The 10 Best Cities in Oregon By Movoto Real Estate – Natalie Grigson, Big Time Contributor
Oregon is easily one of the most naturally beautiful, unique, diverse, and livable states in our country. It spurred the show “Portlandia”; it is the namesake of the best computer game ever, “Oregon Trail”; and the state motto is even beautiful: Alis volat propriis (she flies with her own wings).
So as a part of Movoto Real Estate’s ongoing series exploring some of the best places to live in America, state by state, we turned our analytical eyes toward Oregon. Here is our list of the 10 best cities in Oregon, ordered from amazing to simply excellent.
Where exactly is Bend and why is it sitting atop our list? What is Portland doing at No. 7? And how happy is Happy Valley? Keep reading, because we Sherwood like to tell you. The following paragraphs will explain how we got our list and will focus on the best parts of each city and just what makes them so special.
What Makes an Awesome City?
A lot of things make a city awesome, but in order to find these best cities in Oregon, we needed a list of measurable criteria across the board. So we came up with these eight:
- Cost of living (percent above or below state’s average)
- Crime rate
- Median household income
- Home value
- Distance to closest 5-star rated hiking
- Distance to closest ski resort
We started with a list of the 50 most populous cities in Oregon and ranked them from one to 50 in each of the criteria above, with one being the best. Then, we averaged the numbers for each city, gave them an overall Big Deal Score—the lower the number, the higher the city ranked.
Now that you know how we did it. Read on to find out just why each of our top 10 cities are so special and where they excelled.
1. Bend – This city certainly didn’t have to bend over backward to make it to the top of our list—it won outright. Bend is not only just a few miles away from some of the best hiking trails and ski resorts in Oregon, but it also has a stellar education system, with a high school graduation rate 10 percent higher than the state average, and some of the highest home values in the state as well.
Over the past five years, Bend’s population has been booming. Outdoor enthusiasts flock from far and wide for parks like Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint, skiers to Mount Bachelor, and runners to the Haulin’ Aspen Trail Marathon. It truly is a wonderful place to raise a family—or at least, raise your heart rate.