Oregon is located on the west coast of the country and it is one of the most beautiful states in the nation. Oregon has plenty of beautiful beaches, forests, mountains, lakes, and rivers. During the past couple of decades, the population started to grow significantly. Currently, Oregon’s population is around 4.2 million people, in 2000 the population was only around 3.34 million, so it is fairly safe to say that the local population is booming.
Oregon is not a good state for off grid living, the cost of living is high, unemployment is high and the cost of property is around 49% higher than the national average. The main problem with Oregon is that a lot of people move here from richer states like California which drives the costs of housing and living up. On the other hand, if you have the budget for it, this state has plenty of fertile lands and a fairly mild climate for the most part.
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Oregon’s population growth began a couple of decades ago, although in recent years the population growth has started to pick up significantly. Only a couple of decades ago Oregon’s residents were moving to California, but now it is the other way around, Californians are moving to Oregon. The main reason why Californians are moving to Oregon is because living in California is getting extremely expensive.
A lot of people who were born and raised in Oregon are afraid that the new residents moving in from California it will turn Oregon into a state like California, with a high cost of living, high taxes, and high cost of property. The housing prices have started to go up in Oregon due to this reason, although it is not too late to find affordable housing, although things might become extremely expensive in just a couple of years.
When it comes to off grid living, at first glance Oregon looks like the perfect state, with plenty of wilderness, low population density, and an average cost of living. Although all states have some drawbacks when it comes to off grid living and this is true also for Oregon. If you want to check out Oregon’s northern neighbor then read my recent article Off grid living in Washington ( The Evergreen State ).
Is Off Grid Living Legal In Oregon?
Off-grid living is legal in Oregon, but it is important to navigate the state’s strict zoning laws and regulations that can pose challenges to building and certain activities on your property. Compliance with local zoning requirements is crucial for a successful off-grid lifestyle in Oregon.
Off Grid Laws
Living off the grid in Oregon is legal, the main issue you might face is that some areas have certain restrictions when it comes to harvesting and storing rainwater. Although harvesting rainwater is legal you might find that how you store the rainwater is actually regulated in some counties, and some counties will limit the amount of rainwater you can actually store. You can also homeschool your children, although make sure to check the homeschooling laws first.
Generating Power Off The Grid
- Solar power: Oregon had a statewide residential energy tax credit, unfortunately, this expired a couple of years ago. Some counties do offer incentives and rebates but most of the counties do not offer any incentives. The good news is that you can still apply for the federal tax credit which is around 26%.
- Wind power: Oregon offers a special grant for people who want to set up a wind turbine, the amount is $250,000 and only up to 35% of the total cost of the setup. The problem is that this grant is mostly for communities that want to set up large wind turbines. If you want to generate power with a smaller wind turbine you will not be eligible for this grant, the good news is that you can still use the federal tax credit.
Due to its large size, Oregon has several types of climates, it has an oceanic climate in the western parts of the state, the southwestern part has a Mediterranean climate, in the northeastern part it has a steppe climate and in the eastern parts, the climate is semi-arid. This basically means that you will notice a significant temperature difference between different areas. Generally speaking the areas in the western parts of the state have high humidity and in the eastern parts, the humidity is fairly low.
The average summertime temperatures in the western parts are around 66°F and in the eastern parts 85°F. The average wintertime temperatures are around 37°F, although this also depends on the area, as some regions will have significantly lower temperatures. Oregon has a lot of forests, and if you want to know how you can live off the grid in a forest then check out my recent article How to live off the grid in the woods? ( In 15 Steps ).
Types Of Crops
The lands in Oregon are most suitable for growing vegetables, in fact, this state is one of the biggest vegetable producing states in the country. The most commonly grown vegetables are potatoes, sugar beets, onions, snap beans, green peas, sweet corn, hazelnuts, and hops. The most commonly grown fruits are apples, pears, berries, cherries, and plums. Generally speaking the best areas for growing crops are in the western parts of the state. If you are looking for a state that has a semi-arid or hotter climate then check out Oregon’s neighbor Nevada for more information check out my recent article Off grid living in Nevada ( Silver State ).
