Eugene and Springfield sit across from one another on the Willamette River. Home to the University of Oregon, the area has a large timber industry and is a transportation hub for routes south into California. The setting is attractive, and clean and prosperous downtown Eugene has the kind of shops and restaurants one would expect in a college town. The park system is excellent, most particularly a waterfront park along the river. Good growth management has minimized sprawl effects but there is a new and modern mall along I-5 northeast of town.
Most good residential areas lie west and south of the downtown and campus. The university and its attendees leave a distinctly liberal, folksy imprint on the otherwise conservative region. The slowing timber industry has brought some unemployment, which is projected to improve over time as other businesses locate there. Excellent state-subsidized rail service connects the area with other cities north, and the area has a nice airport with good, if not cheap, service. The area has a good mix of setting, climate, and small-town feel and a fairly low cost of living by Oregon standards.
Eugene is located at the southern end of the fertile Willamette Valley. The Cascade Mountains to the east, Coast Range to the west, and low hills to the south surround the valley, while the level valley floor broadens to the north. Foothills to the east obscure the snow-covered Cascade peaks, some 75 miles away. The Pacific coast is 50 miles west. Forested areas lie in every direction except north. The climate is controlled by marine air from the Pacific and the Cascades block all but the strongest continental air masses.
Summers are dry and warm with an occasional hot spell up to 95 degrees and cool evenings. Winter days are cool and damp with highs in the 50’s, lows in the 30’s, and occasional dips into the 20’s. Rain is highly seasonal, starting in September and lasting through May. Although a little south of the main storm track, winter rains are sometimes heavy. Snow is rare and usually melts on contact. The valley location and nearby water cause occasional fog. First freeze is late October, last is late April.