resources available. Businesses like Amy’s Kitchen, Albertson’s, Shop N Kart, Village Baker and Starbucks are just few of the regular contributors. Items that are donated in an overabundance are shared with other non-profits like the Food Angels, Maslow Project and the school Backpack program.

I asked Traci what it was like to start work at the AEFB.

Darrow: “I am constantly amazed at how reliable the volunteers are. Somehow they manage to get there even on the days with ice storms! We have a huge pool of volunteers, about 245 people not even counting the Ashland Food Project volunteers. Most of them come from a rotation of faith based organizations. Today the Methodists are there making meal bags where they put together ingredients and a recipe to make it obvious how to cook a nutritious meal. And they are singing while they work!

Bogle: Is it easy to put together meals from what is donated?

Darrow: Sometimes, but so often we will get things like hamburger helper and we have no hamburger. We do have a lot of tuna usually so I wish we would get more tuna helper. Pair all that with some frozen veggies and it’s a pretty healthy meal.

Bogle: What would you like to tell the public about the AEFB?

Darrow: Mostly I just want to express my extreme gratitude for the support that has never wavered. George Kramer, the president of the board has been helping with our Facebook presence and board member Julie Cortez, from OSF, has been helping with press releases and other communications. This is a great team to work with.”

One of the challenges with the food bank is how to get enough of the items that go quickly without getting an overstock of it. Items that don’t last long after the food drive include cooking oil (in small containers please), and healthy cereals. And spaghetti sauce always seems to run out prior to the noodles. The worry is, if you ask people to give extra cooking oil then that’s all there will be in the pantry.

While I was sitting there with Traci, all I could think about was a segment on Sesame Street where the king decided to have a picnic. He told all his subjects to bring something to the picnic, but when they arrived, everyone had only brought watermelon. So he asked them why no one had brought potato salad and next thing, all they had was potato salad.  Finally someone spoke up and suggested that everyone bring something different to the picnic. They made a plan and had a grand time. I have no doubt that Traci will find the right plan to solve this challenge. After all, the community does come together in a big way to help, especially on green bag day. And maybe next time I am there helping unload the green bags, I will be singing the Sesame Street song of the King’s Picnic: “Who brought the whipped cream? I did king! Who brought the sour cream? I got it king! And I’ve got the Ice Cream!”

The next Ashland Food Project pick up is April 8th. Contact ashlandfoodproject.com to start donating food throught the green bag program. And if you need food assistance go to: ashlandemergencyfoodbank.org. They are so welcoming. Honestly. Been there.541-488-9544

Southern Oregon Drought?

Seems like every couple of years we have a winter that just doesn’t really show up. Although in my time in Southern Oregon, never quite as missing as this. Don’t get me wrong, we had a long cold snap in December, and the valley floor got and kept more snow on the ground than any time in my memory.

However, the snow in the mountains has been missing. A whole year is probably going to pass without Mt.Ashland opening.

But invariably, a wet spring follows a dry winter here. And the signs of that are happening. But if you have the question “is that enough rain?”, then here are the 2 websites I like to go to to see how we are fairing in the water for summer department.

The first is the Bureau of Reclamation  page that shows how full our Southern Oregon reservoirs are. At the time of my writing of this, Howard and Hyatt are both at 55% and Emigrant is at 43%. But follow that link to see where those levels are on the day you are reading this.

The second is how much snow is there at Crater Lake. The National Park Service puts out a daily bulletin with snow accumulation current and average.  That report can be found here.  As of the writing of this we are at 43% of average snow depth for this time of year.

So that all being said, the spring rain that is forecasted to be coming through the area this week is hopefully wet and can make up for the dry January.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Underway

The preview shows are underway at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. It’s a great time of year to get tickets to shows before the summer tourist season. Along with the serious classic  of  The Tempest, a more contemporary classic The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, comes the show I am most looking forward to seeing this year.

And that would be the musical The Cocoanuts. Along with being a show that is just bound to be fun, and having a real estate theme…it is also my understanding that there is a fair amount of room for changes and improvisation in the adaptation.
So it could be a good one to see more than once, so seeing an early version would be fun to compare to what it evolves to later in the season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

State of the Ashland Market

After a number of years of downturn, it is refreshing to see a rebound in the real estate market in Ashland and Jackson County. The hard economic times that we all weathered through that started with the crash in the real estate market that was caused in large part by the lending practices and gambles made by investment firms on Wall Street seem to have run their course…this time.