Most of the state is fairly humid and there are no real issues with freshwater, although in the eastern parts of the state where the climate is semi-arid, you will have some trouble finding groundwater. Harvesting rainwater in Oregon is legal, although in some areas there are some restrictions, like how you store the rainwater and how you harvest it, some counties will only allow you to capture rainwater with water barrels.
Due to its climate, the western part has significantly higher annual rainfall than the rest of the state. On average the yearly rainfall in the western part is around 80″, in the rest of the state the average yearly rainfall is somewhere between 8″-15″. The annual snowfall in the western parts is around 50″, and around 20″ in the rest of the state. Mountainous areas can have an average yearly snowfall of 150″-550″.
Due to the local climate and the many uninhabited areas, Oregon has plenty of animals like the gray wolf, grizzly bear, coyotes, elk, white-tailed deer, American bison, moose, and bighorn sheep among other animals. The most common freshwater fish are trout, bass, salmon, crappie, catfish, and mountain whitefish. The saltwater fish you can find in this state are Pacific cod, pacific mackerel, pacific herring, and sharks. You will need a license both for freshwater and saltwater fishing alike, https://www.dfw.state.or.us/online_license_sales/what.asp.
For the most part, you will not have any problems with road access in Oregon, although the situation will be different in the western parts of the state. The western part of the state has a fairly high yearly rainfall and snowfall, which might block some of the roads due to high snowfall or a flood.
Price Of Land
The price of housing and property is fairly high in Oregon, currently, it is at around 49% higher than the national average. These high prices are mostly due to the fact that more and more people are moving to this state from areas like California. Although the price of housing and land is high the prices will only go up every year as new people move into this state thus increasing the demand. If you want to know the best places to live off the grid in Oregon then check out my recent article Best Places To Live Off The Grid In Oregon ( Top 7 Counties ).
Oregon’s property tax is around 1.04% which is below the national average of 1.08%. Although the property tax is lower than the national average you will still pay more as the price of housing and land is around 49% higher. The county with the highest property tax in Wasco County at 1.20%.
Cost Of Living
The cost of living in Oregon is above the national average, you will pay around 49% more for housing, and 7% more for transportation. On the other hand, you will pay around 12% less for healthcare services and 19% less for utilities.
Oregon’s unemployment rate is above the national average, currently, it is at 4.1% and the national average is 3.6%. The unemployment rate is predicted to get higher as more and more people move into this state. The minimum wage is at $11.25 which is slightly below its neighboring states, except Idaho which has a minimum wage of $7.25. The biggest industries where most people work are agriculture, commercial fishing, mining, tourism, and tech-related industries in the bigger cities.
Oregon’s crime rate is below the national average, currently, there are 2.81 crimes per 1000 people and the national average is 4 crimes per 1000 people. The areas with the lowest crime rate are Jordan Valley, Condon, Wallowa, Fossil, and Bonanza. The areas with the highest crime rates are Ontario, Coos Bay, Portland, Medford, Sweet Home, and Newport.
The natural disasters in Oregon are floods, coastal erosion, wildfires, earthquakes, landslides, tsunamis, droughts, winter storms, and windstorms. The most common natural disasters in the western parts of the state are floods, coastal erosions, and winter storms. In the eastern part of the state, the most common natural disasters are droughts and wildfires.
- Off-grid living is legal in Oregon, and the state has a reputation for being supportive of sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyles.
- Oregon’s regulations for owner-built homes allow individuals to legally construct their own houses, but it is essential to obtain permits and meet building codes.
- Access to natural resources, such as water and renewable energy, makes Oregon an attractive location for off-grid living, but it’s important to research and comply with local regulations and zoning requirements.