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Moving to Eugene Oregon | The Ultimate Guide

Of all the mesmerizing destinations in the Pacific Northwest, you don’t have to look very far to understand why people flock from far and wide to call Eugene their new home. Nestled in the Willamette Valley, Eugene is a city that offers so much more than meets the eye.

The city boasts a unique and rich culture, endless opportunities to explore the great outdoors, and a relaxed, laidback atmosphere. Whether you want to escape the hustle and bustle of demanding city life or evade the overinflated costs of lackluster suburbia Eugene’s lively vibes may be just what you need.

Or, perhaps you’re making a professional transition and feel it’s time to settle down into a new home. There are plenty of proverbial yellow brick roads that lead to our Emerald City. In this article, we’re going to discuss why so many people are moving to Eugene Oregon, so you can discover whether it’s right for you too.

Is Eugene Oregon a good place to live?

Eugene is an outstanding place to live! The reputation of Eugene is summarized by its local motto as ‘A Great City for the Arts and Outdoors,’ though the reality of this identity far exceeds the written word.

The city is bursting at the seams with cultural, natural, educational, and culinary experiences just waiting to be discovered. Located only 110 miles south of Portland, Oregon, and in close proximity to the coastline, Eugene could be considered one of the most diverse and connected cities in the Pacific Northwest.

You’ll get all four seasons in full bloom there as well, from icy white winters to long, hot, dry summers. Most Eugene residents welcome the change and embrace the different characters the city takes on through the seasonal cycles. Here are some other major drawcards for the region.

Small Town Feel in a Big City

Let’s get one thing straight: Eugene is extraordinarily green. It doesn’t matter whether you’re gazing over the city from Spencer’s Butte or borrowing an afternoon fig from a friendly neighbor: you are going to see a lot of trees.

Overhead, the city may look like a couple of low-rise buildings constructed within a vast forest, yet the city’s population of nearly 170,000 will all remind you that you have fast and easy access to the benefits of a metropolitan lifestyle that any other city can offer. Downtown boasts a vibrant nightlife and diverse culinary scene for locals to enjoy.

Eugene is prized on its relaxed pace of life, but you can still find passionate and engaged people the reflect the magnitude variation of the urban lifestyle opportunities that await there.

Outdoor Escapes

The sheer caliber of Oregon’s phenomenal outdoors is no secret to anyone. From lush forests, dramatic windswept plains, volcanic national parks, crystal clear lakes, and gorgeous, jagged coastlines watered by the Columbus river, there’s no wonder why residents love to get outdoors! Among the manifold opportunities the region provides to indulge under the sun, here are some of the best outdoor features that attract so many to move to Eugene.

Fern Ridge Reservoir

Located only 12 miles from downtown Eugene, Fern Ridge Reservoir is a popular recreation spot for sailing, powerboating, and water skiing. You can head out for a day on the water or have a cool swim and a sunny afternoon picnic at the site.

There is plenty of fishing, nature discovery, and birdwatching to be found at the reservoir, so be sure to bring your camera!

Eugene Locals Love Running

The city of Eugene is the birthplace of highly acclaimed sportswear brand Nike, making its first marks on the world here. Former Olympian Bill Bowerman teamed up with University of Oregon middle-distance track runner Phil Knight to produce the globally celebrated brand in 1988. The city was aptly nicknamed “Tracktown USA,” and with the labrynthine Eugene tracks that can lead you literally anywhere, it’s not hard to understand why.

Accordingly, Eugene is consistently a highly sough after destination to host top track events and competitions. In 2022, the city will host the Track and Field World Championships at the recently rebuilt Hawyard Field!

Cycling and Hiking Tracks

Mount Pisgah Arboretum summit holds an observatory where residents love to go running and hiking. On the way up, you’ll find evenly graded trails for all ages and levels. The park is dog-friendly, welcoming your unleashed four-legged friend to join you in your tracks.

If you prefer to hit the cycle tails, Alton Baker Park is the city’s largest park, incorporating the Willamette river divide of Eugene and Springfield. Explore the banks, bike paths, and recreational facilities located alongside the river.

Owen Rose Garden

The Owen Rose Garden is a floral expanse near the Willamette River. You can find over 400 species of roses, and bloom-infused gravel walkways dotted with shaded benches to rest and enjoy the natural beauty on a sunny afternoon.

