These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Oregon


We used science to determine which places in the Beaver State are the real pits.

Oregon is one of those states that quietly flies off the radar. The one in the corner, quietly doing its work without much of a peep. No one can deny that it’s a beautiful place filled with lots of progressive people who enjoy their little nook of the country.

But, is it all roses? Not at all. Just like other states, Oregon has its share of issues just like everyone else. And the purpose of this post is to use science to see where those places are.

So, after analyzing all 95 cities with a population of 5,000 or more, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Oregon:

  1. Brookings
  2. Prineville
  3. Sweet Home
  4. Sheridan
  5. Roseburg North
  6. Lincoln City
  7. Jennings Lodge
  8. Grants Pass
  9. Winston
  10. Ontario

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked.

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How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?

In order to rank the worst places to live in Oregon, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, great weather, things to do and a stable economy.

So we scraped the internet for those criteria, asked for the opposite of those things, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

How we crunched the numbers

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (The lower the worse)
  • Highest Unemployment Rates
  • Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
  • High Housing Vacancy Rate
  • Education (Low expenditures per student and low Student Teacher Ratio)
  • Long Commute Times
  • High Crime
  • The Worst Weather

If you’d like to see the complete list of cities, from worst to best, scroll to the bottom of this post to see the abridged chart.

Two notes: We’re aware of the feedback regarding Brookings. Here’s our source: http://www.bestplaces.net/find/state.aspx?state=or.

Additionally, if you record a video response, we’ll possibly embed it in this post. Send any video responses to: [email protected]

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1. Brookings

Population: 6,315
Crime: 2nd worst in Oregon for cities its size
Unemployment rate: 10.9%
House vacancy rate: 17.5%

There’s no doubt Brookings is a beautiful place. It’s right on the coast, and pretty much the first place you come to if you’re driving up Route 101 from California.

However, Brookings is, according to science, by far the worst place to live in the state of Oregon. Crime is second highest in the state for cities above 5,000, and the unemployment rate here is almost the highest in the state.

Additionally, nearly 1 in 5 homes are vacant here. So, technically, Brookings is an isolated place with a high crime and nothing to do except stare out at the sea or drive to Pistol River (population 84).

2. Prineville

Population: 9,294
Crime: 12th worst in Oregon for cities over 5,000
Household income: $30,628
Unemployment rate: 10.8%

The good news is, according to a story we recently did, Prineville is the 10th luckiest city in Oregon, based on lottery winnings per capita.

The bad news is if you hit it big, someone might steal your money here. Prineville doesn’t have the worst crime in the state, but it’s sure up there. And when you factor in one of the lowest household incomes in the state and a sky high unemployment rate, this town on the desert side of Bend may not be your first choice for a vacation.

3. Sweet Home

Population: 8,938
Unemployment rate: 8.6%
Household income: $36,205
Commute time: 14th worst in Oregon

Sweet Home doesn’t sound too sweet when you add up the numbers. This town in the middle of nowhere (north of Eugene) has a low household income and a long commute time, meaning even less time with the family. That is for folks who have a job – residents here are employed 2% less than the national average.

Plus, the public school students here get about 30% less financial support than their peers in the rest of the nation.

4. Sheridan

Population: 6,086
Population density: 5th lowest for cities above 5,000
Crime: Top 25% in Oregon
House vacancy rate: 13%

Sheridan is one of the smaller cities at the top of our worst Oregon list. Off by itself southwest of McMinnville, residents in Sheridan don’t have many options when it comes to entertainment (even though a lot of people like to ‘get outdoors’ in Oregon.)

Nearly 1 in 6 homes is vacant and crime is significantly above average for cities of its size.

The good news is the population has grown 10% in the last 15 years, and home values are rising. For the homes that are occupied, that’s a pleasant sign.

5. Roseburg North

Population: 6,493
Comfort index: 5th worst in Oregon
Household income: $30,951
Unemployment rate: 9.9%

Roseburg North is a smallish town along I-5 south of Eugene. Economically speaking, it doesn’t get much worse in Oregon. Residents earn a paltry salary and 1 in 10 are unemployed.

Additionally, not only is there not a lot to do here amenity wise, the weather is statistically almost dead last in the state. The comfort index is measured by BestPlaces.Net, taking into account rain, sunshine and humidity.

6. Lincoln City

Population: 7,926
Household income: $29,686
Crime: 6th highest in the state
House vacancy rate: 31%

Lincoln City is another beautiful place along Route 101. However, it’s one of the poorest places in Oregon. Residents are almost the most underpaid, and nearly 1 in 3 homes are vacant.

