What the hell are we doing in Roseburg, OR?

Posted on
Sep 30, 2009

We headed down to Ashland a few weeks ago to celebrate our anniversary. On the way there, we decided to stop in Roseburg, since we remembered some friends of ours had stopped there while driving down to our wedding. They said the town was adorable, and that they had a really nice time. I’ve now concluded that Rand and I must have fabricated that memory entirely. Not because Roseburg wasn’t cute (it kind of was … sort of), but because we asked around, and not a single one of our friends had stopped in Roseburg. Was it a case of matrimonial hallucination? Or perhaps a well-crafted subliminal message created by the powerful and covert Roseburg tourism board? We still aren’t sure. The point is, something led us there. And boy was it … yeah. We knew we were getting close to Roseburg when I saw the Mc Donald’s billboard that looks like the mugshot of some dude who hangs out in elementary school parking lots:

Scary, right?

Scary, right?

I dare you to stare at that for a full minute before going to sleep. The town of Roseburg is fairly small. I usually find that sort of thing crazy appealing (see Astoria, Oregon) but Roseburg didn’t bowl me over nearly as much. I suspect that scorching sun might have been to blame (it was about 104 degrees, with no breeze). Still, it was sort of cute: You’ll notice that the streets are pretty deserted. I think it had something to do with the beauty college, which was offering free haircuts that day. There were at least three dozen people lined-up outside:

Even the local news was there. They were getting a soundbite from a dude wearing a Big Johnson t-shirt. Stay classy, Roseburg!

Even the local news was there. They were getting a soundbite from a dude wearing a “Big Johnson” t-shirt. Stay classy, Roseburg!

We also passed the Greyhound station, of which Rand became inexplicably enamored …

I just think its neat. - Rand

“I just think it’s neat.” – Rand

He also liked the old Dodge parked across the street from it: But then, as is the case with most small towns (based on my travel experiences and the summary of “Deliverance” I read on Wikipedia), shit got weird.**

This store was apparently going out of business. Where the people of Roseberg will buy their parasols and mannequin heads, I know not.

We then came across the Douglas County Republican Headquarters. Here you can see my Commie-Pinko husband trying to contain his enthusiasm:

The store next door is either called Touch of Class or Couch of Glass. Im sure you can guess which I prefer.

The store next door is either called “Touch of Class” or “Couch of Glass”. I’m sure you can guess which I prefer.

Without hyperbole, the headquarters looked really, really depressing. Like it had given up hope. Which makes sense, looking at their election results from 2008 (Note: for some reason, that map has the colors mixed up. I’ve never seen a Republican candidate listed as blue and a Democrat listed as red). There were a bunch of patriotically-themed nutcrackers that had faded in the front window (sadly, I neglected to take a photo of this) along with a few signs …

Click on the photo to see a larger image.

I actually don’t entirely disagree with any of the nine tenets listed there (I sort of disagree with number 5, because, like my husband, I too am a Commie-Pinko). I just think it’s weird that a lot of the signs looked like they were part of some middle school student’s civics project. This was also true of the county’s Democratic headquarters, located just a few blocks over.

At this point, I didnt know what Rand was looking at. I just heard him say, You have got to be f*cking kidding me.

I didn’t know what Rand was looking at when I took the above photo. It wasn’t until he said, “You have got to be f*cking kidding me” that I got a closer look, and saw that the window display was apparently having a fight with a crazy person:

And then there was this, which is made even more creepy by the placement of red squiggly lines over the president’s youngest daughter’s eyes. Not cool.

They also felt the need to point out that Dick Cheney is in the photo.

They also felt the need to point out that Dick Cheney is in the photo.

The thing about trying to fight with the mentally infirm is that 1.) you are soooo not going to win, and 2.) you come off looking bat-shit crazy yourself. So congrats on that, Douglas County Dems.

Then what? Oh – we realized we were starving. I had already been severely disappointed with our food options as we drove into town, when Rand got my hopes up, only to dash them seconds later:

Rand: Let’s see … we could go to Cheese Garden.

Me: Shut up. SHUT UP. They do not have a place called the Cheese Garden. We are SOOOOO going there. I want to eat a salad made of brie.

Rand: No, no – it’s Chi’s, as in belonging to someone named Chi. It’s a Chinese Restaurant.

Me: (begins sobbing) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I was utterly devastated, naturally. We decided not to eat at Chi’s because 1.) I was still waaaay too emotionally broken up over my fictional Cheese Garden restaurant, and 2.) it looked really sketchy. In retrospect, we probably should have gone there, because life is an adventure. Plus, it would have made a great blog post.

Instead, we played it safe like the total wusses we are, and ended up going to a McMennamin’s restaurant. We even got boring food:

So while it was nothing fancy, it was pleasant and dysentery-free. Plus, I had time to think about the menu of the Cheese Garden. It would totally kick the crap out of The Olive Garden.

After that, we headed out of Roseburg and on to Ashland. And since God knows I love symmetry, as we drove out of town we encountered a billboard as delightfully creepy as the one we saw on our way in …

Visiting that site is the mental equivalent of digging your own eyes out with a spoon. Do not go.

**Note – I don’t mean to suggest that shit doesn’t get weird in big cities as well – it certainly does. For some reason, though, I don’t expect it in places that look like Mayberry. And for those of you who don’t think that small towns are weird – well, check out reason #9 to visit Mount Airy (a.k.a. “Mayberry”), North Carolina, that I found when looking for the preceding link: Yeah.


