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Pros and Cons of Living in Oregon

Louise D.

In order to live in Oregon, one must have a passion for the outdoors and the stunning mountain scenery. Additionally, if you have a love for wine and sunny summers, Oregon can be the perfect paradise for you. The state offers plentiful bike lanes, no sales tax, and a strong appreciation for the environment. With its picturesque coastline, Oregon also offers exciting water activities and breathtaking beaches. It is no surprise that Bend, in particular, is experiencing rapid growth. Nonetheless, there are plenty of towns and cities to choose from in Oregon, ensuring that there is a perfect fit for your needs.

We have compiled a list of all the main pros and cons of living in Oregon to help you make a better informed decision on your move!

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Cons of Living in Oregon

The Big One is a constant

There is a constant fear among those living in Oregon of the worst natural disaster in Oregon’s history. The fear seems to be related to the fact that the state is not equipped to handle this anticipated disaster. If you are planning to move there do not be surprised if people bring it up in conversation.

Oregon doesn’t have many sports teams

Oregon has no MLB or NFL team to speak of, but you will find a soccer team; Portland Timbers, and the Portland Trailblazers, an NBA team. There is also a Class A baseball team; the Portland Pickles, and a junior hockey team, the Portland Winterhawks, but aside from that Oregon leaves much to be desired in terms of sports teams.

Oregon has one of the highest state income taxes in the country

With its lack of sales tax, Oregon can be quite an attractive homestead, but this should not fool you, the state’s income tax rate is extremely high which has a tangible impact on how much of your salary you take home with you. The income tax rate is the fourth highest in the entire United States. Unless you are coming from one of the few states that have a higher rate, which is unlikely, then the state income tax that you are used to paying will likely not even measure up anywhere near what you will pay in Oregon.

Depending on your income tax bracket you can expect to pay anywhere between 5% and 9.9%, so it cannot be said that living in Oregon will be cheap. Your take-home pay will likely always be less than you planned on, and on top of the income tax you need to remember federal taxes as well. It is not uncommon to allocate around 30% of your income to taxes.

The purpose of the high income taxes is to fund education and infrastructure, but the general feeling in neighboring states is that Oregon needs a sales tax to manage better schools.

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The overall cost of living in Oregon in high

This is especially true when moving to a city like Portland. Housing costs will take up the brunt of your expenses, and the rest of life in Oregon also carries a high cost. Calculations indicate that life in Portland tends to be around 17% more expensive than other US cities of its size.

Reserved locals

Oregon locals are quite reserved and tend not to be too welcoming to visitors, especially those from states like California. For many, this is one of the biggest cons of living in Oregon. It goes so far that Oregonians believe that Californians moving to Oregon have caused the high cost of housing.

For starters, there are many people from other states also moving to Oregon, and they are doing so for a reason. This has led some Oregonians to dislike visitors. The main complaint is that people moving from wealthier cities tend to outbid locals on properties. It is not uncommon for locals to be unable to buy homes even when they are earning good salaries.

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Oregon has a poor school system

The graduation rate in Oregon is dismal compared to most other states at only 78.7%. The school system overall often ranks quite low, and it is no secret that the school system, much like the sport scene leaves much to be desired. Private schools are popular simply because locals have more faith in them.

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Frankly, the weather sucks in the big cities

The most popular cities in Oregon find themselves in the part of the state that is prone to six months of heavy rainfall. The gloom and rain can have a serious impact on some people and should be something to consider if you are planning on moving to Oregon. While there are a number of winter sports to keep you busy, many people might not enjoy the gloom. This also means that the summer season is extremely popular and busy as many of the popular parks and trails in the area may well close over the winter.

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The housing market is insane

The housing market in Oregon, especially Portland, is extremely expensive. Housing prices have consistently seen high increases over the last 10-years and should be a considerable tally on whether you choose to move there or not. The high cost of housing and the property taxes can be seen all over; the Oregon coast, as well as Eastern Oregon, and Western Oregon are all impacted, and the equally high state income tax only adds to the overall burden.

The housing market has become so extreme that most locals cannot even dream of buying a home anywhere due to the high price tag, even of a one-bedroom apartment. Rent is equally high and there doesn’t seem to be any positive change in the near future.

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Pros of Living in Oregon

The easy-going and hospitable culture

The local culture is laid-back which is often an attractive feature to anyone considering a move. Smaller towns in Oregon are well-known for their hospitality. There are countless stories of unbridled kindness in the smaller towns of Oregon, both between locals and between visitors and locals. Although in the bigger cities there might be some resistance to out-of-towners recently, the overall impression of Oregon stands positive towards all peoples.