And, crime here is very high, according to the FBI.

One ray of sunshine is the weather here is rated nearly the best in the state.

7. Jennings Lodge

Population: 7,133
House vacancy rate: 10.4%
Commute time: 9th longest in the state

Jennings Lodge is the first of the cities on this list that is somewhat near civilization. Located about 20 minutes south of Portland, the weather here is pretty crummy, by the rest of the state’s standards. While the unemployment rate is far lower than the state average, the commute time is significantly higher, and the fact than 1 in 10 homes is vacant is a sore thumb on this community.

8. Grants Pass

Population: 34,454
Crime: 8th highest for cities over 5,000
Household income: 8th worst in the state

By far the largest city at the top of this list, Grants Pass, near Medford, has a very high crime rate in comparison with the rest of the state. And, if you’re measuring a city’s likeability based on weather, it doesn’t get much worse than in Grants Pass.

Homes here only average $32,991 in income each year, which is almost the lowest in Oregon.

9. Winston

Population: 5,352
Household income: $31,627
Population density: lowest in Oregon
Unemployment rate: 9.9%

Winston is, basically, a tiny place with nothing to do, where the people are underpaid and underemployed. It’s a place along I-5 that you’ve probably driven past many times and didn’t even notice.

Does that sound fun to you?

10. Ontario

Population: 11,273
Household income: $30,545
House vacancy rate: 10.6%
Crime: 3rd highest for cities of its size

Ontario might as well be in Idaho, it’s so far away from everyone else. Folks here suffer through high crime, low wages and a very high number of homes aren’t occupied.

On the bright side, the public education system here is 6th highest in Oregon.

There You Have It

Like we said earlier, Oregon is a great place, but our goal was to point out where the worst places are, according to data. So, if you’re analyzing places in Oregon with the worst economic situations, where there’s high crime and there’s not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best places to live in Oregon, according to science. The complete report on the best places in Oregon is here.

  1. Lake Oswego (Pop. 36,813)
  2. West Linn (Pop. 25,158)
  3. Keizer (Pop. 36,402)
  4. Sherwood (Pop. 18,088)
  5. Bethany (Pop. 20,505)

Send any video responses to: [email protected]

Detailed Rankings For Worst Places In Oregon

See Data Here.

City Population Worst Job Score Rank
Brookings 6,315 35.46 1
Prineville 9,294 37.48 2
Sweet Home 8,938 37.69 3
Sheridan 6,086 40.23 4
Roseburg North 6,493 40.31 5
Lincoln City 7,926 40.35 6
Jennings Lodge 7,133 40.88 7
Grants Pass 34,454 44.21 8
Winston 5,352 44.25 9
Ontario 11,273 45.06 10
Coos Bay 15,938 45.35 11
Seaside 6,441 45.58 12
Madras 6,215 46 13
Sutherlin 7,761 46.21 14
Astoria 9,510 47.02 15
White City 7,392 47.29 16
Cottage Grove 9,671 47.48 17
Milton-Freewater 7,025 47.63 18
Roseburg 21,542 47.81 19
Scappoose 6,571 48.52 20
Klamath Falls 20,943 48.67 21
Junction City 5,445 49.06 22
Monmouth 9,549 49.5 23
Lebanon 15,500 49.63 24
Independence 8,535 49.65 25
Talent 6,086 50.42 26
Hayesville 18,224 50.88 27
Newport 9,989 51.54 28
St. Helens 12,807 52.02 29
Molalla 8,039 52.15 30
Florence 8,412 52.33 31
Gladstone 11,570 52.35 32
Mcminnville 32,092 52.4 33
Forest Grove 21,245 52.44 34
Deschutes River Woods 5,627 52.48 35
Sandy 9,498 52.48 36
Woodburn 23,879 52.6 37
Redmond 26,186 52.71 38
West Slope 6,676 53.08 39
Medford 75,134 53.35 40
Oak Grove 17,262 53.44 41
Hood River 7,115 53.67 42
Eagle Point 8,368 53.81 43
Gresham 105,612 54.1 44
North Bend 9,679 54.63 45
Stayton 7,637 54.77 46
Portland 585,888 55.17 47
Fairview 8,884 55.23 48
Springfield 59,347 55.65 49
Albany 50,239 56.17 50
Green 8,008 56.19 51
Ashland 20,186 56.35 52
West Haven-Sylvan 7,016 56.58 53
The Dalles 13,537 56.58 53
Oregon City 31,904 56.73 55
Four Corners 16,472 57.19 56
Silverton 9,193 57.38 57
Baker City 9,790 57.44 58
Garden Home-Whitford 6,490 57.52 59
Cornelius 11,867 57.71 60
Raleigh Hills 6,861 57.96 61
Wilsonville 19,262 58.19 62
Happy Valley 14,050 58.5 63
La Grande 13,027 58.88 64
Dallas 14,632 60.06 65
Bend 77,063 60.63 66
Umatilla 6,864 61.44 67
Troutdale 15,964 62 68
Central Point 17,078 62.23 69
Milwaukie 20,391 62.29 70
Canby 15,770 62.48 71
Pendleton 16,684 62.48 72
Salem 154,835 62.5 73
Tualatin 26,106 62.69 74
Eugene 156,222 62.71 75
Cedar Mill 15,118 62.77 76
Altamont 19,544 63.1 77
Newberg 22,063 63.33 78
Corvallis 54,341 63.73 79
Damascus 10,529 63.79 80
Beaverton 90,254 63.83 81
Rockcreek 9,488 66.02 82
Tigard 48,366 66.02 82
Cedar Hills 9,273 66.21 84
Aloha 50,710 66.58 85
Hermiston 16,650 67.71 86
Oak Hills 11,005 68.02 87
Oatfield 14,594 68.69 88
Bull Mountain 8,990 68.77 89
Bethany 20,505 69.77 90
Sherwood 18,088 70.63 91
Keizer 36,402 70.81 92
West Linn 25,158 71.88 93
Lake Oswego 36,813 72.69 94

