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The 20 Worst Places to Live in Oregon


Oregon has many amazing towns and cities that offer their residents a fulfilling and happy lifestyle. On the other hand, there are some locations in the state that are considered undesirable, and there are various reasons that they are given this label.

Often, a lack of safety is what ranks a city as being one of the most undesirable places to live, although the percentage of people out of work, underfunded schools, poverty levels, low house prices, and a lack of entertainment options are also factors that play a role.

Of course, some of these factors are more important than others to different people, depending on their needs and personal tastes. Based on a combination of these factors that people consider when choosing a place to live, here are the 20 worst places to live in Oregon.


20. Springfield

There are both positive features and negative aspects of living in Springfield, which is a city in Lane County that is home to 61,525 people. Starting with its greatest negative feature, Springfield is the 14th most dangerous place to live, according to FBI statistics.

Unfortunately, the lack of safety is far from Springfield's only downside. Springfield also has poorly performing schools, limited family activities, and a sparse job market. The more positive elements of Springfield are a lively nightlife, various outdoor activities to enjoy, and community diversity.

Grants Pass

19. Grants Pass

Grants Pass is a city in Josephine County with a population of 37,201. The city sits along the Rogue River, and Grants Pass is just northwest of Medford. If the lack of safety was not such a concern, then Grants Pass may not appear on this list. However, this city is deserving of its position, as Grants Pass is the 13th most dangerous place to live in Oregon.

The only other downside to the area is the lack of family-oriented activities. Other than that, the area has lots of good points, such as above-average public schools, decent entertainment options outdoors and in the evenings, good transport links, and reasonable community diversity.


18. Woodburn

Woodburn ranks as the 10th most dangerous place to live in Oregon, and if Woodburn did not have so many positive features, the city would appear much higher on the list. If you have children, then this area is probably not the best place to call your home, as the public schools are rated as below average, and there is a lack of activities and attractions for a family to enjoy.

This location is possibly better suited to a younger crowd, as Woodburn has a good nightlife, diverse community, varied job prospects, and good transport links. Woodburn has 25,417 residents, and the city is in Marion County.


17. Roseburg

Amongst the reasons that Roseburg is considered one of Oregon's most undesirable locations is the lack of safety. FBI data shows that this city is the eighth-most dangerous place to live overall and has the third most property crimes.

Employment opportunities are also an area of concern in this location. On the upside, the public schools are highly-rated, transport links are good, and there is a decent range of activities to enjoy. According to Niche, Roseburg is a city in Douglas County that is the homeplace of 22,988 people.


16. Salem

Salem is both the capital city of Oregon and also the second-largest city in the state, as the city has a population of 174,365 people. The city is in Willamette Valley alongside the Willamette River in Marion County.

Not seeing Salem rank higher on this list may come as somewhat of a shock for many people, as the city is the seventh-most dangerous place to live in the Beaver State. However, Salem has many redeeming features that have prevented this location from achieving a higher position on the list.

There are various activities and attractions to suit all people, as there are outdoor spaces, a lively nightlife, and various places for families. Other highlights of the city include community diversity and above-average schools.


15. Eugene

Eugene is a large city in Lane County, with a population of 165,997. Overall, Eugene is the sixth-most dangerous place to live. Another issue is the limited job opportunities in the area. Although there are some downsides to living in Eugene, there are also some factors that make this a good place to live for some groups of people.

For example, the area attracts many families, as there are highly-rated public schools and a good range of family-oriented activities. A younger crowd may also enjoy living in the area, as there are good nightlife options, along with various outdoor and fitness activities.


14. Astoria

The fifth-most dangerous place to live in Oregon is Astoria, and this city has more crimes of a violent nature than anywhere else in Oregon. Other areas of concern are the underfunded and poorly-performing schools and the lack of job opportunities across a range of sectors.

However, there are lots of attractions to enjoy in this city, including the Flavel House Museum and the Colombia River Maritime Museum. Astoria is a port city close to the Pacific Ocean that sits along the Colombia River.


12. Warrenton

The primary reason that Warrenton is considered a bad place to live is because of the lack of safety. Not only does Warrenton have the highest rate of crimes involving people's property, but the city is also the third-most dangerous place to live overall.

However, Warrenton also has some positive features, such as above-average public schools, plenty of activities to enjoy, and decent public schools. Furthermore, there are job opportunities in a diverse range of industries in the surrounding area. Warrenton is a town in Clatsop County with a population of 5,453 people.


11. Portland

Portland is easily the largest city in Oregon, as this city has a population of 639,387 people. This city is in Multnomah County, and sits alongside both the Colombia River and Willamette River. The only surprise in seeing Portland on this list is that the city is not in a higher position, as this city has the second-highest crime rates overall in Oregon.

