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One reason to move to Eugene: tree-heavy view from Skinner's Butte

Why People Across the Country are Moving to Eugene, Oregon

Among all the possible destinations in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, it’s easy see why people from all over are moving to Eugene.

Eugene has a unique culture, excellent access to the outdoors, and a relaxed pace of life. It’s a great place for families, young professionals, and retirees alike

But Eugene isn’t for everyone. The members of our team who live in Eugene wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but it’s important to have a realistic view of all the pros and cons. 

The best thing to do is pay a visit and see for yourself. We’re here to help, though, if you’re in the very beginning stages of considering a potential move to Eugene.

We work extensively with people relocating from out-of-area, and we’ve designed our site to be a source of clear, detailed information. Read on as we take a basic tour of what it’s like in Eugene. 

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    Defining the Eugene Vibe: Oregon’s “Emerald City”

    Let’s start with a fairly simple observation: there’s something about the air here.

    If you decide to pay a visit, that’s the first thing you might notice when you step off the plane. You can pretty much smell the green–appropriate, considering that Eugene is known as the “Emerald City.”

    Riding into town and glancing around at the streets, neighborhoods, and surrounding valley, you’ll certainly see a lot of green. Climb to the top of one of Eugene’s two main overlooks, Skinner’s Butte and Spencer’s Butte, and what you’ll see is a lot of trees with a few low-rises interspersed. (We’ve featured the view from Skinner’s Butte above.)

    The vista may lack somewhat in glamour, but this forest green runs through the blood of Eugene’s residents. For Oregon Duck fans (they’re not too hard to find here), throw some bright yellow in there too.

    Eugene’s real estate features plenty of green, naturally. Especially in the hills, heavily treed lots predominate. Down below, you’ll find plenty of pear, apple, plum, and fig trees. Ask your neighbor for a bite: they probably won’t mind!

    But let’s get back to the air: it’s not just a particular smell, it’s a whole atmosphere. After you’ve taken in your surroundings, it won’t be long before you notice something else remarkable: nobody seems to be in too big of a hurry.

    Take the traffic, for instance. If you need to switch lanes in a hurry people will usually let you merge. Wait a few seconds too long at a green light, and people don’t blare their horns. Wait really long, and maybe you’ll get a gentle tap. 

    Mind you: this is still a city, and stuff is going on. You’ll meet plenty of passionate and engaged people here. Missing, though, are the East Coast’s edgy speed, the sun-baked vibe of SoCal, and the Bay Area’s sometimes insular quality.

    We mean no offense to residents of these other fine locales: naturally, we’re biased. If you’re coming from a more fast-paced environment, certain aspects of the Eugene vibe may take some getting used to. But if you want to slow down and enjoy yourself while remaining active and engaged, Eugene could be a great place to live.

    Vineyard Willamette Valley Oregon
    Eugene is located in the midst of Oregon’s own wine country.

    Comparing Eugene and Portland

    Probably, you already have some sense that things are a bit, well, different in the Pacific Northwest. Many people move to Oregon for its unique culture and way of life. And Eugene is one of the best places to find out about what the Oregon vibe is all about.

    Maybe you’ve seen the show Portlandia. In some ways, Eugene is Portland’s cool but kind of shy younger sister. She marches to a different beat, but she’s not an exhibitionist like her older brother. 

    Get to know her though, and she’s super friendly and unpretentious. At heart, she’s down-to-earth but kind of deep, and she really cares. She’ll go to a political rally, plant an organic garden, or volunteer at a school. Yet she’s also not afraid to let loose and have a beer or maybe even go to a football game. (People do relocate to Eugene from Portland for these and other reasons.)

    This image is a generalization, of course. We go into much further detail on the question of Portland vs. Eugene in another article. But to truly get to know Eugene, you have to spend some quality time here. We’ll offer just a few suggestions.

    Things to See and Do Before You Move to Eugene

    Like we mentioned, if you’re looking to move to Oregon, then you’ll want to come here first and get out there and explore.

    So, where to begin? We have just a few suggestions for things to do in Eugene. Well, more than a few.

    Tour local wineries, or go to one of the area’s many organic farms. Hit up the Saturday Market, or even better, the annual Oregon Country Fair. Join a block party–the Whiteaker Block Party is the biggest. 

