A vibrant tourism sector and higher education core forms the basis of Ashland’s economy. Light manufacturing firms boast a number of green and global businesses while home-based businesses grow with the support of excellent fiber connectivity. Retail is run by mainly independently owned businesses offering unique products both in-store and on-line. A creative culture fosters nearly 100 restaurants, numerous galleries, music and theatre cultivated by being the home of the 80 year old world-class Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Ashland is a town of just over 20,000 people but a visitor destination for nearly 300,000 throughout the year. Southern Oregon University is located in Ashland with over 6,000 students and with faculty and administration numbering over 750 as the largest employer. This sets the stage for a highly educated workforce and population, an engaged citizenry and a knowledgeable public.