Ranked as the 28th Top 100 Best Places to Live by livability.com in 2018, Eugene residents appreciate the well-kept parks, streets, and neighborhoods. Eugene is called the “Emerald City,” not only because its greenery resembles a lush forest, but because of its focus on maintaining an environmentally green town. Experience hills, trees, and clean air all around you. Check out U of O games, Saturday Market, or enjoy the hippie culture. You’ll discover a laid-back attitude and a general friendliness throughout Eugene. Everyone is following their dreams, thanks to the various employment sectors in the city, but they also take pleasure in the quality of their lives and relationships. Eugene is no NYC or LA.
If Eugene sounds like a good fit for your life, we can help. We’ve compiled information to help you learn about the city’s pros and cons, the best Eugene neighborhoods, and moving services that will help your move go more smoothly. When you’re ready, we’ll provide you with free quotes from the best movers so you can ensure a flawless relocation.
Living in Eugene, OR: What to Know Before Moving to Eugene
Eugene is home to sweeping green valleys and 168,916 residents. There are always dozens of factors to consider before relocating to a new city. From tax rates to activities, what do you need to know before moving to Eugene?
Pros & Cons of Living in Eugene
Every place has its perks. Here are some of the pros of living in beautiful Eugene:
- Eugene’s residents keep their city clean and green
- You’ll find unspoiled nature and abounding outdoor activities
- There are several opportunities for excellent higher education
- Eugene’s population is relatively spaced out, reducing daily traffic and hassle
- This city boasts some top-ranking public schools
- Eugene offers great things to do, including museums, outdoor concerts, and restaurants
No city is perfect. Here are some of the cons of residing in Eugene:
- The city has high unemployment rates that continue to rise
- Statistics show that recent graduates may have a tough time finding jobs
- Eugene’s cost of living is slightly above the nation’s average
- Most of the state still prohibits fueling your own car, although changes are in the works
- Eugene sees more rain than average, with over 46 inches per year according to Best Places (compare to US average of 30.21 inches per year, according to Current Results weather page)
- Eugene is a popular place which is seeing an influx of new residents so that the population may increase significantly over the coming years
According to Smart Asset, the average property tax rate in Lane County is 1.052% or about $2,630 per year. In 2019, USA Today reported that the US collects an average of $1,518 in property taxes per homeowner each year, so property taxes in Eugene are higher than average.
Oregon’s income tax rate is high —9% compared to the US average of 4.6%. However, the sales tax rate may make you feel better about the 9% income tax.
Did you know that there’re no sales taxes in the state of Oregon? This perk is one of the exciting and unique things about Oregon—what you see on the sticker is exactly what you’ll pay. This tax benefit helps offset the other higher tax rates.
The median home cost in Eugene is $308,800, according to Best Places. Homes in the area have been appreciating over the recent years, and the median age of the real estate in the area is 38 years old.
Is it better to rent or buy in Eugene? Renters make up about 48% of the population, so renters vs. buyers ratio is almost evenly split. Rent Café shows that Eugene’s average rent is $1,294, with an average apartment size of 897 square feet. Whether you rent or buy will probably be best determined based on how long you plan to stay in the area.
Home Snacks has compiled a list of some of the most affordable neighborhoods throughout Eugene. They include Active Bethel, Industrial Corridor, Far West, Cal Young, and Churchill. If money is tight, you might want to start your search in these great Eugene locations.
Cost of Living
Living in San Francisco is 165.4% more expensive than living in Eugene, according to Best Places. Home cost is the biggest differentiator. As compared to the United States as a whole, Eugene’s cost of living is 114.8, 14.8 points higher than the US average.
The average income of a Eugene resident is $26,313, which is slightly below the US average of $28,555. Keep these numbers in mind when preparing to move. You’ll be paying a little more to live in Eugene, but nothing compared to what you would be paying in a big city like San Francisco.
Weather & Natural Disasters
US Climate Data has everything you need to know about Eugene’s mild climate. The average temperature in the area is 52.5 degrees Fahrenheit, with an average annual high of 63.3 degrees and an average annual low of 41.7 degrees.
Eugene experiences about 46.15 inches of rain per year and snowfall of 5 inches each year. Best Places compares the averages in Eugene to US averages. You probably already know that Oregon’s lush environment is due to rainfall that’s approximately 16 inches above the US average.
Eugene’s government website prepares its residents for potential weather hazards. The top dangers in the area include dam failure, earthquake, and flood. Dam failure can be a consequence of flooding, earthquakes, or vandalism. Make sure you have adequate property, earthquake, and flood insurance on the off chance that one of these disasters may occur.