UPDATE, November, 2014: I’ve written about how this blog post has influenced my commenting policy, and why my husband has made me promise never to go back to Roseburg.

Leave a Comment

  • Wow – reason #9 is http://www.visitmayberry.com/09brThe_Siamese_Twins.aspx – that’s awesome.

  • We made a brief pitstop in Roseburg on our way to your pre-wedding BBQ! Except we didn’t stumble across any of this excitement you unearthed…I just got an ice cream cone. Yeah, that’s how I remember everything: by what I ate.

  • Freakin’ Micky D’s … That clown is going to give me nightmares.

    • Heather

      The McDonald’s sign says exit 174 (Cottage Grove). Roseburg is at exit 124 and is a lot less creepy than Cottage Grove.

  • Now I realize why Rand never wanted to go to McDonalds… This explains so much.

    Still not explained though, is the requirement for circling “The Bible” in the Obama photo. That makes no sense to me.

  • molly

    Get off your damn high horse, roseburg is a very clean and respectable town. It may not be all the in a bag of potatoe chips, but I would rather raise my family here than in some ghetto ass town. Make fun of roseburg all you want, you’re an ignorant idiot.

    • Mark

      First, I would like to say that my horse is not high. And overall, Roseburg is about as ghetto as it gets. When I go on a bike ride I actually watch for syringes. Not joking. Wouldn want to get Hep C changing a bike tire.
      And recently, there was a dead cow found west of Roseburg With meat removed.
      Most people who think Roseburg is great are sometimes rude and crude. Maybe afraid the truth will get out. I wont elaborate on the gang stalking.

      Roseburg News Review Dead Cow Found With Meat Removed

      • mahala

        I agree wholeheartedly! Get of your high horse! Quiant, smaller towns just like Roseburg are wonderful.. Snobs can stay away.

    • Violette Frost

      Hey Im FROM Roseburg (Actually a small country village named Melrose about 8 miles out) and I went to Roseburg High School and I can tell you this town will suck the life out of any person that tries to do anything
      artistic or original, Conservative people love this place because it makes them feel safe, but statistics prove out that for the population, Roseburg has a drug arrest and crime percentage the same as New York City. Other than the community college this place has NOTHING that I could ever find a reason to stay for. I moved to Eugene the home of the University of Oregon and went to school as soon as I was done at Umpqua Community College there.. My relatives would always ask me when I would come back to visit if I was ‘smoking any pot’ up there………just another thing….when they have class reunions only a quarter of the 375 people that graduated the year I did show up! If it was that great why don’t more people come back to reminisce about the good old days??? CAUSE THERE ARENT ANY. Nuff said.

    • Bud

      All I have to say to some of the comments Is WOW… Enough said.

  • Everywhereist

    Dear Molly: It’s “potato.”

    Man, the Roseburg school system must be awesome.

    • jocelyn

      and I can see you were taught to be rude at your school.

      • Everywhereist

        Honey, please. That is a skill which can not be taught.

  • Yvette

    As someone who unhappily lives in Roseburg, I can agree to how horrible it is. However, about Obama’s birth certificate and the Bible thing? That’s because these things are necessary, because people in Roseburg honestly believe that Obama is from Kenya and is an evil Muslim. I wish I was joking, but it’s true.

  • Melanie2U

    I grew up near Roseburg, so I embrace the quirkiness! You can take the girl out of Oregon, but you can’t take Oregon out of the girl! After living in large cities, we have settled in a small town (like Oakland, OR) and love the small-town, everyone knows everyone way of life. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a great place to raise kids, and it’s for me! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you for sharing. Also, I have Cheese Garden burned into my brain…thanks a lot…

    • Everywhereist

      I am so glad that you actually GET my sense of humor, and realize that this homage to Roseburg was written with love. I do so enjoy stopping there, eating ice cream, and gawking at EVERYTHING. That town is magic.

      • Josh

        You’ve only been there once or you stop there often? Because in the article you made it sound as if neither you nor your acquaintances had ever been there and now you write, “I do so enjoy stopping there”, the present-tense of which makes it sound as though you’re familiar with the area.

        Roseburg is just another small Oregon town, trying to stay above water. Either your sense of humor in this post is on some level of subtlety that is undetectable by the human senses or (and I suspect this is the case) you’re Yet Another Hipster jumping on the already-overloaded bandwagon of hating on small conservative-leaning towns.

        I have some mixed feelings about being a very liberal person from a very conservative area, but I’m by no means embarrassed about my hometown and after reading your post I’m disheartened by the strong vibes of “ha ha shame shame” that it gives off. This is a poor first encounter with Everywhereist. I think the “dysentery free” comment was what sealed it for me; I’m glad that you didn’t go to Chi’s because you probably (definitely) would have been even more unnecessarily harsh with it. Roseburg as a town doesn’t necessarily get hurt by a smallish blog like this, but the small, family owned businesses within don’t deserve that kind of treatment. (Never mind the racial insensitivity of making fun of the name. Wait- are YOU from Roseburg?)

        Kinda sickened by this.


        • Everywhereist

          Dude, when I finally open up The Cheese Garden restaurant, you are SOOOOO not welcome.

          Wait … that’s mean, huh? You can come. The only people unwelcome there will be the lactose intolerant.

        • jocelyn

          thanks Josh, couldn’t have said it better myself. Chi’s has been here a really long time and do not deserve to be judged from the outside.

