Medford, Ore. — Medford city leadership is reacting Friday after being ranked in the top-20 for a list of the best-performing small cities in the country, and that’s something that could help lead new businesses to the area.
Medford officials and business leaders just learned of the recent Milken Institute rankings this week. Medford bumped up eleven spots from 2015.
Tonight, city leaders are considering this a sign that they’re moving in the right direction.
“I’m always happy to see that we’re moving on up,” said Kevin Stine, Medford City Councilor.
Stine is referring to a recent rankings report by the Milken Institute that shows the City of Medford in the No. 17 spot for the year 2016 for best-performing small cities. Moving up 11 spots from 2015.
“That doesn’t mean our mission’s complete though. We’ll be satisfied when we’re number one,” Stine said.
For now, fellow Oregon city, Bend, is number one on the list. But city leaders will take it as a sign that Medford is slowly but surely, moving in the right direction to that top spot.
“You always strive to be number one and everyone says – why can’t Medford be like Bend? Hopefully someday, people will say why can’t Bend be like Medford,” said Brian Sjothun, Medford City Manager.
Colleen Padilla is the executive director for Soredi, a non-profit economic development agency in Jackson and Josephine County who’s pleased by the No. 17 ranking.
“This bodes very well for our region,” Padilla said.
A large factor of the rankings report was based on high-tech. Taking into account high tech-GDP growth, concentration, and number of high-tech industries.
Padilla says since Medford is primarily based in manufacturing, tourism and healthcare – the 17-spot reassures her that progress is being made in the valley in technology and innovation.
“This adds a certain measure of diversity to our region,” Padilla said.
Diversity that Padilla hopes will attract other businesses to plant roots in the Rogue Valley.
“It makes us look better, it makes us seem that things are happening in our region, and that we have a promising future,” Padilla said.
Though the jump to number one might not happen overnight, city leaders are making strides to the top-10.
“As long as we continue to look to improve that’s what my goal is,” said Sjothun.
The rankings also listed another Oregon city in the top-100. Eugene came in at No. 90, moving up 16 places from 2015.