The government site recommends that you make an emergency plan and stock up on reserve food and supplies in case of an earthquake. The bodies of water in Eugene also have the propensity to flood, so be sure to arm yourself with the know-how and materials for sandbagging, along with proper insurance.
Economy & Job Market
Register Guard states that 2018 brought record growth to Lane County’s economy.
The unemployment rate in Eugene is 5%, compared to the nation’s rate of 4.7%, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a job with the right skillset. New businesses and tech firms abound, as well as opportunities to work with new restaurants, breweries, and retail stores. The long-standing lumber and wine industries provide employment too.
Some of the major prospects for job seekers revolve around the upcoming 2020 US Olympic Track & Field Trials, and the 2021 World Championships. Some of these opportunities include:
- Renovating the Hayward Field stadium for the upcoming events
- Renovating the University of Oregon student dorms and housing
- Preparing hotels and other tourism sectors in the area that will be serving the event’s participants and visitors
City Data says that lumber is the largest industry in Eugene, with Willamette Valley wine as a close second. Zippia lists some of the best companies in Eugene to work for, including Greens Energy, Papé Material Handling, Willamette Valley CO, FORREST Tech, and the University of Oregon.
Career and executive coach, Laura Berman Fortgang, compiled some tips for job-seekers when relocating from out-of-state. Check out her website, where she recommends networking with acquaintances and alumni from your school who now live in or near Eugene. Next, update your resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profile. When you have the chance to speak with a potential employer, reassure them that Eugene is the best place for you. Make plans to travel there to interview, house hunt, and tell your prospective employer exactly why you’re more interested in living in Eugene than your current area.
Traffic and Transportation
Eugene is a car-based city, but many residents love to get out on their bikes to get around. Traffic is mostly reasonable and isn’t a major concern. The only times that traffic becomes a problem is during an Oregon Ducks game at Autzen Stadium, or during certain weather conditions. Sometimes snow and rain impact the roads that run along river corridors and reservoirs and can result in bumper-to-bumper traffic at times.
Residents have their own airport, the Eugene Airport, only 15 minutes from the downtown area, although most people fly out of Portland (PDX) International Airport. The Eugene Cascade Coast website describes public transportation in the area, including Amtrak, and discusses the major thoroughfares in the area.
Some of the most-traveled roads in the city include north-south Interstate 5, north-south Highway 101, Highway 206, Highway 58, and Highway 126. Uber, Lyft, and taxis also operate in Eugene.
Moovitapp.com says that Lane Transit District operates efficient bus routes, so you have several options for transport if you don’t want to drive a car.
Walkscore.com gives Eugene an average walk score of 45 out of 100. The area has a decent transit score (of 36) and is very bikeable (with a score of 71). The most walkable areas, according to the website, include Downtown, West University, and Jefferson Westside.
What to Do
Outdoors or indoors, rain or shine, Eugene has plenty of activities for everyone. Here are a few of our suggestions:
- Check out the Cascades Raptor Center, which is a nature center and wildlife hospital for birds of prey.
- See the epic Hayward Field, one of the most famous places for track & field in the entire country.
- Learn more about the world around you at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History.
- Bike or hike on McKenzie River National Recreation Trail for up to 26 breathtaking miles.
- Discover the Hult Center, complete with the Silva Concert Hall, Soreng Theater, Jacobs Gallery, and more.
- Take in The Cascadia Music Festival, The Bach Festival, Kaleidoscope Festival, The Asian Celebration, The Eugene Celebration, The Eugene Ballet and Symphony, and the famous Oregon Country Fair that sets up on the town’s outskirts.
- Attend an Oregon Ducks football, basketball, or soccer game at Autzen Stadium.
- Grab some fresh produce or some handmade crafts at the famous Eugene Saturday Market, where you can enjoy food vendors and live performances as well.
- Put together a picnic and head out to the Pacific Ocean beaches that are only about an hour west of Eugene.
Schools and Universities
College Simply lists the universities and opportunities for further education near Eugene, including New Hope Christian College, Northwest Christian University, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and Lane Community College. Oregon’s universities are well-known for achievements in both academics and sports.
Niche gives Eugene School District an overall grade of B, with 37 total schools and 17,404 students. Bethel School District, also located in Eugene, receives a C. Niche.com reviews indicate that many individuals have been thrilled with their experiences in these districts.
Best Places has selected and reviewed some of the best schools in Eugene. They give both Buena Vista Elementary School and Cal Young Middle School 9/10 ratings.
Neighborhood Scout ranks Eugene as a dangerous area, saying it is safer than only 9% of other US cities. The crime rate per 1,000 residents is 41.15. Overall, crime rates are 26% higher compared to the Oregon mean and 50% higher than the nation’s mean, according to areavibes.com.
