13 Best Places to Live in Oregon For 2023

Oregon is perfect for anyone who appreciates spending time away from the bustle and traffic of large cities because over half of the state is covered in forests. The deepest lake in the United States, Crater Lake, is one of the many distinctive attractions in Oregon.

It is also well-known for the Columbia Plateau, a broad flood basalt plateau speckled with ragged mountain ranges, gorges, lakes, and one of the world’s most extraordinary lava flows.

Best Places to Live in Oregon

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The stunning state of Oregon is renowned for its mesmerizing mountain peaks, clear rivers, scenic beaches, lush woods, sandy deserts, impressive rock formations, breathtaking waterfalls, and so much more.

Besides, the state’s diverse landscape, from its untamed coastline to its towering mountains, has something distinctive to offer in every part of it.

So, here, in this article, we will discuss the 13 best places to live in Oregon. However, before moving forward, let’s learn the things you should know before planning to move to this state.

Things to Know Before Moving to Oregon

Here are some things to keep in your mind before planning to move to Oregon.

  • Only five states in the US do not impose a sales tax, one of which is Oregon.
  • Oregon is an excellent state for bike owners and riders because of its moderate winters and reasonably well-developed bike infrastructure.
  • Berries, beets, apples, hazelnuts, potatoes, cherries, and green peas are some of the best products in Oregon, which has a large amount of farmland for these.
  • Intel and Nike are the two well-known major employers in Oregon, while other significant industries include healthcare and education.
  • The average price of homes has increased by double digits in Oregon.
  • Oregon is still one of just two states where you cannot pump gas.
  • The state of Oregon routinely ranks among the greenest in the nation.
  • Crater Lake is the only national park in Oregon, where Phantom Ship is an island made of a rock structure.
  • Oregon has fewer humid days and more sunny days.
  • The state’s economy is one of the top 10 in the nation for rapid growth.
  • Oregon has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the nation since it is home to many environment-friendly structures.
  • The state faces the same chance of a major earthquake, around 8.0 or higher, as Washington and California.

Best Places To Live In Oregon

1. Portland

  • Population: 652,503
  • Cost Of Living Index: 132.4 (100 = National Average)
  • Median Home Value: $536,900
  • Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 55
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.1

Portland is a magnificent city, nestled between the West Hills, the Willamette, and Columbia rivers. It has a lot of residents with college degrees because it is home to Portland State University and the University of Portland. It is an amazing place to live if you are looking for a place in Oregon near the beach.

The city’s 10,000 acres of public parks are just one of the ecological projects that have earned the bicycle-friendly community worldwide recognition. Portland is a pretty safe place to move to and visit. However, the state regularly sees its fair share of crime, including petty theft, gang activity, robberies, gun violence, and other minor offenses.

Since it has a consistent and expanding talent base, Portland’s employment market is competitive and robust. Additionally, Portland has excellent employment prospects in various sectors, from the sportswear giant Nike to burgeoning start-ups. However, finding a purposeful and well-paying job can be difficult.

The beautiful scenery and peaceful living make it one of the best places to retire in Oregon. The fact that Portland is among the more expensive cities in Oregon is a drawback of living there.

Things to Do in Portland

Portland is a scenic city with a lot of outdoor recreation options. You can visit historic structures like Craftsman and Victorian-style residences. Forest park, Portland zoo, and Portland Japanese Garden are a few of the several places you can see on the weekend. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best places to stay in the Oregon coast.

Cost of Living in Portland

With a $2363 average monthly cost of living, Portland is in the top 2% of the world’s most expensive cities. Housing costs in Portland are 73% more than the national average, but utility costs are 10% less than the norm.

Portland_Best Places to Live in Oregon
Portland

2. McMinnville

  • Population: 34,743
  • Cost Of Living Index:  111.9
  • Median Home Value: $462,500
  • Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 25.61
  • Unemployment Rate: 6.5%

McMinnville is one of the best small towns to live in Oregon, bordered by hills covered in grapes and situated in the center of the agriculturally productive Willamette Valley. It is located in Yamhill County, where the North and South forks of the Yamhill River and the Willamette Valley converge.

There are many job prospects if you work in the wine sector because there are more than 200 wineries in the Willamette Valley. Other significant employment creators in this area outside the wine industry include agriculture, hospitality, and tourism.

You may drive through picturesque vineyards while taking flights and tastings in your free time. Living in McMinnville is more reasonably priced because it is a tiny town.

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Being able to afford extra space is made simple as there is not much difference between the price of a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom apartment. In McMinnville, the public schools perform above average.