The reason Portland does not rank higher is that there are many positive features of this city. Some of these include fantastic nightlife, community diversity, highly-rated public schools, and good employment opportunities. According to The Lonely Planet, there are also plenty of activities and attractions to enjoy in Portland.

Coos Bay

10. Coos Bay

Sitting in the tenth position on the list of the most undesirable places to live in Oregon is Coos Bay, which has a population of 16,229. Based on crime statistics alone, many people would expect to find Coos Bay further up the list, as statistics show that this city is the fourth-most dangerous place to live.

Another serious concern in this location is the lack of employment opportunities, as Coos Bay has the fifth-worst rate of unemployment at nine percent. The high number of people out of work is somewhat counteracted by the average household income, which is above the state average.


9. Gresham

Gresham is one of the Beaver State's largest cities, with a population of 110,494 residents. One of the many issues in Gresham is the lack of safety, as this is the 11th most dangerous place to live in Oregon.

Crimes with violence are the bigger concern, as this city has the eight-most crimes of this type in Oregon. Employment opportunities are another area of concern, as Gresham has many people out of work. On the other hand, Gresham has many more entertainment options than many of the other places on this list.


8. Seaside

While its name may have seemed appealing to the 6,737 residents who live in this town, they may then have found that life is not what they expected once they moved there. Primarily, economic issues are what have landed Seaside its position on the list of bad places to live in Oregon, as safety is not a major concern. Not only is the percentage of people out of work relatively high, but the public schools are seriously underfunded.


7. Hermiston

One of the many reasons that Hermiston is considered an undesirable area is due to the lack of safety. Overall, Hermiston has the 20th worst rate of crimes in Oregon. The economy isn't great in this city either, as Hermiston has an unemployment rate of 7.9 percent, which is the 11th highest percentage in Oregon. While the residents may argue that Hermiston is a fun place to live, many residents will not have much cash to spare at the end of the month.

Sweet Home

6. Sweet Home

Sweet Home is one of the locations on this list that does not have particularly concerning crime rates, but the economic issues in the area make this an undesirable location in which to live. Shockingly, more than a fifth of the population are living below the poverty line in this area, which only has a population of 9,619 people. Also. 8.8 percent of the population are unemployed.

Cottage Grove

5. Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove is a small city in Lane County that has a population of 10,182 people. Although a lack of safety in Cottage Grove is not a major concern, there are many other issues in this location. The primary concern is the economy, as Cottage Grove is one of the poorest locations in Oregon, and this is evident as the area has the eighth-worst unemployment figures in the state, at 8.8 percent.

Klamath Falls

4. Klamath Falls

Klamath Falls is a small city with a population of 21,335. As Klamath Falls is the ninth most dangerous place to live in Oregon, there is no surprise to find this location ranking so highly on the list. Klamath Falls also shows signs of economic issues, as the city has the third-worst statistics relating to unemployment and the sixth-lowest average property value. Another factor that contributes to this location being considered undesirable is that there is a lack of things for people to do in their free time.


3. Prineville

Although crime is not one of the biggest problems in Prineville, the city is still the 21st most dangerous place to live in Oregon. A bigger area of concern in Prineville is the rate of unemployment, which is the second-highest in the state at 9.7 percent and shows a lack of opportunities for work. Additionally, the residents living in this city have some of the poorest incomes in Oregon.

A further issue is the underfunded schools, which perform poorly compared to the national average. Like all places, there are some plus sides to living in Prineville, including many outdoor activities, a decent night scene, and a reasonably diverse community. Therefore, life is not all bad for the residents of Prineville.


2. Ontario

Ontario is the most dangerous place to live in Oregon, with high levels of both Violent and property crimes. The city also has the state's lowest median property value, at $117,800, and an average household income that is well below the state average.

Ontario is also in a remote location and has a population of just 10,966. Therefore, residents can feel somewhat isolated. On the plus side, public education is one of the best in the state, and this means that families could potentially find this area appealing if education is one of their main criteria when finding somewhere to live.


1. Madras

According to Road Snacks, the worst place to live in Oregon is Madras, and there are many reasons for this city ranking in the top position. Like many of the locations on the list, crime is an issue in Madras, although this location is only the 12th most dangerous city in the state. Madras has the ninth most property crimes and the 17th highest number of crimes involving violence.

Sadly, crime is not the only issue in Madras, as there are also economic issues. Madras also has the worst unemployment rate in Oregon, at 10.4 percent, and the average property value of $182,500 is the 14th lowest in Oregon. With all these negative features, there is no doubt that Madras is the worst place to live in Oregon.

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Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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