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Why Ashland is a Parent’s Paradise


Why Ashland is a Parent’s Paradise

By Rebecca Kinman

It was 2002 when I first rolled into Ashland with the intention of living here. I was the ripe old age of twenty-two, living in my Subaru legacy. After a while, I got my own apartment and a nanny job for a nice family who lived above Lithia Park. It wasn’t long before I realized what a kid-friendly town this really is. I did wander away from this beautiful little Southern Oregon mountain town a bit, but once I found myself a single mom looking for safety, community, and culture for my child, I knew Ashland was the right place to return to. Here’s why:

It’s Clean. Downtown Ashland has a wonderful reputation for its tidiness, however if you make it into the other wonderful neighborhoods of Ashland, you’ll find that to be the case as well. Unlike many other communities in the US, there’s no part of town that’s less kept than the other.

Low Crime. Everything is relative, but crime here is very minimal as compared with many other places in the country. I do hear about an occasional petty theft every once in a while, and a couple of years ago, Ashland suffered from a very terrifying murder of a local young man. However, from what I understand, that was the first one in over 30 years. Thirty years.

Zero Registered Sex-Offenders. That’s right, zero. As a parent, you don’t want it to really think about this much but this issue is in the back of my mind. So when I got my new Android phone I downloaded the “Registered Sex Offenders App” and it showed a map of all the locations where registered sex offenders lived in every neighborhood in the US.

I am happy to say that I found exactly zero registered sex offenders in or around Ashland and Talent. And I know the app was working, because I saw several in the surrounding areas.

That said, it would be naive to think that this means that sexual assault is not a problem in the community – because it is, as it is in all communities. But the Ashland Police Department is also on the cutting edge of sexual assault response with their “You Have Options” campaign. Learn more about their program and the response options that they provide survivors here.

The State of Oregon provides a Sex-Offender search tool for the public, which you can utilize here.

No Flouride in the Water. This is somewhat controversial, but for parents who like to know what their children are ingesting in the water, flouride is not one of them.

The Schools Are Amazing. There are about a dozen Waldorf-inspired preschools, a Montessori preschool and kindergarten, a homeschool learning center, three high-quality elementary schools and a private Waldorf 1-8, a middle school and a high school that recently ranked 15th in the state.

The Phenomenon that is Mama’s Medicine Wheel. This is an amazing online community of mothers and supporters of mothers who connect for potlucks, toy swaps, community info, selling things, and pretty much anything else you want or need to know as a local parent. When I first moved here, I got a free bed for my little one and sold a baby carrier in the first few days.

There’s Lots to Do. There’s Ashland’s many parades downtown throughout the year. There are several amazing parks and lots of outdoor activities. Sustainable local kids’ clothing and toy stores. The ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum. The water park, playgrounds, sports fields, ice rink and so much more.

Wherever we go, my daughter and I meet kind, friendly people who love kids and appreciate my natural, creative parenting style.

Whatever your personal choices are in parenting, there is always room for more kind-hearted families here in Ashland, Oregon.

Parenting in Ashland OR

Parenting in Ashland OR, Photo by Heidi Ferguson