The 2020 Guide on Moving to Oregon – Everything You Need to Know

Deciding where to move and start anew can be a daunting task when you have 50 states to choose from. If you picked to move to The Beaver State, you might have a few questions about life in the Pacific Northwest. Not a lot of states have their official animal or an official nut. So if you’re moving to Oregon, these are just some of the things you should get familiar with.

If you would like to settle somewhere where you can be in close contact with nature, search no more; OR is the right choice for you.

Located at the northwest Pacific coast, OR is home to 4.2 million citizens, and thousands of people are continually relocating here every year from all parts of the country and the world. Officially, OR became the 33rd state to join the Union in 1859, and today it is the 9th largest in the US.

Geographically speaking, this is a very diverse land that has a little bit of everything, from forests, volcanoes, to deserts and beaches. If you’re considering relocating here, you’re certainly wondering, is Oregon a good state to live in? Of course, life here comes with some advantages and drawbacks, and it is going to take some time to adjust, but is it worth it? Read through our guide to find your answers.

Moving to Oregon Pros and Cons

Are you wondering what should I know before moving to Oregon? That is a legitimate question, and you need to answer it on time, before booking any moving services. Our first tip would be to keep your expectations realistic. We all have different priorities and needs. Therefore, don’t expect that OR is a wonderland where everything is a dream because it has its highs and lows just like any other place. We decided to summarize them for you to help you get a sense of a bigger picture. Take a look at all the pros and cons of being an Oregonian.

Some of the pros of relocating to OR

OR has some beautiful forests and green areas, but that is not all – Oregon’s carbon footprint is one of the lowest in the country. Here you will find the highest concentration of eco-friendly buildings and easy access to lots of recycling options and renewable energy sources. Besides, you have the opportunity to settle in one of the greenest places in the entire world, the so-called Emerald City.

Crabs are a big thing here, so don’t be surprised if you see your local friends serve them for Thanksgiving dinner. Crabbing season is a special time of the year. It usually starts one week after Thanksgiving, depending on the weather. If you’re not a fan of crabs, there is plenty of other fresh seafood to try, and the prices are reasonable compared to the rest of the country.

Don’t forget to pack your bicycle for moving because the cities here are very bike-friendly. A lot of them have loads of bike paths, clubs, and programs that stimulate going around on two wheels. PDX is frequently well-ranked on the lists of most bike-friendly places across the country, but others such as Eugene also rank well in terms of cycling.

Although many would assume that OR gets a lot of rain due to its geographical position, the fact is that it is not even in the top ten states that get the most rainfall per year. Pacific Northwest does get more rain than some other parts of the country, but in reality, it is not that bad, and that cloudy weather is more typical for the coastline area.

If you are an outdoorsy type of person, you’re going to love it here. This is one of a few rare places where you can do both skiing and surfing, but also enjoy sandboarding, mountain climbing, horseback riding, and many more.

We will leave it up to you to decide whether this is a pro or a con, but the fact is here it is legal to use marijuana for recreational and medical purposes. However, consuming it in public or on the streets is illegal, so you can only consume it in a private property.

A few cons of relocating to OR

Like in some other parts of the West Coast, Oregonians have a fear of the next Big One. The next earthquake that could cause a tsunami and destroy their coast. However, no one can predict when that could happen, but no one loves to be in constant fear, so that is something to keep in mind when choosing where in OR to settle down.

OR has slightly higher crime rates when compared to other parts of the country, but especially property crime rate. However, crime happens everywhere. When choosing your future home, take a look at some of the safest places in OR according to Neighborhood Scout; it could help you find the safest community for you and your family.

Oregon’s cost of living index is higher than the national average, especially in terms of housing expenses. So, finding a roommate or going further from the center is something to consider if you’re moving to a new city alone.

Self-service gas stations were banned a long time ago here, in 1951, because it was not considered safe. Besides, that law guaranteed additional job positions. Lately, however, they started relieving those rules. And since 2018, it is allowed to have self-service gas stations in counties with less than 40,000 residents. That is, in 15 out of 36 counties.

Only five states that don’t impose sales tax, and OR is one of them. However, keep in mind that the income tax is slightly higher because of that, but it is progressive, so it depends on your income and varies from 5% to 9.9%. Also, there is a vehicle use tax, which applies to imported vehicles. So before booking your auto transport or purchasing a car from a dealer outside of OR, make sure to check how much car shipping costs, depending on where your vehicle is coming from.

