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Eugene OR?
Old 07-22-2009, 06:16 AM   #1
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Eugene OR?

Sparked by a similar thread, any recent first hand experience/comments about living in Eugene OR? Passes most of our tests, but ruled out primarily for cost of living and excessive rain/overcast days. Secondarily, a little concerned about the politics of the area (we're fiscal conservatives, social moderates, environmental "liberals" - Eugene seems to be predominately liberal on all counts). However, a relative of ours who has lived there all her adult life just visited and told us to reconsider. She conceded cost of living and gray skies, and said the homeless population/associated prop crime is becoming an issue there. Thanks for your thoughts.

A related aside. Our search for where to live was rightfully dampened a while back by a wise 74 year old Aunt. When we ran through out wants/needs and started rating places, she told us 'There is no perfect place. And if there was, it would be so expensive and so crowded you wouldn't want to live there." It was almost an epiphany for my simple mind...I am afraid she's absolutely right.
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Old 07-22-2009, 07:00 AM   #2
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I have never been to Eugene (sorry!). My politics are somewhat similar to yours. I ruled out Eugene mostly for that reason, plus cost of living which is a little borderline for us. But Eugene also has its attractions and one big one for me would be the university and university community.

Your aunt is right about no place being perfect. But if you can prioritize your requirements for a retirement location, you can find a place that (while imperfect) is closer to what you are looking for. It is like buying a house on a budget. You might have to give up that large master bedroom you always wanted, to get a 5 minute commute to work because buying a house on a budget is always a compromise. Similarly, finding an ER location is always a compromise but that doesn't mean that the search is pointless. Keep looking! Then when you narrow it down to a handful, start visiting them.

Our planned ER location in southern Missouri has its imperfections too. For example it is a real bear to get in and out of by air, without either driving 2-3 hours (to an airport in St. Louis, Tulsa, or K.C.), or paying exorbitant prices for a puddle jumper. We have no desire to travel, so this imperfection is just fine with us. A lot of retirees would not tolerate it, though.
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
'There is no perfect place. And if there was, it would be so expensive and so crowded you wouldn't want to live there." It was almost an epiphany for my simple mind...I am afraid she's absolutely right.
Not completely. We have friends that are retiring to Florida - I would never retire there as I cannot stand heat/humidity. And while I like four seasons, others cannot imagine dealing with cold/snow.

But in general she is right - supply/demand says that what the majority find attractive will be driven up in price. This is another case where it helps to listen to the beat of a different drummer. Or pay the price - it's a personal decision.


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Old 07-22-2009, 08:54 AM   #4
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'There is no perfect place. And if there was, it would be so expensive and so crowded you wouldn't want to live there."
To expand on what ERD50 said, this is only true if you want what everyone else wants. For example, if you don't care about mosquitoes, like cold weather, and are a hermit, a cabin in Alaska might be the perfect place for you.
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Old 07-22-2009, 09:54 AM   #5
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Still thinking Oregon , eh? Consider Cottage Grove a bit south of Eugene - seems like the further south you go in Oregon the further right the folks lean. I'd expect housing costs to be lower as well, and Eugene isn't so far away that you couldn't take advantage of it's charms. Bend housing market is supposed to have crashed hard - lots of sun, lots of cold, lots of conservative retirees.

As for us, we're looking for some winter sun - your mountain place sounds just about perfect to me, though i don't know if it's close enough to major air/medical for She Who Must Be Obeyed. Thinking we may end up doing the rainbird thing - grey gets very old.
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Old 07-22-2009, 10:34 AM   #6
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I've never been to Eugene, but I kinda like the music. IIRC, this is fun thread:

goodbye california, hello oregon!

Ok, I'll admit, I knew a kook who moved there.
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Old 07-22-2009, 11:15 AM   #7
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The last time I lived there was when I was in college, but I do have relatives who reside in Eugene and it's nearby communities.

It is liberal, it is a college town after all and the U of O is its economic engine. The residents I know are active in the community, for example my cousin (68 yo female) is an NCAA field judge and my God-Mother was volunteer of the year for her work with the hearing impaired (she is in her mid 90s now). Culturally it is a get-off-your-but and get involved community. If you see a problem don't whine, work toward a solution. It is also a live and let live town, unless someone is a risk to others they get left alone.

