Eugene, Oregon

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What's it like to live in Eugene?

What is Life like in Eugene?

  • Cost of living is relatively low for the west coast, but will still seem expensive compared to the Midwest/south.

  • Weather is perfectly temperate. Summer is usually dry and in the high 80s. There are usually three 100 degree days that suck (this weekend). Many rentals don’t have AC because of the temperate climate. Winter is usually in the 30s/40s. Lots of sprinkly/drizzly rainy days in Fall/Winter/Spring. Fall is amazing. Perhaps one small snow storm a year, or every other year. We freak out about snow like LA freaks out about rain. No salt, few plows, most people can’t drive in it. Fires in late summer/early Fall can destroy air quality. Allergies can be overwhelming in Spring.

  • Ingredients/markets/farmers markets are amazing. Restaurants are pretty good for a city of Eugene’s size. There are a number of bright spots that would stand out even in larger cities. Beer scene is world class.

  • Comcast rules the internet, but you can get gigabit in some places.

  • Homelessness isn’t great. We attract a lot of travelers. Drug use is a problem, and we don’t have enough resources to address it.

  • Best thing is the kind people and access to outdoors. I hr to the beach, 30 mins to 1 hr to river/lake camping/2.5 hrs to legit skiing. Also having an R1 research University brings a lot of cultural benefits and opportunities for learning, as well as legit D1 sports. People here sometimes complain about “traffic”. If you’ve ever lived in the Bay, SoCal, Seattle, or even PDX, you’ll be blown away by the complete absence of traffic (and bikeability).

  • Worst thing IMO is the rural/urban cultural divide is stark. Eugene vs its surrounding rural communities is a microcosm for the urban rural divide that is currently tearing the US apart. The core of Eugene is very liberal/left leaning. The periphery and surrounding rural areas can be extremely conservative. There seems to be less and less of a common understanding of community. This is probably a problem everywhere, but for some reason it seems more conspicuous in Eugene.

  • Like anywhere in the PNW, it is hard to meet people. But there are a lot of groups that focus on hobbies or recreation that can help with that.

  • It will take you years to run out of new hikes/outdoor walks.

  • On balance, I don’t think you can find a place with a higher quality of life for the price on the West Coast.

What is Life like in Eugene?

Eugene is pretty chill. I attended UO starting in '03. It still feels like a town, as it's a collection of mostly residential neighborhoods, not many tall buildings, and people walking about and riding. Here's some more items:

--It's grey and/or rainy for about 8 months or so, with intermittent blue sky. Summers are amazing in the PNW. Oregonians are very appreciative of sunny days and come out in droves.

--UO is a large public university, and depending on where you live, it can feel more like a student village within a one mile radius of the campus. This vibe was ideal during college. However, as I got older, I felt like a grandma amidst high school kids. It has an expiration date for some. That said, there's many other residential neighborhoods (which I have not lived in) going south and west with more mature types.

--Some neighborhoods are really dilapidated-looking with disastrous yards (I'm not talking eco-friendly, water-saving options…more so, it seems like the tenants are on meth or they're students who are there temporarily). Also, there's a lot of two-storey '70s style offices and apartments--simply unattractive. If you're an architecture snob, it's a bit disappointing.

--Coming from a bigger city, it lacks the cosmopolitan edge. It just feels way more hippie/granola/grungey compared to Portland. Oregon Country Fair (in nearby Veneta) is pretty eccentric, entertaining, and earthy. Anyhow, Eugene is not racially diverse (then again, it's Oregon, and the people are chill and exceptionally liberal). You're much more likely to meet people who are into the outdoors or a hyper-alternative/artsy lifestyle, as opposed to those focused on traditional career ambitions. It can feel like a lot of the law students, business students, and international students evacuate after graduation-- and head to Portland or Seattle or the Bay for more opportunity. It's definitely in slow mo compared to other west coast cities (which is probably better for longevity). It sometimes described as the place "where hippies come to die."

--In recent years, there's been some newer posh-looking apartments added. These are probably running at Portland rates.

--The downtown was really depressing-looking in the early 2000s, but they've spruced it up and added a nice Ken Kesey statue, food carts, and some Portland-esque venues like Sizzle Pie and Voodoo Doughnuts.

--You don't need a car.

--Eugene is fairly generous in terms of low-income services. In other realms of Oregon, like Bend, if a homeless person pan handles in front of a library or even sits there, the cops will "escort" them away. In Eugene, there's free clinics, dining halls, and tolerance for loitering/chilling/camping-- as such, I suspect people in unfortunate situations find the city to be a more empathetic destination, and are attracted to the services and mild weather. In general, if you go to any of the major cities now along the west coast, you'll find homeless-tent camps. It's kind of an inevitability as the cost of living has increased substantially and no doubt opiods/drugs have played a role.

--Lots of food options considering it's a small city, and most places are hyper aware of lifestyle choices (like veganism or keto). One cool addition I noticed recently (2018) is several Chinese-owned restaurants and shops along 13th. Around 2010 or so, mainland Chinese students arrived on exchange to UO. As such, there's authentic regional cuisine from Chengdu and a handful other places (along with a couple of bubble tea joints). And of course, there's Thai, Mexican, Japanese, Greek, fusion.

--Eugene has several "buttes" which makes for a unique skyline and great hiking.

What is Life like in Eugene?

No prob. I noticed in your other post you're looking at places around the NW. Some other cities to consider include in WA: Bellingham, Olympia, and in OR: Astoria (filming location for "Goonies" and "Kindergarten Cop"), Banks (tiny, west of PDX), Forest Grove (tiny, west of PDX), Ashland (southern oregon), Scappoose (tiny, north of PDX), Newport (coastal/small), Tillamook (coastal, small), Lincoln City (coastal, small). The Oregon coast has a ton of little towns with excellent hiking trails. *I emphasize little, as these are the types of places where everyone knows your name.

In terms of climate, everything west of the Cascade Mts. is green, green, green with long grey winters and springs (although once you go south of Eugene, it's quite a bit sunnier, as in Ashland). Everything to the East (like Spokane, Bend, John Day) is more like Idaho…sunshine year round, snowy winters, and dry, hot summers.

What is it like to live in Eugene, OR?

Eugene Oregon as a college town, home of the Oregon ducks, and also a farming and cowboy community. Life here is a bit more laid-back than an our friends up in Portland as far as traffic and hustle and bustle goes. Lots of outdoor activities like hiking, bicycling ( at least 100 miles of bike paths around the Willamette river that runs through town ). Also known as the emerald city because it’s so green here. That’s because of a lot of rain, especially during the winter and spring. Lots of places to eat downtown from big to small locations. Lots of new houses being built because I guess a lot of people are moving here Which is a little disheartening for me because we moved here 20 years ago to get away from the bigger city turbulence to raise our 2 boys. Moving here to raise them turned out to be a good thing so would highly recommend raising kids here. If you’re a liberal then you want to live near or in the city, if you’re conservative than you want to live on the outskirts of town. All in all Eugene is a great place to live.

9 Things you MUST Know Before Moving to Eugene!