Beaverton is a large city just outside of Portland. It’s about 20 minutes from downtown Portland (depending on the traffic, of course). It’s well known for being the location of Nike headquarters. However, despite the beauty of the lush green landscape and many nature parks, there are some big reasons for you to not move to this city.
I spent 11 years of my life as a resident of Beaverton, Oregon. I have personal experience with the area, with both the positive and negative sides of living there. I’ve also consulted with many past and current residents of Beaverton to give a broader perspective on what it’s really like to live there. There are some important things any prospective resident should know about life in Beaverton before you decide to make a life for yourself there.
1. High Cost of Living
Starting off strong in the list of reasons you should never move to Beaverton, Oregon is the high cost of living. Oregon in general has a very high cost of living and, of course, in a larger city like Beaverton, the prices will be higher as well. According to the locals I interviewed, they all agree that it’s too expensive to live in Beaverton. In fact, Oregon is ranked number 4 in the United States for having the highest cost of living. It falls in 4th place only behind Hawaii, Washington DC, and California.
With 100 representing the national average, the cost of living index in Oregon is 134.6. Oregon significantly exceeds the national average, especially with the price of housing, groceries, and transportation. Oregon has some of the highest gas prices in the entire country. The transportation index for Oregon is 129.4. (Source)
The living wage (or amount of money you’ll need to maintain a normal or average standard of living) in Oregon is about $52,000. That’s not even taking families into account. That’s the living wage for one, single adult.
2. Bad Traffic
The traffic in Beaverton is terrible and it only gets worse the closer you get to Portland. Portland is actually the nation’s 10th most-congested city. There are also way too many stoplights. They’re at almost every intersection which doesn’t help the traffic situation as much as you would think.
Not only is the traffic bad, but the drivers are too. Oregonians just can’t drive. In fact, the Portland area drivers are some of the country’s most collision and accident-prone.
In addition to being collision prone, the drivers in the Beaverton area don’t know how to drive in the snow. They can definitely handle the rain that is so common there, but snow is a rare occurrence. When they do get snow, the drivers don’t know how to drive in it.
3. Narrow Roads
In relation to the previous point, the roads in Beaverton are so narrow. This causes many different problems for locals and visitors alike. The narrowness of the roads makes driving and maneuvering through tiny roads and parked cars very difficult.
There is parking along the streets, but it’s scarce and difficult to find open spaces. This is the case everywhere I’ve been in Beaverton and especially in neighborhoods. It’s a challenging task to even find street parking near your own home. If you are lucky enough to find a place to park, you always run the risk of your car being hit by passing traffic because of how narrow the roads are.
4. High Taxes
Oregon is winning in one area: having extremely high taxes. It’s actually the only state that makes it in the top 5 for each of the following categories; top income tax rates, middle-class income tax rates, and income tax collection per capita.
Oregon has a top income tax rate of 9.9%. It is 3rd only to Hawaii and California. The middle-class tax rate in Oregon is 9%. When you combine this will the federal income tax, if you are a middle-class resident of Oregon, you should expect to pay about 52.3% of your income to the government. If you want to actually keep most of what you earn, I would avoid moving to Oregon. (Source)
Not only is the income tax high, but property tax is high as well. In fact, Washington County (the county in which Beaverton resides) has the 2nd highest average property tax of all counties in Oregon. The average tax rate is $17.07 per $1,000 of assessed value. However, homeowners are normally taxed around $10.88 per $1,000 of real market value. (Source)
Even though there may not be sales tax in Oregon, you certainly pay for that in different ways.
5. Not Good for Young Adults
If you’re fresh out of college and looking for a job, Beaverton is not the place to go. It takes a lot more than a college degree to make a living in this area. As an unestablished young adult, it’s hard to live in the Beaverton and Portland area especially if you don’t have a well-paying job. Even if you do, it’s possible that your life won’t be as fulfilling as it could be somewhere else. This is because you’ll be spending most of your time working week to week and month to month to make ends meet.