Things to Do in McMinnville

McMinnville boasts a thriving eating scene, offering everything from tapas at La Rambla to Latin American food at Pura Vida. Particularly well-liked for dining and shopping is Third Street in the old town.

Cost of Living in McMinnville

The average monthly cost of living in McMinnville is $1893, which places it among the top 20% of all global cities.

Mcminnville
Mcminnville

3. Bend

  • Population: 102,509
  • Cost Of Living Index: 131.3
  • Median Home Value: $634,200
  • Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 25.85
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.9

Bend is tucked between the Cascade Range and the high-desert plains. With 102,509residents, Bend combines a small-town atmosphere with a hip urban vibe. Tourism, IT, biotech, and agriculture employment feed the economy. There aren’t as many employment options in Bend as in bigger cities.

Public schools, charter schools, private schools, magnet schools, independent schools, and homeschooling are all part of the city’s educational system. Excellent medical facilities, including assisted living facilities, may be found in Bend. Although the city is relatively affordable, house prices are increasing.

Things to Do in Bend

Bend offers plenty of sunshine, natural beauty, and opportunities for outdoor adventures. You may float in the Deschutes River, walk the foothills, or ski or snowboard on Mount Bachelor.

Cost of Living in Bend

Bend has a 5.5% higher cost of living than the national average. The city has higher energy and transportation costs of 26.1% and 5.3%, respectively, higher than the national average.

Bend
Bend

4. West Linn

  • Population: 26,656
  • Cost Of Living Index: 147.4
  • Median Home Value: $493,900
  • Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 12
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.1%

The little city of West Linn is found in Clackamas County, northwest of the state, just south of Portland. West Linn’s median home value is $465,000, and it has a good job market which makes it an ideal place for young adults.

West Linn has a commendable educational system, despite not being among the state’s least expensive places to live.

The housing cost in West Linn is 97% more than the national average. However, the cost of utilities is 10% less. The gas prices and transportation costs are 26% more than the national average. Grocery costs in West Linn are 8% more expensive than those nationwide. The low crime rate makes West Linn one of the best places to live in Oregon with families.

Things to Do in West Linn

You can go on a trip to Multnomah falls and gorge waterfalls, bike around the neighborhood, and visit the West Linn farmers’ market. You can also explore the Mountain Botanical Area and Willamette Falls.

Cost of Living in West Linn

West Linn has a 38% more cost of living than the national average. West Linn’s $1896 average monthly cost of living places it in the world’s top 13% of most expensive cities.

5. Eugene

  • Population: 176,654
  • Cost Of Living Index: 107.3
  • Median Home Value: $304,500
  • Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 44
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.8%

Eugene is a medium-sized town in the southern end of the Willamette Valley and is mostly known for being the residence of the University of Oregon. It is situated close to the junction of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers. Eugene is a college town. Thus it has more reasonably priced rentals and apartments.

It is one of the best college towns in America. For qualified professionals, Eugene has a good employment market. Significant employers in the region include PeaceHealth Medical Group, Eugene School District, and the University of Oregon.

Things to Do in Eugene

The geographic position of Eugene also makes it a great starting place for those looking for outdoor recreational activities on the coast and in the Cascades. The distance from town to the seaside and the mountains is only approximately an hour’s drive. Exploring its terrain and waterways is made possible by the abundance of kayaking, rafting, and cycling activities.

Cost of Living in Eugene

Eugene’s average monthly cost of living is $1814, ranking it in the world’s top 21% most expensive cities. It is 7.3% higher than the national average.

Eugene
Eugene

6. Beaverton

  • Population: 98,567
  • Cost Of Living Index: 124.7
  • Median Home Value: $400,500
  • Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 24.95
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.60%

Beaverton, a wealthy suburban neighborhood west of Portland in the Tualatin Valley, is well-liked by families and young professionals. The area attracts families with its excellent schools, calm neighborhoods, and various dining, shopping, and entertainment options.

Ambitious young professionals are also interested in this region because of its leading employer. Among the main employers in the city are IT businesses, healthcare providers, manufacturers, and Nike, Inc., a global sports apparel corporation. It is one of the best places to live in Oregon for young adults because of the opportunities.

Things to Do in Beaverton

A great area to reside for outdoor leisure is Beaverton. Over a hundred parks with walking and cycling pathways are dispersed across the city.

Cost of Living in Beaverton

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Beaverton is among the top 6% of the world’s most expensive cities, with an average annual cost of living of $1967. It is 24.7% higher than the national average.