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The summer weather

Although the winter and fall months are generally gloomy, the Oregon summer weather is legendary! There is no humidity and the temperatures are warm, but mild. Larger cities in Oregon are often mostly devoid of air conditioning simply because it is not needed. Many locals argue that the weather over summer months are the very reason that Oregon living is so popular. Furthermore, people with allergies suffer far less in Oregon than many other locations around the US.

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The Oregon coast

Oregon is not only known for its beautiful mountains and state forests, but also for the breathtaking Oregon coastline. The coastline stretches nearly 400-miles and is known for its massive sand dunes (one so large that it is a national park on its own), and rock formations, not to mention the awe inspiring views of the Pacific Ocean.

A major reason for the popularity of coastal Oregon living is the fact that the entire coast is easily accessible because it is all public property. A bill that was passed in 1967 makes the privatization of Oregon beaches illegal. This is by far one of the biggest Oregon pros and a major reason why so many people flock to the state.

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Oregonians care about the environment

A love and care for the environment is central to Oregon locals and is a source of pride in their lives. Oregon has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the entire US, along with an extremely high number of certified environmentally friendly buildings. People in Oregon also tend to live more sustainable lives than elsewhere in the US.

Shopping local, composting, and recycling programs are commonplace. And these ventures are so successful that Oregon is considered to be one of the greenest states with progressive legislature to promote respect for the environmental impact of all ventures.

The largest city in Oregon, Portland, even has a green tax on large corporations that funds efficient energy initiatives so as to better meet energy efficiency standards. This tax is the first of its kind in the US. If you want to make an impact on the environment then living in Oregon will make that quite an attainable prospect, and this is nothing new! Oregon was also the first state to establish a bottle deposit.

It’s very easy to vote while living in Oregon

Oregon has had mail-in-voting for a number of years now, even before COVID. Residents can therefore vote from home! This means that there is no need to wait in unending lines to do your civic duty because living in Oregon means voting from the comfort of your couch. By extension, there is no excuse to skip it!

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You won’t need to pump your own gas

If gas stations make you nervous then do not fear! In Oregon state it is illegal to pump your own gas. Doing so can earn you a $500 fine. The main reason why this was done was that there were major concerns in 1951 related to untrained individuals handling highly flammable liquids. So the gas pump was promptly removed from the hands of the untrained, and although the law was common in the 1950s in most of the US, it never went away in Oregon.

Many consider this to be a pro of living in Oregon as few people really like to pump gas, especially not in the middle of winter when the car is nice and warm and the outside world is freezing.

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Bike friendly Oregon

There are around 350-miles of bike lanes in Oregon, and Portland is the most bike-friendly city in the country. The advanced bike infrastructure make it safe and easy for cyclists to go about their day. Around 5.3% of Portland residents commute to work by bike riding, which is exponentially higher than the national average of 0.5%.

You can make use of BIKETOWN cycles and go to Willamette River so that you can see first hand why Portland has the title of Bridge City. It is an absolute must to bike over the Tilikum Crossing bridge while in Portland.

Oregon is home to award-winning wineries

Aside from delicious food, Oregon is also a fantastic state for wine! They produce a lot of wine; within the top 5 wine producers in the country! There are around 774 wineries in Oregon, notably Columbia River Gorge and Willamette Valley. Oregon is best known for their pinot noirs that hold their own and win awards at worldwide competitions. The rolling hills of the wine country provide not only beautiful destinations but romantic adventures as well. Living in Oregon certainly paints quite the pristine picture.

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There’s no sales tax

There are only 5 states in the US that have no sales tax, and Oregon is one of them. This tends to save quite a bit on things like clothing, furniture, appliances, jewelry, and computers. Regardless of the lack of state sales tax, income tax is still far above the national average. So living in Oregon remains an expensive venture, less so in rural areas, but still notable across Oregon.

The natural beauty is unbelievable

The natural scenery in Oregon is breathtaking, much like the rest of the Pacific Northwest. Nature enthusiasts will love attractions like Crater Lake National Park, the Cascade Mountain Range, and the breathtaking Pacific coast.

Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the US, making it perfect for wind surfing and a real benefit of living in Oregon. Outdoor activities are an essential part of life in Oregon, down the eastern part and west coast there are watersports abound, and places like Mount Hood provide ample opportunities for gorgeous hikes. Living in Oregon makes it easier to access these beautiful places right when the season begins, until the last dregs of summer has passed and well into the winter. Moving to Oregon means consistent close proximity to the sea, mountains, forests, or a desert. Often more than one at the same time. Oregon today might be expensive, but living in Oregon remains irresistible to some.

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Closing Thoughts

The Pacific Northwest has a lot to offer and the Beaver state is not left behind on that front. The job market is relevantly stable and the fresh foods, above average rainfall, and glorious craft beer are not to be snubbed. Portland State University and Oregon State University are promising institutions, even if the public schools leave much to be desired. And although the earthquake risk is ever present the Beaver state remains one of the most promising rising states in the country.