Cost of living -

7 Things to know and do before moving from California to Oregon

Are you planning to move out of California? Looking for a place where life is simple, peaceful, and affordable? Hoping to get as far away from smog as possible? If that’s the case, then moving to Oregon is the right choice for you.

In this article, we have covered everything you need to know before moving from California to Oregon. Oregon is the perfect mix of pleasant weather, green forests, magnificent mountains, beautiful valleys, vast deserts, and rich history.

Moving to Oregon from California: Everything to know and do

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1. First steps before moving to Oregon

Finding a job 

Oregon’s breathtaking natural landscapes, ranging from the Pacific Ocean to mountains and forests, make it an attractive destination for both living and working. The state’s emphasis on work-life balance and the relaxing effects of its natural beauty further contribute to its appeal. Notably, the tech industry in Portland is on the rise, with a growing presence of tech startups and major companies like Intel, as well as being the headquarters of Nike.

Oregon also offers high-demand job opportunities with competitive wages, particularly in managerial roles. These roles include agricultural managers, supervisors and managers of landscaping, fishing, and forestry workers, operations managers, general managers, as well as elementary, high school, and postsecondary school administrators. 

Additionally, there are lucrative opportunities in the healthcare sector with positions like medical and health service managers, as well as in the financial industry with positions like financial managers. These opportunities span across various industries within the state.

Getting there 

Transportation from Los Angeles to Portland

Transportation from Los Angeles to Portland is a 14-hour and 40-minute drive covering a distance of 962 miles in the same time zone. The estimated cost for this journey in 2024 is $195.48, with fuel priced at $5.07 per gallon. 

The most efficient route via I-5 takes 15 hours, while the scenic route begins in Santa Monica, passes through various beautiful locations, and ends in Portland. If flying, it takes 2 hours and 26 minutes, with September being the cheapest month for ticket prices starting at around $100 one-way.

For those planning a move from California to Oregon, you can explore options for long-distance moving companies that offer services to transport your belongings.

Cost of Car and Boat Shipping from California to Oregon

When it comes to transporting vehicles like cars or boats between cities without driving, there are several options available. You can opt for shipping via freight train, a shipping container, a ship, or even by airplane. However, the most commonly used and well-known method is through a car transporter. 

If you’re looking to ship a boat from California to Oregon, you can expect the average cost to range between $600 and $1000. On the other hand, when shipping a car from California to Oregon, the typical cost falls within the range of $530 to $840, with an estimated transit time of 3-4 days. 

Keep in mind that the cost may vary based on factors such as the size of your car, the choice of dropping it off at the nearest terminal, and weather conditions.

Must dos before your arrival

  • Update Your Address: Changing your address is a crucial step when relocating. You can easily set up mail forwarding either online or in person before your move. Remember to update your address with various organizations, including the SSA, DMV, and home services. To ensure you don’t miss any important notifications, refer to our comprehensive change of address checklist, which covers all the places you need to update when moving.
  • Weather Preparedness: Be ready for Oregon’s diverse weather like cool and rainy winters and warm dry summers. Check local forecasts and pack accordingly, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the region’s climate variations.
  • Apartment Hunting: Plan ahead by researching and scheduling apartment visits before your arrival. This proactive approach will help streamline your housing search process and ensure a smoother transition.

2. Upon your arrival in Oregon

Must dos right upon your arrival

  • Get familiar with your neighborhood, and make sure to take note of the important emergency numbers. 
  • Locate the essential facilities like the nearest hospital, police station, and fire department for your safety and in case of emergency.
  • It would be convenient to purchase a daily transit pass to save money. The fare for the monthly transit pass that includes TriMet buses, MAX Light Rail and WES Commuter Rail is $100 per month in Portland.

Exchanging your driver’s license

Procedure for new driver’s license and vehicle registration in Oregon

When moving from California to Oregon, you must exchange your out-of-state driver’s license within 30 days. You’ll need to visit your local DMV office, surrender your current driver’s license and provide the required documents. You’ll need an Oregon driver’s license if you’re now officially a resident of the state i.e. if you’re located in Oregon for 6 months or more every year.

If you’ve just moved to Oregon, you’ll have 30 days to title and register your out-of-state vehicle with the DMV from the time you become a resident in Oregon. You can visit the DMV website to check out all the documentation requirements and details.

