Living and Working in Eugene

Eugene is the second-largest city in Oregon (after Portland) and is the seat of Lane County.

Situated along the banks of the Willamette River, picturesque Eugene offers a fantastic blend of adventure and recreational opportunities, arts and culture, sporting events and shopping, dining and entertainment. Eugene is home to the University of Oregon, Bushnell University, Lane Community College, and TrackTown USA, giving it a college-town vibe with an athletic bent.

City Overview

Located at the southern end of the Willamette Valley near the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers, Eugene has a mountainous feel with pine-tree covered rolling hills and yet is just 50 miles east of the Oregon Coast. The town has a wide variety of craft breweries and wineries, and is a popular destination for foodies.

Eugene enjoys a mild climate, with wet and cool winters and warm and dry summers. The average temperature in January is 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and in July the average is 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Eugene gets an average of 47 inches of rain and 3 inches of snow per year. With an average of 155 sunny days per year, Eugene has plenty of opportunities to get outside.

In July 2022, Eugene’s population was estimated to have reached 178,000. It covers a city area of 44.21 square miles, and as of 2020, had a population of 3,998 people per square mile. For detailed information about relocating to Eugene, visit websites such as Eugene Cascades and Coast, City of Eugene, Eugene Chamber of Commerce and Travel Oregon’s Eugene page. If you are planning on moving to Eugene and don’t yet have a job lined up, here is a helpful article with tips on how to start looking for work before you get here. It’s a good idea to try to set up informational interviews ahead of time too, and working with a recruiter can also help land that ideal position.

Eugene’s Job Market and Economy

According to the Eugene Chamber of Commerce, Lane County’s principal employers (as of 2021) in terms of number of employees are as follows: Peace Health Corp with 5,347, University of Oregon with 5,038, Eugene 4J School District with 2,347, U.S. Government with 1,813, Oregon State Government with 1,805, City of Eugene with 1,733, Lane Community College with 1,721, Lane County Government with 1,552, Springfield School District with 1,130, and McKenzie Willamette Medical with 1,060.

Lane Workforce Partnership, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization and one of Oregon’s nine local workforce development boards, identifies Lane County’s primary industry sectors as  Bioscience, Construction-Aggregate, Creatives, Food and Beverage, Technology, Transportation, and Wood Products. Lane Workforce Partnership releases a comprehensive State of the Workforce Report for Lane County biennially. In the 2022 State of the Workforce Report, the Oregon Employment Department projected that Lane County will add 23,900 jobs between 2020 and 2030, representing a 15% increase in employment over 10 years.

The Workforce Report also states that real average wages in Lane County steadily increased in the 1990s with the addition of technology manufacturing and stabilization in the wood products industry. Wages peaked in 2004 at $44,953, an increase of $4,359 (11%) from the low point in 1990, then became stagnant until the end of the Great Recession and rose during the recovery. Wages increased steadily until 2020, when layoffs in lower-paying jobs due to pandemic restrictions caused the average to spike. In 2021, an improved labor market and low overall inflation caused real average annual wages to top $52,000 for the first time since 1979.

Eugene’s higher institutions include the University of Oregon, which offers more than 300 undergraduate programs and more than 120 graduate programs. The campus Career Center offers a range of resources for students and alumni and career-readiness events.

Bushnell University, a private Christian university, offers traditional undergraduate, online learning, degree completion, and graduate programs in six schools. Bushnell offers alumni Career Services and a Career Development department. Lane Community College provides classes for degrees, transfer students, career training, international students, GED, English as a second language and continuing education. The college is home to a Career Exploration Center that offers coaching, assessment and resources.

The Eugene Public Library is an excellent resource for those new to Eugene or searching for work, including an Employment and Career Development page on its website that offers a wealth of information to assist in any stage of a career or job search in Eugene or elsewhere.

Lifestyle and Culture

Eugene has the nickname “Emerald City” (like Seattle) because of its focus on environmentalism and sustainability. Eugene is a bustling-yet-friendly college town with plenty of elbow room.

The cost of living in Eugene is less expensive than some other cities in Oregon, such as Portland and Bend, but is higher than cities of the same size in other parts of the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average salary in Eugene in 2021 is $55,776, and the poverty rate is 19.6%. According to Redfin, the Eugene housing market is somewhat competitive. Homes in Eugene receive four offers on average and sell in around 15 days. The median sale price of a home in Eugene was $485,000 in September of 2023, down 5.0% since 2022. The median sale price per square foot in Eugene is $289, down 5.1% since 2022.

Eugene has a thriving local arts and culture scene. Ballet Fantastique, the Eugene Ballet, the Eugene Opera and the Eugene Symphony head up the area’s performing arts options. Museums generally surround or are managed by the University of Oregon, including the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. The Saturday Market, which runs from April through mid-November, is a popular hometown favorite that offers artisans, funky clothes, home-cooked meals and fresh produce from the fertile Willamette Valley. A charming downtown is great for shopping, dining and casual strolls.

With its central location in the Willamette Valley, Eugene provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Trails abound throughout the town, including Pre’s Trail, a 4.4-mile woodchip trail honoring one of the city’s most famous former residents, long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine. The 12-mile Ridgeline Trail System, which intersects with the path to the top of Spencer Butte, offers views of the entire region and, on clear days, the Cascade Mountains to the east. Skiing is close by at Willamette Pass Resort, just a 90-minute drive from the middle of Eugene. Bike trails, birding expeditions, kayaking, rafting and paddling create an environment that has something of interest for just about anyone.

Need to Know When Moving to Eugene

If you are new or planning a relocation to Eugene, here are some resources that can help you.

Utilities: Utility companies in Eugene will depend upon where you live, and personal preference. This list is not exhaustive.

  • Useful Links:
  • Job fairs and other job-seeker sources in Eugene:
  • Events calendars that offer an array of options for the whole family:

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