Benefits of Retiring In Oregon (Pros & Cons)

Are you looking forward to retirement? It may not be the first state that comes to mind, but it’s a good idea to consider retiring in Oregon.

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Are you looking forward to retirement? It may not be the first state that comes to mind, but it’s a good idea to consider retiring in Oregon.

Tucked between California and Washington State in the Pacific Northwest is Oregon, a beautiful state with plenty to offer. With a long and rich history dating back to the 1800s, incredible natural beauty, stunning showers of rain, and a great culture and art scene, Oregon can make a great retirement destination for many. At the same time, it may not be too suitable for some.

Oregon is a moderately tax-friendly and eco-friendly state with natural beauty, decent weather, excellent art and culture scene, and peace to offer. On the other hand, it has high living costs, nightmare traffic, average healthcare, high crime rates and is prone to earthquakes.

With so many other U.S. states in their list of considerations, retirees often miss out on adding Oregon. Sure, it may not be the most popular state, but it definitely is worth consideration. Oregon has some picturesque views to offer along with many other excellent benefits for retirees. However, just like other states, the Beaver State comes with its fair share of drawbacks that can be a deal-breaker for many.

Some cons of Oregon may not even impact you, or you might not care too much for some of the wonderful pros it boasts. When it comes to choosing a retirement state, it is all about determining if a state suits you in the right way. There are certainly both advantages and disadvantages of choosing Oregon as your home after retirement. Let’s analyze each pro and con to provide you with a clear picture of what you’re getting yourself into by retiring in Oregon.

Table of Contents

Pros of Retiring in Oregon

With the western meadowlark as the state bird and the Oregon grape as the state flower, Oregon has a ton of natural beauty and amazing crops to offer. But, I’m sure those aren’t the only factors you care about. Here are some great pros of retiring in Oregon that will have you packing your bags.

Moderately Tax-Friendly

When it comes to taxes, some friendliness is better than none at all. Fortunately, Oregon has a pretty moderate tax system, better than some states and worse than others.

Income Tax

Firstly, the state doesn’t tax Social Security benefits, which is a huge plus, but on the other hand, it taxes other retirement incomes, such as retirement account withdrawal. So, you can see how this can be a benefit for some retirees, but not so much for others. Secondly, private and public pension incomes are only partially taxed, which is better than having to pay full taxes.

Property Tax

Besides income taxes, property taxes are another major consideration. The truth is that the property taxes in Oregon are quite a drag, especially since they are close to the national average. However, the plus side to this is that senior citizens residing in the state can seek property tax exemption. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have to pay property taxes at all since that isn’t possible due to it being one of the state’s main income sources. Property tax exemptions simply help seniors lower the amount of property taxes they pay. It’s important to remember that you won’t automatically qualify for the exemption; you’ll have to meet one or more of their requirements and apply for it.  

Sales Tax

Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of retiring in Oregon is the absence of sales tax. In fact, Oregon is one of only five states in the United States that doesn’t have a sales tax. So, when you pay something at the register, you’re simply paying for the purchase you’ve made. While the no-sales-tax rule applies to most goods, there are other taxes on larger or more luxury items, such as vehicles.

Natural Beauty

With mountains, lakes, and beaches placed all around, Oregon has a gorgeous landscape that will most certainly take your breath away. The lush greenery and scenic beauty of the area will make you fall head over heels for the Beaver State.

One of the most interesting landscape features of Oregon is its breathtaking coastline. With over 360 miles of a clean coast to explore, you’ll find much to do at the state’s amazing beaches. Highway 101 also runs smoothly across the coastline, so you also have the opportunity to take a scenic drive to take in the beautiful views of the ocean.

You can expect to find both hidden gems and popular areas, such as the Columbia River banks, along the coast. Since this is a huge tourist area, you can try some excellent cuisine and lots of opportunities for shopping. There’s something for everyone to see and do, and with more time on your hands during retirement, you’ll be better able to truly explore the state.

The best part about this state is that its residents take good care of the spaces and preserve the environment by avoiding littering and riding bikes instead of driving to restrict pollution. All of which play a substantial role in sustaining its natural beauty.

Outdoor Activities

The availability of so many natural landscapes provides you with the chance to enjoy the outdoors thoroughly. You can take road trips to different parts of the state, such as the Colorado River, or hike the painted hills. Moreover, all these parts have some great outdoor spots where you can participate in fun activities, such as hiking, biking, and other water activities. If you’re not much for sports and physical activities, you can simply relax and unwind.

Environmentally-Friendly State

A huge chunk of Oregon’s residents care for the environment. Their collective effort towards keeping it clean and eco-friendly has resulted in the state having one of the lowest carbon footprints in the country. Besides its environmentally-friendly buildings, the Beaver State encourages bike-friendliness by developing trails and paths in the cities. Moreover, the decently pleasant weather makes it practical and possible to ride around on bikes.

