From the world’s largest living organism to the world’s smallest park, you will get to see it all in Oregon. Nestled away in the Pacific Northwest region, the state boasts of diverse wildlife and rich history alike. The gigantic specimen of Honey Mushroom found in the Blue Mountains of Oregon is just one of the many things to marvel at when in Oregon. Just like the smallest park spread over just two square feet, called the Mills End Park is in the Portland city of Oregon.
Portland is known to host the deepest lake in all of the US, called Crater Lake. The state that was home to North America’s earliest residents is today a state with people from diverse cultures. Its population of 4 million also consists of people from Latino and Asian ethnicities, apart from most Non-Hispanic Whites. If you’re considering moving to Oregon, read on to know more about the practical bits you should be acquainted with.
What To Know Before Moving To Oregon?
Oregon falls on the western side of the United States and is spread over an area of 98,381 sq mi. It is America’s 33rd state and is the 9th largest in terms of area in the US. It has the Columbia River to its North and Snake river to its east, which explains the rich biodiversity in the state. To its south are the mountains beyond which lie the states of Nevada and California.
There are many colleges and universities in the state. Many people hailing from Oregon have made it successful in their fields. Like the Nike Swoosh trademark that was designed by a student from Portland State University, the state has also given birth to the famous American cartoonist Matt Groening, the creator of ‘The Simpsons’.
There is a lot of diversity when it comes to wildlife in Oregon, right from the smaller animals like raccoons and chipmunks to the large mammals like mountain lions and black bears. Numerous species of birds too reside in the forests of Oregon. The wildlife had such an impact on the economy, that they ended up nicknaming it as the ‘Beaver State’. If anything, it makes sense considering fur trade was important to the economy in the early days of Oregon.
There is so much to do in Oregon, like hiking on Mt. Hood or horseback riding on Mount St. Helens. Or you could just choose to cycle around the road bordering Carter lake. But if you want to spend a weekend in, just settle in with the State’s famous Willamette Valley wine. People of Oregon love their coffee and take their roasted coffee very seriously. The state is also famous for its Voodoo Doughnuts, Tillamook Cheese, and its Craft Beer.
Before moving, you should also know that Oregon is long overdue for an earthquake. There is a 37% probability of a major earthquake hitting the state in the next 50 years. This quale can also trigger a tsunami since Oregon is right next to the sea.
Crime Rate In Oregon
When it comes to crime in Oregon, the rates of crime are quite contrasting. The violent crime rate is 15th lowest in all of the United States. As opposed to that, the property crime rate is at the 7th highest position. But there is hope, as ever since 2019, the property crimes in the state have fallen.
According to NeighborhoodScout, the annual crime rate stands at a total of 30.15 per 1000 residents. So if you were to fall victim to a property crime, the chances are 1 in 37, whereas the chances of a violent crime are quite low, 1 in 352 people fall victim to a violent crime in the state. Newberg-Dundee is one of the safest communities in the state. These are two cities in the Portland area, which are combined for statistics. The best part is that the violent crime rate in these two cities is an impressive 1.42 per 1,000 inhabitants.
Most of the western Oregon region has warm summers and wet winters. Such winters often bring a frequent overcast in the Oregon skies. The weather is more on the drier side in the eastern regions of the state. This is due to the cold semi-arid climate in Eastern Oregon. The mountain ranges in the west called the Cascade ranges have considerably chilly winters because of the Arctic cold waves.
The temperatures around Oregon usually vary between 36°F and 85°F around the year. The best time to visit Oregon is in July and August. Tourists find this as an ideal period to enjoy the warm weather activities. The cold winters last somewhere from 3 to 4 months and the coldest day of the year is 30 December. On this day, the temperature can even go below 36°F.
The longest season is the wet season which lasts for around 7 months and the probability of rain is higher than snow in wetter months. There can be 180 to 200 inches of rain in the areas around Coast Range every year. When it comes to the coastal cities, it rains 60 to 80 inches yearly, with Dallas city being the rainiest in Oregon.
The one city of Oregon that is sunny throughout the year is Klamath Falls. It is called the ‘City of Sunshine’ for a reason. Though most of the cities of Oregon experience many rainy days, Klamath Falls has sunnier weather. The weather pattern is different here as compared to the coastal cities as it is perched at a height of 4,100 feet.
Is It Expensive To Live In Oregon?
Though the natural splendor of Oregon might encourage you to move here right away, the state is quite costly. It stands in the 5th position if we talk about the most expensive states in the US. The cost of living in Oregon is higher than the national average by a whole 31.43%. A study even says that one needs an income of $60,195, to lead a comfortable life in the city of Portland.