Arts and Culture

If you’re interested in natural and cultural history, Eugene Oregon will keep you fascinated to no end. Between annual festivals popping up throughout the year, innumerable museums and art outlets, a weekly Saturday market, and theatre performances, the diversity of the arts scene in Eugene is well recognized – and expanding!

Adults and children alike can discover the awestruck world of science in the Eugene Science Center, Lane County’s only hands-on science museum and planetarium. The center holds annual adventure camp events for the kids and opportunities for budding young minds to meet a scientist.

Or, how about a stroll through the ages at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History? This museum dedicates itself to anthropology, zoology, and paleontology. You can find local and international historic artifacts here and learn about the ancient cultures and traditions they emerged from.

The Music Scene

Eugene’s music scene fosters an awareness of cultural diversity via musical means. Once referred to as the “Worlds Greatest City for the Arts & Outdoors,” the city slogan has since been toned down a notch to “A Great City for the Arts & Outdoors,” but residents have nonetheless kept the musical community super tight. Influences on the scene tend to come from a melting pot of tastes. The Willamette Valley Music Festival is a fantastic place to check out the budding U of O student talent, grassroots rock’n’roll, and an otherwise eclectic and vibrant collection of tunes.
In the city, you’ll find plenty of events to keep your weekends flowing, from the Bach Festival, the Eugene Ballet, the Asian Celebration, the Kaleidoscope, the Eugene Celebration…The list goes on!

Culinary Delights

Don’t just be blown away by this clean green hippie city of arts and culture. Take your tastebuds on a ride in Lane County’s most diverse and wonder-filled culinary playground and discover the superb Northwest regional dining for yourself!

With access to Willamette Valley foraging, fresh seafood from the Pacific, and hunting in the Cascades, Eugene offers an abundance of locally grown produce to devour. From small farms and community gardens, to yogurt, cheese, chocolate, and coffee, even the most discriminating palates can find their seventh heaven of flavors and savors to suit any appetite. A glass of award-winning Oregon Pinot Noir will complement any meal.

Tour Local Wineries

Within the South Willamette valley area, you’ll find over a dozen wineries ready to welcome visitors to tour the winemaking facilities, taste the local wine craft, and chat with producers and landowners about lane county winemaking. Most wineries can be found within a 20-mile radius of Eugene – Springfield, and even on the most golden of summer days, you’ll find less traffic on the roads than your average winetasting region.

You can soak up hours on delight on the South Willamette wine trail, which will take you on a journey from urban wine producers in the center of Eugene, to the tasting rooms found deep in the heart of Oregon wine country. Enjoy panoramic views of the picture-perfect vineyards with a swish of Oregon’s finest wines in your glass.

Local guides offer private, open, and customized tours and some of the wineries hold sommelier-guided “Pinot Clinics” so you can brush up on your wine tasting skills. You may not reach them all on the same day, leaving plenty of discoveries for next time!

City Brewing

Oregon’s craft beer scene has been hitting national and international radars for nearly a decade now. And it’s no wonder! Whether you’re looking for a well structured pale ale to offset your liquid cravings after a day touring the city, or you want to settle down at your local to watch the Oregon Ducks (along with almost the entire population of Eugene), Emerald City has what to takes to quench any magnitude of thirst.

Before you head out, be sure to bring your passport for all of the microbreweries on the Eugene Ale Trail. There are currently 14 and counting, including well-known Ninkasi, Oakshire, and plenty of new outlets popping up throughout the city.

If you need any further reasons to get amongst the immaculate food and beverage industries, a portion of Oregon’s liquor and wine tax is contributed to supporting those with mental health issues, so you can feel good about popping the cap on a bottle.

Why are people moving to Eugene Oregon?

Eugene’s population has been growing at a steady rate for almost a century. The average annual population growth is just over 1%, and trends over the last decade suggest that Eugene is becoming an even hotter spot for incumbents to consider.

In 2019, Eugene got named the 6th best destination to relocate to – an identifier that’s clearly been taken in good stead, as we’ll discuss below. So let’s explore why so many people are considering Eugene Oregon as a fantastic spot to settle down.

Prime Real Estate

Eugene has some alluring and lively neighborhoods, with immaculately designed architecture and iconic views of the Cascades. Aside from the Friendly Street area, the Whiteaker neighborhood – once known as one of the more neglected parts of town – is rapidly gentrifying, transitioning it into a radiant and bubbling quarter that’s great for raising a family.

