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Our Town Southern Oregon

OPB | Dec. 28, 2012 12:06 p.m. | Updated: Sept. 11, 2013 12:23 a.m.

For the final day of the Our Town tour this year, we head to southern Oregon: Lakeview and Roseburg.

Lakeview

The town of Lakeview sits in south-central Oregon a mere 15 miles from the California border. Residents can drive to Reno, Nevada in four hours — half the time it takes to get to Portland.

Several schools, ranching, a mill, and a prison provide many jobs for the town. Additionally, natural resource industries are an integral part of Lakeview’s economy.

A natural gas pipeline finished construction last year, and PGE recently announced plans for its first commercial-scale solar power facility in Lakeview. The town has begun to embrace geothermal energy, though early attempts have sparked some controversy. The town was slated to be the site of an Iberdrola biomass plant, but low energy prices have put the project on hold indefinitely. Lakeview is also home to an FSC-certified timber operation.

The surrounding area is known for its prime hang gliding and birding territory.

As always, we’ve put together a companion website for Lakeview. Head over there to check out our interactive map which includes interviews and photographs of the people and places of Lakeview.

Roseburg

Roseburg, Oregon is a city of 21,790 in the southwestern part of the state. It’s within 100 miles of three of the state’s national forests, which is why its history is so closely entwined with the timber industry. After World War II, Roseburg was known as the Timber Capitol of the Nation, due to the abundance of Douglas Fir lumber produced in and around the small city. The spike in demand for housing, and lumber to build it, also made way for the philanthropy that still continues in Roseburg today. Family-owned timber companies still employ many Roseburg residents, but these businesses are no longer the backbone of the community they once were. The recession has been particularly rough for the industry, especially due to the decline in home-building.

The choices students are making about what to study at Umpqua Community College (UCC) are a good indicator of what’s next for this town. Healthcare, particularly nursing, is a popular field and there’s a brand new addition to the Southern Oregon Wine Institute at UCC. The program offers a one-year certificate and an associate’s degree. Both paths teach students how to cultivate grapes and how to make them into wine. The local wine industry has experienced a recent growth spurt, but it also has a rich history in the region, which has always been home to fertile farmland.

The companion website for Roseburg has an interactive map, which includes interviews and photographs of the people and places of Roseburg.

Here are some photos from our live show at Joe Monkey:

What’s your experience in southern Oregon?

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