About Nick Johnson

Nick has been working and writing about real estate for almost ten years. He's written about everything from the best places to live to the most boring places to live.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 140,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

31 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Oregon

  1. Stats are off for sure.
    Winston is no place close to 5K and I have never heard of North Roseburg. Roseburg is Roseburg and the weather is great. And Roseburg is not north of Eugene. This appears to be a story of someone sitting at a desk who clearly has never visited at least my two little cities of DOUGLAS County Oregon.

  2. Concerning Brookings. Brookings actually has the lowest crime rate in Oregon according to FBI statistics. Brookings was recently named the “Safest City in Oregon.” Also, as reported in the June 17 issue of the Curry Coastal Pilot, Brookings is experiencing a housing shortage…so the statistic that one in five Brookings homes is vacant is completely false. Home prices are up. Weather is good. Fishing is good. Life is good. Visit our website at http://www.brookings.or.us for the truth about our community. Gary Milliman, City Manager.

  3. Um I’m sorry “Roseburg North” or any other part of Roseburg is located 68 miles south of Eugene on I5. Please get your facts straight before shit posting about a community you know nothing about. Seriously dude! Unbelievable!

  4. Did they even take into consideration that most of Sheridan’s population resides inside FCI-Sheridan? (Federal prison) all of their numbers are incorrect due to that one fact!

  5. Please get your facts straight before posting! You have to many incorrect facts to mention all of them. There has never been a city called Roseburg North. There is a city named Roseburg, population over 24,000. Second error I noticed right off is the picture you have labeled as Winston is of Myrtle Creek.

      1. Not M.C. It IS Winston…just the eastern edge of it as you are driving out of Winston toward I 5. Winston is actually doing well & improving yearly. The “North Roseburg” stuff is idiotic.

  6. It didn’t say roseburg was north of Eugene… “Roseburg North is a smallish town along I-5 south of Eugene.” Just saying but regardless these facts are bs if you ask me

  7. In regards to Prineville. Yes the facts are true but your last statement saying not to vacation there is ridiculous. Income and housing etc do not affect tourism spots such as camping, rv resorts, reservoir fun etc. It’s a great place for summer vacations!

  8. The population for Sheridan includes – 1,759 Total Inmates at the federal prison. Back them out and the population drops below 5,000 so we should not be part of the list

  9. I live in Oregon, but not in any of the cities mentioned. Your “scientific” approach just goes to prove what people sitting behind a desk know……very little. I would rather live in any of the worst places you list than your 5 best, which are all basically suburbs of Portland. But then again, I see low population density as a GOOD thing!

  10. Worst information I have ever seen. I have had the pleasure of living all over this state in the last 48 years…You have missed the mark with your so-called scientific analysis. Hope you aren’t making your living with this bogus report…cause you won’t be able to afford to live in Oregon.