Mortgage rates in Eugene are accessibly low. They are projected to increase slightly in the coming years, though they will remain affordable for many people looking to purchase real estate.

Now here’s the catch – the Eugene housing market is a seller’s market with relatively high buyer competition. During the pandemic, rock-bottom interest rates have encouraged a flux of buyer demand which resulted in an overall tight inventory. Naturally, this may come as a concern for low-income and first-time buyers, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a slice of the charming and quaint real estate the region has to offer! It just means you’re going to need a really good real estate agent to help you along the way.

Eileen O'Reilly Property Group

The Eileen O’Reilly Property Group are the experts in the Eugene real estate markets, and we’re passionate about the enriching lifestyle the southern Willamette Valley offers. Our skilled negotiators have an excellent track record of helping buyers secure a great deal on the Emerald City property of their dreams, and we have plenty of tenacity in the reserves to help you too.

If you’re looking to purchase a home in Eugene, let our knowledgeable team take care of the house-hunting stresses so that your family can easily transition into Eugene’s relaxed lifestyle before you arrive. We’re here to support you at every step, so if you need some help on the ground to find the property you want at an affordable price, get in touch with Eileen O’Reilly Property Group today.

Great Schools

Eugene school districts offer k-12 education faculties, including elementary, middle schools, and high schools that offer multiple language immersion programs, a high-quality arts-based education, and many special education transition programs up to age 21.

There are two school districts that serve Eugene, including the Lane County school district and the 4J school district. Every residence in the city is within the attendance boundary of a school district, and Eugene’s ‘School Choice’ policy offers parents flexibility when it comes to access to their child’s education.

This policy offers parents the choice of where they send their kids to school, rather than mandating zones based on their address. So, for example, if you want to enroll your kids in South Eugene High School – among the highest-ranked high schools in the state – you can, regardless of where you live. Many Eugene parents take full advantage of this option.

Not to mention the city is home to the University of Oregon, longstanding member of the prestigious American Association of Universities. The insitiution offers over 200 undergraduate programs for high school graduates looking to further their education. The university attracts students from across the nation, as well as locals who want to complete their studies closer to home.

Employment Opportunities

You will likely want to obtain job security before you dive into Eugene. The good news is that Lane County has sustained economic expansion for years, adding new jobs and growing the local economy for Eugene’s residents. With flourishing new businesses, tech firms, and opportunities to work with retail, restaurants, and breweries, a diverse job economy is accessible to newcomers.

The workforce in the Cascades is high performing and skilled, with low turnover rates. Lumber is the largest industry in the area, with Willamette Valley wines coming in second. Both well-established industries provide employment opportunities. Young entrepreneurs can also watch out for job training and incentive programs, such as the Eugene Business Development Fund.

With this in mind, employment opportunities may appear limited in comparison to larger-capacity cities like Portland. If you’re not already committing to the move for a professional relocation, it may pay to do due diligence on the job market before you arrive.

Crime Rate

The city of Eugene has a slightly higher homeless population than the national average, primarily localized in downtown, certain areas of West Eugene, and the University of Oregon campus. Eugene is a generally safe city for adults and kids to live in and travel around, with a lower crime rate than many other metropolia in the area.

Eugene has adopted a “city safe system,” providing collaboration forces between police, 911, social services who work together to keep the city safe. The city council also recently introduced the city payroll community safety tax ordinance to increase safety in the long term.

Neighborhoods in Eugene are tight-knit, and they generally focus on fostering community between them. While there are no “dangerous” neighborhoods in Eugene, you may find some eclectic localities – particularly in South Eugene – which tend to be a popular choice for parents who want to raise their kids with progressive values.

If you need support in choosing a great neighborhood for your family, reach out to the Eileen O’Reilly Property Group. We are happy to provide services and advice to help you select the right area in Eugene for your lifestyle.

What is the average cost of living in Eugene Oregon?

Eugene Oregon provides some excellent and unique opportunities to nurture the pocket and embrace a clear, green lifestyle at the same time! Compared with big cities like San Francisco, living costs in Eugene is over a third lower. While the cost of living in and getting around the city is cheap compared to many other places, housing costs are the main differentiator.

