Eugene, Oregon

Best Places to Retire in Oregon


Eugene (population 140,000) is located in the western part of the state, 65 miles south of Salem. It is in the Williamette valley, west of the Cascade Mountains and about 60 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. The city of Springfield (population 54,000) is adjacent to Eugene, just across the Williamette River. 

The city’s roots date to the 1840s when it began as a trading post. By the Civil War era, it had thriving lumber, flour and woolen businesses. This settlement of 500-600 inhabitants had a number of dry goods stores, restaurants, saloons, two printing offices, cabinetmakers, blacksmiths, and other tradesmen. In 1862 it was incorporated as Eugene City.

Today Eugene is the third largest city in the state, and it is the home of the University of Oregon with 20,000 students. Beautiful Douglas Fir forests, rivers, and lakes surround the Eugene/Springfield area, and there are many scenic vistas, including views of some of the Cascade peaks. The Williamette River runs through the heart of Eugene and the McKenzie River, which skirts around the eastern side of Springfield, joins with it just north of the metropolitan area. The mild year round climate offers outstanding opportunities for a great number of outdoor activities including golf, tennis, fishing, hiking and bicycling.

Bicycling has become a part of Eugene’s lifestyle. Its extensive system of bikeways includes 30 miles of off-street paths, 89 miles of on-the-street bicycle lanes, and five bicycle/pedestrian bridges that span the Willamette River. Springfield’s bicycle system interconnects with the Eugene system, as do trails in metropolitan Lane County.

Eugene has been recognized nationally as a great place to live and work. Along with its ruggedly beautiful out-of-doors, it boasts a strong and stable economy, a great many arts and cultural opportunities, a great many dining choices, good music, entertainment and nightlife. It offers continuing education opportunities, big-time college athletic events, and outstanding theaters and concert halls. Eugene also has excellent healthcare.

The city’s population includes a high percentage of professionals and educators, and over one third of residents have completed four years or more of college. When residents were asked in a communitywide survey what they most liked about living in the city, “friendly people” topped the list, mentioned by 15% of respondents. The scenery was second with 12%. The climate/weather was also prominently mentioned as a positive

Arts & Culture

Hult Center for the Performing Arts has three premier venues. The 2,500-seat Silva Concert hall, the 500-seat Soreng Theater, and Cuthbert Amphitheater. The amphitheater is a 4,500-seat facility in Alton Baker Park along the Williamette River. 

Oregon Festival of American Music presents two annual festivals (Oregon Festival of American Music, and Twin Rivers Folklife Festival). It also presents The Emerald City Jazz Kings and a program called Now Hear This. 800-248-1615 Eugene Opera presents a three-opera season. 

Eugene Ballet Company annually performs a season of four productions at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, and in collaboration with the Ballet Idaho at Morrison Center for the Arts. 

Dance Theatre of Oregon presents three productions each season. 

Eugene Symphony, founded in the mid-1960s, now performs to audiences totaling over 20,000 annually. It presents a full concert season, including classical, pops, and family oriented programs. Concerts are typically at 2,500-seat Hult Center for the Performing Arts. 

Eugene Concert Choir is a professional-quality chorus of over 100 voices. It performs choral masterworks and collaborates with a number of other major arts organizations, including the Oregon Mozart Players, the Eugene Ballet, and the Symphony. 

Willamette Repertory Theater produces three plays a year at the Hult Center for the Performing Arts. 

Cottage Theatre is a nonprofit community arts organization that has been performing for more than 20 years. 

Actors Cabaret of Eugene performs year round at the Actors Cabaret Dinner Theater and Annex Theater. 

Oregon Mozart Players is a chamber orchestra comprised of professional musicians that offers a season series. 

Oregon University’s School of Music Chamber Music Series offers a Series devoted exclusively to chamber music. Performances are at Beall Concert Hall. 

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon has opened an expanded facility with nearly double the space of its former building. 

The Museum of Natural History at University of Oregon offers changing exhibitions, educational programs, tours, and family events. 

The University of Oregon’s School of Music, with more than 4,500 students, has over 20 major vocal and instrumental ensembles that give public performances. The ensembles are a part of the 200 or more musical events performed each year. 

Oregon Bach Festival presents two weeks of choral-orchestral concerts centered on J. S. Bach. This annual festival also includes chamber music, family events, and educational programs. 

University Theatre, a part of the University of Oregon Theatre Department, presents a season performance series.

University of Oregon, Department of Dance, offers productions at M. Frances Dougherty Dance Theatre, which seats 250. 


Eugene Parks and Open Space Division manages over 80 park locations and a great number of facilities, and programs.

Greater Eugene Area Riders offers a listing of a number of its popular cycling routes. Bicycling is more than just a sport in Eugene, it is a lifestyle.

University of Oregon (The “Ducks”) is a member of the PAC-10 (Pacific Athletic Conference), one of the premier NCAA conferences in the national. It hosts a wide variety of outstanding men’s and women’s athletics events.

Crater Lake, located in south-central Oregon, is widely known for its intense blue color and spectacular views. This six-mile wide body of water and 20-mile circle of cliffs was created by the eruption of Mt. Mazama almost 7,000 years ago. There are boat tours on the lake and you can stay at Crater Lake Lodge or camp at Mazama Village. There are also a number of hiking trails including Mt. Scott, at 8,929 feet. Snowfall in this area averages 533 inches per year. 


The University of Oregon, which dates to the 1870s, has an enrollment of just over 20,000 students and is a part of the state’s university system. The other six schools include Eastern Oregon, Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, Western Oregon University, and Oregon Health & Science University. 

Northwest Christian College, founded in 1895, is affiliated with the Christian Church. It has a student enrollment of about 500 students.

Lane Community College has a student enrollment of 15,000 in its for-credit curriculum. 

Eugene Bible College dates to 1925. The College has as its mission, “to fulfill the Great Commission of equipping students for Spirit-empowered leadership and ministry.

Senior Programs

Senior activities operated by the city offer programs and events to maintain health and well-being, and to enhance the quality of life. The focus of these activities is Petersen Barn Community Center and Campbell Senior Center.


Sacred Heart Medical Center is a 432-bed acute care hospital, and is the largest hospital between Portland and San Francisco. 

Mckenzie-Williamette Medical Center is a 114-bed acute care Hospital in nearby Springfield. 


The city operates Eugene Airport, also known as Mahlon Sweet Field. It is the fifth largest airport in the Pacific Northwest, and provides commercial service to a six-county region in mid-Oregon. 


Eugene’s mild climate, with an average temperature of 53 degrees, is one of the city’s attractive features. It offers a long growing season and few drastic weather changes. Average temperatures for January are a high temperature of 47 degrees and low of 33 degrees. The average temperatures for July are a high 85 and low of 50 degrees. 


The Register-Guard –

Oregon Daily Emerald (The independent campus newspaper at the University of Oregon) – 

Property Taxes

Lane County, Assessment & Taxation – 

State Taxes

Chamber of Commerce 

State Aging Agency


Portland – 110 miles
Ashland – 178 miles
Medford – 166 miles
Bend – 115 miles
Redmond – 114 miles
Salem – 65 miles
Florence – 60 miles

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