    Go to a local microbrewery, or maybe attend a bluegrass or gypsy folk show at Sam Bond’s Garage. Eat dinner at Rye and discover the joys of Pacific Northwest cuisine and its locally sourced, farm-to-table ethos.

    Float down the Willamette River, go sailing at Fern Ridge Reservoir, cycle along the city’s many bike paths, or hike up Mount Pisgah and admire the wildflowers and other foliage.

    Heck, tour the dispensaries, if you’re so inclined. Or go to a workshop: watercolor, indigo dying, dance, pottery, gardening, tai chi, bird-watching, home fermentation, fiction-writing, plant identification, West African drumming, Japanese tea ceremony, kombucha brewing, basket-weaving, live-action role-playing, glass-blowing, you name it. There’s a community here for you.

    And don’t forget to explore the surrounding area. Just an hour to the west, you’ll reach the majestic Oregon coast, with its towering cliffs, majestic lighthouses, expansive, completely public beaches, and noisy but somehow endearing sea lions.

    An hour to the east, you’ll enter verdant rainforest before coming to the foot of the Oregon Cascades and some of the most majestic mountain scenery you’ll find anywhere.

    It’s a lot to pack into a single visit. But once you’ve tried a sampler platter, if you decide to make a move to Eugene, Oregon, you can enjoy the full-course meal and more. Getting more specific, we’ve prepared a list with 15 specific recommendations for things to do in Eugene.

    One thing to make special note of is Eugene’s weather. Depending on what time of year you visit, your experience may be vastly different.

    The rumors are true about it raining a lot in Eugene. In exchange for putting up with rain between late October and April, though, the weather the rest of the year is pretty darn gorgeous. We’ve covered everything there is to know about Eugene’s weather and climate in another article

    Eugene's weekly farmers market
    Eugene’s weekly farmers market.

    The Practical Stuff: Finding a Job in Eugene and a Place to Live

    To be fair, you’ll probably want to find a job before you take the plunge. There’s good news in that arena: Oregon’s economy, Eugene included, is thriving. Wallethub recently ranked Oregon’s economy 8th in the nation.

    Lane County, meanwhile, has added new jobs for seven years and counting, one of the country’s most sustained economic expansions. (Most of Lane County’s residents live in the Eugene area.)

    Education and healthcare are the largest fields, while technology is a growing presence. Go to the Silicon Shire homepage for a convenient guide to Eugene’s tech companies. There are a lot of them.

    With all of that said, employment opportunities will obviously be more limited than in larger cities like Portland. Depending on your field of work, you’ll need to do plenty of due diligence before you commit to a move.

    Switching gears, if you have children or are planning to start a family, it’s our opinion that Eugene is a great place to raise a family. 

    Eugene’s neighborhoods are close-knit, with a high value on fostering a sense of community. They’re also eclectic, particularly in South Eugene, a popular choice for parents looking to expose their kids to progressive values.

    South Eugene High School, sometimes referred to affectionately as the “University of South Eugene,” is one of the state’s top public schools and certainly one of its most outside-the-box.

    For the young ones, alternative options like the Ridgeline Montessori School and Eugene Waldorf School abound. Of course, a more traditional schooling experience is available as well.

    We’ve prepared a list of Eugene’s 5 Best Neighborhoods that you might want to check out. Any of the neighborhoods on our list would be a great choice for families.

    Woman standing on top of Spencer's Butte near Eugene, Oregon
    View from on top of Spencer’s Butte near Eugene.

    Where’s the Rub? Why Eugene Might Not Be Right for You

    By now, you should have a pretty good sense of what the Eugene vibe is all about. You won’t know for sure if it’s your cup of kombucha until you’ve paid a visit here, but we’ve tried to paint at least a basic picture so you can look elsewhere if it’s just not what you’re into.

    We’ve also dropped some hints about other possible disadvantages of the Eugene life.

    You do need to be ready to deal with the rain. While we’ve highlighted many of the things there are to do in the Eugene area, those looking for shopping, nightlife, restaurants, or arts and performance scenes rivaling those in Portland or other large cities will likely be disappointed.

    In addition, Eugene does have some of the problems that are associated with many other cities in the United States.