If you have family, friends, or acquaintances living in the area, reach out to them and ask where they feel the safest. Consider taking a visit out to the city yourself to get a feel for the neighborhoods. Some of the safest areas in Eugene, as ranked by Neighborhood Scout, include Lorane / Linslaw, Alvadore, Irving, and River Rd / Irving Rd.
Your utility providers will depend on your exact location in Eugene. Some of the utility providers that might serve your area include:
- EWEB for power
- EPUD (Emerald People’s Utility District)
- Lane Electric
- Eugene Public Works
- Springfield Utility Board
For your convenience, we’ve linked the above utility provider names to their websites where you’ll find their contact information. You can either set up your services online or give them a call.
Be sure to set up your utilities a few weeks before you move. It’s best to keep your current services running until the day after you move out, and have your new utilities and services up and running the day before move-in.
Check out Eugene’s government website for more information or to get started setting up your utilities. Congratulations on your new home!
Best Neighborhoods in Eugene, OR
With its stunning scenery, Crest Drive allows you to escape city life, but you’re still a quick ten minutes south from all the action downtown. When living in Crest Drive, your residence will be on a quiet, tree-lined street. You’ll be close to Eugene’s wine country as well as plenty of shopping and recreation.
Area Vibes states that two-story vintage homes built in the 1970s dominate the area, tucked snugly between Southeast and Southwest Eugene. Home Snacks lists Crest Drive’s population as 5,124. The median home value is $305,433, and the median rent is $982. People pay just a little more to live in Crest Drive than the US average.
In addition to being a peaceful escape while being close to downtown, Crest Drive is popular because of its schools. High school graduation rate here is a whopping 97%, which is 16% higher than the US average, based on Home Snacks data. Trulia says the best schools in the area include Adams Elementary School, which received a 5/10 on Great Schools. However, parents reported great teachers, one of whom is described as “fair, smart, and compassionate.” The Arts and Technology Academy at Jefferson receives a 6/10, and Edgewood Elementary gets another 6/10.
Great places to visit besides the shopping and dining destinations include Wayne Morse Family Farm and Park, and Alton Baker Park.
Whiteaker is an artistic neighborhood, about a mile northwest of downtown, teeming with music and culture. You’ll notice psychedelic community murals and a young, hip, and accepting vibe proliferating the neighborhood. Whiteaker is also home to some of Eugene’s best restaurants and breweries. Enjoy Wildcraft Ciderworks or catch some live music at Sam Bond’s Garage. Taste the delicious Tacovore tacos or savor Eugene’s premiere organic coffee roaster, according to Lohr Real Estate, called Wandering Goat.
Whiteaker is located at the base of Skinner’s Butte and bordered by 3rd and 7th Avenues. According to Statistic Atlas, the neighborhood population is 4,482. Area Vibes reports a median home value of $194,400, and the median rent price is $694. Median home price is close to the nation’s average, while the rent price is 7% lower than the rest of the nation.
Whiteaker Elementary and Whiteaker Middle School serve this neighborhood. According to Public School Review, Whiteaker Middle is in the top 20% out of all 1,194 schools in Oregon.
Fairmount is a great location for anyone attending the University of Oregon, Oregon’s top public university. It’s just a few blocks east of the university, with the Willamette River on the other side. It also offers easy access to downtown Eugene.
Fairmount features delicious ice cream parlors, bakeries, restaurants, and a farmer’s market. One of the greatest appeals in Fairmount is Hendrick’s Park, which occupies 80 secluded and well-kept acres. The population of Fairmount is 4,307, and it features beautiful single-family homes, many of them with a historical kind of charm. Area Vibes shows the median home value at $397,825 and a median rent price of $1,330, which is higher than Eugene and US averages.
Paying a little more for a home pays off if you want to live in the Fairmount because the high school graduation rate is 98% in this neighborhood. Realtor.com states that Edison Elementary, Roosevelt Middle, and South Eugene High School serve the area. Great Schools gives Edison a 6/10, Roosevelt a 6/10, and South Eugene High School a stellar 10 rating.
Laurel Hill Valley
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Laurel Hill Valley’s population varies based on where you find your information, but the 2010 US Census claimed about 1,600 residents. Laurel Hill residents have easy access to the I-5 to get downtown and to the University of Oregon. Laurel Hill Valley residents are privy to the beautiful Hendricks Park, as well as other parks including Laurel Hill Park and Mountain City Park. You can also check out the community-supported Laurel Valley Educational Farm where residents can learn all about agriculture and food sourcing.
