Residents report that the quality of life is high in Ashland, but many have trouble finding housing they can afford, according to a recent survey by Southern Oregon University students and faculty.

Residents report that the quality of life is high in Ashland, but many have trouble finding housing they can afford, according to a recent survey by Southern Oregon University students and faculty.

Students from an anthropology and sociology class jointly taught by Dr. Eva Skuratowicz and Dr. Jean Maxwell conducted focus groups, interviews and surveys during the winter and spring quarters to gauge residents' views on a variety of quality-of-life issues. They presented their findings to city officials this month.

Most respondents said housing was expensive in Ashland — especially for SOU students, young professionals and families with children — and many residents have made financial sacrifices to live here, the students found. Some respondents said they had difficulty finding full-time jobs or jobs that paid well.

Residents also wanted more affordable shopping opportunities for everyday goods, such as socks. They said they often had to leave Ashland to buy items elsewhere.

As for economic development, many said they supported encouraging small, locally owned businesses in Ashland.

Despite affordability issues, residents said it was worth it to live in Ashland because of the town's friendliness, outdoor recreation opportunities, parks, exceptional schools, relative safety and the sense of community, connectedness and belonging that many residents experience.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.