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Is Oregon a Good Place To Live? (The Pros & Cons)

Featured Image Is Oregon a Good Place To Live

Yes, Oregon is a great place to live, offering a different lifestyle with direct access to nature and various landscapes all in one central location. The economy and job market is also on a steady incline, so there is lots of job opportunity and career advancement for those who are looking in that direction. 

One of the most scenic states out West, Oregon, is booming with both nature and an industrial economy simultaneously. It was the last frontier for America, and the numerous ghost towns that are found sprinkled throughout the state tell a history of a place that has gone through many transitions to get to its current state. With over 4 million residents in Oregon, the majority of these people reside in larger cities like Portland or Bend. 

Oregon has always attracted new residents to come, and the beauty of the state is what has kept them there with the promise of a better life and improved life quality. In the last couple of decades, Oregon has continued to see growth, but some of the changes that are happening may not be exactly what you are looking for in a new beginning or shift into your career. Keep reading to see what the pros and cons of living in Oregon may be and if living in Oregon is the right move for you.

Oregon at a Glance

While some people picture the busy streets of Portland, Oregon is so much more than its few large cities with high populations. The majority of Oregon is pretty rural with lots of nature and environmental-friendly actions happening across the state.

You have all different landforms in this state, including lakes, deserts, mountains, forests and even some of the most beautiful beaches. No matter where you move, you are only a couple of hours away from some amazing landmarks. Oregon has the deepest lake in the country, Crater Lake, which is one of the deepest lakes across the entire world.

Portland Oregon Skyline at Sunset

Pros of Moving to Oregon

If you are considering making a move to Oregon from a neighboring state or even across the country, there are some pros to keep in mind that will make the move easier.

1. Lots of Nature All Around the State

If you move anywhere in Oregon, you will be excited to see lots of beautiful greenery, mountains, and trees everywhere. Some of the largest and deepest lakes call this state home. It is easy to take advantage of being outdoors hiking, kayaking, camping, or even hunting if that is your forte in Oregon.

The state has spent years protecting these beautiful areas and is environmentally friendly. One of the biggest outdoor experiences for locals and those who visit is windsurfing, which they do at Crater Lake.

Many of the jobs and activities are centered around the outdoors, and you do not find many people not taking advantage of the area. No matter where they live, everyone is no more than two hours from a beach, lake, or mountain. While out visiting these beautiful areas in Oregon, you are liable to stumble on scientists taking advantage of these unique ecosystems that exist.

2. Embrace Different Lifestyles

One of the biggest things that you will find in Oregon that you do not find in a lot of places is acceptance of different lifestyles and backgrounds. You can expect neighbors who don't look like you and have different beliefs and daily practices. 

Those who are members of the LGBTQ+ community find Oregon to be a great place to live and raise their families in comfort and acceptance. This was one of the first areas to offer their acceptance and it has been a safe haven ever since. 

There is also room for Americans who may be from different cultures across the globe looking for a place where they can practice their customs and religion in peace. Oregon has always been a safe place for residents to practice what they believe or feel open to not practice anything if that is what they believe.

One of the biggest things that you will find in Oregon that you do not find in a lot of places is acceptance of different lifestyles and backgrounds. You can expect neighbors who don't look like you and have different beliefs and daily practices. 

Those who are members of the LGBTQ+ community find Oregon to be a great place to live and raise their families in comfort and acceptance. This was one of the first areas to offer their acceptance and it has been a safe haven ever since. 

There is also room for Americans who may be from different cultures across the globe looking for a place where they can practice their customs and religion in peace. Oregon has always been a safe place for residents to practice what they believe or feel open to not practice anything if that is what they believe. 

3. No Sales Tax

Yes, you read that correctly. Only five states in the United States practice no sales tax on daily items, and Oregon is one of them. Everything from your morning coffee to your gas tank will be the price posted at the store and nothing more.

This is very different for those who are moving to the area and are used to paying sales tax everywhere. Sales taxes in other places can range in percentage, so adding ten or twelve percent to your total is no longer something to worry about if you move to Oregon. This will be an adjustment when you first arrive and get acquainted with the area.

4. West Coast Wineries

While it may be thought that Napa Valley in California has a handle on the best wineries, the last decade has proven that is not true. Some of the best wineries found on the West Coast these days are located in large vineyards across Oregon. Oregon has skyrocketed to the top of all the states, being the fourth state to produce the most wine each year. There are nearly 800 individual wineries across the wine regions, the Willamette Valley and Columbia River Gorge. 

It is important to note that the latitude measurement of the Willamette Valley is the same as the European Burgundy's wine region. The most popular wines coming out of Oregon are award-winning pinot noirs that have been praised at the global level. This pro of wineries for some is enough to confirm if is Oregon a good place to live. 