  • LaJuana Williams

    I was delighted to read your comments about Roseburg. After living in eight different states and two foreign countries I decided Roseburg is where I want to call home. I enjoyed your comments because it will tend to keep people from overrunning the town and that’s a major goal for us. It’s situated in some of the most beautiful country imaginable. Pristine forests, beautiful rivers, lakes, waterfalls and you can visit these without having to compete with crowds to find the perfect spot. Our art festival puts the ones I’ve attended in Dallas and other major cities to shame. We have festivals all summer long, free music on the half shell with renowned musicians, graffitti weekend where old cars come from all over the country to join in the festivities. I won’t even mention the duck race. We could use some more restaurants although there are some amazing little places if you know where to go. For major shopping trips we do venture to Eugene or Medford. But glad you came by and glad you left. We like things the way they are.

  • Rick

    Hey. I don’t know why everyone takes everything so serious. Your article was hysterical. I live in Roseburg, and I like it here. But why can’t anyone take a joke? You can laugh about your hometown and still like it.

    Anyway, just letting you know not everyone in Roseburg is offended by your humor. I rather enjoyed it.

    • Everywhereist

      Thanks, Rick. I actually know great people from Roseburg and quite enjoy the town. Sadly, the response to this post (including some rather scary emails from folks) has me thinking I won’t return anytime soon. But perhaps I’ll reconsider. You guys do have some excellent ice cream joints. 🙂

  • Heather

    This is interesting to me because I’m trying to decide on which Oregon town to move to and Roseburg was in my top 5. Fortunately after reading your post about it (thank you btw!) and reading these comments I will be scratching Roseburg off my list. What a bunch of small minded, defensive people! Astoria, on the other hand, gets glowing reviews from you and has the most adorable houses. And Goonies! ‘Nough said.

  • Nicole

    I live in Roseburg. I have for 5 years because I wanted to live in Oregon after living in a midwest state. I do have to say that the town of Roseburg and its school system are not toprate. That is a nice way to put it. I DO enjoy the nature surrounding Roseburg – Amazing. Also, you are located in a great central location – an hour to Eugene, an hour and a half drive to the coast, over a couple hours to Portland. There are NO good restaurants here. The ones the locals say are great actually suck, but you are not going to run into a lot of foodies here. Getting an overdone piece of meat from the Sizzler is like French Laundry to Roseburgeans. In fact, I’m wondering where you bought your ice cream cone which was so good because DQ is the best i’ve found here. As much as Roseburg promotes its Umpqua Ice Cream, it’s just basic supermarket/generic quality. I actually like Tillamook – much better quality and simply tastes better!

    • KingofDirt

      I read down through all of the comments and some where fair and some a bit dramatic, but talking bad about Umpqua Ice Cream, you could get yourself band from Douglas County. Tillamook Cheese is great (and should be at Cheese Garden) even their yogurt in quality but there ice cream is subpar. Also Umpqua Ice Cream makes the best FroYo. But if your ice cream tops at DQ you have not gone enough places in Roseburg. There are ice cream shops all over town, some sell Umpqua others Tillamook and a rear few something else.

  • Jan

    It’s sad and hurtful that you could stop by Roseburg for a few hours, eat some food and pass judgement on a town that for me, holds many happy memories. Let me ask you a few questions…..Did you bother to visit the beautiful grounds of the large Veterans Hospital? Did you bother to take a drive outside the city to some of the bucolic farm country? Did you visit the small Douglas County Museum? Did you even drive past and admire the stately Courthouse grounds on which I watched Robert Kenneday give his speech for the Democratic bid for President in 1968 only two months before he was assasinated? Or did you visit the site of the “Blast of 59” that devastated much of the downtown? Probably not. But for someone like me who grew up and lived through all of those events in Roseburg…your cynical “diatribe” serves only to show your ignorance. Roseburg may be a small town, but your observations are small-minded.

  • Bridgette

    This was the best review my boyfriend and I could have possibly found! He was thinking of relocating for a position there from Denver, as of course to all of us larger town folk, a small town seems so enticing. Not only do we greatly appreciate your humor and understand that it was all in good fun, (effing hilarious) we have now come to understand that for some of us there will always be a basic need for gelato, French-Asian fusion cuisine, and mixologists. Thanks for reminding us that you may take the kids out of the big city, but the inner hipster snob will most likely always remain, just trapped in a teeny, tiny, town. (Ahhhhh!)

    P.s To all the locals, the humor wasn’t meant to be cruel! I’m sure small towners everywhere would find a few hundred things to say about crazy-ass-ghetto-chic-yet-slightly-hippie city folk, too. Just sayin’.

  • Janet

    The awful thing is that I live in Roseburg and came across this blog because I searched for mannequin head. (I need one for my online business.) I wish I had an answer to your question of where to we locals will buy them. Foiled again!

    For anyone considering moving here – don’t fall for the tourism posters. Visit for a bit, and you will see why you should choose almost any other town in Oregon. Except Salem.:)

  • Adam

    I used to live in Roseburg and I have to say that most of your comments are spot on. All I would say is that the city and surrounding areas are very pretty. Nice centrally located town to stay for tourists visiting that part of Oregon. Diamond Lake and Crater Lake are just a few hours away. It has a pretty decent Animal Safari.

    If you are thinking about moving to Oregon, please do your research. There are very few jobs and the ones you may find do not pay much. Very little shopping, schools are below par, not many good places to eat, etc.