Communities with moderate climates have problems with homeless people arriving just to survive, it is happening all over the country. Because Eugene is the largest town at the south end of the Willamette Valley that is where social services are located. The citizens did not lay out a welcome mat to attract folks in desperate circumstances.

If all you are concerned about is liberalism then move there and add a little balance.
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:16 PM   #8
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DW and I retired to Oregon (just neighboring Eugene), and we're pretty happy. There are plenty of good reasons to like this area and a few reasons to not like the area.

Mainly right now, the criminals are released out onto the streets early because there are not enough jail beds, deputies (and $$$). This ads to the recent higher crime numbers. Also, unemployment numbers are higher than most locations because several key industries are struggling (RV manufacturing).

So the good things.... not much snow. Mild weather if you are ok with 5-6 months of winter rain (remember... not much snow). Good summer weather for growing a veggy garden. Close to skiing, rivers, mountains, and beaches for great outdoor activities. Lot's of walking trails and biking areas. Cost of living doesn't seem too bad (OK, I came from San Francisco - my point of reference might be a little skewed). Housing is affordable and one of my favorite reasons to like Oregon.... no sales tax!

I hope you find your perfect retirement location - good luck!
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:50 PM   #9
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I have never lived in Eugene but have done a lot of work there and have a satellite crew there. It is liberal, with a capitol L. Things are a little depressed down there right now because of the recession, but home prices seem to be nearly holding their own. The further south you get down the valley, the warmer the summers are. Cottage Grove can actually get hot. Eugene just has a few hot days each summer, then the rest are warm and sunny. The rain isn't that bad, but it does get grey. Biking is really big there, as is walking. On most days the town comes alive with people out moving. There are good services available in abundance, including medical. Short hop to the mountains and also to the beach. Like an hour in either direction. But I am somewhat conservative so I would prefer the southern oregon coast. You can have t-shirt weather in january and february in brookings and gold beach. Very much like san francisco, without the negative aspects.
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Old 07-22-2009, 04:20 PM   #10
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But I am somewhat conservative so I would prefer the southern oregon coast. You can have t-shirt weather in january and february in brookings and gold beach. Very much like san francisco, without the negative aspects.
Also without very many of the positive aspects.
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Old 07-22-2009, 06:00 PM   #11
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I agree with haha. The Oregon coast is a great place to visit but not where I would want to live and I am a Duck through and through.

The reason why temperatures in Brookings are relatively warm in the winter is that it catches a breeze from Sacramento. Gold Beach is a neat town.

Southern Oregon is conservative politically, however, they do grow a lot of marijuana. Once I was talking to the HR Manager at a saw mill, he said a lot of his applicants failed their drug test notwithstanding the fact that he has a large sign about drug testing at the counter. I made a comment about the area's reputation as a grower. He responded: "No, that's our cash crop. The meth test are where the failures are and that worries me." I wonder if they ignored positive marijuana results because if you even just hiked in the forrest you could test positive.
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Old 07-22-2009, 06:47 PM   #12
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Just come on down to Medford. Want CONSERVATIVE - Medford is fairly so but just a short hop north to Grants Pass for real right wing nut cases. Want LIBERAL just a short hop south to Ashland for real left wing nut cases. Best of all worlds. Much sunnier than Eugene and housing much cheaper also.
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Eugene
Old 07-22-2009, 08:32 PM   #13
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Eugene

Lived in Eugene for 2 years, to say it liberal is an understatemnet, they call themselves"Berkely North" Beautiful surrounding nice weather when it's not raining? Not a major airport. More conservative up the road in Corvallis, home of Orgegon State University about 30 miles. Where else are you looking? I live in the silicon valley near SF, couldn't compare Eugene as they are very different animals.
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Old 07-22-2009, 11:29 PM   #14
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As I suggested, conservatives should move to Eugene just to provide some balance to the local politics. Hold your nose and dive in.

BUT, remember that the liberal bent is largely the result of a high % of young adult student voters. That same population is what supports the local economy - a great source of economic stability. Tough to have one without the other. The U is 'Berkley North' in other ways, their mathematics and bio sciences departments are very strong and their school of architecture just as pie-in-the sky (aka design as opposed to construction focused).

