Moving to Oregon From California? Get the Inside Scoop Here
California has its perks, but whether remote work has you wishing for new surroundings or you’re looking for a change of lifestyle, Oregon has been on your mind.
We’ll examine common reasons people make the move, and review questions to ask yourself before moving to Oregon from California.
By the end of this guide, you’ll know all the tips and tricks for making the move to The Beaver State.
Table of Contents
- Why Do Californians Move to Oregon?
- Life in Oregon vs. California: 5 Reasons People Choose to Make the Move
- 6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing Your New Location in Oregon
- Peggy Hoag Real Estate Is Here to Help You Find Your Oregon Dream Home
Why Do Californians Move to Oregon?
With more remote work, many people are moving to Oregon simply because they can.
From California, Oregon is still driveable, which is a perk for those whose friends or family remain in CA.
Nowadays, it is common to see the younger generation move to Oregon, and their parents follow them.
According to the Public Policy Institute of California (and the Current Population Survey), most people who move across state lines do so for economic or family reasons.
The vast majority of adults who left California in the 2010s cited jobs (49%), housing (23%), or family (20%) as the primary reason.
Life in Oregon vs. California: 5 Reasons People Choose to Make the Move
Whether craving a change in climate, tax differences, or simply cost of living, there are a number of common reasons people choose to start calling Oregon home.
Keep reading to see what life in Oregon vs. California might look like.
#1: Differences in City Life
If you’re thinking of moving from California but still want the options of big cities, you can have your cake and eat it too (without it being so crowded and overwhelming).
Thinking of moving from California to Portland, Oregon specifically?
Most people think of Portland when they think of a city in Oregon, but there are others as well.
Research and explore what your options are in:
- Lake Oswego
- Eugene; or
#2: Transportation and Traffic
California traffic is notoriously terrible.
Where in CA, you might be doing an hour-long commute (in traffic), commutes in Oregon are typically less than 30 minutes, and that’s on the long side.
But, with remote work the number of Oregonians who are working from home is higher than the national average (18.6% in Oregon, compared to 13.2% across the country), and many don’t have to commute at all.
In fact, Portland had among the highest share of people working remotely before the pandemic of any big city in the nation. Statewide, a little more than 7% of Oregonians worked from home before the pandemic.
When people in Oregon do commute into cities, it’s a much shorter drive.
There are great public transportation options in many areas of Oregon as well. You can opt to commute by bus or rail to work via:
- MAX light rail
- City buses
- Rogue Valley Transportation District
- Amtrak; or
For added ease, the Portland Transit Mall (TriMet) is a converging corridor of different modes of transport (including the MAX), and a highly-developed system of public transportation.
There’s really nothing like the stunning “green” of Oregon, the cooler climate, and the seasons.
And, it’s actually not as rainy as Californians might expect. While there are periods of rain (it’s necessary to produce all that green), there are also lots of sunny days with great weather.
Of course, different parts of the state will offer changes in climate. For example:
- The western side of the state is going to be fairly wet because of its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. But don’t worry, you can still expect around 70 days of sunshine annually.
- The eastern side of Oregon is on the drier side — mostly because it shares a desert with Nevada.
#4: Cost of Living
California has a high cost of living — almost the highest in the nation (only behind Hawaii and the District of Columbia).
While Oregon’s is high as well, it is significantly lower than CA’s, allowing those who wish to relocate to Oregon to do so while still enjoying:
- A smaller population
- The breathtaking views; and
- A slower pace of life
The most notable difference in cost of living is in the housing market.
You can get a much larger home/property for the same money in Oregon compared to California.
#5: Tax Differences
When it comes to sales tax, Oregon is the front-runner, with no sales tax in the state compared to a statewide 7.25% tax rate in neighboring CA.
People looking to move to Oregon from California will need to be aware that they’ll be paying a slightly higher property tax rate: 0.90% compared to 0.73% in California.