We all hopefully learned from this cautionary tale, although when greed abounds I’m sure we are destined to make the same mistake again. But as individuals, we can all make decisions that are based on our personal needs and goals and stay within the bounds of safe real estate purchasing.

I anticipate based on my own research, and that of the head economists from both the Realtor and Home Building associations, that we have started a recovery that is expected to last many years. While I am personally hoping that the frenzy doesn’t lead again to another bubble and responsible purchasing and lending are the rule, we all need to be cautious and not overextend with the same misconception that real estate prices “NEVER” go down.

So where does that leave us today? The market here has definitely picked up steam and sales have been very strong. I said for years to people who asked me if we had hit the bottom of the market yet that the only way we would know would be 6 months to a year after it happened. And according to the numbers, I would say the bottom occurred back in the summer of 2012, although it could be argued easily that it was the summer of 2011.

Now that we have a full year of a strengthening market under are belts, it is a good time to look at what the numbers are.

In the summer of 2012, 49% of houses sold in Jackson County were distress sales, meaning either a foreclosure or a short sale.  In 2013 that number dropped to only 19%. While still significant, it is a huge one year improvement.

 

In the summer of 2011, the median sales price for a home in Ashland was $275,000. In 2012 the median sales price was $292,000. In 2013 that price jumped to $322,000. That is a 15% increase over 2 years. While I would be hesitant to call it appreciation, it does show the strengthening of the market due in large part to the reduction of distressed sales whose competition drag the market price down of all homes.

 

In 2011 there were 1650 houses for sale in Jackson County, and 300 houses for sale in Ashland. 2012 saw those numbers drop to 1210 and 238 respectively. Those numbers in 2013 held fairly stable over the year at 1181 and 230. This shows what looks like some stability in the supply side of the market.

 

The number of sales in May-July of 2012 in Ashland was 83, whereas the same period in 2011 was 62. That number increased to 100 sales in 2013. That is a 40% increase in the volume of sales in a 2 year period.

 

Now the final number I will throw at you is the absorption rate, which is just a fancy way to say supply vs. demand. In the 3 month period stated above, an average of 33 houses a month sold. There are 230 houses on the market. If no new houses came on the market, and houses continued to sell at the same rate…there would be no available inventory left in 6 months. Common wisdom states that a 6 month supply of housing is a stable market. Less than 6 months is a sellers market, more than 6 months is a buyers market.

 

So the conclusion is that we are looking pretty good at the current time in the housing market. There are buyers out there looking, and sellers are feeling that the market is healthy enough to sell. Those looking to move up or downsize feel the ability to do so. But if there is one thing the last 10 years has taught me is that anything can happen. All we know for sure is what is going on today, and we must all make out best decisions based on that point in time reference.

Ashland Not Dog Friendly

I first wrote about this last year in the post about the downsides of Ashland.

But the article in the Ashland Daily Tidings last week brought it up again. I don’t think the non-dog owners around Ashland understand how restrictive this town is. And why that is unnecessary.

I’ve semi-joked for years that I was going to run for Mayor of Ashland (mayorinakilt) and that one of my platform points would be to make Ashland more dog friendly.

I propose one out of every 4 Ashland parks is dog friendly. Ashland spends a lot of money on it’s Parks Department and many of the parks I have NEVER seen anyone in.

I propose that those parks have readily available waste management systems. I believe that part of the dog waste problem has to do with dog owners having to walk their dogs on the sly. Like walking them after dark when picking up after them is an issue. Plus if you are already doing one illegal thing by letting your dog in the park you are more likely to do another and not pick up after it. But with more dog owners using the areas, dog owners would police themselves, because we really do want to be looked upon favorably.

OR: if the city wants to be adamant about peoples pets being quarantined to one “dog park” that is a drive (read: making Ashland less walkable: more driving: bad for the environment) for most Ashland residents. Then there should be consistency for all pets. There are at least 10 cats on my block that roam the streets freely. They are pets, most of them having collars. Ashland should ban all cats from being out on city streets except we could give them Garfield Park (pun intended).

P.S. This is my first post from the iPad. The app apparently doesn’t have a save as draft function. I will attach links to my last blog post and the DT article when I return to my computer, but my only option at this point is to publish.