Real Estate

The median home value at the end of 2021 was around $480,000. You can also expect rent to be higher than the national average, with mean apartment rental in 2021 slightly over $1500. There are plenty of students and young professionals renting in Eugene, providing a good incentive for investors seeking rental property investment in the area.

One saving grace to the overall housing cost is that local mortgage brokers offer Eugene’s residents significantly lower than average home loan rates, which makes jumping on the property ladder significantly more accessible for first-home buyers and low-income earners. It also means that purchasing a home may be a more practical decision for many over the long term.

Tax Rates

In Oregon, certain taxes are higher than in other states, and some are lower. Overall, the disadvantages tend to be outweighed by the advantages. Residents pay around 9% income tax on their gross income, which sits higher than the US average of 4.6%. However, this is balanced by lower property tax rates, which benefits many homeowners. According to Smart Asset, the property tax rate for Lane County comes in below the national average at a rate of 1.04% of your property’s value.

Saving the best for last, one of the most exciting quirks about Oregon is that there’s no sales tax! This bonus means that everything you buy from the grocery store is the price it actually says on the sticker, which is a major offset to the higher income tax rates.

Healthcare

According to the Affordable Care Act, residents in Oregon must take out health insurance. Oregon State ranks 21 in terms of the most affordable healthcare in America. Further, insurance providers offer various degrees of coverage at different prices, so you are sure to find something that suits your healthcare needs.

The Oregon Health Plan provides free coverage such as doctor visits, dental care, mental health services, and hospital care to those who meet eligibility requirements.

Transport

Eugene has an extensive and proficient public transit system that can save residents the cost of owning a vehicle. That said, the price of gasoline in the area is affordable, and many residents choose to drive their own car to get around town. Even with the number of vehicles on the roads, traffic is reasonable and is not a concern for residents and visitors.

The Eugene Airport is just 15 minutes by car from downtown, easily accessible to residents. However, most people fly out of Portland International Airport (PDX). The drive to PDX is just under two hours, which is the same time many people in large cities spend traveling to their own airport!

The city is very bikeable, with plenty of bicycle tracks found inside the city and on the outskirts. Eugeneans love to keep fit, and cycling offers an inexpensive and green alternative to get to work, school, and social events.

Are people friendly in Eugene Oregon?

You may have heard in your travels that Eugene is full of hippies. Without being too hasty about the stereotypes, Eugene fully embraces this claim. And yes, hippies tend to be friendly people. With the clean fresh air to wake up with every morning, trees everywhere, picturesque views of the iconic Cascade mountains, and a metropolitan lifestyle at your fingertips, you’d be pretty hard-pressed to find a reason not to be!

There is a law in Oregon that prohibits people from filling up their gas themselves, which allows them to stay toasty warm inside their cars during icy January work commutes. This law, mixed with the lack of sales tax, practically mandates residents to be slightly happier than most other places.

In general, the culture across Oregon is diverse, rich, and thriving, and Eugene is absolutely no exception. Oregonians are overall positive and mildly progressive people who enjoy their lives and adopt the philosophy of “live and let live.” No place in the world will offer one homogenous group of friendly people, but few places could match the welcoming attitude of your potential new neighbors.

Final Thoughts

From lush green forests, windswept plains, and jagged coastal access, the Eugene area offers a vivacious and spirited lifestyle to anyone who should choose to move there. The city is engaging and affordable, providing a rich and dynamic arts culture that is both shaped by, and in turn shapes, its residents.

Through the ups and downs of relocating, moving to Eugene Oregon is understandably a big decision for many people – particularly those seeking to settle down and make a new home in the city. To ensure your best success in finding the perfect property even in a buyer’s market, make sure you have the most proficient real estate team at your side.

Eileen O’Reilly Property Group has gained an in-depth knowledge of the Eugene property market in our years of service, and we have a proven track record of driving desired outcomes for our clients when times get tough. For complete support with moving into your dream home in Eugene, Oregon, contact the dedicated team at Eileen O’Reilly Property Group today.

Eileen O'Reilly

Eileen O’Reilly is a Bay Area Top Producer, and one of eXp Realty’s most dedicated and successful real estate agents in Oregon. Committed to finding real solutions to the challenges buyers and sellers face today, Eileen draws from a heart-centered approach and tenacious drive to help clients transform their lives through real estate.

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