    Homelessness has been more of an issue in Eugene since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and there’s been a corresponding rise in property crime. Most of it is localized in the areas around downtown, certain parts of West Eugene, and the University of Oregon campus, but it’s an important factor to consider. There certainly aren’t any “dangerous” neighborhoods in Eugene, but you’ll want to choose carefully.

    While the local government is starting to do more to address homelessness, there’s a lot of ground left to cover. In spite of Eugene’s progressive reputation, it doesn’t always live up to it on the level of policy.

    Political gridlock has been one of the major factors influencing Eugene’s housing shortage. Yes, there is a housing shortage, and a pretty severe one at that – we’ll go more into that below.

    In summary, Eugene has a lot of great features, but it isn’t perfect. All in all, it’s up to you to determine whether the pros outweigh the cons.

    1950s vintage bungalow in Eugene, Oregon

    What You Need to Know about Eugene Real Estate

    We think you’ve heard enough of the “Why” when it comes to relocating to Eugene (or not). Now, it’s time to get more into the nitty-gritty of the “How.”

    You know that this has been coming, and we wouldn’t want to disappoint: you’re going to need a really good real estate agent. Eugene’s real estate market is a tough one for buyers.

    The thing is, other people are in on the no-longer-so-secret charms of the Emerald Valley. The number of people moving to Oregon as a whole continues to swell. As of May 2019, Oregon was the country’s number 6 relocation destination.

    As a result, the Oregon real estate market is soaring to heights unheard of in previous decades. 2020 and 2021’s rock bottom interest rates have created unprecedented buyer demand, causing prices to soar.

    Eugene’s housing market has certainly weathered the storms. We wrote an article recently about why Eugene’s market isn’t heading for a housing bubble or even a slowdown necessarily.

    Prices continue to increase significantly from year to year, and especially at the lower end of the market, there are fewer and fewer available homes.

    That should be of some concern to most first-time home buyers. Several years ago, Eugene ranked as America’s second most constrained housing market, trailing only Seattle, and things have only gotten tighter since.

    What that means, basically, is low housing inventory. Like, stupendously low inventory: the most recent figures from Spring 2021 show an inventory of only 0.7 months.

    That will increase through the Spring as more homes hit the market, but we can expect inventory to hover around one month through 2021. (For the latest picture of Eugene’s market, check out out our May 2021 Market Report.)

    What to Do About Eugene’s Competitive Housing Market 

    If you want to find yourself a home in Eugene, you’re going to need some help on the ground. Particularly in desirable neighborhoods, homes often go pending in a matter of days and for prices well above what’s listed.

    Simply put, it’s a strong sellers’ market here with a lot of competition on the buying side.

    It’s therefore essential to have a strategy that takes into account both the reality of the market and your own financial bottom-line. You need good advice, and an agent who is attentive to your individual needs and willing to advocate and create opportunities for you.

    That’s exactly where we come in. Check out our Why Work With Us page for the lowdown on what we do and how we like to do it and get to know Eugene’s market by searching for Eugene homes for sale from the comfort of our website.

    If you’re still on the fence about whether the Eugene life is the right life for you, we’re happy to set up a discussion where we can talk about the specifics of what you’re considering. Relocating is a big deal, and we won’t feel comfortable helping you find a home here unless we feel confident that it’s the right choice for you and your family.

    Contact our Eugene office, and we’ll get the ball rolling for you, wherever you are in your process.

    17 thoughts on “Why People Across the Country are Moving to Eugene, Oregon”

    1. Thanks for the article. Our family is considering a move to Eugene from Battle Ground Washington. On a side note, this article could use an editor, and a note to the author on the proper use of a colon. Of the eight colons I counted (not to mention it’s overuse) not one was used properly. A semi-colon would work in those parts, but again, it’s use is overkill. The hyphen is also used incorrectly. Then there’s missing apostrophes, incorrect spacing and inconsistent font size. Kudos to you on the spelling though; nailed it!

      1. Thanks for the writing tips, Pamela! We do all of our own content, and because real estate is our main gig, this kind of stuff slips through. Hope you enjoyed the article apart from all of that, and be sure to let us know if you’d like to start a conversation about your move. We’re here to help!