  • Lorelei

    Believe me, that Roseburg as well as all of Douglas County are good places to avoid. The major economy is Marijuana growing and Methj manufacturing. Less than half tthree county population has even completed high school. The population declined by 30% between the 2000 and 2010 Census. If you travelers had really observed the downtown area is mainly attorneys and drug rehab as well as numerous closed businesses. Pretty much the minimum fines the Nazi judges give will be $1500 for even spitting on the sidewalk. Two Roseburg cops like to extort sexual favors from pretty women. Especially their motorcycle cop. I really suggest you remain on Interstate I-5 between Medford and Cottage Grove. tHERE IS NOTHING AT ALL OF INTEREST OR BENEFIT IN EITHER rOSEBURG OR dOUGLAS cOUNTY. aND THAT COMES FROM A RESIDENT THAT IS EAGER AND WILL BE SOON LEAVING HERE.

    • Mark

      I have lived in Roseburg for many years and I can attest to the fact that there is something here that is hard to define and extremely odd. I think that if Stephen King moved here, the town would scare him away. I have met sizable groups of people who seem to have shifting (or multiple) personalities. I mean everybody in the group.
      So a group of people might meet you and befriend you, then the whole group can switch on you and you have to watch your back. Ive heard some stories of police corruption, but havent had any problems myself with police.
      Well….except when I tried to talk to them about someone I knew who was involved with some things. A detective told me that he didnt have any time to talk to me because he had crimes to solve. He also acted a little nervous, I thought.

      The worst problems I have had here are with the medical facilities. After I got sick and had to go to the hospital, the local clinic I was going to told me that my recent medical records had disappeared.

      A long time ago, the assistants at a local clinic started making crude (sexual) jokes about me because I had blood in the urine. I was very ill (weak) and didnt think it was funny. Then, later, they refused to give me copies of my blood work. So my review of the medical groups here would be that they are quite unreliable at best.

      I dont want to suggest that Roseburg is unsafe to stop, visit, buy gas or food or get a room for the night. Its probably just as safe as the next town to visit. But deciding to move here should be a careful decision. Anyone thinking about moving here should take in all the info they can find, and make a careful decision.

    • Mogie

      Lorelei before you condemn the population for not finishing high school you should take a good look at all the grammar mistakes in your comment. Big city people are confused when they don’t have something to entertain them. You need to know how to enjoy the beauty of nature. But some people get cranky when they don’t have an electrical outlet for the video games. Did these people check out the rivers, lakes, the Pacific ocean, Wildlife Safari, any park, the gaming casino, nature preserves, etc.? Nope. Why didn’t they go to the Visitor’s Center and make an educated decision as where to go?

  • I DARE you to go to Klamath Falls. Will make Roseburg look purely magical.

  • Jordan

    I stumbled onto this blog on accident and am in all honesty a bit disappointed. I moved to roseburg when I was 10 and left when I graduated high school but now, six years later, am about to move back. I wish you had done some research before visiting. The streets were most likely deserted because it was 104* and locals take full advantage of the incredible rivers that surround our town. Whether its going to river forks park to utilize the rope swing or colliding rivers to jump off the boulders, the rivers are amazing and have been featured in almost every outdoor magazine. The area in which you photographed is not the best. But every town has a downfall. I am happy you didn’t eat at chi garden, I have no idea why that place is still open. The locals as well as those who speak badly of the town are part of the issues that plague the town. People in roseburg are sometimes small minded, unmotivated, and lazy, but there are quite a few who want the town to flourish, who want to give back to the town, its just hard to find many people who will step up into a leadership role. If you left the arm pit of the town you’d see the beauty of it. Next time you visit I encourage you to stop at the art school, take a stroll through the gorgeous grounds of the historical VA hospital, maybe take a dip in one of the umpqua rivers or enjoy listening to a concert on the lawns of the half shell. Roseburg may not be 5 or even 3 stars but if you like the outdoors and you enjoy relaxing in the sun then you will create some great memories!

    • Divine Home

      WEll said!!!!

  • WHOA !! I did a double take on this article about Roseburg. Did not appreciate it’s content and even after reading it twice, found nothing in it worth writing about. I might suspect you were drinking or stoned as you found humor in everything here ( a common factor to being intoxicated and or high ) …. I would be curious as to what town you live in ~ maybe you could share so we could come find you among all the other idiots that live there with you !!

    • Everywhereist

      Hi Sherill!

      I’m sorry you didn’t appreciate the content, which was intended to be a lighthearted commentary on the quirkiness of small towns. I nevertheless feel that you coming to “find me among all the other idiots” is vaguely threatening, and perhaps a bit of an overreaction in relation to the offense of which I’ve been accused. Do you often threaten to hunt down people whose views differ from your own?

  • Robert

    I think Jordan hit it on the head with “People in Roseburg are sometimes small minded, unmotivated, and lazy. . . its just hard to find many people who will step up into a leadership role.” I’ve lived in Roseburg for nearly 2 years and nowhere have I been able to find a sense of urgency about ANYTHING. I had to file a complaint with the FCC to get cable internet installed at my house. It took 6 months to CLOSE on my house. In order to get the septic system repaired prior to closing I had to drive out to the house of the guy who was going to do the backhoe work because he never answered his phone. (He was on the front porch smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer when I arrived). When the locks failed on our office I discovered that none–not a one–of the locksmiths in town has an answering service or answering machine. WTF???? I’ve had a job opening posted at work and nobody that I’ve interviewed is even remotely suitable–and I’ve given several applicants second interviews hoping they could improve on the first marginally successful interview. Nothing so far. While the scenery and outdoor activities are indeed wonderful, the culture of laziness that permeates this area is unacceptable to anyone who wants to actually accomplish something. Trying to accomplish things in Roseburg is like waking up every morning to discover you’re Sisyphus and you’ve got another day ahead of you of rolling a boulder uphill. Until Roseburg changes its culture and becomes more dynamic, it will remain a backwater town with little hope for an economic revival.

