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31 FAQs About Living in Oregon

Updated: May 17

Oregon welcomes you
Oregon Welcomes You

Are you considering moving to Oregon? Or are you living in Oregon and want to brush up on some of your living in Oregon knowledge? Read on for 31 FAQs About Living in Oregon!

How do you pronounce Oregon?

I can always tell if I'm talking to someone who doesn't live in Oregon. They pronounce it OREE-GONE. Oregon is pronounced OR-UH-GIN. Wikipedia pronunciation.

Does it really rain as much as they say in Oregon?

In some areas, particularly the western portion of the state, yes. It rains 40 to 50 inches + a year. Some of the cities on the Oregon Coast receive 80+ inches of rain a year. The further southeast you go, it's actually quite dry. Cities located in Central Oregon, Southern Oregon, and Eastern Oregon mostly receive between 10-20 inches of rain a year. To see a list of cities by region > Cities by Region

What is the sunniest city in Oregon?

Klamath Falls is generally considered the sunniest city in Oregon. Klamath Falls residents get on average 300 days a year of sunshine.

Living in Oregon - Upper Klamath Lake with Mt. Shasta
Upper Klamath Lake with Mt. Shasta

I see all the problems with homelessness and rioting in Portland. Is the rest of the state like that?

For a time, any time anyone living in Oregon turned on the news, all you saw were protests, rioting, and vandalism in downtown Portland. I assume those not living in Oregon also got a glimpse of this. The good news is Portland is slowly getting better. It is still scary and sad to drive through some pockets of downtown Portland and see all the tents and homelessness. The rioting has dissipated, and they are slowly clearing some streets. That said, there are some great neighborhoods in Portland that are very walkable, with great businesses, and highly safe. Outside of Portland, there isn't near as much homelessness and vandalism in the suburbs. Most are clean and safe. You head out of the Portland Metro area, and there are other cities in Oregon that are fighting the homeless and crime issues too. Cities such as Eugene and Medford stick out as having problems with this.

Click here! to subscribe. If you're enjoying this blog post, take a second to subscribe and be the first to find out when we publish a new blog post. In the coming months, we have blog posts scheduled about; the cost of living on the Oregon Coast, cost of living in the Portland Metro Area, healthcare on the Oregon Coast, top Oregon towns for retirees, top retirement communities throughout Oregon, top towns for first-time homebuyers, and many more.

I'm considering moving to Oregon. What cities have the most jobs?

Depends on what your line of work is. Oregon's economy is robust, and jobs are abundant throughout the state. If you're looking to move to Oregon, Portland, Beaverton, and Hillsboro probably have the best supply of employment. Portland is obvious, as it's the biggest city. Beaverton is home to Oregon's largest employer Nike and Hillsboro is known as the Silicon Forest, with Intel being the largest employer in the area. So there are a lot of tech jobs to be had in the area.

What cities in Oregon have the best schools?

There are some great school districts sprinkled throughout the state. So good news, if you're looking to move to Oregon, you've got some choices on location. The Lake Oswego School District is rated the top in the state. Followed closely by the West Linn-Wilsonville School District. Sherwood and Beaverton School Districts, also in the Portland Metro area, are both rated as top 10 in the state. Outside the Portland Metro area, the Corvallis, Philomath, Sisters, and Ashland School Districts are all ranked highly.

What is the worst thing about living in Oregon?

Living in Oregon most of my life, I'm used to the weather. So that isn't it. For me, it's the deterioration of downtown Portland. Driving through the heart of downtown and seeing all the tents and homeless people, vandalism, and all the businesses boarded up and vacating downtown Portland is really sad. What I once considered one of the best downtown areas in the United States isn't currently. Slowly but surely, it's on its way back. It's going to take a lot to get to where it was, but I'm confident downtown Portland can once again be a safe place that those living in Oregon are proud of. A place that those visiting or living in Oregon aren't afraid to go.

What is the best thing about living in Oregon?