Cost Of Living In Oregon
The cost of living index in Oregon stands at 113.1, which is much above the US Average which is 100. People in Oregon also end up paying high taxes on Income tax. The state income tax ranges between 5% and 9.9%. It is also the third-highest tax on income in the country. One relief is that there are no taxes on sales. This way you end up saving your money if you buy home appliances or cars.
Going out for grocery shopping will cost you around $6 to $10 if you limit your list to Milk, Eggs, and Bread. If you like fruits, the cheapest are bananas at $1.74 for a kg, or if apples are what you prefer, they are priced at $4.54. Drive around any city in Oregon for coffee and you’ll find a regular Cappuccino at $4.16. Coffee here is a big deal, with 200 specialty coffee shops scattered around the state.
You need to shell out $459 per person for major medical insurance. But this varies according to the insurance cover you choose. Also, the state of your health affects the price, a poor health condition means a higher cost of medical insurance. Free healthcare is provided to thousands of low-income people in Oregon by the Oregon Health Plan.
Buying A House
The average price for buying a home in Oregon is $424,517. Ever since 2020, the home values in the state have risen by 13.2% according to Zillow. But there is good news, the mortgage rates have fallen this year. The mortgage rates are expected to stand at 3.0% throughout 2021.
Renting A House
The average rent in the towns of Oregon is $1,100, and this rises as you advance towards the bigger cities. Portland in particular has high rent. Getting just a one-bedroom apartment in the center of Portland is going to cost you $1,593.56. And if you are moving in with your family, you can rent a three-bedroom apartment at $2,719.17. The rates are expensive even though the average rental rates are down by 2.6% since last year. Some of the cities which have relatively cheaper rents are Springfield, Milwaukie, Gresham, Salem, etc.
You must keep aside $192.02 from your budget for basic utilities if your apartment is hypothetically 915 square-foot. This includes the prices of electricity, heating, garbage, and water. Getting unlimited data is the need of the hour, and it will cost you $66.97 in most places in Oregon.
In case you own a vehicle, then you must account for the cost of gas in the state. The state gas price average stands at $3.375. Don’t forget that Oregon is one of the 2 states in the US where it is illegal to pump your own gas. So remember this when you drive to the gas station anywhere in the state.
See Also: Most Expensive States of US to Live in
Oregon Economy And Employment Opportunities
Given the natural biodiversity and forests of Oregon, wood products, agriculture, and food processing form a major industry. Because of the landscapes and scenic endowment, tourism and hospitality also fall in the main industries. But the economy of Oregon is not limited to this. The economy in the state is slowly transitioning. A focus that was once on natural resources is now shifted to high technology, manufacturing, and services. This industry is also bringing in a lot of revenue for the state.
Jobs in fields of Software and Computer Systems Design, Electronic Markets, Financial Investments are providing a lot of employment in the state. These industries also gave livelihood and high wages to many workers, both native and newly migrated to the state. The famous ‘Silicon Forest’ is home to some of the biggest companies and house world-famous brands. You will find companies like Oracle, HP, Intel, and FLIR based here. Between 2010 and 2019, the employment opportunities in this sector saw a rise of 18%.
Psychiatrists, Obstetricians, and Gynecologists earn a lot in the state. The average salary of a Chief Executive is $206,870 and that of a General Dentist is $197,640. Some of the jobs that are in high demand and will see more growth in coming years are that of Web Developers, Nurse Practitioners, Industrial Mechanics, etc. Oregon is a state which provides higher salaries, which compensates for the high cost of living here.
There are more than 1,251 public schools organized across 197 school districts in the state. A few of the best school districts are the Portland Public Schools, Tigard-Tualatin School District, and the Beaverton School District. Usually, the quality of education in public schools depends on funding, and Oregon ranks at 40th position when it comes to quality of education. The quality of higher education is better and stands at 23rd position in the US. The state has a total of 471 high schools.
There are several options for university education in the state, like Oregon State University, Pacific University, George Fox University, Reed College, and so on. Many students compete to get into Oregon State University every year. A testament to the standards set, Reed College happens to be the toughest to get into. Programs like Economics, Social Sciences, Psychology are well taught in colleges around the state.
Football fever is also high in universities, with the matches between UO and OSU being worth attending, thanks to the interstate rivalries. For the students in technology or engineering fields, going to university in Oregon acts as an advantage. Getting good internships and jobs after graduation is easier because of the presence of the Silicone Forest.
