23 Things You Need To Know About Oregon Before You Move ThereIf you’re going to live in Oregon, the first thing to know is that you don’t live in Oregon, you experience Oregon.
1. The Price You See Is The Price You Pay
Oregon is one of only five states in the country that offers no sales tax. From a pack of gum all the way up to that fancy car, the number you see on the price tag is what you pay. We could probably just end the list right here because that’s good enough to keep residents happy and people from surrounding states traveling to shop.
2. Don’t Even Try Pumping Your Own Gas
To keep its distinctive stature, Oregon remains one of only two states in which you can’t pump your own gas. Some people hate it because it can mean waiting an additional few minutes, but when it’s cold and rainy out no one seems to mind.
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3. Hipsterville, USA? Yeah, Kinda
To answer your question: yes, Portland really is like it’s portrayed on Portlandia (although it is much more.) Sure, it’s a parody show, but only marginally. There are more conservative pockets throughout the state like Salem and Springfield, but the most prominent like Portland and Eugene are full of extremely progressive-minded, liberal-thinking, free-loving modern day hippies – or hipsters, as the kids are calling them these days.
4. It Rains, But Not As Much As You Think
Yes, it rains a lot in the Pacific Northwest. But in terms of inches, Oregon isn’t even in the top 10 of the rainiest states (spoiler: Hawaii is number one!) You can often find yourself in long stretches of overcast dampness, especially through the winter and spring, but you learn to embrace it as part of the unique charm of the area. It makes those perfect summer days even more amazing and the truffles it creates can’t be beat.
5. It’s Basically Biking Heaven
Portland is frequently named as the most bike-friendly city in the country, but places like Eugene often top the charts, too. With innovative bike paths, programs, communities and clubs, and a ton of events that encourage the use of two wheels, there are so many places to go in Oregon where you don’t even need a car.
6. Wintertime Means You’ll Get Crabs. Literally.
Wintertime means the holidays and some crummy weather ahead and it also means CRABS. Dungeness crab season starts about a week after Thanksgiving (when the season is cooperating) and is a big time for both the fishermen and the crab lovers. A pot full of these little beasts with a little lemon and clarified butter and you’ve got yourself a proper Oregon meal.
7. You’ll Love Your Ducks
The Oregon Ducks are the beloved Division I football team for the University of Oregon in Eugene. The Autzen Stadium might be tiny, but it packs a mean punch full of enthusiastic fans that have crowned it the loudest stadium in the country. Try getting through a game without hearing the “I Love My Ducks” song, which is admittedly terrible and repetitive but perfectly kitschy and entertaining.
8. You Might Find Yourself Suddenly Annoyed By Californians
The Oregon/California rivalry doesn’t just pertain to college football. When you’re in Oregon, it’s pretty much a rule that you have to, at the very least, be moderately annoyed by Californians – especially the ones from Los Angeles. Californians are notorious for acting superior, only to move to Oregon to escape their obviously inferior state and clutter up the pristine Oregon landscape, bringing chaos to the roadways. Even Californian transplants eventually jump on board and begin disliking people from their previous home.
9. The World’s Most Breathtaking Coastline
The Oregon coastline makes up nearly 363 miles of unforgettable Pacific scenery. From the sandy beaches to the rugged cliffs and all the forestry in between, the coast of Oregon has an almost magical aura to it, making it unlike anywhere else on earth. Highway 101 takes you down the entire coastline, from Columbia River to the southern tip of the California border where you can stop by the top coastal attraction, the Tillamook Cheese Factory, in Tillamook County.
10. Oregon Is Winning The Green Race
As a state with one of the lowest carbon footprints and more Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified “green building” per capita than any other state, Oregon consistently ranks among the most environmentally-friendly states in the country. Portland has even been ranked among the greenest cities in the world. Oregon is tops in recycling, energy-efficiency rates and producing renewable energy among much more.
11. ...But The People Could Use A Little More Green, If You Know What I Mean
Ahead of its time, Oregon was the first state in the country to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana possession. A survey concluded that by the end of 2005, the Oregonians who admitted to using marijuana outnumbered the general population by 32-45 percent. But, the 2012 initiative to legalize pot was shot down, much to the dismay of many residents. It is expected to be reintroduced on the November 2014 ballot.
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12. Portland Is Happening Now
The end of the 20th century had Seattle, the beginning of the 21st century has Portland. Now Oregon’s largest city and the third highest populated in the Pacific Northwest, the popular comedy show Portlandia thrust the city into the national spotlight. Beyond the camera work, though, there is wide variety of fairs, festivals, entertainment, and a booming arts scene that brings visitors from all over the region to enjoy.