Furthermore, Oregon has got many programs and policies in place that support a greener earth. Even the state’s official website explains that the governor is taking great measures to help the state reduce emissions by 2035.

Decent Weather

Oregon has a fairly mild climate that isn’t too hot or cold. There are specific periods where it rains heavily along the coast and snow in the higher elevations. Besides that, the state’s weather is pleasant almost all year long.

You can expect to witness all four seasons in the Beaver State, but not to the extremes at which they occur in other parts of the country. Some days are warmer, while the others are colder, but you’ll never witness freezing winters or heat-wave summers.

Great Farmers Markets

Home to rich farmlands, Oregon offers a variety of crops and fresh foods you probably haven’t received before. All the local stores and farmers’ markets sell fruits and veggies from the nearby farms, so everything is fresh and tasty. Some of the top fresh picks of this state include berries, cherries, apples, potatoes, hazelnuts, and beets. You can spend your time cooking some delicious dishes for yourself or your family with these lovely ingredients.

Rich Art and Culture Scene

If you’re a big art and theater fan, you’ll certainly enjoy what the Beaver State has to offer. One of the most popular festivals is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, known for performing almost 800 times a year. So, if plays and great acting are what you want, Oregon is an excellent choice. Besides theater, Oregon also prides itself on its arts and culture scene, with various art galleries tucked around various parts of the city.

Peaceful Environment

Oregon has many areas away from the hustle-bustle of the big cities, and as a retiree, you probably can’t ask for more. These quiet pockets have plenty of space for you to build your home immersed in nature, delivering you the peace and quiet you need and deserve. The best part is that regardless of how far you travel from the cities, you won’t ever be too far to make commuting difficult.

Some of Oregon's best places to live  include West Linn, a small city with a population of around 26000, Milwaukie, along the Willamette River, and Lake Oswego, near Portland.

Cons of Retiring in Oregon

After reading the pros, you probably want to wrap up your current life and grab the first flight out to Oregon. However, there are some not-so-great things about this state that’ll make you double-minded about retiring here. But it’s important to consider the good and the bad before reaching a final decision.

Nightmare Traffic

Although Oregon’s roads and infrastructure are nominal, the state witnesses terrible traffic. The Beaver State is home to the I-5 corridor, one of the state’s worst roadways, constantly backed up with traffic. The unfortunate part is that if you live in Oregon, you will have to use this road at some point. Additionally, Portland also experiences notorious traffic that will have you stuck in your car for hours. So, unless you stick to the rural areas, you will find yourself amidst horrible traffic.

To make things worse, the state’s highest speed limit is 65 MPH, so even at the best of times, you’ll be going pretty slowly. If you decide to retire here, you will have to assign extra traveling time.

High Cost of Living

Oregon has a pretty high cost of living. Most people living here need solid employment or a hefty financial background to afford to make it here. If you rely solely on your retirement income, you probably won’t even be able to find real estate to suit your budget. More importantly, the housing costs in the state are already pretty high and keep getting higher. This is mainly because of the shortage of proper housing.

Suppose you don’t purchase a house but decide to rent it. Then again, you’re looking at a pretty high price tag. Since there isn’t enough housing to meet the need, the housing rates have reached unreasonable levels.

High Crime Rates

Oregon seems like the ideal retirement state in many ways. After all, its stunning scenery is enough to attract anyone. Moreover, people here get along pretty well. However, the state isn’t all rainbows and butterflies. Unfortunately, Oregon’s crime rates are higher than the national average, with both violent and property crimes on the rise. These crimes most occur in but aren’t limited to the urban areas, including Portland, Ontario, Medford, and Lincoln City.

Average Healthcare

According to a report, Oregon ranks 26th out of the 50 states in terms of elderly healthcare. With their tendency to experience declines in health, it’s not surprising for retirees to want to move to a state with affordable and quality healthcare. Sadly, Oregon provides fairly average healthcare services in terms of affordability and quality. In fact, according to a news report, there have been widespread cases of neglect and substandard elderly healthcare in senior homes across the state.


I wasn’t sure whether to list this in the pros or cons. Since the pleasant weather in Oregon is a big advantage, I’ll count this as a con. Unless you find a home in Eastern Oregon, you will have to learn to deal with frequent rains. For instance, Portland experiences an average rainfall of 35 inches each year. This can pose a huge inconvenience to most seniors, as it can result in leaks, flooding, and gloomy skies.

Earthquake Risk

Perhaps one of the biggest cons of retiring in Oregon is the potential danger of earthquakes, a pretty frequent occurrence due to its location on the west coast. Since Oregon is surrounded by water, there’s always the lurking danger of a devastating tsunami that would wreck the western part of the state.

However, these earthquakes aren’t limited to Oregon but can hit anywhere on the west coast. So, if you decide to move there, you’ll have to prepare yourself thoroughly – to avoid devastating loss and injuries.

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