Before becoming a state on Valentine’s Day 1859, Oregon had been claimed by five other countries since James Cook, a British explorer, discovered the coastal area eighty years prior.
It’s clear from the start that this section of North America was special, with geography the looks of which had never before been seen by most Europeans.
Located in the northwest of the continental United States, the Beaver State has a striking landscape and wildlife that encourages locals and visitors alike to explore the outdoors.
Having almost 400 parks makes Oregon easily synonymous with nature, but there is more to the only state that has an official nut than many outsiders may know about.
Here, we’ll learn more about popular destinations around the state, weather, safety levels, and info you can use if you’re coming to visit from the US or internationally.
Warnings & Dangers in Oregon
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Considering all the factors listed below, Oregon is a relatively low threat for dangerous situations or safety violations for travelers coming through or even those staying a while. A lot of tourism is focused on outdoor activities as opposed to staying in the city for the duration of a trip. Most of the criminal safety risks are associated with cities but some, like natural disasters, are more likely outdoors. Many of the risks can be avoided when planned for.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Rideshare, taxi services, and public transportation in Oregon do not have measurable, ongoing safety issues.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
More populated cities, like Portland, have been seeing a growing amount of pickpocketing going on. Sometimes these are accomplished by a stranger offering a hug to pedestrians. That's when wallets are stolen.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : HIGH
According to FEMA, Oregon lands in 12th place when it comes to natural disasters. There is a little bit of everything happening here and it has been happening more frequently in recent years. Because areas vary so much in resources, checking what is prone to happen in the place you plan to be could help you prepare better. As of 2021, even heatwaves were included in Oregon's list of deadliest disasters.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Violent crimes offenses in Oregon are among the lowest in the country. The state is ranked #15, which is promising compared to the rest of the US. While being the victim of a violent crime here is statistically small, it is still important to be vigilant and exude caution when traveling at night and in places that might seem suspicious.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
Domestic terrorism in Oregon is on the rise. According to the FBI, the caseload for the state has increased over the last few years. Local web searches have skyrocketed to a 100% increase in searches that are related to extremist violence.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
There is a developing scam going on that is geared towards online rental listings. Citizens sometimes lose up to $1k in these rental schemes. Fake listings showing a home or apartment for short-term rentals are being made using real estate images pulled from the internet. These listings are cheaper than comparable locations and may even ask for payment upfront.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
There are no known issues for women traveling either in groups or solo. However, no matter how safe any city is, being cautious should always be part of the plan.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Oregon uses the latest technology to test the water consumed by citizens. It is highly rated and often viewed by locals as excellent in taste. Portland, the most populated city, was ranked in the top five best cities for water quality nationwide.
Safest Places to Visit in Oregon
Located just outside of Portland, this combined area is two separate cities right up against one another.
Vacationing here means having the convenience of going to a more populated area to enjoy a more active nightlife and yet being far away enough that you can do some more peaceful excursions.
One such option is visiting one or three of the seemingly never-ending supply of nearby vineyards.
If you just want a true escape, La Grande is a small town in the northeast part of the state and is surrounded by national forests.
Pretty much all of the things to do revolve around a lake or park, so bring your hiking shoes.
This is a quiet town with impressively low crime statistics.
Places to Avoid in Oregon
Similar to La Grande, Warrenton is very small but, instead of forests, it sits on the coast and is at the end of the historic Oregon Trail.
Unfortunately, not even interesting ties could help this place be better.
The crime rate is almost 200% above the national average.
Compared to other cities around the same size, Warrenton has one of the highest crime rates in the US.
The crime rate here is 176% above average.
Here, you have a one in sixteen chance of being the victim of a crime.
The most common criminal activities in the area are drug-related, theft, or vandalism.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Oregon
- Never leave any personal items unattended. Leave valuables at home when possible, everything else should be secured and hidden from view when on foot. Property theft in Oregon is one of the highest in the nation.
- Be extra observant when going to a crowded place or heavily trafficked area. If a popular area seems to have sketchy behavior or people circling the area, contact authorities.