  • Dillon

    I enjoyed both your commentary and your humor. I am thinking about moving to Roseburg and found this post looking for more authentic and substantial info than what I was finding on official websites. I am not sure if your observations or the wealth of comments were more revealing. Maybe I can relate to your commie/pinko/hipster relationship with small town America, having had similar experiences (and even a memorable encounter with a mannequin/doll in a window that was so terrifying conversation stopped and we stood TRANSFIXED). In any case, I am undeterred. What you and your commenters had to say about Roseburg confirmed the vibe that I was getting, but I am still excited to check it out!

    • Everywhereist

      I like the town, I really do. Some people just don’t quite understand how I express that. 🙂

  • Lady

    Recently moved to the area. Wish I had seen this article first. My husband said it is a pretty area since he had seen it before me and I moved in area unseen. It is pretty. However. There isn’t even a major bookstore here :/ I can’t seem to find any other mommy friends and the heat is killing me. I think we will be moving out of here ASAP.

  • Dot

    I have lived in Roseburg for 35 plus years, all my childern were born here, my whole family lives here. Roseburg may not be the best little town in the world but we are proud of our town. So when some one from out of town disrespect us we get our dander up. Just because you didnt like our town doesnt mean its ok to tell everyone that our town is disfunctional. We have a lot of things happening in Douglas county…search for them before you down us!!!!!

  • I am an Ivy League graduate recently retired who spent the past 35 years in NYC, San Francisco, and Los Angeles respectively. My wife and I found a beautiful 100+ acres ranch just outside Roseburg and love the natural beauty surrounding us and our horses. I enjoyed your insightful snarky sense of humor. Just remember life is a beautiful gift. We don’t all have to enjoy the same journey.

    • ORgirl

      We moved here in 2001 from a large Liberal city, we have a lovely little farm a few miles out of Roseburg and spend as many hours here as possible. We learned early that if we wanted good healthcare we would need to drive 70 miles to Eugene. We’ve found that many many many people here listen to the uninformed opinions of others and accept it as the gospel, especially when it comes to politics, or they rely totally on FOX news. Art Robinson is a perfect example, he bombarded this county with his huge four color process campaign signs and the ‘locals’ did not question where he acquired the funds to fuel this visual brainwashing. I’m so thankful that there are other counties in Southern Oregon that controlled that vote. We used to joke that when a ‘local’ got a job and had worked two weeks and received their first paycheck it was time to take a vacation, we don’t joke about that anymore. We have acquaintances who shop regularly at Walmart and yet they were enraged when a few years ago Costco opened a store here, their complaint was that Costco would take dollars away from local small business. Let’s not mention that Costco pays a living wage with benefits and that all of us who were driving to Eugene to shop at Costco are now bringing our dollars back to Roseburg. New topic; Drugs. I have worked for Douglas County for nine years, last year a new business moved to Roseburg and the new employer complained in our office one day that he had several positions open, that would start at about $50,000/yr he had interviewed over three dozen applicants and not one had passed the drug screen. Need I say more on that subject. We have been here long enough to make many good, well educated, cosmopolitan, similar minded friends. We have learned to be sensitive of the bubbles that others live in. We moved here to retire, we love our farm, our friends and family love coming here to visit because we are a short drive to the ocean or the mountains and this is beautiful country, the climate is temperate with few extremes. We have wineries and world class fly-fishing, we have amazing fresh produce and orchards and farmers markets and music. I’m thankful for high speed internet and that Eugene and Medford are not too far away. I miss cultural and ethnic diversity, but I really like having enough room to bury a body if I need to.

      • AltitudeAdjust

        Are you still there?

  • Garret

    I’m from Roseburg and I like your article. I won’t say Roseburg is the bee’s knees of Oregon, but it’s special in its oddness. That being said, I did have to escape the place in my youth and join the military.

    Great things to do in Roseburg:

    Eat Umpqua Diary
    Float the river
    Music on the Half Shell in Stewart Park
    Eat linguicia on your pizza (Apparently it’s not served many places outside of Oregon. I tried ordering some on my pizza in Texas and they told me “Um… She doesn’t work here.”)
    Go to Graffiti Weekend (Giant car show! May want to do a blog on it.)

    The economy is terrible there, though. Not a lot of jobs outside of the mill. While the ice cream is great, it’s hardly enough to keep me there. I go back for my family and to see how things have changed. It hasn’t changed much in 13 years.

    I do appreciate that you wrote more than a cursory paragraph or two about my home town. I hope some of the commentators haven’t jaded you or others from visiting the place.

  • Ashley Tuter

    This was quite the article! Lol!

    I think it’s time for you to come back! We now have an actual Cheese Garden. Haha! I joke!

    Really, truly though Roseburg’s economy was historically dependent on timber and never quite recovered from the crash.

    We have a lot of outdoor recreation in Roseburg and surrounding areas, and it’s a great place to raise kiddos.

    Alexander’s Greek Restaurant will blow your mind (it’s downtown), and a new brewery (Old 99 Brewing Co.) is one of a few that opened last year. The wineries are becoming quite popular here, and people come from all over to do wine tasting.

    While I do agree with you that those billboards were creepy, our town is not quite as bad as you portrayed. It’s a community with a lot of love and kindness that could use an economic boost.

    I was born and raised here. We love traveling to new places, and always love coming home.

