Tell me about living on the Oregon Coast

Mr. Bunny and I, having moved to Nevada from Oregon, are strongly considering a move back pretty soon here. Reno is nice, but it ain’t home. However, we don’t just want to return from whence we came: Eugene. It’s a beautiful city and we have family and friends there, but that would feel like taking a step back to me. We had very good reasons for leaving Eugene, and I feel like those reasons still stand firm.

So, in considering other areas in Oregon, we brought up the idea of the coast, specifically Newport. Having grown up in the area, I’ve spent much time there and always enjoyed it. I love the ocean, I like the weather there (yes, I like rain and wind and lots of it)…and best of all, a quick search around online led us to discover that housing there seems quite reasonable, unlike Florence, where my mother lives and where a small condo will set you back to the tune of 400 K. The job market does not seem sparkling, but we’ve made do with worse.

Does anyone here on the SDMB live in the area? Can you tell me anything about the job situation, housing, general social climate (another thing we enoyed the last time we visited Newport in May was how many cool little clothing stores, tattoo parlours, antique shops, etc. seem to have cropped up…Newport seems to have developed, dare I say it, a Scene??)? Thank you much!

I look forward to seeing the responses to this thread. In the next ten years I hope to move to someplace tacky and quaint like Seaside Oregon.

I too will be watching this thread.

I hope it gets some replies. I don’t know much about the Oregon coast except that what I have seen, I loved. Seaside is a town that I think I went to, and although not my idea of a final destination, I’ll bet there is a lot of nice small ocean side towns that would be reasonable and nice. Of course, I have employment concerns, but I really love the weather out there. (Yes, I know it’s cold and rainy, but that’s me.) And no humidity. So what if the water is cold? I don’t want to swim in it anyway!

I have no idea on what the cost of living is out there, but if what **NailBunny ** says is true, I’m in for a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping it was more reasonable than that, but I guess you will always pay to live near the ocean.

I did contract work in Portland and loved it. Headed to the coast or Mount Hood every weekend. And seeing as this is one of the only places my wife has agreed to explore in a job search to get me off the east coast, I’m hoping to get some ideas from you all.

PLEASE send me or post any executive recruiting contacts you may have in the Portland/Oregon coast area. I don’t want to stay on the eastern seaboard forever.

I moved to Seaside Oregon in 1996 - left in 2002. By that time I could get out of town fast enough.

It seemed like a nice place at first.

Here are the problems I discovered:

  1. If you aren’t part of a church, expect to be shunned by 70% of the population. Sure, they’ll be nice to you but are nasty bastards behind your back. It’s like high school. The top three are Four Square, Morman and Witness. The local mormans are by far the worse of the lot (ourside of one family who broke from the local morman church to start something more honest. They are really very cool. They own the Seaside Radio Shack so give them lots of business when you are in town.)

  2. Everyone is fighting for the same damn dollar so expect to get stabbed in the back by someone you thought was a friend. I can name 4 different times I was backstabbed by business relations/friends over trivial amounts of money.

I owned a house in Seaside but couldn’t sell it before I moved. We had two renters. We ended up evicting the first for not paying rent and found they trashed the house. The second pair we were on our way to evict them for non-payment but found they skipped out on us… and trashed the house. Bastards. Funny thing both had great references and pretty good credit reports.

2.5) Businesses are cheap. If you provide a service (which is what my company did) 50% of the businesses will always try to haggle the bill that comes every month. The worse being the people in real estate. In fact, if you can, avoid ANY of the local realtors. They’re all slimeballs. We’re talking serious scum of the earth.

  1. The local government is retarded. While I was there they had several chances to claim some big improvement money from the feds. Instead they bickered and fought with each other until deadlines passed and the town ended up with nothing. What happens is two or more people on the councel dislike each other so they will hijack the others plans no matter if it is a good idea or will help the town.

  2. Don’t expect to find any good food.

  3. The police department (outside of a couple of cops) is shady. Avoid at all costs.

  4. The schools are a joke. My daughter attended grade school there (both Seaside and Gearhart). One of the teachers at Gearhart was really nasty to her and when we brought this to the school attention their reaction was pretty much “so what”. The worse part about it is the teacher was proud of the fact she was giving my daughter a hard time.

  5. A good way to think of most the coastal townfolk… backwoods cousin fuckers with a hint of culture (meaning they almost know how to turn on a computer).

Cannon Beach is a hair better but it is more snobby.

Gearhart doesn’t want you.

Warrenton/Astoria couldn’t care less - but you’ll get bonus points if you have meth.

Brookings is awesome.

I guess I should add the storms were great and expect power outages (fun).

Seriously, most of what Seven has to say applies to the North Coast. The Southern Coast – and Brookings in particular – is great. And there’re redwoods.

Howdy-do to you, Seven! :wink:

I live south of Newport and work in Newport. I really like it here. I’m an outdoorsy type, and I enjoy the many hiking and birdwatching opportunities. I like the weather, which is rainy, but interrupted by lots of achingly beautiful sunny cool days.

