Oregon vs. California

31 Aug

Credit: adapted from artwork by Vacuum3D

I’ve lived in Oregon for three years now, and only recently have I felt like I’ve adjusted to living here. It’s not that this is a bad place; rather, moving from California seemed like coming from a different planet. The two places couldn’t be more opposite, and sometimes it shocks me that they actually border each other.

Quite often in the first year after we moved I threatened go back home. The people drove too slowly, I couldn’t find one decent Mexican restaurant, I was convinced the radio stations only had three songs they all played on a loop. My significant other would remind me that homesickness clouds our judgment about the place we were so desperate to get out of in the first place.

He was right. I had forgotten about all of the things which really bothered me about my home state because I was so focused on griping about the new place. So I did some side-by-side comparisons, and realized both have their quirks.


California: People care too much.

Oregon: People don’t care enough.


California: Best Mexican food.

Oregon: Best food carts.


California: People drive as though they don’t care about their lives.

Oregon: People drive as though they don’t care about time.


California: Too much Rap mixed with Top 40.

Oregon: Too much Top 40 mixed with Indie.


California: Notoriously fast-paced.

Oregon: Notoriously laid-back.

Big Box Stores

California: Love ‘em.

Oregon: Hate ‘em.


California: Too much sun.

Oregon: Too much rain.


California: The only place people drink coffee.

Oregon: The one place people avoid drinking coffee.

Cost of Living

California: You need to sell your plasma on the weekends to make ends meet.

Oregon: You only need to work part-time to afford your own place.

Road Rage

California: A person will tailgate you, follow you into a parking lot and threaten you with a gun.

Oregon: A person will send a scathing glance your way.


California: Bacon is the devil.

Oregon: Bacon is God.


California: Buildings, building and more buildings.

Oregon: Trees, trees and more trees.


California: Every single ethnicity is represented.

Oregon: Diversity? What’s that?


California: Residents think they know good beer.

Oregon: Residents actually know good beer.


California: Tons of people, tons of traffic.

Oregon: A few people driving ridiculously slowly, tons of traffic.

Public Transportation

California: Available, but not worth taking.

Oregon: Available, and worth taking.

Work Ethic

California: Work is life.

Oregon: Work is what you do to pay the bills


California: Lots of good jobs….if you work in technology.

Oregon: Lots of good jobs….if you work in healthcare.


California: A status symbol.

Oregon: A thing that takes you from one place to another.


California: Ridiculous sales tax.

Oregon: Ridiculous income tax.


California: You’re allowed to pump your own gas.

Oregon: The pump is an elusive piece of equipment never to be touched by a lay person.


California: Has two: sunny and less sunny.

Oregon: Has all four.


California: Overzealous Giants and Lakers fans.

Oregon: Overzealous Ducks and Beavers fans.

Thoughts on Other States

California: “There are other states besides California? They don’t count as much as we do.”

Oregon: “We love everyone in the United States except Californians. They’re evil.”

This list confirms why I wanted to move, and why I may be an Oregonian at heart. Sure, it has its pitfalls, but I think it always has a saving grace. You have to appreciate the dampness because you know it brings lots of green and fresh air. You have to appreciate the time you have to pay bills or read a magazine while waiting in line to get your gas pumped. You have to appreciate that the same people driving slowly are also driving safely.

Oregon is not for everyone, but the same could be for California. It all comes down to what’s important to an individual. I thought after I moved here I made the biggest mistake of my life, but after reading the list above, I can honestly say I’m perfectly content with where I’m at.

64 Responses to “Oregon vs. California”

  1. ed jones 05/13/2020 at 9:27 pm #

    I’m a Californian and I am arrogant and have in excess of 20.M dollars to spend on a house. I’m going to move to Oregon and buy whatever i want and then put a huge gate around it with cameras and high tec security.
    I will then take my time in becoming Oregonized and slowly be nice to youse guys. You will appreciate me because I will make you feel so special and appreciated.

  2. Shannon 10/01/2018 at 2:38 pm #

    This is hilarious and very well written, thank you!
    Signed, someone very tired of California!

  3. Sonja 08/11/2018 at 7:59 am #

    Thsnk you so much! I truly enjoyed your perspective! Having lived in California only three years and debating the transition to Oregon. I miss rain and slower past life..Originally from the midwest..

  4. Rik 07/16/2018 at 12:18 pm #

    You touched on some good points but I am personally more interested in knowing the differences in politics between the two states. My wife and I are thinking about moving to southern Oregon because we are tired of all of the BS that goes along with living in Southern California. What is your take on the political differences. I recently heard someone say that Oregon is California lite. Whatever that means.

  5. Amber 02/02/2017 at 7:30 pm #

    Considering a move like this and you’re kinda selling me on it 🙂

  6. Babs 01/31/2017 at 4:17 pm #

    I live in Napa Valley Ca, and at thr risk of sounding like a Californian, it’s awesome.

  7. George 01/07/2017 at 7:55 pm #

    Thanks for the info , ill be movig to klamath Falls from The central coast in Cali . Im really nervous about the change and exited for new stuff.

  8. Melissa 10/25/2015 at 4:10 pm #

    Just wondering what areas of Oregon youd suggest as family friendly? Im a single mother with three children still at home and am very strongly considering moving to Oregon. I was thinking about the coastal areas….?

  9. Rita 10/16/2015 at 4:52 pm #

    This made me teary eyed. I was born and raised in SD California but never have felt like the “typical shitty” Californian. I already drive slow and take moments to smell the flowers, literally. Me and my husband are moving to Portland in March and we are confident that we are making the right decision. I just hope we aren’t judged too much by our past.

  10. Christine 09/01/2015 at 9:07 pm #

    Relocating from Alameda County Ca to Portland in a few months, I’m looking forward too the move. I laughed so hard when I read your California vs Oregon. Awesome!

    • Jen and Tonic 09/03/2015 at 7:13 pm #

      Welcome to Oregon (in advance). You’ll be here smack dab in the middle of winter so don’t let that get you down. Once Spring hits you’ll behold all of the awesomeness.

  11. calasade 08/26/2015 at 12:30 pm #

    California sucks, just flat out and totally, completely, utterly sucks. Lived in San Diego, LA, silicon valley, SF. Yep, they all sucked. I really can’t stress that strongly enough. Oregon, on the other hand, is AWESOME. Loved living there.

  12. Sori 07/24/2015 at 2:20 pm #

    I’m so happy I came across this post! My husband and I are planning on moving out to Corvallis and I was a little nervous about it. We wI’ll be visiting the area in the next few weeks to get a good feel of it.
    Do you have any recommendations on where to start relocating? How to find info on schools and such?

    Thanks; )

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