Where to Retire: Eugene, Oregon


Eugene, Oregon

Formerly known for wood processing and as a market town for Willamette Valley farmers, Eugene has blossomed into one of Oregon’s principal educational, commercial and manufacturing centers. Eugene is progressive, tolerant and welcoming, supportive of the arts, education and environmental protection. It has become a ideal destination for an active retirement.

Landscape: Eugene is situated along the Willamette River in the scenic and fertile Willamette Valley. Residential neighborhoods extend up into the hills offering splendid views of the city, valley and distant mountains. Eugene supports a luxuriant forest of coniferous and deciduous trees.

Climate: Eugene has mild, cloudy, wet winters and warm, sunny, relatively dry summers. Eugene receives an annual average of 51 inches of precipitation, with nearly 80% falling between October and March. Eugene is sunny about half of the time and frost free 190 days.

Quality of Life: Very good. The University of Oregon adds to the ambiance of the city. Downtown has been renewed and boasts the Hult Center, the focus of community cultural life.

Housing: Housing costs are 18% above the national average yet offer good value. Eugene housing is plentiful, varied in style and well built.

Goods and Services: Health care is priced about 20% above average, whereas other goods and services are at or slightly above national norms.

Taxes: State and local taxes are 8.7% of income compared to the U.S. average of 9.7%. Oregon has no sales tax but its income tax rates are steeply graduated. Property taxes approximate the national average.

Transportation: Most residents drive, cycle or take the bus. Amtrak, Greyhound, Eugene Airport and Portland International Airport provide intercity transportation.

Retail Services: Downtown Eugene retains a colorful collection of shops, restaurants and galleries. Major retailing is concentrated in two enclosed regional malls: Valley River Center and Gateway Mall.

Health Care: Sacred Heart Medical Center and McKenzie–Willamette Hospital in Springfield provide comprehensive medical services.

Community Services: Eugene provides varied and comprehensive public services. Both medical centers offer outreach programs and the city operates two outstanding senior centers that provide a multitude of activities and services.

Cultural and Educational Activities: Eugene is well endowed culturally and educationally. Two venues host an exceptional array of performing arts productions. The University of Oregon and Lane Community College are strong educational assets.

Recreational Activities: Whether your preference is viewing the lovely flowers of Owen Rose Garden or Hendricks Park; walking or biking along scenic trails; skiing or playing tennis or golf; attending intercollegiate sporting events; eating at good restaurants or taking in a movie, Eugene has the facilities you need.

Work and Volunteer Activities: Some part-time jobs are available in the service industry. Many organizations provide volunteer opportunities through Eugene senior centers.

Crime Rates and Public Safety: Although the city’s overall property crime rate is above the average for U.S. metropolitan areas, the violent crime rate in Eugene is 35% below the national norm. Eugene feels safe and comfortable.

Conclusion: Eugene’s physical site on hilly terrain astride Oregon’s Willamette River is beautiful and its mild climate is agreeable. The quality of life is very good. Environmental quality is a high priority here as manifested in the excellent city parks and pleasant residential areas. Eugene ranks as one of America’s best places for a relaxed yet active retirement.


About Warren Bland

Warren R. Bland, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Geography at California State University, Northridge and author of Retire in Style: 60 Outstanding Places Across the USA and Canada, Next Decade, Inc., 2005. For more information about Dr. Bland’s books, go to Next Decade

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