• Last modified 3079 days ago (March 17, 2011)


Census shows cities shrinking

Ramona shows dramatic increase but number may not be accurate

Managing editor

The 2010 census statistics were primarily bad news for cities in Marion County.

There were only two cities in the county, according to the U.S. Census, that saw population growth — Hillsboro had 139 residents moving to the community in the past 10 years and Ramona nearly doubled its population going from 94 people to 187 in a decade.

“I think the key is having people in the community that are focused on creating a great community environment,” Hillsboro Administrator Larry Paine said. “Their work is recruiting new business, helping businesses expand, and working to make the school system exceptional.

“People want to live where positive things are happening. Investment in the community is being recognized by folks wanting to and eventually moving here,” he said.

However, Ramona Mayor Pat Wick doesn’t believe the census information is accurate.

There may have been as many as 150 in 2010 but the most recent count this week indicated fewer.

“I just double-checked our residents in town,” Wick said Friday. “It’s 130 as far as we can tell. We had about 20 people move out since the census and probably a similar amount move in.”

She believes that when the census was taken in 2010, the number may have included box holders and property owners that don’t live in Ramona.

Wick and her sister, Jessica Gilbert, were among the flux of people, moving to Ramona in 2000. Their reasons for moving to the rural community were to return to their hometown, they had relatives in the area, and housing was inexpensive — especially compared to California where they had lived for a number of years.

When the sisters, also known as the California Sisters, arrived in Marion County, they did everything they could to get Ramona on the map.

“I’d like to think that having something happening in town made it more attractive,” Wick said about the influx.

Tea parties, decorating contests, parades, and concerts brought local and area residents to the small community.

Among those relocating to Ramona, Wick said, were four or five people who had grown up in the area and returned home. There was another family from California looking for inexpensive property and country living. A couple from another Marion County community relocated to Ramona and then talked a relative into moving there when a property became available. Others have returned home because they are no longer employed and are living with relatives.

Even at the more recent head count of 130 residents, it still reflects an increase of 36 residents.

Lost Springs saw the most people leave at 65 percent, going from 201 residents in 2000 to 70 people 10 years later.

Florence has lost 206 residents, Marion 183, Peabody 174, Lincolnville 167, Burns and Lehigh 40 each, Tampa 32, Goessel 26, and Durham 2.

Last modified March 17, 2011