    If you ever come back, get ahold of me, and I will show you the positive, relaxing, tasty part of Roseburg! I double dog dare you to visit again! Lol!

  • Don Gilman

    So my family and I just moved away from Roseburg to St. George, Utah. Certainly there are some bad aspects to Roseburg. but overall it is a decent place to live and raise kids. The town itself doesn’t have a lot going for it, but the people who live there are by and large a great group of people. Also, the natural beauty of the area is outstanding, the Umpqua river (especially upriver towards Glide) is one of the most beautiful rivers anywhere. Also, the Music on the Half Shell free concert series is really quite amazing and draws visitors from all over. Don’t get me wrong, we are quite glad to be in our new, beautiful home in the desert, but this article is a little bit unfair. Like any town, it has its good and its bad aspects, but we didn’t leave because it was awful (although the weather is pretty abysmal for about half the year.) You have to explore a little more to find the gems that are there, but they are there.

  • erica

    There have been so many comments that I couldnt possibly go through them all, but tell me, has anyone already pointed out that the billboard ad for mcdonalds at exit 174 is actually in I think cottage grove? Just south of eugene. Roseburg exits are 127 thru 121, to the very best of my resident knowledge. Other than that, some guy (I think john) puts it very well above that small businesses definitely dont need naive slander in their “reviews.” Roseburg is growing constantly. While it does originate conservatively (and trust me oregon needs some balance), the youth are progressively bringing in more arts and ideals and together the people are making it a beautiful place. I grew up here and did my fair share of complaining in younger years but I know no matter where I go, the comfort of my hometown will always be my hub! I love being a roseburger!

  • Diane

    My husband and I moved to Roseburg, by choice, 9 years ago. We relocated from a major metropolitan area in the midwest knowing little about the area and not a single person person who lived there. We were ready for better weather and a more relaxed pace of living. Roseburg has delivered both. It did seem like we were lost the first year or so. It takes time for someone running on big city time and conveniences to understand that quality of life is more important to many folks than all the toys one can buy. If it’s a great day for fishing, there’s a good probability your contractor will be on the river instead of your job site. On the positive side, that same attitude has nourished an amazing creative community of artists and musicians, I was completely surprised by the local talent. Also quickly revealed was the charitable and kind nature of so many people in the community. They may not be well off, but they are very quick to share what ever they have when the need arises. Roseburg is transitioning from a one industry (timber) town with a lot of high paid jobs to a more economically diverse one. It is a rough journey. People are always resistant to change, but it will come. We love our new home and are constantly grateful for finding such a beautiful place to live where we have made so many wonderful new friends. I hope the people with the energy and desire to see this place prosper keep up all their hard work. I will help in any way I can.

    • Susan Magnuson

      My husband and I will be relocating to Roseburg for his job. I have been living in Ashland for over 30 years and I am more than ready to move North. I would like to keep in touch with you so possibly we could learn more about Roseburg and which areas we should not want to buy a home. I looked online and the crime rate seems very high? Thank You, Susan

  • Katie

    I lived in Roseburg on & off for nearly five years, working for a local non profit and in one of the medical facilities. Not one of the comments left here surprises me. I don’t blame any kid with half a lick of sense for going for a degree and getting out.

    That said, *some* of the folks defending the ‘Burg aren’t far off. The Tuesday night Music on the Half Shell concerts are wonderful, the used bookstore in town is nice, and floating the river in the summer time can’t be beat.

    Everywhereist missed out on some of the better dining options, if they are still around. Brix 547 (?) had a solid brunch service, and the bagel shop by the library wasn’t shabby if I remember correctly.

    Downtown was (is) a total time warp, but if you can see it as charming rather than frightening, you’re better off for it.

  • Sherri

    It might have been nice if you showed the McDonald’s sign for the right city. On the sign it shows exit #174, which is a Cottage Grove, Or exit. Roseburg, Or exits are #124 and #125….. just saying that sign was not an ad for Roseburg as you indicated.

  • Cec

    I grew up in the Roseburg area, and I still miss it EVERY DAY!! I can tell from the photos you posted that you visited ‘Old’ Roseburg, and therefore, all your snarky comments were accurate and deserved. People don’t shop in that part of town often, no one uses the bus station- there’s just nothing down there.
    You missed some of the best parts of the city- you visited the butthole and left the rest unexplored….unless that was your goal?

    • Cec

      Ever hear the phrase ‘wrong side of town’?….. you were totally on the wrong side of town.

  • Kate

    I am confused. Are the Democrats there…for or against Obama

  • Bobby

    So the McDonalds sign you provide indicates that the restaurant is located off Exit #174, but Roseburg is located at Exit #125. There seems to be quite a mileage gap there.
    Frankly, feel welcome to stay away from Roseburg. It is a nice small town, loaded with great people.

  • Megan

    Well, at least you didn’t go to Sutherlin.

    Also, if you’re in Roseburg again, “Salud” is not a bad place to eat!

