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But then comes the winter months and the town quickly becomes a cold hell.  The snowbirds move to Phoenix and along with them goes all hopes for extra cash for those semi-employed.  In this small town of 25,000 people find it hard to eek out a meager living unless they are in the profession of homebuilder or healthcare.  Sadly the winter comes in October and leaves in May and with it the dreary endless fog causing depression, suicide and the occasional freezing to death in the mountains

The reason I bring up the freezing to death in the mountains is because of the late James Kim who trecked 8 miles in the southern Oregon mountains searching for help for his family only to freeze to death near Bear Camp Road.  Why does it matter?  To me, it is just another example of the Oregon lifestyle:  A place for people to hide.  Whether it be from society, crowds of people, drugs (or find a place to do drugs), taxes, or even family responsibility, after leaving I realize how many people go to Oregon to get away from it all.  I think that was the intention of James Kim, an affluent Editor for CNET.  Oregon invites you into it’s clutches with it liberal socialistic government, unbridled forest beauty, and 10,000 places to hide, but tends to never really let you go.  I’ve been up Bear Camp Road several times and have actually gotten my car stuck in the snow before.  When I read the first headlines on Google news, awestruck that Grants Pass had gotten in the news again because some other moron got his family lost in the snow, I just laughed.  It wasn’t really funny, but I couldn’t believe that there isn’t any great and fantastic news from Grants Pass.  People succeeding, people flourishing, people doing anything remarkable.  No, it was just death.  I suppose that is the reason I left.  Hiding in some horrible little town where bigotry and stupidity were held high by the  overwhelming population of elderly retirees awaiting death just seemed like a bad idea to me.

Should Grants Pass be thought of as a town of death?  Most of my business as a photographer in Grants Pass came from transplants, newbies the Grants Pass, fresh faced kids of the retire young crowd out of California who had lined their pockets with two million dollars from the sale of their meager home in the Bay Area or LA.  Surely this new blood would revitalize Grants Pass.  But I don’t think it really ever did except for the old faithful construction or healthcare industries.  The expansion of the Walmart really is what clinched it for me.  If Walmart figured it was a good time to add 70,000 square feet of cheap, low quality food for the Grants Pass shoppers it was time for me to get out.

I know I’ve probably offended all of those in Southern Oregon, but don’t get me wrong, I love it there in the summer when the sun is out, the river is full and all of the tourism money is flowing and not much of the meth capital of the US is showing.

Viva la TEXAS!



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