7. Salem

  • Population: 175,535
  • Cost Of Living Index: 102.4
  • Median Home Value: 266,200
  • Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 43
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.6

The city is equally distant from several natural touchpoints, an hour from the Cascade Mountains and an hour from the Pacific Ocean. Salem also has a 23-acre Riverfront Park, which meanders along the Willamette River and houses Willamette University.

With around 30,000 employees, the state government is the city’s primary employer. Just the city itself has 64 hospitals. Positions in the healthcare and service sectors are also common in the state.

Salem has a less intense housing market than some other cities, and the typical home price is more affordable. Salem is a less expensive city, aside from being more accessible for property ownership.

Many families select Salem as their home due to the city’s low crime rate, active neighborhood organizations, and well-regarded schools, as well as its family-friendly services and employment options.

Things to Do in Salem

You can go walking, cycling in the Minto-Brown Island Park, and fishing in its river. You can visit Oregon State Capitol, Deepwood Museum, Shreiner’s Iris Gardens, and the enchanted forest.

Cost of Living in Salem

Without housing, the average monthly expense for a single individual is $917. Salem’s price compared to New York is 32.76% cheaper, excluding rent. It is the best affordable place to live in Oregon.

Oregon State Capitol
Oregon State Capitol

8. Corvallis

  • Population: 59,922
  • Cost Of Living Index: 109.1
  • Median Home Value: $361,800
  • Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 32.93
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.4%

Corvallis, a bustling city with galleries, restaurants, and shopping, is situated in the verdant Willamette Valley and features some of the lowest rental prices. Its top employers include Samaritan Health Services, AVI Biopharma, and Oregon State University.

It is a desirable alternative for families and young people due to the cheaper cost of living. Being the location of Oregon State University, Corvallis is a town with a relatively young population. In addition, the city has the lowest unemployment rate of all the cities on this list.

Things to Do in Corvallis

Corvallis and its surroundings provide the opportunity for hiking, hunting, fishing, bird viewing, and skiing. The city is just an hour’s drive from the Oregon Coast, where you can indulge in recreational activities.

Cost of Living in Corvallis

Corvallis’ average monthly cost of living is $1912, placing it in the list of world’s most expensive cities.

9. Ashland

  • Population: 21,360
  • Cost Of Living Index: 120.9
  • Median Home Value: $469,400
  • Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 24.02
  • Unemployment Rate: 6.7%

Ashland is surrounded by undulating mountains covered with woods. Southern Oregon University, a significant employer in Ashland, is located there. Another important business is tourism in this state.

Living in Ashland is one of the cheaper alternatives on this list because it is a tiny town that is removed from most large urban areas. Jobs are available in the fields of education, healthcare, and tourism.

Things to Do in Ashland

The region is perfect for outdoor recreation, like mountain biking, skiing, and hiking. You can visit Mt. Ashland Ski Area, Grizzly Peak Trail, Mount Ashland, and Lithia Park.

Cost of Living in Ashland

Ashland’s average monthly cost of living is $1946, placing it in the world’s top 11% of most expensive cities.

Mt. Ashland Ski Area
Mt. Ashland Ski Area

10. Lake Oswego

  • Population: 38,700
  • Cost Of Living Index: 160.1
  • Median Home Value: $603,000
  • Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 16.94
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.2%

Lake Oswego, situated in Clackamas County and about 8 miles south of Portland, is located in the state’s northwest. Due to its low crime rate, reasonable cost of living, and proximity to natural areas, Lake Oswego is becoming an increasingly attractive spot.

It is one of Oregon’s safest cities. Lake Oswego boasts a top-notch school system, a high level of safety, and a ton of parks.

Things to Do in Lake Oswego

Residents of Lake Oswego enjoy swimming, fishing, kayaking, and boat trips on the lake.

Cost of Living in Lake Oswego

With a $1938 average monthly cost of living, Lake Oswego is in the top 16% of the world’s most expensive cities. Gas prices and transportation costs are 26% more than the national average.

11. Hillsboro

  • Population: 106,543
  • Cost Of Living Index: 121.1
  • Median Home Value: $315,100
  • Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 20.17
  • Unemployment Rate: 5.1%

Hillsboro is situated in the Pacific Northwest in Washington County, 18 miles west of Portland. Located in the Tualatin Valley, Hillsboro is the center for numerous IT businesses. Locals love to explore and take in nature at the historic Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve.

Silicon Forest-based IT firms like RadiSys are significant employers in the city. Another significant industry in Hillsboro is manufacturing. More than 13% of Oregon’s manufacturing employment is located in the city.

Also, not too awful is the cost of living. Criminal activity is low for a city of this size and is significantly below the national average.