Now updated: Ashland Real Estate

Southern Oregon turns Gray

I just wanted to make one quick rant about the weather we are having in Southern Oregon this year. (And had last year too I suppose.)

What is up with the extended gray days? Is this a new weather pattern that is going to continue for the next decade? I remember back in the late 70’s when I lived in Klamath Falls that we used to get a lot of snow in the winter that stuck on the ground for a long time. Then in the next couple of decades, that all seemed to change.

It seems like there are definite cycles we get into. I might attribute it in part to our geography. Ashland seems to be at a line in the weather pattern. There is a definite difference in weather patterns starting 15 miles North, and 15 miles South. So any small change in the atmosphere may be more prominent here than in other locations.

But let me say I sincerely hope that this is the last of these long winter/spring years we have in a while. It is bad for the garden, and it seems to make everyone just a little down.

Every month we put an ad for our Ashland Property Listings in the Sneak Preview newspaper with a message. Something like “Homes are Affordable, It’s a Great Time to Buy” or “April Showings bring May Closings”…..

We try to be a little clever, or a little informative. (If they let me have the full say, we would be a whole lot sillier).

This month we joked in the office that maybe the message should be “Tired of the Weather? We can sell you house so you can move somewhere warm”. But the boss didn’t think that was the message we should send out. I think it would have made a bunch of people smile…but…..guess it was a no go.

Okay, enough of the whining. It is very green and beautiful here still, and I haven’t had to turn on the sprinkler system at my house yet. So I’ll just dose up on some more Vitamin D. Besides, it gives me more time to sit and learn how to use my new computer. Video editing, podcasting, and regular updates to my blog, website and social media sites.

Cheers…..

P.S. Check out the new look of my website. Still needs some revisions, but it looks better than the last incarnation. www.AgentInAKilt.com

(readers say) Abolish Live Theater…It’s just Not Green

NPR does story on Oregon Shakespeare Festival

It was a good day of news for our little town of Ashland Oregon. NPR Weekend edition did a niece story about how even in this economy, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival had a record setting season last year. Fearing the worst, they cut the budget last year, and against predictions sold more tickets than expected.

You can read and listen to the news story HERE.

Now, I have to decide if I am going to break up my comments on this subject into multiple parts, or just rant.  If you go to the news story on NPR.com, you can scroll to the bottom and read the comments of the listeners. Let me start by saying that being able to post anonymous comments on the internet is one of the worst features of the internet. The vile that is expressed on some comments makes me really question the goodness of humanity at times. So as a general rule, I do not read anonymous comments.

But, I thought what kind of hatred or vitriol could possibly come as a result of this story. It’s just going to be people saying how much they love Ashland and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Again, I was slapped by the bizarre face of  what people will say when they don’t think people know they are writing it. It wasn’t really hatred, like you see in news stories about politics…but it was…..well…….odd.

Essentially, the comments started with

Mark  wrote:  “Why don’t they hold their events during the day time? This way they can use sunlight to illuminate the stage and they can feel good about being green?”

David wrote: “Sorry, been there and this production doesn’t pass the “green” sniff test, or even close…..There is no reason these productions can’t be recorded and replayed via the internet. There is no place for productions like this in our “green” society. Using precious energy to repeat the same performance, over and over, is counter to “green” beliefs, I mean realities. Save the planet, abolish theatre.

Now where do you even start with that?

REALLY? Abolish live theater to save the planet? I have been known to be on the left fringe of what I see as politics. I believe that global warming is real. I believe that there needs to be a conscious effort to make this country a more sustainable place, and even in many “radical” ways to make that happen. But abolish live theater?  Or only hold theater events outside in the daytime? When does that start being kooky.  And what makes people get on the internet after hearing a story about a theater company being successful and start ranting about how they are not “Green” enough.

Mark goes on to rant about parking and valet service and lit parking lots at the OSF….obviously never having been here. Which makes it even stranger to me. At least that David dude said he had been to the Festival before. So does this Mark dude just go on every NPR story and accuse all business of being anti green because they have indoor offices? I wonder if the computer he uses runs on electricity, and if he pedals his bike powered generator to make it run.

Okay, I admit, I am on a Rant. And some people took up the cause on the site and refuted the people I am complaining about. I am not interested in giving them the satisfaction that I read it on the site.  But I couldn’t let that go without comment.