  • Dearest everywherest,
    I understand your disappointment of roeseburg and I am sorry. I was born and raised there And I raised 3 of my childern there. My family still lives there. I only visit once a year to remind myself of why I left. Don’t get me wrong there are things I miss, like the rivers and swimming in them. Just not the south umpqua in town, the north in a town called Glide, east of Roseburg. Which also has a beautiful drive to crater lake. the sights outside of Roseburg is nice but the town itself is very depressing. I felt my life being sucked out of me, no job opertunities, no future for me and mine. So I packed up my family and moved to a even smaller town an hour and a half north of Seattle called Sedro Woolley, Wa. I got out and I plan on staying that way. So I feel ur right to judge Roseburg the way u did but if u don’t know the town it’s hard to know the good places to eat, cause there are some. Promise lol so every one can just stop, some people who have never left Roseburg don’t understand that life outside of that town is so much broader and free. You become custom to the closed minded ness of that town it’s hard to see anything else. So please forgive my fellow Rosebugians they don’t know any better. It’s been branded in their DNA

  • Divine Home

    What you missed: This is a great place to raise kids!!! You couldn’t ask for something better. Roseburg’s charm is in it’s people. We are a community that is committed to family life.. It is a community that supports youth activities and the arts for youth and many other activities for our kids.. Any given weekend you can find the town bustling with youth soccer, little league base ball, and the like. The businesses here in Roseburg are the most giving that I have EVER seen. (By the way I did not grow up in Roseburg. I have been here since 2000). They are asked for money on nearly a weekly bases to support all kinds of causes. When I came here I got involved in many things that required donations from businesses and It was amazing the result. Simply AMAZING!!!
    The weather is very mild and your visit during a 104* day is not normal. The surrounding areas offer over 30 different waterfalls and the amazing North Umpqua River trail is stunning!!! Ski resorts – 3 hrs, Beach- one hr. I doubt much that many things can match the natural beauty if this “1000 valleys of the Umpqua” Oh and by the way Roseburg has some award winning wineries here. It is touted as the “new wine capitol”. Look out Napa.
    You can’t say that this political schism and banter doesn’t happen in larger cities, and Roseburg is no different. Healthy competition is good for everyone!!!
    Let’s face it, some times folks from the city can not appreciate the slower pace and the family feel of a small town. And the same can be said of small town in a big city. Sure Roseburg has it’s issues as does any town in America. I have to say that your photos are an accurate representation of what old down town has to offer, but you missed it completely. How sad… Just saying.

  • Peggy

    I have lived here for 18 months, I moved from a big city……..this summarizes Roseburg, but I could say way more. Check out Walmart, where the required garb is jammies and slippers……

  • jwilde

    Don’t know how i ran across your blog but it was too funny. I live in Douglas county but hail from elsewhere. I love the odd, weird, quirkiness of this county and of Roseburg. I think you nailed the funky flavors of a hot summer day in the ‘burg. Embrace the inner weirdo, i say!

  • LarryC

    That is a strange billboard. Exit 174 is 50 miles north of Roseburg. Cottage Grove? The Roseburg exit is 124.

    It’s not surprising there was nobody on the street on a 104 degree day, mad dogs and Englishmen being in short supply in Douglas County.

  • Jay

    I escaped Roseburg 5 years ago. Prior to that I spent 10 years driving trucks across the western side of the United States so I was only ever in Roseburg on the weekends. I glanced through the comments but didn’t seem to notice that anyone pointed out that the sign is 55 miles north of Roseburg and is for a McD’s in Cottage Grove, a town 47 miles away.

  • Ciera

    um the McDonald’s sign .. Totally creepy.. But you have missed one thing .. It says exit 174.. Well that’s not Roseburg .. That’s Cottage Grove .. We definitely have some odd ducks when it comes to political parties .. But they make us different!! Personally I love the town of Roseburg and feel very blessed to be able to call such a beautiful part of the country home!!! I know your blog is meant to be light hearted .. But I sure hope that tourists ignore it and come to see all of what Roseburg has to offer!

  • Freda

    I love satire, don’t get me wrong–some of your comebacks in the comments section were my favorite part about this article. But alas, I too came here as a perturbed Roseburgian to say you were almost entirely unfunny here.

  • Jonathan

    Okay- Chi’s is delicous, inexpensive, and you don’t deserve to eat there. McMenamins is THE place to go if you are involved in community theater, many a cast party has been held there. Bland? Try the cajun tots and think again. Maybe ordering plain chips and humus was the mistake?
    Rivers. That is where everyone goes when it is 104 degrees. And free haircuts? Who would rather pay? It all grows back.
    Are crimes commited? If they weren’t it wouldn’t be life. I get your sarcastic humor, I do, but before you go judging an entire town and the schooling (that is in reference to an earlier comment) why not spend more time there rather than stopping by? Thats like watching a movie for five minutes and deciding you hate it because of the intro-credit font. Which, by the way, is idiotic, just like this review.

    • Anon

      The food here is about as delicious as microwaveable food… I’ve been here 6 years and came from a place where food actually has to be cooked by people with degrees in the arts.

  • I lived 9 years in that town. This article captures it absolutely perfectly!!!! So spot on you have no idea. My favorite moment was the news crew at the haircuts, yep that would be right. I also will never forget so many fascinating conversations I had there, one standout was a person explaining to me what happened to the weapons of mass distruction never found in Iraq. Ready for this? They were sent to North Korea. Bam. You try responding to that.

  • Britanie

    I’ve lived all over Oregon. I just moved to Roseburg Oregon and it’s not even that bad. Yeah, there’s crazy people HOLY SHIT. Newsflash, there are crazy people everywhere. Go to Klamath Falls and then tell me how bad Roseburg is. Lol

  • Haylie

    Hey I actually LIVE in Roseburg. YES Roseburg is a small town and theres not much to do here, but I would rather live in a safe boring town than somewhere where people can get raped walking down the street or murdered for walking in a neighborhood. Roseburg really isn’t THAT bad. Its not even really that crazy either, its mainly a chill little town with not a lot going on but NOBODY will truly understand Roseburg until they have LIVED here.