The best thing about living in Oregon, for me, has got to be the proximity to all the outdoor recreation. My family and I love going to Mt. Hood each year to go skiing and tubing. In the summer, we often head to the beach, going to Seaside, Cannon Beach, and Astoria, all wonderful walkable towns with great beaches. We make an annual trip to Sunriver and Bend in Central Oregon as there's a ton for my family to do there. We're excited to visit the Running Y Ranch in Klamath Falls and Crater Lake in the coming year. There's a ton of outdoor stuff to do visiting or living in Oregon.

Living in Oregon - Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach Oregon
Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach Oregon

What are the biggest cities besides Portland?

Portland, Oregon, is home to roughly 650,000 people. The next closest cities are approximately a quarter of its size. Salem, Eugene, Springfield, and Corvallis are all in the Willamette Valley. Gresham, Hillsboro, and Beaverton are in the Portland Metro area. Bend in Central Oregon and Medford in Southern Oregon round out the top 10 (not in order).

Should I move to the Oregon Coast?

Many people considering moving to Oregon seem to want to move to the Oregon Coast. It's a very common question in my Facebook Group, Moving to Oregon. With the breathtaking beauty of the region, who can blame them? I can see the appeal but keep in mind it rains 80+ inches a year in some coastal cities and is frequently cloudy. Depending on your situation in life, you may or may not need a job. If you do, getting a good job might be an issue. Coos Bay, the largest town on the Oregon Coast, might give you the best chance at finding a good-paying job, but for the most part, jobs in the region are based on tourism, which doesn't always pay the best. For me, I'll stick to my twice-a-year vacation to the area. If I was at retirement age, I'd be more likely to consider moving to the Oregon Coast.

Should I move to Bend Oregon?

Another popular consideration for those looking to move to Oregon is Bend. From this man's perspective living in Bend, Oregon, would be awesome. The weather is fantastic, dry and warm in the summers but cools down at night. The winters are cold and snowy. There is just so much to do. With the abundant lakes, rivers, trails, golfing, and mountains in the area, you won't run out of things to do. The downtown area is great, and the Bend neighborhoods are off the charts. That said, it's gotten quite expensive, and though the job market is growing, it's not near what you'd find living in the Portland Metro area. Other locations to look at if you want the Central Oregon experience for a little less money might be Redmond, Prineville, or Sisters.

Living in Bend Oregon, Pilot Butte
Pilot Butte in Bend Oregon

I just moved to Oregon. How do I get my car registered, and new license plates...?

To get Oregon plates and Oregon title and renew your registration outside the Portland Metro and Medford/Ashland areas, you can go to Oregon DMV Title, Renewal to take care of this and pay. If your vehicle is over four years old and you live in the Portland Metro area or Medford/Ashland area, you have to have an emissions test every two years in order to renew your registration. Here's a link to type in your address and see if you need to be tested Testing Boundaries Look Up. If you need to be tested you can take your car to the nearest DEQ test station or there are local businesses such as Jiffy Lube and others that offer DEQ Too and they will test your vehicle while you wait.

What is the cost of living in Oregon like?

The west coast as a whole is pretty expensive so the cost of living in Oregon is quite high compared to the rest of the US. If coming from California or Washington it may not seem bad. If coming from the Midwest it will likely seem expensive. There are certain areas throughout the state that are more affordable than others. Some of the cities that offer a lower cost of living: In the Portland Metro Area > Hillsboro, Scappoose and Cornelius. In the Willamette Valley > Salem, Dallas, Albany, Stayton, Keizer, Sheridan, and Junction City. In Eastern Oregon > Hermiston, Pendleton, Baker City, Ontario, La Grande, and The Dalles.

I'm moving to Oregon and need to get my kids enrolled in school. What do I need?

If you're looking to enroll your kids in school, you'll need a sales agreement on a house or a lease agreement on a house/apartment within the school boundaries you're enrolling your kids in. If you haven't started the process and want to explore buying a house, I'm a mortgage broker and would be happy to help you start the process. CLICK HERE to email me or just call me at 971-275-2465.

What are taxes like in Oregon?

Oregon, along with Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Montana, do not have a sales tax. For property taxes, the tax rate depends on the county you live in. Some counties have pretty high property taxes some are low. Oregon's income tax rate is one of the highest in the US. Oregon has a graduated individual income tax rate, ranging from 4.75% to 9.9%. The gas tax is $.38 per gallon, in the middle of the pack in comparison to other states. Oregon does not tax social security benefits, which is good if you're looking to retire in Oregon.