According to Eugene’s government website, the Laurel Hill Valley spans from where Franklin Boulevard crosses Interstate 5 at the north end and then runs south and west to Birch Street. This neighborhood has a unique rural character, despite being so close to downtown. Trulia reviews from Laurel Hill’s residents and visitors say that homes have an old-timey feel and sit on large lots, but you can also find upscale custom homes. City Data says that the median home value is $372,500, and Rent Café places average rent at a relatively high $1,531.
Edison Elementary School serves the area, with the Eugene School District providing other schools. Great Schools gives Edison Elementary a 5/10 rating, but an 8/10 rating on performance on tests.
According to the Harlow Neighbors site, Harlow is one of Eugene’s largest residential neighborhoods and thrives with diverse opportunities. You’ll find small businesses, local churches, great schools, and a variety of shops and restaurants here. You can drive downtown in just minutes.
I-5 on the east, Willamette River on the south, Coburg Road on the west, and Beltline on the northbound side border the area. This neighborhood features single-family three and four-bedroom homes, with both ranch style and two-story options. Statistic Atlas shows about 12,888 people and 5,608 households in Harlow. Residents enjoy visiting the Eugene Science Center with all of its consistently updated exhibits and activities. Some other favorites include Alton Baker Park for picnics and canoeing and Skinner Butte Park for walking and climbing.
Area Vibes places the Harlow neighborhood’s median home value at $231,239, which is 25% higher than the US average, and the median rent price at $953, which is equal to the US average.
High school graduation rates are 90% in Harlow, with school test scores 3% higher than the US average. Monroe Middle School gets a Great Schools rating of a 6/10 while Holt Elementary receives a 5/10.
Another popular neighborhood due to its proximity to the University of Oregon is Amazon. Renowned for its large and beautiful Amazon Park, residents love to pedal the bike paths, and enjoy the swimming pool, water slides, a rec center, mulched running trails, a dog park, and more. You can also play a round at Laurelwood Golf Course, which is Eugene’s top-rated course.
Amazon’s link to South Eugene High School makes it a truly outstanding area. This high school is the best-rated public school in Eugene, achieving a 10/10 on Great Schools. Ridgeline Montessori Public Charter School is also highly rated, achieving a 9/10 on Great Schools. Elementary-age children attend Camas Ridge.
Willamette Street, full of great shopping, lies to the west of Amazon. 24th Avenue is on the north of the neighborhood, Agate Street is on the east, and 30th Avenue is on the south.
Area Vibes says the population of Amazon is 1,557 with a median home value of $335,250 and a median rent price of $1,328. It makes sense to pay a little extra to live in a neighborhood that offers so much.
Just west of the Harlow neighborhood lies Cal Young. Movoto.com describes the area as having a farm-like, old-school feel with spacious fields. Cal Young is located north of the Willamette River, south of the Randy Pape Beltline, and between Delta Highway and Coburg Road. It shares some of the same spaces and favorite places with Harlow. City Data shows that the city has a population of 19,651.
According to Apartments.com, Cal Young is an upscale neighborhood that offers low-density suburban housing options convenient to downtown and the University of Oregon. The amenities you’ll enjoy in Cal Young include Autzen Stadium, shopping malls, and the Cuthbert Amphitheatre concert venue for some great live music.
Area Vibes places the median home value at $241,807 and the median rent at $997.
The high school graduation rate of 94% is 10% higher than the rest of Oregon, and school test scores are a significant 30% higher than the US average. Schools include Cal Young Middle School, rated 6/10 by Great Schools and Willagillespie Elementary School with a rating of 7/10.
Cal Young Sports Park offers a variety of family activities, which include basketball, picnic tables, a play area, a skatepark, and a soccer field.
Southeast Eugene includes the area east on 29th Ave to Amazon Parkway and south to East 30th Ave. It extends to Eugene city limits on the east and is less than ten minutes to downtown. Southeast, with 11,881 residents, is a predominantly residential neighborhood with lovely tree-lined streets and lots of amenities. The median home price is $344,600, 20% higher than other Eugene neighborhoods, and the median rent is $997. Renting may be a more affordable route for some residents, especially temporary ones. The extra money spent for Southeast real estate may be well worth it in exchange for the lower crime rate that’s 25% lower than other Eugene neighborhoods.
Two public elementary schools, one middle school, and a high school serve Southeast. The high school graduation rate is a high 97%. While private K-8 Saraha Children’s School only received a 3/10 from Great Schools, Charlemagne Elementary was rated 8/10. Spencer Butte Middle School received a 6/10, and the renowned South Eugene High School is rated 10/10.
Things to do include visiting restaurants like Mazzi’s Italian or taking the family to Tugman Park.
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