Getting Around Oregon
There are numerous options to get around the state. You can take a shuttle, a cab or even a bike. The people of Oregon love going around on bikes, and choose this transport any day over their cars. But you cannot take a bike to travel across the state unless you are a fitness freak and have the stamina. So let’s talk about other options too.
If you want to travel across Oregon, there are many regional flights available. And if you want to fly to another US state for work or vacation, international flights too are plenty. The largest airport here is the Portland International Airport. 90% of passengers prefer catching a flight from this airport.
The nearest airport for many Oregonians is the Redmond municipal airport since it is located in the center of Oregon. The frequency of flights is good as it offers 25 direct flights every day. In case you want to travel within Oregon, there are several options like the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport, Southwest Oregon Regional Airport, etc.
Rail transport is quite an important part of Oregon because Oregon was the pioneer in the electric railway systems in the US. The cities of Eugene, Salem, Portland are all connected to places like Vancouver, British Columbia, etc by passenger rail. The only intercity passenger rail service in Oregon is the Amtrak Cascades. The cheapest train ticket to travel in the state is $5.00. You will also find commuter cars and transit rail in the main cities. The MAX Light Rail operates in the city of Portland, it covers 94 stations and is owned by TriMet.
60 cities in Oregon are connected by buses. There are 2 bus services, the Emerald Express and the Lane Transit District. These connect cities around Eugene. A benefit of the Lane Transit District buses is that rides are free for university students from the University of Oregon and Lane Community College.
If you want to hit the road and don’t have a car, or if you missed the bus, you can even book a cab or a shuttle. The standard service rates for a cab are $3.50 and will cost you $2.60 per mile. If you are in Eugene or PDX, you will easily find an Oregon Express Shuttle. Shuttles provide door-to-door service in main cities, like the White Van Shuttle in Portland.
Best Cities To Live In Oregon
This city can be called the cultural hub of the state. People here appreciate indie music as much as popular national acts. The Moda Center attracts many people who attend the live music events that happen in Portland. What is remarkable about the city is its enthusiasm to support local businesses, from which emerged the unofficial motto of Portland, ‘Keep Portland Weird’. A number of natural treats will make your stay here worthy. Like the Forest Park, Portland Japanese Garden, Washington Park, etc. Portland is also named No. 1 when it comes to biking and No. 10 for its wide Public transport.
- Median Home value: $526,626
- Median Home rent: $1,523
- Unemployment rate: 6.3%
Also See: Moving to Portland Oregon
This academic city is the birthplace of Nike. People love exploring hiking and biking spots around the city, so it’s evident how Eugene flaunts a culture of healthy living. The public schools in Eugene are above average, but there are several universities here, such as the University of Oregon. Eugene can be called a young city because of the students and young professionals. Apart from the cultural attractions and outdoor destinations, the city also has many museums. Both residents of the city and tourists enjoy visiting the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and the Eugene Science Center.
- Median Home value: $398,682
- Median Home rent: $1,417
- Unemployment rate: 7.3%
One of the scenic cities in Oregon, Salem has many natural attractions. This is because it is nestled in the Willamette Valley. It is the state capital of Oregon and is vocal about the state’s history. On the grounds of the beautiful Oregon State Capitol, you will find landscaping and murals that tell you about Oregon’s history. The city also offers rich natural abundance, like the woodlands of Minto-Brown Island Park. Salem is also famous for hosting the Salem film festival. If you’re planning to move here, you’d be delighted to know that the city is great for people looking to start a career or a family. It won’t be wrong to say that Salem offers the warmth of a town and the amenities of a city.
- Median Home value: $345,408
- Median Home rent: $1,131
- Unemployment rate: 5.8%
Is Oregon A Good Place To Live?
Despite Oregon being an expensive state and its high tax on personal income. Oregonians absolutely love living here. The sense of community and responsibility the people have towards the surroundings is what makes it special. You won’t find people throwing trash out of their car windows as they love keeping Oregon pristine. It is worth settling in since it offers such natural splendor and diverse activities. You could ski down the slopes one day and go surfing the waves the next day.
And you don’t have to worry about employment either, because of Oregon’s growing economy, there are many jobs in different spheres. A lesser-known interesting fact is that recreational cannabis is legal in this state. Taxes from legal cannabis also pay for schools, police, and other services in the state. If wet winters don’t bother you and the state offers you the career, cultural and lifestyle opportunity you seek, then Oregon could be a good place to live for you.