Ashland, Oregon is a small town in southern Oregon, located a dozen miles from the California border. It is a southern suburb of the city of Medford, forming part of one of Oregon's few metropolitan areas outside of the Willamette Valley.

Apart from being a small town on the outskirts of a modest sized city, Ashland is also home to two notable institutions: Southern Oregon State University, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. These two institutions have attracted money, education and culture to a small town that would otherwise be another rural area victim to a declining commodity industry.

The effect of Ashland is somewhat disconcerting and hard to describe, (although not wholly unique): a college and tourist town, with a major theater troupe, coexisting with a small rural town. Ashland is much more exciting than it should be. However, I have also been told by young people who have moved to Ashland that after the initial culture interests of the town have been explored, that the small size and limited opportunities of the town can be disappointing: "A nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there."