Ahhh Oregon, that quirky hipster state in the Pacific Northwest that Californians love or hate, and Washingtonians generally hate. I’m a native Oregonian, and today, I’m going to give you 10 reasons why I love Oregon, and later 5 reasons why I’m not such a fan of Oregon. Let’s get going!
1. NO SALES TAX!
Okay, be honest. Everyone saw this one coming from a mile away, but yes, Oregon does not have a state sales tax. So as a result, if something costs $5, it costs $5. Not $5 and then oh, you owe 42 cents in tax or whatever. It is incredibly nice living in a state that does not collect sales tax when making a big purchase, like a computer, or a house, or a used car. I said used car because there are some things that ARE taxed in Oregon. New Bicycles are taxed at $15 flat tax, and new cars are taxed at 1%. These taxes would go towards paying for roads and trails. These taxes were introduced in late 2016.
2. Minimum wage is $10.75/hr.
Actually, minimum wage in Oregon is stagnant and varies from county. In my county it is $10.75 an hour. That is the “standard” minimum wage rate. In rural counties, minimum wage is $10.25 per hour, and in Portland Metro it is $11.25 per hour. As someone who works for minimum wage, even though I don’t fully believe in it, it is nice to get a decent sized check every month, compared to getting a really small check in other places. It has it’s drawbacks though, but I won’t discuss them here.
3. The people are some of the nicest genuine people in the country.
Oregon has some of the genuinely nicest people in the country. Now I know there’s a common idea among foreigners to the US that all people in the US are rude snots, and yes, this may be true in New York, New England, New Jersey, Texas, or California. But if you go to the more remote parts of the US, such as Oregon, or Washington you find that most people are genuinely happy, nice people who are ALSO decently educated, and not brainwashed on your average “AMERICA IS #1 – EVERYONE ELSE IS BELOW US” BS they try to teach us in school. Case in point, if you want to find nice, happy Americans, come to Oregon, or Washington.
4. We are like the Germany of the US, if the US were like the EU – in terms of size and beer.
Portland, our largest city by area and population, is home to more breweries than any other city in the world. Oregonians love their beer. We drink it by the gallon, and then drive up to Washington to wreak havoc on their streets by driving totally drunk. Okay the last part I made up, but beer is a big part of Oregon culture. We even have our own various Oktoberfest’s that run alongside Germany’s Oktoberfest. The only thing separating us from making us on par with Germany in terms of alcohol is that our age minimum is 21, per federal rules. It’s 16 to legally drink in Germany. We also are about the size of Germany.
5. Our roads are some of the most top quality in the US.
Oregon has some of the most top quality roads in the US. For four years, from 2012-2016 we ranked TOP in the US for infrastructure. Unfortunately we lost top in 2017, but we still are near the top. And it’s true. You can tell the difference from driving on an Oregon road, and then going east to Idaho and driving on one of their roads. It tends to be more bumpy. Going up to Washington there isn’t much difference, nor is there going down to Cali, but going east to Idaho/Montana/Wyoming, there’s a difference. I’m glad that we have such good, stable roads. It makes driving pretty easy.
6. Crater Lake!
You can’t come here to visit and NOT know about Crater Lake! Crater Lake is Oregon’s only national park, and it’s a beauty at that. The lake was created by a giant volcanic explosion some 5000 years ago, followed by being filled with lots of rain water. It’s truly a beautiful sight to see, so if you’re near Ashland in the future, go see it.
7. Bicycle Friendly!
You can’t beat Oregon for bicycling. You simply cannot. Much like with beer, bicycling is another big part of Oregon culture. Most businesses in the city I live in have bike racks up front, and heck, even the county PD has patrol bicycles. The same applies most elsewhere in Oregon. Oregon is truly one of the most bike friendly states in the US. We even have our own “share the road” license plate, that benefits bicyclists.
8. Our colleges!
Let’s be real for a second. Oregon doesn’t have the best education. But I still think we have some great damn colleges. In Oregon we have 6 great public universities- Oregon State, University of Oregon, Western Oregon, Oregon Tech, Eastern Oregon, and Southern Oregon. There’s also Oregon State Cascades, but that is a very limited University, and not what I would consider a true University – yet. All schools offer diverse programs. OSU has one of the best Engineering programs in the state, and maybe country.
9. Tillamook Cheese!
Tillamook Cheese is some of the best cheese on the goddang planet, and don’t you try to tell me otherwise. I will defend it to no end. Sold across the western US, it is by FAR some of the best cheese I have EVER consumed. I actively encourage people travelling from far away to try it, because it IS the best.
Honorable Mentions – The Coast & Mount Hood
You can’t have an article about Oregon without mentioning the coast or mount hood. They didn’t make my top 10, but they definitely are still worth checking out, and entitled to my honorable mentions.
And, Number 10, CENTRAL OREGON!!!!
Okay, admittedly, this is biased because I live in Central Oregon, but when you stop to think about it, it really is probably the jewel of Oregon. The region is dubbed the worlds largest outdoor playground (aren’t all playgrounds outdoors though? Oh well). We have trails for all kinds of things, golf, fishing, farming, gardening. Nobody moves to Central Oregon to live inside. The unfortunate thing is that we no longer are as cheap as we used to be. Things can get pretty damn expensive here, the only place being worse would be Portland. But all in all, Central Oregon, and Oregon in general is a very cool place to visit and live. My only request is don’t come here if you’re Californian. Turn around, and go away. We don’t want you here. Anyone else is welcome though. That’s all for tonight. Keep an eye out for “5 things I hate about Oregon” in the near future. Take care, and good night!