If you’re wanting to enjoy the area you live in and have time to meet people, volunteer, or participate in extracurricular activities, you’ll want to move to a place where you won’t need to work as much to survive.
Not only is Portland packed to the max, but it has spilled over into its surrounding areas. Beaverton is completely overcrowded. Between the people, houses, apartment complexes, tightly-packed neighborhoods, cars, businesses, and everything else, Beaverton is full. Anytime I go to Beaverton, it feels so claustrophobic.
Everything is crammed into a small geographical area. There are too many people and there is no room for growth. If you dream of living in a neighborhood minutes away from empty fields and views other than your neighbor’s backyard, Beaverton is the wrong place for you.
You know homelessness is a problem in a city when they start creating a “safe parking program” for those people who live out of their cars and live on the streets. In Portland and Beaverton and the surrounding areas, it’s no secret that homelessness is a problem. Unfortunately anytime you have a larger city and larger population, you’re going to see a rise in the homeless population as well.
There is such a large homeless population here that one news article even referred to the problem of homelessness as “our homeless crisis.” The number of homeless people in Washington County increased from less than 200 in 2002 to more than 1,300 about 10 years later. In 2021, the population of homeless people in Washington County is above 1,400 and will likely continue to rise.
Beaverton is about 8 miles and 20 minutes outside of Portland. Of course, that 20 minutes can quickly increase with rush hour and any other kind of traffic. When I interviewed Beaverton locals, I had several people say it’s “too close to Portland.” Everything that locals complain about just increases in their intensity the closer you get to Portland. As you get closer to Portland, there is more traffic, crime, homelessness, people, buildings, and more.
Also, there’s a reason they say “Keep Portland Weird.” Even the locals will admit that Portland is just a weird place and the people there can be pretty strange. From naked bike rides to UFO festivals, there are some crazy things that happen there.
9. Expensive Houses
The housing market in the Beaverton area is expensive and competitive. There is high rent, expensive homes, and housing costs in general are skyrocketing. One person I interviewed said,
“Housing is expensive, homes are small, and backyards are tiny.”
Homes in Oregon in general are way more expensive than the national average. The median home cost in the United States is $231,200. In Oregon, the median price for a home is $344,200. In Oregon, a 2,000 square foot home will cost around $378,000.
Oregon is actually ranked number 5 in the nation for most expensive housing. Oregon’s housing index is 184.8 (which is 84.8 above the national average). The average rent in Oregon for a home with 3 bedrooms is $1,620 per month, with the U.S. average being $1,537. For a 4 bedroom home, the average is $1,947, with the national average being $1,791. (Source)
Basically, you’re paying a lot of money for small square footage and small yards. One interviewee summed it all up by saying,
“House prices right now are way expensive. Go move to Idaho and live in a mansion.”
10. Rain & Gloomy Weather
This one is simple. If you don’t like rain, don’t move to Oregon.
The one good thing that comes from all the rain is how green it is. However, if you’re not a fan of cloudy skies and daily rainstorms, Beaverton isn’t the place for you. I used to say that if you woke up and saw a single cloud in the sky, it would probably rain that day. I wasn’t even wrong for the most part.
Beaverton, Oregon gets about 41 inches of rainfall in a year. It rains throughout the entire year, but November, December, and January are the rainiest months. Even in the Winter, it doesn’t snow, it rains. If you enjoy white Christmases, you won’t find them in the Pacific Northwest. (Source)
11. Crime Rates
Many of the people I interviewed expressed how they felt like Beaverton was not a safe place to live. I decided to check on the actual statistics and crime rates. Here’s a quick summary of the crime rates in Beaverton and Oregon as a whole.