I was being honest when I said that most social services for the south end of the Willamette Valley are located in Eugene. Those agencies serve a population from the coast, half way to Bend, maybe as far south as Roseburg. Looking at this from a management standpoint, it is very efficient. They can utilize college students in the social sciences who are willing to accept low wages (because they need a job while in school). The other advantage for this population is that Eugene has public transit and using a bicycle for transportation makes you a member of the 'in' crowd.

There is no heaven on earth but Eugene needs the needs of many. It as two very good hospitals, no need to seek other communities for 95% of health care needs (the teaching hospitals are in Portland). There are at least two retirement communities. It has great performing arts (I have driven from Seattle to see performers from NY at a fraction of the ticket price elsewhere).

Air service could be better. Most find it economical to drive to PDX.
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Old 07-23-2009, 05:13 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the replies. Basically confirms our original conclusion, Eugene is not in our top 10. But that doesn't mean it isn't perfect for many thousands of others.
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Old 07-23-2009, 05:23 PM   #16
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Just come on down to Medford. Want CONSERVATIVE - Medford is fairly so but just a short hop north to Grants Pass for real right wing nut cases.
It's certainly true that when someone is looking for a retirement location, the local politics can be important to people who are, well, more political. It's certainly a consideration.

But I think we can discuss areas of politics we disagree with without using resorting to "fighting word" terms like "nut cases," can't we?
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Old 07-23-2009, 11:09 PM   #17
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Nearly 30 years ago, we drove by and spent a night in Eugene on our road trip to Seattle, so never really knew the place. In recent years, we have flown to Portland twice and have spent 4-5 days there each time and knew a little more about Portland, but still not much.

Coincidentally, I read a blog by a nomadic full-time RV'er who just loves Eugene. Yes, he is liberal, or rather libertarian, himself. He calls Eugene "the Finest City in the US". Here is the link (with pictures).

Mobile Kodgers: FINEST CITY IN THE USA

He also reported on the Hippies being alive and well in Eugene. Check this out for yourself (warning: some nudity pictures included ).

Mobile Kodgers: THOSE AMAZING HIPPIES---PART 2

Mobile Kodgers: THOSE AMAZING HIPPIES!
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Old 07-24-2009, 01:02 AM   #18
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Eugene may not be in your top 10, but as someone who grew up in a town next to it, I can vouch for its attractions. It's got a lively and thriving downtown area, a high level of civic involvement, a major university, a relatively pleasant climate and many solid and safe neighborhoods. It's fabulous for active people who like to run, bike, hike, sail, fish, hunt and canoe, and it's a great place for local food and gardening.

But if it doesn't float your boat, you might consider:

1. Medford. Warm, dry, sunnier and more conservative. Good services, and the outlying areas are gorgeous.
2. Bend. High desert, with about 300 days of sun a year. Great for active folks as well, with hiking, river rafting, hunting, fishing, camping nearby.
3. Corvallis, about a hour north of Eugene. It also has a major university and retains a strong agricultural ethic, but the town itself is not as conservative as the university.
4. Forest Grove, up near Portland. Lovely small town in the wine country. Higher property prices largely due to the proximity to Portland.
5. Hood River, in the Columbia River Gorge. Very windy at times, but a really nice town.

All of these towns are within an hour or so of a reasonably large airport, have good medical facilities, and offer a diverse range of activities.

Something else to remember about Western Oregon is that it's not the amount of rain that's the problem -- it's the duration of cloud cover in the winter. It's often gray from mid-October to mid-June. It's not always raining at that time, it's just low overcast. If you need/want sun in Oregon, head for Bend.
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Old 07-24-2009, 11:15 AM   #19
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I would add McMinnville, the home of Linfield College (Baptist roots), to the list. An hour's drive from Portland, it isn't a suburb so housing is cheaper. It too is in the Yamhill Valley, home to many wineries.
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Old 07-24-2009, 01:28 PM   #20
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Lived in Corvallis for a couple of years (back in the 90s) - really enjoyed living there and actually prefer a small town with a major university. I thought the weather was great -- not that cold in the winter, lots of sunshine in the summer, and the lack of sunshine the other nine months didn't bother me at all (and I grew up in the south). Eugene and Portland were fine to visit but if I moved back to the PNW, which I have considered, Corvallis would be on my short list.
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