Documents Needed for Oregon Driver License and Vehicle Registration

Setting up a bank account 

When moving to Oregon from California, it’s essential to establish a local presence by setting up a bank account. This state follows the same procedures and regulations as in other states. U.S. Bank has more than 100 branch locations in Oregon, and it is convenient for every local because it is accessible.

Getting health insurance

Getting health insurance is an excellent way to get peace of mind when it comes to your health. With health insurance, you will not have to worry about spending a ton of money in case of a health-related emergency. Healthcare is regulated by the state in the US and so the state of Oregon proposes a website to help you with your health insurance search. Simply choose Oregon as your state and create an account.

3. Best places to live in Oregon

Best places to live in Oregon


Portland is a haven for those with a free spirit, known for its vibrant atmosphere and adventurous spirit. It’s a city that values the arts and promotes a bike-centric culture over a car-centric one. With its breathtaking views, an array of restaurants, art galleries, and shopping centers, residents are spoiled for choice when it comes to weekend activities. 


Eugene offers residents and visitors stunning views of the Willamette Valley and a wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities such as kayaking, rafting, and cycling. It’s also a great place for professionally skilled individuals to find employment. The city’s breweries are a draw for both tourists and locals alike. Furthermore, Eugene provides quality healthcare services, as well as numerous malls and pubs.


Salem, the capital of Oregon, is a hub of agriculture, with picturesque orchards, vineyards, and fields of roses, offering wine tasting experiences. It boasts a well-established education and healthcare system. 

Best School Districts in Oregon:

  1. Lake Oswego School District: It is ranked as the best school system in Oregon. The entire district has six elementary schools and two middle and high schools. The school has a graduation rate of 93.1%. The teachers are supportive, and the environment is safe.
  2. Sherwood School District: Sherwood school district comprises seven schools, including elementary, middle, and high school. The school offers the best English and mathematics courses to the students. The school has a safe environment for the students.
  3. Corvallis School District: This school district is made up of 13 schools and is regularly ranked among the top three schools in Oregon. The student-teacher ratio is 19 to 1. According to state test scores, 49% of students are at least proficient in math and 62% in reading.
  4. McMinnville School District: It has six elementary, two middle, and one high school. 6800 students are enrolled in this school. Students of MSD graduate at a rate eight points higher than the state average.
  5. Ashland School District: It is one of the best schools in Oregon. The school maintains a good reputation in terms of education and safety for its students.

Los Angeles VS Portland

Los Angeles is one of the most densely populated cities in the United States. The city’s total population is more than 17 million, making it the second most populated city in the country after New York. On the other hand, Portland, Oregon, the city of roses, is quite affordable compared to other big cities in the United States. The total population of the city is around 2,174,000. There is also no sales tax in Portland, OR compared to Los Angeles where the sales tax is present.

Setting up home services 

The electricity in Oregon comes from sources like hydro, coal, wind, and even nuclear. The most dominant energy source is hydroelectricity, making it very eco-friendly. In terms of costs, electricity is very similar to the average US electricity bill. To find your water, gas, and electricity provider in Oregon, visit the state of Oregon’s Find Your Utility service.

The best internet providers in Oregon will have bundling options, various speeds, and multiple package options at reasonable prices. 

Should you rent or buy?

In recent years, the trend of remote work has prompted many individuals to seek residence in Oregon, drawn by the allure of its stunning natural surroundings. This surge in demand has led to an unprecedented spike in housing prices and subsequently resulted in a shortage of available housing

Local experts caution that, when considering a property investment, it is wise to focus on central, thriving areas rather than more remote locations. This is because the current upswing in demand, driven by the desire for nature and distance from urban centers, may eventually recede or stabilize, potentially making such investments less optimal in the long term.

Despite its relatively isolated nature, the state offers reasonably priced rental options that are quite competitive when compared to the national average, given the quality of the area’s offerings.

Cost of rent in Oregon


1-bed apartment

3-bed apartment

Portland, OR (Outside of Center)



Numbeo (Oct 2023)

Cost of buying a property in Oregon


Average home price 



Zillow (Oct 2023)

Pros and Cons of Living in Oregon



  • No sales tax
  • The most environmentally friendly state in the U.S.
  • There are many outdoor activities for the residents
  • Among the best wines of the U.S. according to Wine Spectator
  • Bike-friendly place (over 350 bike lanes)
  • A hospitable culture, people in Oregon are known for their kindness
  • Many farmers’ markets, so you can easily find fresh and tasty food
  • High housing and rental costs due to shortage of homes and apartments (aren’t built fast enough)
  • Property and violent crime rates significantly higher than most other states according to the FBI
  • The sky is often gray and the sun is barely sighted in the city
  • Oregon’s income tax burden is one of the highest in the U.S.