- Do your homework. Take the added step of doing some extra homework on whatever non-traditional accommodations you made, especially if made on websites like Craigslist.
- Do not wire or pre-pay for a rental space. The newest scams, especially along the coast, are targeting short-term renters. Be sure that the location is available and that it is reserved for your party before finalizing any financial exchanges.
- Whether you are flying in and plan to take a Lyft everywhere or are driving through, it is wise to have an essentials bag. Items such as bottled water, non-perishable snacks, multiple phone batteries, flashlights, and jumper cables for cars.
- Do not hesitate to reach out to a loved one if you are uncomfortable. Whether that be while out in public or out on the trail, it is better safe than sorry when it comes to everyone’s safety. Let that person or people know where you are, what you are doing, and use a map app or messenger to send them your physical location. As an extra precaution, send a trusted friend your expected schedule while away.
- If a suspicious character is watching or hanging too close to your vehicle, let someone know. Employees of establishments can call the police and usually have cameras to use as evidence.
- Don’t let check-in be the only time you communicate with the front-end employees at your accommodation. They could be incredibly helpful if you run into issues while out. These people are locals and could answer questions as well as steer you away from places they know to be more dangerous or recommend sights you might love.
- Before even packing bags, be sure to do a crime search online for any city you plan to rest at or stay in during your trip. There is a lot of knowledge and statistics available that can give you peace of mind or change the trajectory of your drive.
- When in doubt, call the authorities for assistance. Whether it be a flat tire in an unlit area at night or to report being followed, the police are there to protect and serve. Even getting advice about construction zones or wildlife attacks can help ensure your safety in the chance of an emergency.
So... How Safe Is Oregon Really?
When it comes to crimes being committed, Oregon is impressively coming up very low with violent crime at a rate of 2.82 per 1k people.
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, property crime is the seventh highest in the nation.
Despite the criminal activity, Oregon is considered an extremely safe place to be.
It’s even statistically the safest place in the Pacific Northwest.
Some things can be done to be at your safest during a trip or extended stay.
First, be extra careful of strangers, especially when your property is involved.
That can be your car or anything you carry with you.
Since property theft is more common than violent crimes, keep strangers at arm’s length and do not divulge any private info that could be used to obtain access to items of value.
Over the past year in Portland, there were over 25k larceny offenses, the top spot.
Aside from crimes, the only other point of worry could be from the natural disaster category.
Due to the wild behavior of mother nature, it might be impossible to completely safeguard against a major weather event, but that has not kept Oregon from trying.
They have statewide planning in effect for the six most common hazards directly impacting the lives of those who live in and travel to the state.
The government of the state and local officials has plans in place to hopefully save as many lives as possible in a detrimental situation.
While it is not a perfect system, having plans in place could make all the difference in time of need.
How Does Oregon Compare?
- Visas - There is a $160 (United States Dollar) fee that will need to be paid when submitting a nonimmigrant visa application at the US embassy of your home country. This must be done before departing for America.
- Currency - The USD is the way to make any purchase in the United States. There is no need to exchange money from another country for American money. Almost everywhere takes debit or credit cards, where the rate of exchange is automatically calculated. If you do end up needing cash, there are ATMs everywhere or you can use the currency exchange in the airport.
- Weather - Oregon is known for rain, so especially in the autumn and summer, you will want to have rain gear such as umbrellas, rain boots, and a poncho. A light jacket is also good, even if it's warm due to wind. In the winter, you can expect frigid temperatures but typically sunny skies. Snow happens but only about four inches annually.
- Airports - The biggest airport is Portland International Airport, which doubles as a military airport. 90% of all air passengers go through this location. A majority of the remainder can be found at Eugene Airport, which is closer to the state capital of Salem. Both airports cooperate with rideshare apps, taxis, and car rental companies.
- Travel Insurance - Due to the unexpected nature of travel, weather, and people, it is always best to opt for coverage of you and your loved ones when hitting the road. Be sure to look into options through your current health care provider or credit card company.
Oregon Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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