You can spot as many as ten historic lighthouses along the coastline.

Moving to Oregon Guide

Wondering how to prepare for an interstate move and experience stress-free moving? Start by informing yourself on all the aspects of life and costs at your desired destination. If you watched the famous show Portlandia, that might not be enough to get a sense of Oregonians’ lifestyle. Therefore, we tried to cover some main categories and provide helpful information for all future Oregonians. Let’s take a closer look.

Is OR Expensive to Live In?

We mentioned that the cost of living index is higher than the national average (118 compared to 100). Although that is not the case with every city, it is either the same or higher in most places. For example, Portland is by far the most expensive location in OR, and that contributes significantly to the average costs of OR residents. But regardless of that, thousands of people are still relocating here every year, and the population is continuously growing, showing that people can still earn enough for a comfortable lifestyle. Let’s compare some of the latest data for the main categories of expenses and see how OR stands.

IndexORNational
Groceries115100
Housing123100
Transportation126100
Health care115100
Utilities87100

Source: AreaVibes

 

How Strong Is the Job Market

When it comes to job opportunities, OR ranks rather high. It’s frequently featured as one of the best areas for various businesses.

Some things to consider when relocating for a job here include knowing who the top employers are. Let us give you a hint: Intel and Nike are some of them. Before, the primary industries here used to be timber and agriculture, but now the focus is on manufacturing, business services, technology, forestry, tourism, and many others.

The unemployment rate data from 2019 shows significant improvement over the past decade, considering that in 2009 the unemployment rate was 11.3%, and in 2019 it was 3.7%.

Housing Costs

The costs of housing are notorious here, especially in major cities. But the price is not the only problem. The real estate market is big, but it can be challenging to find accommodation if you are doing the last-minute moving. Perhaps using storage services might be handy while you’re house hunting.

According to Zillow, the median property sale price is $359,600, but when you take a look at the forecasts, those numbers might be going down slowly in the next few months.

Education and School System

The quality of education is essential for anyone who’s looking to raise a family, and in OR, you have to do your research pretty well. There are some excellent public schools, and also some not so good ones. Rural districts are mainly known for lower performance and test scores. Take a look at some of the best school districts, and start from there:

  • Lake Oswego School District
  • West Linn-Wilsonville School District
  • Corvallis School District
  • Ashland School District
  • Beaverton School District

Things to Do

There are plenty of options for things you could do in your free time: from visiting stunning national parks such as the Crater Lake National Park in the Cascade Mountains to enjoying the scenery of the Columbia River Gorge. And of course, the Pacific coastline, which stretches 360 miles along which you can spot several historic lighthouses. With a moderate climate and the chance to experience all four seasons, you can fully enjoy an array of outdoor activities. Besides that, amusement parks, museums, aquariums, shopping malls, and theaters are also an option for leisure time. Take some time to explore your new home as a tourist before you become a local.

Fun Facts You Should Know Before Relocating to OR

While preparing for your relocation, it’s always good to get familiar with some of the less known or funny facts about your future place of residence. For starters, let’s resolve the main one: why is OR known as The Beaver State? This animal has been connected to Oregon’s earliest times. Locals recognized its qualities such as intelligence and ingenuity and decided to put it on their flag and to declare it as the official animal. Smart, isn’t it? Now let’s see what the other interesting facts about OR are.

  • Oregonians are proud owners of the only flag in the country that has a different design on each side.
  • This is the first place in the US, where physician-assisted suicide was legalized in 1994. Therefore, Oregon’s suicide rates are high.
  • Crater lake was formed more than 6,500 years ago on the remains of an ancient volcano. With a depth of 1,949 feet, it’s the deepest lake in the US.
  • In 1972, OR became the first state that banned the use of bottles and cans that are non-returnable.
  • The first town with one-way streets was Eugene, and today it is known as one of the most bike-friendly communities.
  • Not only do they have an official animal, but also an official nut, hazelnut. 99% of the national hazelnut crop is grown here.
  • Springfield, OR, is the city that served as the inspiration for Springfield from The Simpsons show.
  • OR is the home and the birthplace of Nike, which is one of the top employers in the region nowadays.
  • With as many as 80 ghost towns, OR is on top of the list as the nation’s ghost town capital.
If you search, you will find out what's on the other side of the flag, but you're probably already assuming what it might be.