What are the most popular attractions and events in Oregon?

If you are visiting or living in Oregon, there are a lot of great attractions to visit. Below is information on a few, along with a list of others:

Crater Lake/Crater Lake National Park > When Mt. Mazama erupted and collapsed into itself around 7,000 years ago it formed what we know today as Crater Lake. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the US and is known for its deep blue/crystal clear water. With no rivers or streams flowing in and out of the lake, the water in the lake is from rainfall and snow melt. Crater Lake National Park is home to some of Oregon's best hiking trails.

Columbia River Gorge/Multnomah Falls > The Columbia River Gorge is a must-see if you're looking for stunning views and spectacular waterfalls. Following the course of the Columbia River, as it cuts through the Cascade Range, the Columbia River Gorge serves as the boundary line between Oregon and Washington.

There are numerous waterfalls in the Gorge, including the majestic Multnomah Falls. The tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon. This two-tier waterfall is surrounded by hiking and biking trails and some excellent camping facilities. Multnomah Falls is a popular day trip from Portland but certainly not the only waterfall in the Gorge. Punchbowl Falls on Eagle Creek is another great waterfall to visit if in the area.

Living in Oregon - Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls - Columbia River Gorge - Oregon

Mt. Hood > With a peak rising to 11,239 feet, Mt. Hood is the highest mountain in Oregon. The enormity of the mountain makes it visible for miles in every direction. It provides an amazing backdrop for Portland on clear days.

With Mt. Hood Ski Bowl, Timberline, and Mt. Hood Meadows, ski areas located on the mountain, there is an abundance of skiing, snowboarding and tubing opportunities for those visiting or living in Oregon. Hiking, camping, and fishing opportunities are easy to find at the many lakes on the mountain. The picturesque Trillium Lake and its reflective view of Mt. Hood is a must-see attraction.

Living in Oregon, Mt. Hood and Trillium Lake
Mt. Hood and Trillium Lake

Other must-see attractions for those visiting or living in Oregon:

  • Hood River > Windsurfing/Kitesurfing capital of the world + an amazing city!

  • Smith Rock > An international rock climbing destination located in Central Oregon, near Bend.

  • The Oregon Coast > There's something special about every town on the Oregon Coast to go along with some of the most breathtaking views you'll find.

  • The Oregon Shakespeare Festival > Located in Ashland Oregon, the theatre puts on 700 shows spread across three stages each year.

  • Silver Falls State Park > 30 minutes from Salem Oregon, the park provides a dazzling display of waterfalls, plus some great hiking and camping opportunities.

  • Hells Canyon > Located in Idaho and Eastern Oregon, Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America, some 2,000 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon. With amazing views and an abundance of outdoor recreation, you must visit Hells Canyon!

  • Willamette Valley/Wine Country > With over 600 wineries the region produces some of the finest Pinot Noir you'll find. A day of wine tasting is a must for anyone visiting or living in Oregon.

  • The Hood to Coast Relay > A 199-mile relay race held each year, starting at Mt. Hood and ending in Seaside, Oregon. It's known as the mother of all relay races. It draws participants from all 50 states and 40 countries.

What is living in Oregon like?

Living in Oregon will be different depending on the region of the state you live in. Below are a few pros and cons for the different regions of the state:

Living in Portland Metro Area

  • Pros > Great job opportunities, lots to do and see, an hour to an hour and a half from Mt. Hood or the Oregon Coast, and summertime weather is amazing.

  • Cons > Weather can be wet and grey for most of the year, homeless issues in certain areas of Portland can be very expensive, and traffic can be somewhat bad.

Living in the Willamette Valley

  • Pros > Good job opportunities, an abundance of outdoor recreation, close to the Oregon Coast, amazing wines, and summertime weather is amazing.