Why people regret moving to Oregon

While Oregon is much more affordable, clean, and green compared to California, still, some people regret moving there for the following reasons:

Regret #1

In Portland, the sun is rarely visible in fall and winter. Some people do not get used to the sky being almost always gray. Plus, many complain about continuous drizzling throughout the day that causes floods in the basement area of the buildings.

Regret #2

Portland was formerly desired for its affordability. However, during the last ten years, the housing cost has increased at a rate that makes affording your own house almost a dream.

Regret #3

The traffic of Oregon is problematic. Residents sometimes regret moving to Oregon and consider that it is unbearable to drive during rush hour, especially in Portland. Moreover, the speed limit is lower on highways in the state (65 miles/hour).

4. Cost of living in Oregon

Cost of living in Portland


Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center



Numbeo’s grocery list ($69.82 multiplied by 4)



Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage


Internet with 60 Mbps


Transit pass



Meal, taxi, movie


Gym membership 




Numbeo (Oct 2023)

Cost of living in Los Angeles


Monthly cost

1 bed apt rent outside city center



Numbeo’s grocery list ($70.56 multiplied by 4)



Electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage


Internet with 60 Mbps


Transit pass



Meal, taxi, movie


Gym membership 




Numbeo (Sept 2023)

5. The weather in Oregon

Oregon mostly has cloudy and rainy weather year-round. But it’s incredible landscape definitely compensates for the gloomy weather. On average, there are 175 sunny days per year in Oregon. The average temperature in the summers is 68°F and the Winter low is 34°F. Oregon averages 13 inches of snow per year and 41 inches of rain per year.

In contrast, the sun is always shining brightly in California. Nevertheless, the ocean breeze helps in cooling the temperature during the day.

6. What to do as a local in Oregon

Oregon’s breathtaking landscapes invite people to engage in a variety of outdoor activities along the Oregon Coast, such as hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and even skiing during the winter months. With an abundance of national parks, forests, and rolling hills to explore, Oregon’s natural beauty beckons adventure enthusiasts.

One of Oregon’s notable features is its thriving craft beer and wine production scene. Locals relish the opportunity to partake in this delightful indulgence, often enjoying a few drinks on weekends. The state also boasts a vibrant culinary scene, with locals frequently dining in its many restaurants during evenings and weekends, or grabbing a quick and delicious meal from a food cart during work breaks.

Oregon is renowned for its hipster culture, which is evident in the proliferation of cozy and unique coffee shops. Unlike other parts of the United States, sports don’t hold the same sway in Oregon, and the state has fewer sports teams. However, the most cherished sporting event for locals is football, particularly the Ducks’ games.

7. Fun facts about Oregon

Fun Fact #1

The flag of Oregon’s state does not have the same design on each side. The flag features a figure of a beaver on one side and the other side has the design of an escutcheon from the state seal.

Fun Fact #2

Formed 65,000 years ago, Carter Lake is the deepest lake in the US. Tourists from all over the world admire its crystal blue water.

Fun Fact #3

Oregon was the first state in the US to ban the usage of non-returnable bottles and cans.


Moving from California to Oregon? Consider job opportunities, transportation, updating addresses, and exchanging licenses. Oregon offers a blend of natural beauty and employment possibilities. Prepare for the varied weather and explore outdoor activities, craft beer, and the state’s unique culture. 

Football, particularly the Ducks’ games, is a local favorite. Plus, Oregon’s no sales tax policy can save you money. But be mindful of rising housing costs and the potential for gray skies. Make informed decisions for a smooth transition to the Beaver State.

Are you moving soon? Discover the best movers for your move to Oregon


Widgets Magazine


Widgets Magazine

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Selina Cifelli

The author

Selina is a motivated marketing intern with a keen interest in developing engaging content related to moving experiences and city life. With a passion for fashion and traveling, she brings a fresh perspective to our readers. Her talent for crafting innovative written material effectively positions MovingWaldo as a trusted resource for hassle-free and efficient moves.

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