Not for everyone
Eugene is a unique place, and it will not suit everyone well. There is a strong influence left over from the 60's here, much of it is positive, such as an open minded and open hearted atmosphere that can really feel good to the right person. Eugene is not diverse in racial terms, but it is diverse in political views, certain sections of town are very liberal, others are not. Still, one does not see much animosity here between anyone, what someone from a more crowded, frenzied place will appreciate right away is how nice people are in general, which is reflected in the way they drive too, a delight unless you are a chronically rushed person or type A personality. Opportunities here for starting a career and thriving are not what they are down south. A lot of people just get by, but even in that, there is something different, many people, the core Eugene people, value education over money, so people can feel satisfied with less. They may take the bus rather than dream of owning a BMW and be quite content. Like many places in America, the homeless and transient problem is pretty bad, and can make a trip downtown iffy. The police and city seem to be working to clean things up a bit in that regard, but don't worry about the homeless, here they are taken care of as well as anywhere, some might say too well. There is a lack of fine ethnic restaurants and the music scene is not the greatest, although top acts do come through here. Portland is only 2 hours away if you need a fine food and entertainment fix. For me, Eugene is the perfect sized city, big enough to have everything you need available, but small enough to feel friendly. Eugene is a gateway to the rest of Oregon, an hour from the coast, less to the finest fishing rivers imaginable. Lakes, rivers, mountains, all easy commutes. A large system of bike paths runs all through the area, there is a fine university and community college here. Yes, it rains in the winter, but way less than it used to, and you'll forget all about it when spring comes. Summers are glorious, fall is beautiful too. But mainly, it's the people. They mind their own business, and yet you will find yourself having delightful conversations with strangers that look you in the eye and smile as the speak to you. The city itself is beautiful, big river runs right through it, trees abound, the skies are dramatic, the old houses are lovely. Not the place for those who crave excitement, but a great place to live. Reasonable housing prices, clean water and air, surrounded by beauty, those are just some of the pluses. But really, it's the people who make this town so great, this is one of the most friendly places I've ever lived, and I wouldn't trade it for the world, but it is not for everyone, neither is Oregon, visit first, spend some time, see if you are a candidate for a good life here.
Jesse | Eugene, OR