5. Bike-Friendly

Those serious about cycling and considering it a crucial part of their lives love to move to Oregon, where they are appreciated and represented across the state. State parks, city parks, and most public places are bike-friendly and have been adjusted so that residents can take their bikes wherever they need when traveling. 

If you decide to move to Portland for your job, you have direct access to nearly 400 miles of bike lanes and trails across the city. Biking makes traveling and commuting easy for those who live in the area and do not want to battle the car traffic and parking fees that come with Portland. It is not uncommon to see many residents in business attire taking the bike to work for their 9-5. 

6. Gas Station Service

If you are someone who doesn't like pumping your own gas, move to Oregon, and you won't have to. In fact, it is illegal for you to be able to go up to a pump and start pumping your own gas.

Oregon is one of the few states left that have this law, but it has been instituted in the state for decades. If you are moving from a state where you can pump your own gas, this is an adjustment to get used to, but it is put in place for your protection, and the responsibility falls on the attendant.

7. Accessible Beaches

Like the direct access to nature, the beaches in Oregon are completely accessible to the public. The state owns every inch of the beach; you can take advantage of this anytime. While it is pretty chilly in the winter, access to the beach in the Spring and Summer are common for residents. Over 400 miles of beaches have various rock features and formations along the beach. Take advantage of crabbing and clamming while you are out in the sand. 

8. Great Summer Weather

For those who are looking to move from the East Coast or down South in the Gulf area, Oregon has little to no humidity in the summer. Make sure you read that line again: NO humidity. 

This alone can be enough to make a permanent move since you are able to get outside in the summer and enjoy nature without having to worry about sweating through your clothes constantly or being worn out from the heat. The highest temperatures range in the 80s, making it a great place to be during those usually hot months. 

9. Friendly Atmosphere and Hospitality

While the South is known for it's neighborly hospitality, those same manners apply to the Northwest in Oregon. Most places you will visit, especially in the rural areas will be full of residents ready to assist you. You can expect a smile and a hello when you pass someone on the street. The culture is pretty laid-back, and everyone is willing to help if you need a hand with something on your property or information. 

10. Industrial Economy

When you consider living in Oregon, you will need a job and it is important to note that this state has a large industrial economy. Despite all the nature found in the state, Oregon is one of the industry leaders in engineering and manufacturing and trying to locate a job in one of these industries is pretty easy. You can also expect to get a good salary that will help you live comfortably if you have moved to the area. 

There are lots of jobs in the IT and tech industries in Oregon, which means that remote work and flexible working options are pretty high on the totem pole. Many residents in the area take advantage of these flexible working options to improve their quality of life and improve that work life balance that many other states and economies do not offer their employees.

11. Voting is Pretty Easy

Taking advantage of your right to vote as a citizen is something that Oregon takes seriously. They have decided to make it so that voting is easy and you can easily drop a ballot in the box at the poll station. This takes out the unnecessary waiting in long lines on election day and having to spend a good portion making sure you are able to cast your vote.

Cons of Moving to Oregon

There are pros and cons of living in Oregon, and if you are considering making the move, you do need to be aware of a few cons before you get here and are surprised. These are not necessarily things to keep you from Oregon, but things you should be aware of before you make a relocation commitment. 

1. Price of Houses

If you are questioning is Oregon a good place to live, the first thing you may do is see what type of houses are on the market and you will be shocked. The median home price as of August 2023 is $559,000 for a home in Portland. The prices of houses in Oregon are some of the highest in the country, and unless you are already expecting to sell your current home where you live or a similar price, you could find yourself paying a lot more for a similar home.

While most of these homes with these outlandish prices are near Portland, Bend also has high home prices because of the demand, with the median around $895,000. Folks who are moving to Oregon from across the country usually relocate for a job in one of these two big cities. 

2. Cost of Living

Not only will you pay a lot for your home, but the cost of living in the area will be a lot more than what you are probably used to where you live now. Compared to some of the other large cities in the Midwest, East Coast and even some in California, Portland has approximately a 15 percent or higher cost of living that you can expect when you move to the area.

For example, Chicago is 18 percent less expensive than Portland, which is a comparable city in economy and po This means higher property taxes, utility costs, and even the cost of products despite there not being a sales tax. When you move to the area, you will need to embrace a higher salary, approximately $75,000 or more a year for each income to live a comfortable lifestyle and meet the cost of living demands.

3. Rainy Weather

Although the summers are beautiful in Oregon, the weather tends to get and stay a bit wet throughout the year. This mainly happens in the large cities, but the suburbs, too, see a lot of rain throughout the other seasons. 

4. High Income Taxes

If you were wondering how Oregon can get away with not charging any sales taxes on their products, this is because of the high-income taxes that residents have to pay each year. Residents pay up to 9.90 percent on top of the federal tax rate to offset the sales tax cost. What residents have expressed an issue with is that the visitors coming to Oregon do not having to pay any tax, which is unlike any other state that has regular sales tax. 

