16 Pros and Cons of Living in Oregon

Updated On November 29, 2023

A state in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon offers natural charms through the world’s tallest trees, giant beached boulders, and quirky Portlandia connections.

If you want to be a resident of OR, though, there are some cons to consider before packing the U-Haul.

While the Pacific Coast is beautiful and rustic, the rest of the state is mainly farmland and rather quiet and peaceful.

Lincoln City, Oregon
Lincoln City, Oregon

Pros of Living in Oregon

1. The Nation’s Deepest Lake is in Oregon

Oregon is home to Crater Lake, a nearly 1,950-feet-deep lake–deeper than most lakes and one of the top 10 deepest lakes in the world, according to Britannica.

The water is very blue due to the depth and the way the sunlight bounces off the water.

The lake comes from a volcano and is unique to be called Crater Lake instead of Lake Crater as is standard for saying American lake names.

2. A Real and Curious Wizard Island

When you are driving to Crater Lake for a weekend as a new resident, take time to learn about Wizard Island.

Yes, Oregon has an island and it is called Wizard.

Do actual wizards live here?

Maybe, especially considering how motor-powered boats and drones make life so much easier these days.

3. Witches in Oregon

Supposedly, Portland is the best place to be a witch in the nation.

Then, you have Salem, OR, which is synonymous with the Salem Witch Trials, even though those occurred in New England–not the Pacific Northwest.

Either way, you can see The Witch’s Castle in Portland.

This is an ancient, stone, and moss-covered building in Forest Park and is open to the public.

The house is also called the Stone House or Macleay Park Shelter.

There is also the Facebook group, Witches of Oregon, where you can join a community of local witches or an online coven of sorts.

4. McMenamins’ Oregon Locations

McMenamins is a popular yet super quirky hotel chain that operates in Oregon and Washington.

There are many locations in old school buildings, Masonic lodges, and hotels.

Using artwork and strange mazes throughout buildings, as well as a passport system for frequent visitors, along with nightly club entertainment and delicious drinks at a brewery at many locations.

You can swim at some of these McMenamins, and I am personally partial to the Masonic Temple Elk Lodge in Tacoma, WA, which has rooms and halls with strange exits and deadends.

The Oregon McMenanims has 62 locations, including Gearhart Hotel in Gearhart; Kennedy School in Portland; and Grand Lodge in Forest Grove, OR.

5. Traveling the Oregon Coast Highway

Curvy and tree-covered, the two-lane highway winds around tiny village towns with Birkenstock stores next to cafes and farmers’ stands.

Yet, between California’s more expensive and hotter hotels on the Pacific Coast, and Washington’s cold and less attractive accommodations in the north, Oregon shines–literally.

From WA, OR provides a ray of sunshine that is met with interesting characters and stories.

While in Newport, for example, check out Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Museum and many Mo’s locations for fresh Yaquina Bay oysters.

6. Affordable Coastal Accommodations for In-State Stay-Cations

Since Corona, my family has traveled to Oregon and stayed in hotels on the coast.

At Inn at Nye Beach, in the district of Nye in Newport, there is an infinity pool and outdoor fire pits for guests to lavish themselves on a private luxury beachfront.

Other accommodations are colorfully painted, such as in Newport Beach, and you get a unique coastal feel driving the Oregon Coast Highway from Astoria in the north to Brookings in the south.

At the same time, compared to the CA and WA accommodations, Oregon stands out for the best price points and coolest-looking rooms.

Newport, in particular, was very clean and brilliantly painted in a coastal color scheme–in both the new and old parts of town.

7. Nutella is an Oregon State Spread, But Not Really

Actually, hazelnut is the state nut in Oregon.

The state is the only one with a nut, isn’t that nuts?

It is to me, as someone born in Georgia, that I would assume we would have chosen the peanut as a state nut.

Either way, a hazelnut and chocolate spread is delicious.

Add some hazelnut foods to your list of items you plan to buy locally when you move to Oregon.

8. They Pump the Gas for You

The proverbial “they,” refers to whoever works at the gas station and will pump your gas or diesel for you into your vehicle.

You do not even have to ask, it is preferred full service, and attendants are hired to do this job.

I recently tested the theory with a drive to Oregon, and when I went into the station to pre-pay, I also used the restroom.

By the time I returned to my Outback, the car tank was nearly full and the pump was registered at $25, and I was ready to go on my way.

If you hate the smell of gas or do not want fuel on your clothing, move to Oregon.

Cons of Living in Oregon

1. Tillamook Dairy and the Tasting Tour

If you are vegan, you are going to hate driving on the Oregon Coastal Highway for one reason and one reason alone–the Tillamook factory takeover of Tillamook.

The dairy and customer shops are all right along the highway, which is in the center of Main Street USA where the only traffic comes from actual cows.

It is a bit disappointing, actually, but for vegans who want to save cattle, Tillamook is downright disappointing.

And traffic in this one red-light town can be a headache at going-home time.

2. Witches on Paddleboards on the Willamette River

I have to say that if you are not a fan of witches, you might not want to live in Oregon.