Where Should I Move In Oregon – Best Places for Living

Picking the right location is never easy. Sometimes, that choice is not entirely up to us – for example, when a great job offer pops out. But in all other cases, choosing where you’re going to settle down is a critical and impactful decision. It depends a lot upon your needs and preferences, are you looking for small-town charm, skyscrapers, vivid nightlife, excellent schools, affordable housing, proximity to work, and so on. The list of potential criteria is numerous. But we decided to focus on those cities that seem to be the most popular among newcomers that are relocating long-distance. So let’s see what drew them here.

Moving to Eugene Oregon

Eugene is the seat of Lane County with less than 200,000 residents, located on the banks of the Willamette River. Today, it is known as an excellent location for all the outdoor types since it offers plenty of hiking and biking trails.

Life here is relatively affordable, and with the cost of living index of 68, Eugene might be an excellent solution for everyone who wants to move out of state on a budget.

A one-bedroom apartment with a good, central location can be found for an average price of $1,000, while the average salary revolves around $2,900. Eugene is home to the University of Oregon, which makes it a good choice for those who want to pursue education and raise a family.

Relocating to Salem

Although it has been the state capital since 1851, Salem is often in the shadow of other cities. Located in the center of the Willamette Valley, Salem has a population of around 180,000. Surrounded by vineyards, flower fields, and green pastures, Salem is conveniently located one hour from the Cascade Mountains and an hour from the coast.

The median household income in Salem is around $46,270, which is lower than the national average. The percentage of homeowners and renters is approximately the same, and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the center is $1,000. Salem is known for its Film Festival, Riverfront Park, and plenty of golf courses.

Relocating to Portland

Living in Portland is the primary goal of the majority who want to relocate here, and even though the Emerald City has its drawbacks, that does not make it less desirable among future Oregonians.

The cost of living in Portland is undoubtedly higher than the national average and any other city in OR. But apparently, it is worth every cent. Rents are higher than in Eugene and Salem for $500 on average, but so is the average salary.

With almost 2.5 million residents in its metro area, this is by far the largest and most populous place in OR. Portlanders do struggle with traffic jams, especially when it snows (but who doesn’t), but they are also not afraid of cycling to avoid the crowd.

And when you get tired of driving, you can treat yourself by exploring local breweries, because here they have the highest number of breweries per capita. But if you’re more of a foodie type of person feel free to explore some of the best restaurants in Portland, they are certainly worth visiting.

PDX is the central hub, but don't exclude other options too soon; you might like them even more.

Moving to Oregon from California

Why are so many Californians moving to Oregon over the past several years? Isn’t California known as the Golden State? So why suddenly so many goldies want to convert into beavers? Around 40,000 citizens migrate from Cali to OR every year, and a bit less than 20,000 go the other way around. According to local news, almost every fifth Oregonian was actually born in California. And there is even a bit of animosity towards newcomers who come from California. So is the grass really greener here, or is it cheaper to live in Oregon than California?

Oregon’s southern neighbor California is not just sunshine and beaches, and even when it is, it comes with an expensive price tag. Unlike people from the other parts of the country, Californians are not flocking to PDX as one would expect. They mainly settle in coastal towns, looking for that California lifestyle on a budget. Cities in Cali are overcrowded, traffic is insane, and median property prices are sky-high. Therefore, it seems that Californians are willing to trade a few extra days under the sun for a more affordable and comfortable lifestyle.

Best Way for Interstate Moves

The cost of interstate moving depends on the distance, but the expenses are not so high when you are relocating to a state next door. You can allow yourself to splurge on packing services and let reliable Oregon long-distance movers handle everything while you’re exploring beaches and chasing waves.

Shipping a car cross country also costs less when you’re not going so far away from home, so you can allow yourself to transport your four-wheeler and continue riding it along the northern Pacific coast.

Those who search for their ideal spot under the sun in OR should not limit their options to Portland.

One Final Tip for Those Who Want to Live In Oregon:

If you had any prejudices or doubts about relocating here, we hope we helped you clear your mind and make the final decision. There are so many useful moving tips that you should follow, but the ultimate one would be to give OR a chance. Don’t be afraid of the expenses or beavers crossing the road. And don’t limit yourself to PDX; take a look at where Californians are relocating. Coastal and other smaller towns such as Eugene have a lot to offer, and the costs are reasonable.

Written By: Jane Davis