    • Anon

      Lol been raped twice here…. Try that logic again.

      • G-Man

        It took you two times to get it right?

    • Mackenzie Frye

      I’ve been raped here twice as well. Nice try though.

  • justin miller

    Oh boy. I do hope that this pretentious and self-proclaimed “everywhereist” never visits here again. It is funny how one can judge a town they have seen less than % 5 of.

  • Kody Johns

    I thought this was pretty funny! I’ve lived here for a while and honestly don’t blame them for talking about what they’ve seen haha. Too bad you didn’t get to see some of the prettier parts though… Jersey Lily for the win!!!!

  • Brad Kintz

    can I pan for gold in roseburg? we are going to wild life safari and I need things to fill Tuesday…. any suggestions roseburg town folk?

  • Michael

    I am a third generation Roseburgian. If you know what’s good for you, stay away from this s*** hole! It could be worse. But, this is part of the ass end of space! Corruption abounds and you would do better to keep moving North, like Canada, or something. The local government (municipal and county), are the take and the cops are in their pocket as well.

  • Jeremy R Wall

    I moved here to roseburg last August (2014),,im from San Jose,cali,,,,i agree something is strange here,i just cant seem to find any good descriptive word except for “off”,,maybe its because im used to the strange in a city of a million, not the strange of a million condensed into 20 thousand,yeah.good pot though,cheers.

    • Dee Lux

      I know! I stopped there for a night 2 years ago, and I still can’t forget the place. As a musician I have toured through every state in the union and all of Canada, and I say that Roseburg Ore. is the strangest, creepiest place in all of N.A. I like the way you put it, things are just “Off” I did a little research over the last couple of years and discovered some disquieting things about the place. There’s something different about Roseburg and it isn’t “good” diffferent.

      • Jeremy R Wall

        STAY AWAY FROM ROSEBURG!!!!! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2d5c8d811cfa069380cd3429de98c6a8cca7943f3abf762cf0c2a2dd01f43610.jpg

  • Skeptical_Hitchhiker

    Just moved from there in order to return to my beloved Greater Seattle area.. Upon further inspection, I reckon the author may have found things she liked, but the thing you’ve got to know about Roseburg is that it’s a drinking town with a logging problem, and the loggin’ business ain’t doing so hot..


    love it here in this town. It has just now started to pick up and boom. I always wanted to leave during High School. I wanted to live in the big city or just anywhere but here. However, now that I am a mother, I realize just how safe it is here compared to other places. We have mountains all around in every angle. We have wonderful rivers safe to play in. We are close to the Ocean and big town shopping. Both only an hour drive. I love my town. Yes, the food option was a poor choice. Next time, try Alexanders. They were literally on the same street as that republican crap you saw… also, this town is nothing close to republican. It is a liberal and democratic town. That was one shop out of all shops here. Downtown has gone downhill but they are renovating it just as of a few weeks ago. I hope you visit us again and experience the full surroundings. Check out the waterfalls all around, the fishing is amazing, and the breweries and wineries are galore! Thanks for stopping by, but please don’t make this town out to be weird…

  • Brian Parazoo

    Thank god your not coming back. Someone as yourself that is this negative should stay out of roseburg. Good riddance

  • Dee Lux

    If you look on one of the travel review sites there is a very disturbing story written by a young lady who stayed at…..I want to say it was called “The Shady Hill inn?” in Roseburg, Actually kind of a scary story.

  • Stella

    This post was hysterical, in a good way. We’re dropping our “baby” at UW / Seattle and, with our beloved dog newly-dead and us true empty-nesters, we decided to drive back to LA along the actual west coast. One thing led to another and eight leisurely days turned into racing to Sonoma to see our daughter on a Wednesday night because SHE’S got things to do and God forbid we don’t screw up our own vacation to accommodate her. So we thought we’d hit the Oregon coast another time and drive straight through the fiery hell that is now central Oregon.

    I saw Roseburg on the map and thought, “Oh, sweet. Let’s stop there! Isn’t that the place where they make the pottery?” No, idiot, that’s Roseville, but I DID, meanwhile, read your blogpost and I will NOT go to Roseburg and I might just buy your book.


  • Margaret

    You’re hilarious; I haven’t had a good belly laugh like this in literally years. I’m sure it isn’t only Roseburg; humanity overall is pretty weird. But as long as there are people like you who can make us laugh at ourselves, maybe there’s still hope.

More from The Blog

On Instagram @theeverywhereist

  • Take note: if you ask your husband if you can move to NYC roughly four dozen times, he will start to cave a little.
  • Incredible reading by the love of my life to a packed room at NeueHouse Madison Square. So proud of you, @randderuiter, and the amazing emcee work by @michaeliconking.
  • Re-posting this photo that @wilreynolds took of us and his youngest near the beach outside of Lisbon. We're back home now, and I can't decide what I miss more: this little guy and his brother, or Portugal. Actually, scratch that. I know.
  • This place looks like a damn fairy tale.
  • Lunch with a view of the water, and some of the best seafood of my life.
  • The entire drive from Sintra to Lisbon looks like this. It's just miles of blue sky and rocky beaches.
  • No filter. This is just what Sintra looks like.
  • This street artist does amazing collages of animals from hunks of discarded plastic he collects (part of an effort to raise awareness about some of the most vulnerable victims of pollution). They're all over Lisbon, but we managed to get a close up view of this one.
  • Thousand watt smile on the little dude, and I am done.
  • Those eyes though.

All Over The Place

Buy my book and I promise I'll never ask you for anything again.