Things to Do in Hillsboro

Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals, Rood Bridge Park, Roloff farms, and Ron Tonkin Field are some of the main attractions in Hillsboro.

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Cost of Living in Hillsboro

Hillsboro’s average monthly cost of living is $2113, placing it among the top 4% of all global cities. It is one of the most expensive places to live in Oregon.

Ron Tonkin Field
Ron Tonkin Field

12. Milwaukie

  • Population: 21,119
  • Cost Of Living Index: 120.8
  • Median Home Value: $291,000
  • Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 16.34
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.5%

Milwaukie is a Portland suburb situated in the counties of Clackamas and Multnomah and has the lovely Willamette River defining its municipal limits. The cost of rent in Milwaukie is roughly in the pack’s center. Although they aren’t inexpensive, they aren’t nearly as pricey as apartments in the center of Portland.

The city has decent healthcare services and top educational institutions. Milwaukie is considered a reasonably safe city to dwell in as the crime rate is not as high as in some other states.

It is also quite an affordable city, as Milwaukie’s cost of living is 13% less than the national average. The relatively low crime rate also makes it one of the safest places to live in Oregon.

Things to Do in Milwaukie

You can explore the wellness spas, museums, and water parks and also go for bike rides. You can visit the community gardens for recreational activities.

Cost of Living in Milwaukie

Milwaukie has a 2% higher cost of living than the state average and a 2% lower cost of living than the US average. Milwaukee’s average monthly expenses of $1,657.54 place it in the bottom third of cities for cost of living.

13. Gresham

  • Population: 106,543
  • Cost Of Living Index: 115.7
  • Median Home Value: $486,000
  • Crime Rate/1,000 Residents: 31.41
  • Unemployment Rate: 7.8%

Gresham, west of Central Portland, is close to the magnificent Columbia River Gorge’s entrance. It is situated directly east of Portland in Multnomah County, Oregon. Within the boundaries of the Greater Portland Metropolitan Area, it is regarded as a suburb. Gresham has more cheap rental possibilities than Portland, which is close.

In a market with less competition, housing costs are also more affordable. 1 in 32 people in Gresham will experience either violent or property crime. According to FBI crime statistics, Gresham is not among America’s safest towns, and some might consider it a dangerous city to avoid in Oregon.

The city may not be one of the cheapest options on this list. However, it offers quality education with several educational institutions.

Things to Do in Gresham

In Gresham, living outside is a way of life. Urban parks make it simple to enjoy strolls and other activities. The Gorge and Mount Hood offer water sports, skiing, and hiking opportunities.

Cost of Living in Gresham

The cost of living is 19% greater in Gresham, Oregon, than nationwide. Gresham’s $2062 average monthly cost of living is among the top 5% of cost-intensive cities worldwide.

Gresham Main City Park
Gresham Main City Park

Conclusion

New people are drawn to the state of Oregon by its harmonious combination of isolated natural options and innovative metropolitan hubs. Oregon stands out as the most excellent area to live in due to its lower cost of living and rent.

The Cascade Mountains, the Oregon Coast, and its woods, lakes, and rivers all draw newcomers who wish to live somewhere with easy access to nature. You may enjoy cosmopolitan benefits in towns like Portland, such as fantastic eating options and strong employment markets.

With these advantages and more, Oregon has witnessed a tremendous influx of new residents in the past decade. Compare the pros and cons of living in Oregon to decide what is best for you.

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FAQs – Best Places to Live in Oregon

1. What is the prettiest place to live in Oregon?

A: Portland, Ashland, Florence, Baker City, Astoria, Jacksonville, and Brownsville are some of the prettiest places to live in Oregon.

2. Is Oregon a safe state?

A: Oregon has a greater rate of property crime and a lower rate of violent crime. The state has the seventh-highest property crime rate and the twelfth-lowest violent crime rate among the 50 states.

3. Is Oregon an affordable state to live in?

A: With expenditures significantly higher than the national average, Oregon is the sixth most expensive state in the United States. Although Oregon has some of the lowest utility expenses in the nation, it has some of the highest housing expenditures, with a cost of living of 31.43% more than the national average.

4. What city in Oregon has the lowest cost of living?

A: With the lowest average property price in the nation of $140,200 and the lowest unemployment rate of 7.6%, Pendleton is a relatively cheap location to live. Another very affordable city in Oregon is Springfield.

5. What’s bad about living in Oregon?

A: The cost of living in Oregon is pretty high on average, and homes in Oregon tend to be expensive. The most significant contributor to the cost of living in Oregon is housing due to the high median price of homes in the state. The housing cost is roughly 50% higher than the national median price in Oregon.

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