      2. Hi Jo, I spent much time in Eugene without a car, and i can tell you the bus system is AMAZING!!! Way way better (and friendlier) than San Francisco where I live. You can get anywhere quickly, including all the way to the coast or to the far reaches of the Willamette Valley.

      3. Yeh, hopefully they don’t misspell “dining” (dinning) like every other realtor…..
        We moved to Eugene Oregon in 2014 and moved back to California in 2016.
        I would suggest anyone who desires Eugene “from a distance” stay there for an extended
        period before moving. Be more specific?….it really needs to be “understood”, we just didn’t
        find it a match. It’s not just the weather, or smoke from fireplaces and legal burning…but you
        might get “my drift” just by that assessment.

      1. Thank you Stephen. Eugene is certainly lush and green, and it rarely gets too hot or too cold. Just let us know if you’re looking to go into any more detail about what it’s like here.

      1. Hi Cindy,

        Thanks for asking. Eugene does have it’s share of clouds and rain late fall through late spring. From early May through early October though, we have in our opinion some of the finest weather in the country. Summers are dry but not too hot, and early Fall is just lovely. People can find the wet and cloudy weather in the winter difficult, but it doesn’t get too cold and snows just once or twice on average.

    2. This sounds amazing! I’d love to escape the So. Calif heat! I’ve been looking at real estate and I love the lush green atmosphere! Gorgeous!

    3. Ryan,

      Thank you for all of the relevant information on Eugene. My wife and I have been enamored with the city for some time now. We are from Austin (Texas) and have been stalking the weather there for the past couple of years. Locally, Austin is said to be the allergy capital of the world. What is the allergy situation in Eugene from the local level?

      As for all above who forgot what the article was about…living in Eugene…it’s about living in Eugene.

      1. Hi Shane,

        Thanks for the comment! Where the capital is seems a matter for debate, but Eugene is definitely up there in terms of pollen counts. That’s mainly due to grass seed pollen–the Willamette Valley is pretty much the grass seed-growing capital of the world. We also get a fair amount of tree pollen. I personally suffer a little bit of tree pollen allergies and not much with the grass seed, though for those prone to allergies, it’s definitely something to keep in mind.

    4. Moving is always a hassle 😉 But it is definitely worth the effort. Recently, I helped move my friend to Eugene. He had his own checklist to make sure he didn’t forget anything, as well as many different tokens that helped a lot:) My friend was madly happy to move, because the proximity of nature and the lack of noise made his life better and calmer. Did anybody have the same experience of a successful move?

    5. I am done and done with Atlanta. Eugene OR sounds like it has a lot of what I need. Only west coast state I’ve been to is CA, but it’s not my style. Thanks for the info.

      1. You’re very welcome, Linda! Oregon and California definitely have different “styles.” Hope you’ll be able to visit sometime, and let us know if we can help with anything.

    6. Hi Ryan,

      Stumbled on your site and thought I’d ask a couple of questions as the my wife just got a job offer in Eugene and we might be moving the entire family out there by summer’s end. Problem is that while we’re been to many other places in Oregon, we’ve never been to Eugene. We’d be moving from the Ohio/Northern KY area.

      What’s the crime rate like? I’ve read from a couple of sources that both violent crime and robberies are fairly high compared to other small towns in America. Do you find that to be true?

      Is there a lot of homelessness? Many tent-city type of areas?

      If we buy, what areas of town should we be looking at to purchase that are good areas for families?

      Thanks in advance,
      Aaron

      1. Hi Aaron – Congratulations on your wife’s job offer, and that’s super exciting! These are all great questions. Historically, Eugene has had low rates of violent crime compared to other similarly-sized cities in the U.S. However, that’s been increasing in recent years, and my understanding is that it’s close to average now. Property crime has also been on the rise, and is higher than average – as has homelessness, and the two are correlated. What your experience of that will be like though is very dependent on the neighborhood, with crime centered around the downtown/University core. Just a few suggestions for neighborhoods that are the most family-friendly include Southeast Eugene, Cal Young, Churchill, Crest Drive, and Santa Clara. A lot depends on what you need in a home and your budget, with the market being so tight here.

        We usually like to schedule a Zoom meeting or conference call to talk about these things and any other questions you might have more in depth – just let me know if that would be of interest! My email is [email protected] .

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