But for those of you who are interested in Real Estate in Ashland Oregon, and are interested in this green leaning town with the highest proportion of hybrid vehicles of anyplace that I know of, lets go find us a solar, straw bale house with a rain catchment systems, and plenty of land to grow your own vegetables. Maybe even room for chickens, a cow, a couple of sheep and bee hives. That’s my idea of how to save the environment…not Abolishing Live Theater. Honestly

New Property Tax Info for Jackson County is Out

 The information in this blog is provided courtesy of Jamie Baker, now of Ticor Title. It is mainly taken from an email that she sent out to Realtors in Ashland. But it is very good information.

 

 

 

2008/2009 Taxes have rolled for Jackson County!

 

(Ashland taxes have gone down!)

 

 

I just wanted to let you know that the 2008/2009 tax values are now available from the County. 

 

You may be surprised to learn that the Ashland taxes actually went down this year.  This is due to the fact that the 07/08 taxes included a bond for the schools.  Most accounts will see a decrease by a couple hundred dollars, but it has to do with the assessed value of the property itself.

 

I know a lot of you may be asking if you will see a decrease in your taxes because the property values are declining.  The answer to that question in a nutshell is “NO”Here’s why:

 

·         When Measure 50 was approved by voters in 1997, a MAV, or Maximum Assessed Value was established for each property.  That value was calculated for each property by subtracting 10% from the property’s 1995-96 Real Market Value (RMV).  Under Measure 50, property tax is based on the lower of either the RMV or the MAV. 

 

·         The MAV increases by 3% each year as long as the Real Market Value of the property is greater that the MAV.  As always, the Real Market Value changes with the real estate market. 

 

·         Since 1997 the real estate market (and Real Market Value) has seen unprecedented growth while the MAV has continued to go up the constitutional 3% per year.  This has caused the MAV to remain much lower than the Real Market Value, ranging from 35% to 65% of the RMV, with the average property’s MAV being 52% lower than the RMV. The Real Market Value would have to drop by 52% before the taxes would be affected. 

 

Per the County’s calculations, the changes in Real Market Value for the 08/09 year are as follows:

 

                        ASHLAND                                                    -11 TO 13%

                        PHOENIX/TALENT                                     -9 TO 12%

                        EAST MEDFORD                                        -18-21%

                        WEST MEDFORD/APPLEGATE             -17 TO 24%

                        CENTRAL POINT/SAMS VALLEY          -17 TO 20%

                        ROGUE RIVER AREA                                -9 TO 14%

                        NORTH COUNTY                                        -7 TO 11%

 

(The information above was shared with us(Ticor Title) by Dan Ross, the County Assessor.)

 

MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

 

TAXES ARE DUE BY NOVEMBER 15TH, BUT THIS YEAR THE 15TH FALLS ON A SATURDAY, SO THE PAYMENT MUST BE IN BY MONDAY, THE 17TH.  If you pay in full by the 17th, you will receive the 3% discount. 

It is not too late to register to vote

It is not too late to register to vote in the up coming election. There are a number of ballot measures, and local races to vote on in addition to the Presidential race.

If you still need to register, you can follow the link below for an online voter registration card, but will still need to get it into the county elections office.

http://www.sos.state.or.us/elections/other.info/vr.htm

If you are a resident of Jackson County, it needs to be to

Christine Walker
Jackson County Clerk
1101 W. Main St. Suite 201
Medford, OR 97501-2369
(541) 774-6148 / TTY (541) 774-6719

Prior to the end of the business day on Tuesday the 14th.

See you at the polls (or as the case is in Oregon, I think I’ll vote in the comfort of my own home, and mail it in.)

Oregon Bars to become non-smoking

I am sitting at the Oak Tree Restaurant for the first time since they went non-smoking. The Oak Tree in Ashland Oregon is the closest thing we have in town to a Sports Bar. It is on the south end of town next to the Best Western.

It has pool tables, and at least 7 tvs. The food is standard bar fare…but sometimes that is just what I am in the mood for.

But back to the non-smoking thing. Oregon, which has a reputation for being a very healthy place has been well behind other states, such as California, in banning smoking in all work places, including bars.

I don’t remember how long ago it was the last time I was at the Oak Tree, but having my clothes smell was a big deterent. Wearing a Kilt is definitely more comfortable than pants, but the laundering isn’t as easy.

 So the new law goes into effect in Oregon on January 1st 2009, but most Ashland area establishments started the new rules in advance.

Well, the service was quick and my sandwich is here. Cheers.