Eugene, Oregon at a Glance Guide
Several years ago, the City of Eugene made waves by billing itself “The World’s Greatest City for the Arts and Outdoors.” Public mockery quickly ensued. But maybe the creators of that ill-advised slogan kind of had a point.
Eugene is a great place for the creative and performing arts, and opportunities for outdoor excursions abound. Where else in the country are ski slopes, lush forests, and beaches alike just a short drive away? But being in Eugene isn’t just about having things to do. It’s about the feeling, man.
Eugene has long been known as a bastion of sixties counterculture. The Oregon Country Fair, held every July for the past 48 years and located just outside the city, is a mecca of free expression. Since pot’s legalization in 2015, Oregon’s cannabis scene has gotten its fair share of attention, but really there’s so much more than that to Eugene’s counter-cultural vibes. From activism to spirituality and experimental approaches to community, the spirit of the 60s lives on in Eugene.
Eugenians aren’t just looking backward either, or up into the sky. This is a city full of people who want to make a difference, whether it’s by providing gourmet farm-to-table meals, brewing the perfect IPA, or collaborating with villagers in Senegal to help build a more sustainable future.
Eugene is also a place where people are just living the life—finding love, going to school, raising kids, and working in diverse local industries like technology, environmental services, and higher education.
The University of Oregon, located close to downtown, is the state’s highest-ranked public university, known particularly for its law, journalism, environmental studies and business programs.
Once derelict, the downtown is now thriving. The Whiteaker neighborhood is an especially outsized cultural presence, home to artists, writers, hippies, and plenty of others who just appreciate its unique eateries, breweries, cafes, natural grocery stores, and watering holes. In 2012, Esquire Magazine even named quirky neighborhood standby Sam Bond’s Garage as one of America’s best bars.
We haven’t even mentioned Eugene’s status as “Track Town USA,” nor have we mentioned its miles and miles of bike paths and paved trail along the Willamette River. But we think you get the idea. Eugene is certainly a unique place, but go beyond its reputation as a hippie haven, and you’ll find that there’s a bit of something for anyone who wants to live outside the box.
Looking for just the basic facts about Eugene? Here’s an overview.
Eugene, Oregon population
Eugene’s current population is estimated at 178,329 people, having grown by 14.18% since 2010. That makes it the 166th fastest-growing of the nation’s 515 cities. An estimated 387,599 people live in Eugene’s offically-designated metropolitan area, which includes Springfield, Junction City, Cottage Grove, Creswell, Veneta, Florence, and other small towns.
Where is Eugene, Oregon?
Eugene is located in the southern Willamette Valley of Western Oregon, situated in between the Cascades mountain range to the east and Coastal mountain range to the west. Eugene’s elevation is 430 feet above sea level.
Eugene is the largest city in Lane County, which stretches all the way from the Pacific Ocean about an hour to the west to the foothills of the Cascades Mountains about an hour east.
Lush old-growth rainforest and scenic rivers can be found in the foothills of both the Coastal and Cascades mountain ranges, and the coast is home to many small lakes and the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America. The Southern Willamette Valley is renowned for its wineries, many of which are just a short drive north or south and to the west from Eugene. Portland is a two-hour drive to the north along I-5, while the California border is a 3.5 hour drive to the south.
Eugene, Oregon climate and average weather
Eugene lies in the Marine West Coast climate zone, which translates to relatively mild average weather for most of the year with hot-ish temperatures and dry weather in the summer. We’re not going to lie – it does rain, particularly in the late fall and winter months, adding up to 47 inches on the year.
Temperatures in Eugene bottom out in December and January, with average lows of 34 degrees and average highs of 46 degrees. In other words, it doesn’t get cold enough to snow most of the time, and Eugene averages only a couple inches of snowfall per year. In the summer, temperatures rise to average highs in the low 80s, but it still cools off into the low 50s at night.
Eugene, Oregon median home price
In November of 2020, residential properties in Eugene sold for a median of $369,000 and an average of $392,000, not quite a record but close to it (that honor goes to October 2020’s median sale price of $380,000.) Home prices in Eugene are still on the up-and-up, with an especially active summer and fall buying season in 2020 and very limited inventory of residential properties.