My big complaint about the Oregon coast is that there is not a lot to do here for young people, unless you enjoy frequenting bars.

Also, Newport is not rich. It used to have a fishing/forestry economy which has mostly gone away; now most of the money comes from tourism. There’s an economic divide: the people who work in Newport, waiting tables and cleaning hotel rooms and so on, are fairly poor; the people who retire to Newport or live here part-time are generally somewhat wealthy. There’s not a whole lot in between. I am very fortunate to have a good tech job (I work for the city, as it happens); for a while after my divorce I thought I would have to move to the valley because it’s not easy to make a living wage here.

**Seven ** has some good points. I hear that the schools are truly, truly terrible. The hospital’s reputation is not exactly glowing. Local politics is often rather hilarious (we just recalled a corrupt mayor, so we’re working on it). I don’t think that the Newport police or the county sheriffs are corrupt, but the town of Toledo (inland from Newport about 20 miles) has had some nasty law enforcement scandals.

I have never experienced the religious prejudice that **Seven ** describes.

I’m willing to answer more specific questions, if you have any.

Perfect, just what I was looking for!

I do have more specific questions:

So, would you say there’s not much of a younger population in Newport? My husband and I are about 30 (he’s 31, I’m 29), so we’re not exactly teenagers, and we do enjoy frequenting bars from time to time, but it would be nice if we weren’t the youngest folks in town or anything. Like I said before, my mother lives in Florence; she moved there when she was about 50 and had a terrible time finding friends that were under 75 or anywhere near her age and was miserable. I don’t want that to happen to us (not like we have tons of friends here in Reno, either, but still…I’m not quite ready to retire yet :wink: ).

My husband is currently a picture framer and would ideally like to stay in that line of business, but he also has many years of kitchen experience to fall back on. Me, I’ve got about 10 years of office experience under my belt and I can’t really do anything else. Do you think folks like us could find work there? Also…how to put this…I have big holes in my ears that a lot of people don’t notice, but a lot of people do. Is Newport pretty conservative?

I guess, putting it plainly: do you see two former punk rockers now in their early thirties with somewhat marketable job skills being able to live in Newport, and not wanting to kill themselves with boredom within the first year? :smiley:

Thank you for your replies everyone!

I just saw something on coastal tsunmis, and they said there is a good chance that Oceanside would be destroyed by a moderate one. That said, is living by the ocean all that great? The cold water often causes low hanging fog banks that hang on till late afternoon-sounds depressing to me. What is life like in the towns just over the coastal mountains? Much sunnier i’d expect!

I lived in Manzanita just south of Seaside and Cannon beach for a few years.
As a 22yr old male playing on the beach during the day for my job and playing in the bars at night for relaxation was wonderful.

I never did run into the religious persecution and had an advantage of being a long time visitor so I already knew all the people that lived there and wasn’t considered an outsider. (I had vacationed in Manzanita since I was young with my parents. This started way before the town became trendy)

There are school issues if you have children that age. Another worry is allergies. If you are allergic to molds expect a miserable time.

All that said I would love to move back. I miss the sunsets.


NailBunny, It is a fairly elderly population, because there’s just no WORK here. There’s no industry, no office parks. Lots of retirees and snowbirds live here. It’s not as extreme as, you know, St. Petersburg, Florida, or anything, but it’s a factor.

I had mostly office/clerical experience when I moved here in 2000. For several years all I could get was part-time jobs and temp positions. There’s a lot of competition for the jobs that come available.

The economy is tough here - there’s no way around it. I recommend you go to the Oregon Jobs page at and look at the job announcements for Newport. This will give you an idea.

I wouldn’t worry about the holes in your ears. We have a fairly significant hippie/artist/nonconformist population here. There is also a small but vocal segment of the population that’s very religious and conservative, just like everywhere else - they don’t run the town. Your ear holes are probably not anything that anyone has never seen before.

What else? I don’t worry about tsunamis. Yeah, it would be really bad if we got one. The summertime does get foggy, the wintertime is rainy. September is usually spectacular.

You can also look at the local jobs classifieds:

The missus, our youngest son (a teen-ager at the time) and I lived in Coos Bay for about a year. The bay area (North Bent, Charleston, Coos Bay) is fantastic, if you have work before you go there. The job market sucks horribly, but the people there are so desparate for good folks to come in, they fall all over themselves to make you feel welcome. The project I went there for fell apart after less than a year, but when our new friends and neighbors found out about it, they beat a path to our door with job tips and offers of all kinds of help. We ended up coming back to Colorado (it’s no fun spending Christmas three states from home and unemployed) but have always dreamed of going back, at least for vacation.

One caveat – if you’re from Nevada, you won’t be used to the rain. In January and February of 1998, it rained once or twice a day every single day for 32 straight days, and we did not see blue sky once during that time. On the other hand, standing Cape Arago and watching the sea pound against the cliffs during a winter storm is a thrill that shouldn’t be missed.

If you love seafood, it’s plentiful there, naturally. Charleston Harbor is home to a number of small fishing fleets, and in season you can pick up fresh salmon in supermarkets for less than hamburger.