  • Cons > Weather can be wet and grey for most of the year, can be tough for allergy suffers with all the grass seed farms in the area

Living on the Oregon Coast

  • Pros > Breathtaking scenery, great fishing, crabbing, clamming, and other outdoor activities, laid-back lifestyle, weather can be cool when the interior of state is hot

  • Cons > Very wet and cloudy in most locations, up to 80 inches of rain a year, lack of higher paying jobs, have to deal with a lot of tourists in the summer

Living in Central Oregon

  • Pros > Great weather, warm and little rain, tons of outdoor activities, more laid-back lifestyle, cost of living in smaller cities isn't bad

  • Cons > Bend is expensive, not a lot of high-paying jobs, it can get very smoky at times during wildfire season

Living in Southern Oregon

  • Pros > More affordable than other areas of the state, doesn't rain a lot, a lot of outdoor recreation in the area

  • Cons > Job opportunities aren't as great, wildfire smoke in the summer, largest town Medford has some homeless issues, not close to a big city

Living in Eastern Oregon

  • Pros > Lower cost of living, slower pace, doesn't rain much, great outdoor recreation, little traffic

  • Cons > Can get really hot in the summer, not close to a big city, lack of higher paying jobs

Living in Oregon - Downtown Portland and Mt. Hood
Downtown Portland Oregon with Mt. Hood at Dawn

I am looking to move to Oregon and rent. How do I find a rental?

Often people looking to move to Oregon ask about finding a realtor. I think in other states, realtors handle rentals too. In Oregon, most don't. Your best bet is Craigslist, Zillow, or Facebook Groups. I've included a link to the Facebook Groups I've found for each city on my website. If you go there, pick the city you're interested in from the drop-down you'll find a list of Facebook Groups in the "Helpful Link Section". Living in Oregon.

I want to move to Oregon and buy a house. What do I need to do?

It really depends on your situation. If you want to move to Oregon, buy a home, and need a mortgage, CLICK HERE to email me or call me at 971-275-2465. I'm a mortgage broker and would be happy to talk through your options and help. I'm often able to help navigate situations such as pending retirement, job changes, or buying a new house while/before selling your departing residence. I can also connect you with a real estate professional if needed. If you're set or don't need a mortgage and just want to connect with a local realtor, CLICK HERE. I'd be happy to connect you with a real estate expert in the city you're interested in.

I want to move to Oregon or am living in Oregon and want to buy a house but haven't saved much/anything for the down payment.

If you have the income to support the payment, I can help. I have an amazing Down Payment Assistance program that might work for you. Or even if buying a home is a little down the road for you, happy to talk and get you on the right path. Homeownership is a good way to build wealth and get ahead, and I enjoy helping people get there.

What are the safest cities in Oregon?

There are a lot of safe cities in Oregon. I think living in Oregon, you'll find more safe cities than ones that are unsafe. I looked at five publications and took each of their top ten safest cities, and averaged the rankings to come up with the ultimate safest cities in Oregon list:

I'm looking at moving to the Portland Metro Area. What are good cities for kids?

Schools, neighborhoods, and safety will be significant concerns if you want to move to Oregon or the Portland Metro Area and have kids. I recommend looking at West Linn, Lake Oswego, Sherwood, and Wilsonville. The school districts in these cities are among the highest ranked in the state, and they have some of the best kid-friendly neighborhoods you'll find. Three of the four made my top ten safest cities list. Wilsonville finished #11.

Is Oregon a good place for retirees?

Living in Oregon is becoming a more popular option for retirees. The state's stunning beaches, warmer/drier climates in Southern Oregon and Central Oregon, abundant green spaces, and thriving cultural scene are a big draw.

Retirees living in Oregon will find it moderately tax friendly. The state doesn't tax Social Security benefits. It does tax other retirement income, however. Withdrawals from your retirement account are taxed, while public and private pension income is partially taxed.

Living in Oregon - Retiree Waking Dog at Sunset Bay in Coos Bay Oregon
Sunset Bay in Coos Bay Oregon - Retiree Waking Dog

Is there a drug problem in Oregon?

I think you'll find drugs just about anywhere living in Oregon or any other state. You could look at the most or least affluent high schools in Oregon or any state and there are drugs there. So I don't think Oregon has any more of a drug problem than any other state. Marijuana is legal and we certainly have our fair share of Cannabis shops living in Oregon.