5. Poor School Systems

Regarding the public education system, Oregon has one of the worst-rated systems, with some of the lowest graduation rates across the state. The graduation rate is just above 81 percent at the turn of the calendar year. The thought process for those moving to Oregon is to be prepared for the lacking school system or plan to make the move to a private or homeschooling system that works best for their family.

How to Decide if Oregon is a Good Place to Live for You? 

After weighing the pros and cons of living in Oregon, you need to make a list to determine what is right for you to make the best decision for your family and your career. The first thing you need to do is decide on your budget and the potential salary that you could earn if you move to Oregon. Are you going to be able to live comfortably? You have to compare the costs of the two places so that you know you can afford the move once you make it. 

Another consideration to make is family needs and obligations. Since Oregon has a poor school system, will that affect your family and lifestyle?

If you do not have school-aged children or are planning to cover the cost of private school, then it may not be a con that you need to consider when you make the move.

The overall goal for moving to Oregon is to improve your overall quality of life. Based on what your life is like right now, can you expect the quality of it to improve when you get there? That is how you decide is Oregon a good place to live and if it is right for you.

Tips for Moving to Oregon

Once you have decided that living in Oregon is the path you want to take, there are some tips you need to keep in mind. You want your move to be an easy transition, and you can get your life started right away once you arrive and get settled. 

1. Visit the Home Where You'll Be Staying

Before you agree to move, you must fly out to Oregon and look at the neighborhood and the home you want to buy. During the pandemic, so many people bought homes without looking at them first, and ended up moving to new neighborhoods once they got established.

While it may seem inconvenient to take a trip out to Oregon, your peace of mind is important, and you need to know where you are moving yourself and family if that pertains to you. Moving to a new area where you are not familiar with your surroundings and the safety of that community can be scary, especially for families with small children. 

2. Calculate Your Moving Costs

When you move across the country or even across state lines, there are some costs to keep in mind. You will need to have your items transported by a moving truck, unless you rent a truck and haul it yourself. While renting a truck can save you a some money on the front end, you have to make sure that you can manage this process within the allotted time frame on your own. 

Another option is to have your vehicles transported like your storage container across country. This is another expense to add to moving, but it does help with reducing wear and tear on your vehicle. 

Also, if you rent a truck, you will still need someone to either drive it or drive one of your vehicles to the Oregon home if you do not have enough licensed drivers in your family.Whether you hire movers or you move it, you will have to account for vehicle rentals, gas, and other travel expenses that will accumulate as you make your way from your current home to Oregon. 

3. Schedule Movers

If you are planning to use movers or rent your own moving equipment, you will need to reach out and schedule these services. For those who are traveling cross-country, one of the biggest things you can do is rent a storage container that you can fill with your stuff. It is then picked up and hauled by tractor-trailer and train to Oregon, arriving at your new home when scheduled. 

When you go through this process, you will need to have the container sent to your current home weeks before the move so that you have time to pack and start storing your items. It is important that you do not delay the movers and have everything ready when they come to pick it up. 

4. Give Yourself Time to Arrive

If you are planning to drive your personal vehicle(s) across the country to Oregon, then you need to give yourself enough travel time for stops and account for traffic along the way. You do not want to spend more than 10 or 12 hours driving a day, if possible. Schedule stops for lodging and resting until you reach your Oregon destination. 

Once you arrive, you will need to get moved into your home and settled so that you can start your new position with ease. It is best to allow yourself about two weeks of time to travel and get moved into your new home from your old job to the next.

FAQs

Is it a good idea to move to Oregon? 

For those who truly enjoy the outdoors and spend as much time in the terrain as they do working, then, yes, Oregon is a great move and will be ideal. Those who enjoy cycling and taking on new adventures will find endless opportunities in Oregon.

Is it expensive to live in Oregon?

Compared to other states, Oregon does have a pretty high cost of living, especially as you move closer to Portland. Homes and utilities are roughly 20 percent higher in cost, and you will pay a higher income tax than you would in most states.

Is it cheaper to live in Oregon or Arizona?

When you compare the cost of living between Oregon and Arizona, you will find it much more affordable to live in Arizona. Arizona's rent and home prices are down between six and eight percent, while the income taxes are only about half of what you pay in Oregon.

What salary is needed to live comfortably in Oregon?

Every household should have a minimum income of $75,000 to cover the expenses of cost of living, prices, and utility costs at the bare minimum. The minimum wage in Oregon was lifted to $14.20 per hour, as this amount is expected to cover minimum costs and rent pries found throughout the state.

Is property tax higher in Oregon or California? 

While both of these states have pretty high property taxes, they are actually higher in Califorinia than in Oregon. You will pay almost 30 percent more in California for property taxes than you will in Oregon on average and that makes it the more affordable option.

Explore Our More Articles on Oregon

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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