13. And Eugene Is Rocking Now
Eugene is much more than just a college town, but the vibe sure does benefit the music scene. Rolling stoned named the city one of America’s Top 10 College Music Scenes That Rock, a title which locals are happy to see the media finally picking up on. With amazing venues like WOW Hall and McDonald Theatre and an endless string of festivals and events, Portland might be where you go for a lot of things, but Eugene is where you go for the music. The city is also home to the Eugene Symphony.
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14. Oregon Has The Best State Fair In The World, Obviously
If you think being to one state fair means you’ve been to them all, then you’ve obviously never been to the Oregon Country Fair in Veneta. While most other states are standing in line for deep fried meats on a stick and seeing who can throw a skillet the farthest, the people in Oregon are celebrating their love for alternative culture in the most spectacular way possible. Part bohemian, part vaudevillian, the Oregon Country Fair is a much beloved annual event that brings residents from all over the region to immerse themselves in the unique Oregonian lifestyle.
15. The Whole Place Was Made For Farming
The mixture of Oregon’s climate and rich soil make for some of the best growing lands around. Travel through Willamette Valley’s historic towns to see firsthand for yourself. During the spring and summer months, farmers markets and roadside stands are generously sprinkled throughout the area along with over 200 wineries among the rolling hills.
16. You Are So Brewed In Oregon
How do you like your hops? It doesn’t really matter because you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for, locally brewed, throughout the state. Portland boasts more craft breweries than any other city in the world, including the very unique McMenamins Kennedy School in Portland which is an old elementary school that has been converted into an inn/brew pub. Portland has more craft breweries than any city in the world. And Mount Angels’ Oktoberfest is one of the biggest beer-filled celebrations in the state, bringing people from all over the region to go hops wild.
17. Oregon Has All Your World Wonders Right Here
Oregon boasts itself as having its own seven wonders right on its home field. While you won’t find any pyramids, you will find some of the most amazing sights in the country with incredibly diverse terrain. Visit the Painted Hills, climb the snow-capped Mount Hood, ride horseback through the Wallowas, repel down the side of Smith Rock, or do an cannonball into Crater Lake. You can go sandboarding at the many dunes and hike through the overgrown evergreen forests. The landscape of Oregon is what makes the state such an unbelievable experience.
18. Make Time For A “Rogue” Adventure
As one of the most legendary white-water rivers in the country, Rogue River deserves its place in the popular traveling book “1,000 Places To See Before You Die.” It’s where Meryl Streep came to prepare for her role in the 1994 film The River Wild and it’s where white-water rafting lovers from all over the country come to plunge their way through the currents, chutes and chasms of Class III and IV rapids against the lava canyons, dense forest, and pear-growing valley scenery.
19. Explore The Famous Phantom Ship
Phantom Ship is a rock formation island found in Crater Lake, Oregon’s only national park. Crater Lake came to be over 7,000 years ago when an apparent eruption caused Mount Mazama to collapse on itself, slowly filling up with water and eventually making it the nation’s deepest lake. You can hike the steep trails, ride your bike, or hop on a boat to get up close with Phantom Ship, named after its resemblance to a pirate ship.
20. Stop To Smell The Roses—All 7,000 Of Them
Another reason to love Portland is its gardens. Portland falls within the USDA’s climatic Zone 8 (along with places like northern Italy and a lot of France) which makes it a horticultural hotspot. Portland has been known as the City Of Roses since the Lewis and Clark Centennial in 1905 which paved 200 miles of the the city streets with roses. The Rose Test Garden is now home to more than five-acres of 7,000 rose bushes of 550 different varieties of the flower. The June Rose Festival is also one of the most popular events in the city.
21. Literature Nerds Are In Heaven In Ashland
Wherefore art thou Romeo? He’s at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, of course. This theater company puts on top quality productions of Shakespeare’s work and experimental shows throughout the season of February through November. Running strong since 1935, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is a huge draw up and down the west coast, drawing in theater lovers to any of their three stages – two outdoor and one indoor – for a live reenactment of some of Shakespeare’s best work.
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22. Chow Down On Some Elephant Ears
Elephant ears are an Oregon favorite indulgence. And considering that they’re just fried dough covered in sugar, how could they not be? Places like Seaside and Portland fight for the title of who has the best ones – but everyone really knows that they can be found at the super popular Portland Saturday Market, where you can get everything from the deep fried delicacy to a tote bag with “a bird on it.”
23. Oregon Is Probably The Last Move You’ll Make
Oregon residents are happy residents. There’s no sales tax, you can stay in your toasty-warm car in January when refilling your tank, the people are friendly, the culture is unique and thriving, and everyone pretty much agrees to the philosophy of live and let live. So, if you’re making the move along the Oregon Trail, you can rest assured that you’ll more than likely never want to pack up your wagon again. What do you love about living in Oregon? Tell us in the comments below!