Can you really not pump your own gas living in Oregon?

As of 2023, Oregon now allows self service at gas stations. After a lifetime of sitting in your car waiting for the attendant to come and pump your gas it's been a strange concept for most Oregonians. There are still gas station attendants available at most/all gas stations in the state to do it for you but at least now Oregonians have the option!

Do you tip the gas station attendant for pumping your gas?

I'm sure it would be appreciated but I don't believe it's common or expected to tip the attendants. Certainly up to you though.

What are the top 5 reasons I might dislike living in Oregon?

In this person's opinion, the good of living in Oregon outweighs the bad of living in Oregon by a wide margin. That said some of the things you may dislike if you are considering relocating to Oregon are:

  • The cost of living in Oregon is higher than in most other states.

  • The weather in the most populous areas of Oregon is grey and wet a good portion of the year.

  • Not pumping your own gas. Might take an extra second at times but when it's cold out you'll be happy you're living in Oregon.

  • Not as big a selection of pro sports teams as larger cities. Living in Oregon you'll have the Portland Trailblazers to root for. If you're a soccer fan you'll have the Portland Timbers. For pro baseball and football you'll need to drive or take the train up to Seattle.

  • During wildfire season the entire state can get smoky. Living in Central Oregon or Southern Oregon you'll likely get hit the hardest.

Living in Oregon, Marquam Bridge in Portland Oregon on a Smoky Day
Marquam Bridge in Portland Oregon on a Smoky Day

Where can you buy beer, wine, and liquor living in Oregon?

There are big differences from state to state on how to purchase alcohol. Living in Oregon, you can purchase beer and wine in grocery stores any day of the week. To buy liquor in Oregon, you can do so at OLCC (Oregon Liquor Control Commission) run liquor stores and establishments that have a liquor license.

Do you really have to pay a deposit every time you purchase a beverage in a can or a bottle living in Oregon?

Yes! In 1971 Oregon became the first state to successfully pass a bottle bill. Today you pay a $.10 deposit on each can or bottle you buy. You can redeem the deposit by taking your cans and bottles to stores that accept them (rules apply for who has to) or one of many redemption centers throughout the state.

What is public transportation like living in the Portland Metro Area?

The Portland Metro Area has one of the best public transportation systems in the United States. With busses, Street Cars, and a Light Rail system called MAX (Metropolitan Area Express), you can get just about anywhere in the Portland Metro area without getting in a car. You can even pick it up at the airport!

Living in Oregon - MAX Light Rail Train in Portland Oregon
MAX Light Rail Train in Portland Oregon

Is there really a Blockbuster Video store in Oregon?

If you're visiting or living in Oregon and go through Bend, you might pass by the only Blockbuster Video store left in the world. In 2019 the Bend, Oregon Blockbuster location became the last one standing. With the scarcity of DVD players these days, the last Blockbuster Video relies on merchandise and tourism to help stay afloat. You can still set up an account and rent a DVD with just your driver's license.

So that's it—the top 31 FAQs about living in Oregon. For more info, head over to my website Living in Oregon where you can get information on Oregon and more than 60 cities in the state. If you have questions not answered in this blog, head to my Facebook Group, Moving to Oregon where you'll find a broad group of professionals and Oregon transplants that would love to answer your questions about living in Oregon or moving to Oregon.

To get notified when I release future blog posts, fill in your info and click subscribe below. In the coming months, I will be doing blog posts on the cost of living in most cities in Oregon, healthcare, and other topics that would be of interest to those living in Oregon or thinking of moving to Oregon.

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Vicki Allen
Vicki Allen
Sep 26, 2023

This is really informative. A wonderful read for those of us who have lived in Oregon most or all of our lives as well as newcomers. Thanks for posting.


This blog is so helpful! Thank you for writing it. My husband and I are considering moving from Indiana to Oregon after I graduate with my Master's degree in Nursing and become a board certified family nurse practitioner next year. Oregon has full practice authority for nurse practitioners so I could open my own family practice. I'd love to do this in a small town that has a need for primary care. Year round residents and tourists would have a place to get competent, quality care. I'd love to be a beacon for affordable health in a small community.

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