Both states do have a high income tax rate compared to other states:
- California has the highest income tax rate in the nation at 12.3% (13.3% if you make more than $1 million).
- Oregon comes in with a middle-class tax rate of 9.9%. When combined with federal income tax, middle-class residents of Oregon can expect to hand over 52.3% of income to the government.
6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing Your New Location in Oregon
#1: What Type of Topography Are You Looking For?
Oregon offers its residents:
- A coastline
- Mountains; and
- Desert areas
Those who are (or want to become) fans of the great outdoors will love Oregon. The Oregon coast features opportunities for a number of water activities like:
- Surfing; and
Mountains, valleys, forests and deserts also offer the chance to explore and immerse yourself in nature.
#2: Do You Work in the Tech Industry?
Is work sparking the move to Oregon from California?
If so …
- Hillsboro; and
- The Tech Corridor
… are all great options if you work in the tech industry.
Known around Portland as the Silicon Forest, this area accounts for a large percentage of Oregon’s economy.
You can opt to live closer to Portland to cut down on your commute, but it’s also common that people choose to live a bit further out in the suburbs or surrounding towns.
This allows you to enjoy the lower costs with only an added 5-10 minutes to your commute.
#3: Would You Rather Be in a City or a More Remote Area?
It’s important to understand, as you consider moving to Oregon from California, that homes tend to be pricier in cities (or close to cities) than farther out.
And, if you’re looking for more land, you are also more likely to want to be farther from cities.
Homes that sit on significant acreage are often located 20 to 30 minutes away from downtown Portland.
Peggy Hoag Real Estate has a number of available luxury home listings with acreage for you to consider.
#4: What Kind of Lifestyle Would You Like to Have?
How you like spending your time can determine which area in Oregon might be best for you.
If culture and nightlife are important to you, Portland life may be right up your alley. If you like to fish, you’ll want to be near water — perhaps in Newport, Pacific City, or Bandon.
One of the best things about Oregon is that even in the big cities, you’re never far from nature.
And it’s a good thing you’re not.
New research at Oregon State University empirically demonstrates that a variety of mechanisms for engaging nature significantly contribute to a person’s overall well-being.
#5: Do You Need an Area That’s Good for Children?
If your children are in elementary or middle school, you’ll want to be conscious of neighborhoods and districts that align with your educational preferences and requirements.
And you probably would rather not commute to take your children to school every day, so a great school district is likely at the top of your must-have list for your new neighborhood.
The great news is that the Portland area is known for its schools.
You’ll also want to consider what other amenities your neighborhood offers. Does your potential city or home have nearby playgrounds and parks for the kids to play at?
#6: Would You Prefer a Newer Home or Something With More Character?
Newer homes tend to be located further out from downtown in the suburbs, but there are some exceptions.
If you’ve got an older home in mind, there are a number of historic communities with luxe amenities, including:
- Portland Heights: One of the oldest and most exclusive neighborhoods in Portland, offering incredible views and convenience to downtown.
- Dunthorpe: A prestigious area known for its grand luxury homes (single-family residents of mostly older mansions and estate-style properties) and central location (less than10 minutes south of downtown Portland and north of Lake Oswego, in Multnomah County).
- Beaverton or Hillsboro: Both historical farming communities, (and popular with those working in tech) these areas are home to estates that sit on at least an acre and offer stunning views of Mt. Hood and local vineyards.
Peggy Hoag Real Estate Is Here to Help You Find Your Oregon Dream Home
If you’ve been inspired by the many incredible perks that Oregon has to offer and are considering moving to Oregon from California, Peggy Hoag is a local expert who can find you a new neighborhood to explore and call home.
If you’re looking at Portland real estate options, Peggy Hoag Real Estate would be honored to help make your luxury home dreams come true.
With years of experience and expertise in the greater Portland area real estate market, Peggy Hoag Real Estate aims to create an experience that exceeds your expectations.
If you’re ready to talk about finding your new luxury home in Portland, Oregon, contact us today or browse our current available listings.