Ashland is a city in Jackson County, Oregon, United States. It lies along Interstate 5 approximately 16 miles (26 km) north of the California border and near the south end of the Rogue Valley. The city's population was 20,078 at the 2010 census and was estimated to be 21,117 as of 2017.The city is the home of Southern Oregon University (SOU) and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). These are important to Ashland's economy, which also depends on restaurants, galleries, and retail stores that cater to tourists. Lithia Park along Ashland Creek, historic buildings, and a paved intercity bike trail provide additional visitor attractions.
Ashland, originally called "Ashland Mills", was named after Ashland County, Ohio, the original home of founder Abel Helman, and secondarily for Ashland, Kentucky, where other founders had family connections. Ashland has a mayor-council government assisted by citizen committees. Historically, its liberal politics have differed, often sharply, with much of the rest of southwest Oregon.