The state is, after all, famous for its witches and houses of witches, and Salem in name alone sends chills down some spines.

If you are concerned about witches on paddleboards doing festival parades on rivers, which is a real event, and the spells they might cast your way–well, avoid Oregon.

3. Homeless Count of Portland

Portland is a major thoroughfare and big city in Oregon.

It is also a lenient city for homeless people who took a count of 6,633 individuals as of January 2022.

Seattle has 11,751 unsheltered and homeless people and San Francisco has 8,124 individuals on the streets, for comparison.

Portland, ranked No. 25th of all US cities for homelessness, can be a challenge for some people when moving into the city.

Issues associated with unsheltered people, such as property theft or personal crime, are not as rampant in other areas of Oregon.

It is mainly Portland I am talking about here with this one.

Boy, I sure do feel very Portlandian right about now, trying to explain this con.

4. Speaking of Portlandia

That is most definitely a no-no, especially if you are in Portland and trying to get a selfie at, say, the infamous and now closed bookstore for feminists.

In Other Words, do not mention Portlandia.

While you might feel the city is particularly on point in some ways where Portlandia, the fictional TV series, is concerned, they already know this.

It is a touchy point.

Do you love Portlandia?

You will be sorely amiss to find a museum or friendly face to connect with on this subject in the actual inspirational city for the show–Portland, OR.

5. You Cannot Pump Your Own Gas

While getting your gas pumped while you are on the toilet is nice, it is also invasive coming from any other state.

When this happened to me, it took me a minute to catch on.

I am also concerned about tipping.

Do you tip the gas attendant?

As someone moving to the state of Oregon, you too should be concerned about these social issues.

I feel you should tip a dollar here or there, but who is to say these days, really?

6. Far From New York City

If you want to live in New York City, then move to the other Portland and state beholding it–Maine.

In Oregon, you are very far from NYC and that busy East Coast lifestyle.

You will not have the best cellphone reception on the coast, and cluttered sidewalks from daily “work release” parties by companies do not exist.

It is a different world on the West Coast and in Oregon, you are in a more rural and wild territory.

This is not New England nor is there any state like it.

This might not work for you if you expect to find New York in Oregon.

That is all I am saying.

7. Cannabis is Recreational and Legal

Recreational marijuana is available for purchase legally in Oregon.

If you are not someone who likes to be around people who smoke cannabis, for whatever reason, then you will be in a tough spot in OR.

Not that you have to hang out with stoners, but if you are living in Oregon, chances are you will have to work or deal with people who smoke cannabis.

This can be unnerving for individuals from other states where it is federally illegal to do this activity.

8. Dreary Coastal Weather

While you do get to see the sea every day if you want in Oregon, thanks to the West Coast and the Pacific Ocean, you are going to also see rain a lot.

A blowing sideways type of rain, followed by hail storms and heavy winds.

This does not happen all the time, but when it does, the gray skies take over and it is instantly cold.

You are, after all, one US state away from Canada and the summer season is short.

All I am saying is if you want sunny skies and hot temperatures over 90 during June, move to Los Angeles, CA, and avoid Oregon.

Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon

Pros and Cons of Living in Oregon – Summary Table

Pros of Living in OregonCons of Living in Oregon
1.The Nation’s Deepest Lake is in Oregon1. Tillamook Dairy and the Tasting Tour
2. A Real and Curious Wizard Island2. Witches on Paddleboards on the Willamette River
3. Witches in Oregon3. Homeless Count of Portland
4. McMenamins’ Oregon Locations4. Speaking of Portlandia
5. Traveling the Oregon Coast Highway 5. You Cannot Pump Your Own Gas
6. Affordable Coastal Accommodations for In-State Stay-Cations6. Far From New York City
7. Nutella is an Oregon State Spread, But Not Really7. Cannabis is Recreational and Legal
8. They Pump the Gas for You8. Dreary Coastal Weather

Oregon Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Oregon Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the population of Oregon? Compared to Washington? California?

The United States Census Bureau states the population of Oregon was 4.176 million in 2020.

This is compared to 7.512 million in Washington and 39.35 million in California.

What do you call an Oregon resident?

When you move to Oregon and get your driver’s license and your keys to your new home, you become an Oregonian by technicality.

What are the names of the big newspapers in Oregon?

There are several daily newspapers in circulation in Oregon.

These include The Oregonian, The Bulletin, and The Register-Guard.

In Portland, OR, there is The Portland Tribune, which is free to the public and published weekly.

What is the biggest city in Oregon?

The most populated city in Oregon is Portland, with 650,380 people.

In terms of size, Portland is also the biggest city in Oregon, with 145 square miles compared to Salem.

Salem, OR has a comparable 49.23 square miles and 171,806 people and is the second-biggest city.

How many coffee shops and cafes serving micro-roasted coffee are there in Oregon?

In the Pacific Northwest, Seattle often gets all the praise for great and world-renowned coffee drinks and cafes.

However, Oregon is home to more than 200 cafes for specialty coffees and this includes micro-roasters for fresh coffee beans.

For instance, Portland, OR has 80 micro-roasters according to Big 7 Travel.

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