Property crime includes burglary, theft, and vehicle theft. In Beaverton, there are 1,985 property crimes per 100,000 residents. In Oregon, there are 2,731 property crimes per 100,000 people. Violent crime includes assault, robbery, rape, and murder. In Beaverton, there are 217 violent crimes per 100,000 residents and 284 per 100,000 Oregonians. (Source)
One interesting note to make is that in Oregon, there are about 56 crimes committed per square mile. The national average is closer to 28.3. (Source)
12. Legal Drugs
Marijuana is legal in the state of Oregon and as a result, there are many cannabis farms. However, most of them are in Portland and the surrounding areas. There are over 15 separate farms within 10 miles of Beaverton.
It’s not just marijuana that’s legal in this state. Oregon is actually the first state to decriminalize the possession of all drugs. Drugs are legal in the state of Oregon.
There are about 530 drug overdose deaths per year in Oregon as a whole. Unfortunately, those numbers will likely continue to rise. There was almost a 70% increase in the number of drug overdose deaths from April and May of 2019 to the same time in 2020. (Source)
13. Imbalance of Conservatives and Liberals
Another downside of living in Beaverton that many people stated was that there are “too many liberals.” It’s important to recognize that the Portland and Beaverton areas are extremely liberal. One local said,
“If you don’t find yourself having the same beliefs and opinions as a democrat, it’s hard to be there. The closer you get to Portland, the more liberal it gets.”
Regardless of your political beliefs, it’s never a good idea to live in a place dominated by one party. It’s important to be somewhere your voice and vote will be heard and noticed. It’s also important to have views from all sides of different issues. In a place like Beaverton, you’ll only ever really see one side of the coin.
14. Civil Unrest
With the politics in Beaverton, there is often civil unrest that comes along with it. The Portland and Beaverton areas include a large number of activists. This had resulted in many protests and in extreme cases, even rioting and looting.
People aren’t afraid to get involved politically, which means it won’t be uncommon to find people participating in protests, strikes, marches, or other demonstrations. This means that residents of Beaverton will run the risk of becoming unintentionally involved with these demonstrations or potentially become victims of rioting and looting.
15. Bad for Small Businesses
In relation to the previous point, the civil unrest in the area is one reason Beaverton is a bad place for small business owners. It can be dangerous and there is a risk of the business being looted and destroyed by various rioting groups.
In addition to the dangers of being a small business owner in this area, the level of control over businesses in Oregon is much too controlled in the opinion of locals. With the regulations required by the state, it makes it difficult for small business owners to be independent.
Even if you’re able to successfully open a business here, there is a lack of capital in Oregon and it makes it difficult to grow a business here. The high taxes in Oregon make finances another difficult aspect of operating a small business.
16. Risk of Natural Disasters
You may have heard of “The Big One.” Many reports say that the Portland area is due for a huge earthquake, most likely higher than 8.0. In addition to that earthquake, a tsunami is expected to flood coastal cities. Experts say “The Big One” will most likely happen within the next 50 years. The Northwest in general is not prepared to deal with such a natural disaster. (Source)
Oregon generally isn’t prepared to deal with any major earthquake or tsunami. However, the Cascadia Fault Line is about 70-100 miles off the Pacific coast. The Cascadia Subduction Zone is actually a 600-mile fault line that runs from northern California all the way up to British Columbia.
In addition to “The Big One,” other natural disaster risks include flooding and landslides. This is due to the large amount of rainfall Oregon receives each year.
17. Low Quality of Schools
In the United States, Oregon is ranked number 38 in public education. The high school graduation rate in Beaverton is about 86.82%. The average graduation rate in the United States is 88%, with the rates ranging from 75% to 94%. The graduation rate in Oregon is actually the 4th worst in the nation. (Source)
The quality of schools makes learning and success in school a real challenge for kids in the Beaverton area. In the words of one local,
“The schools are overflowing with students. They can’t fit all of them in the buildings so they have to teach them in portables now.”
It’s not just the city, neighborhoods, and streets overflowing. Even the schools are overcrowded in Beaverton.
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