  11. You know you’re right, Sweet Home is a terrible place to live. The two lakes less than 15 minutes away provide way too much recreation to a town our size. Water skiing, fishing, camping, hunting, trapping, gold panning, mountain bike trails… ugh… who needs any of that. Additionally, being located less than a little over an hour from skiing, the coast, world class rock climbing, hiking, Portland, and Eugene (35 minutes) shouldn’t be taken into account. Also the low cost of housing is just a horrible burden here, as well as the extremely low (for Oregon) cost of living. And my 15 minute commute to work with virtually no other traffic in the mornings and evenings – I’m not sure how I get through it every day.

    Congrats on Durham County’s almost 30% child poverty rate though. Perhaps they need some better home snacks in your own back yard. I case that was too subtle for ya’ll in the South, STFU about Oregon.

  12. So Nick Johnson, you’ve been to how many of these towns? I’ve been to most of them (though I’m not sure how to get to Roseburg North). Despite your comment on Jennings Lodge, I found civilization in all the towns I actually went to. If civilization means population in your head, you’re dead wrong but you’re welcome to keep your illusions if they make you feel better.

  13. While I agree the job opportunities and income in Lincoln City are really low, the statistic on vacant homes fails to address the issue of how many are second homes or vacation rentals. And reading the police blotter in the local paper one wouldn’t get the idea that serious crime was a big issue, especially violent crime. The biggest thing most local cops have to do is ticket tourists and bust the occasional DUI. If you like the beach life and avoiding gang shootings, it sure beats Portland.
    I do find it funny that Lake Owego and West Linn, two cities (suburbs) I’ve lived in, are ranked 1 and 2. I’m sure having the wealthiest population doesn’t enter into it, right?

    1. Thank you! I was thinking the same thing about the vacancy rate in both Lincoln City & Brookings, and “funny how the places with the highest incomes rate as #1 & 2.”

  14. Personally i’ve only lived in Brookings for about 4 years, but i have lived all over the state of Oregon. Brookings would be at the top of my list to live in, not the bottom.

    Personally, this post couldn’t be any further from the truth. I just came back from living in Compton, Ca and Long Beach, Ca. You want to see crime? Try living there. The worst thing i have ever seen in the news here was driving under the influence.The biggest problem with crime we have is the lack of it, causing the very large police force that we have to get restless.

    Most of Brookings is retired, meaning the income is lower yes, but because they OWN their house and don’t need to work anymore. Also, good luck finding a home in Brookings…there are hardly any left!

    I Think they got this list wrong, the meant to say “Top Ten places to live in Oregon” considering most of these places are small towns that are fantastic to live in.

  15. Funny coming from someone that lives in a state that has a MUCH WORSE crime rate, poverty, income deprivation, and, just to be clear, more meth labs than just about anywhere in the country #7 in the top 10 list).

  16. Living in Ontario, I would actually LOVE for us to be part of Idaho. Oregon rules and regulations make it difficult for small businesses to compete with those in Idaho, even though there is no sales tax.
    Many people who make larger incomes by working in Oregon, many for state agencies and educational institutions, also physicians and lawyers who practice in Oregon, choose to live on the Idaho side of the state line because property taxes are lower.
    Yeah, it’s time for Ontario, and Malheur County (19th largest US county in terms of geographical area) to secede and become Idaho’s 45th county. Oregon won’t miss us.

  17. Wow! You obviously know nothing of Oregon. One and three houses vacant in Lincoln city that’s called vacation rentals. I know people that live in most of that speak very highly wow! You obviously know nothing of Oregon. One and three houses vacant in Lincoln city that’s called vacation rentals. I know people that live in most of these towns and they are great places. Good reports on anything come from people who actually go out and experience what they are studying. Sheridan is growing because people want to live there. Sweethome is a wonderful area of more things to do than you can explore in a summer. I have never met anyone who didn’t love living in prineville. Lincoln city is still one of the most popular coast destinations and its darn near impossible to get a camp site in the summer. Get your facts right before you just go spout of your worthless verbal diarea of an uneducated opinion.

    1. @Jeremy as someone from Prineville (and not very proud of that fact), let me say it absolutely deserves #2 worst place in Oregon, if not #1. The smart people leave the first chance they get and never look back, and most of the people who stay are the dregs of society who don’t have many other options. I can’t think of a single person there that moved there willingly if they had any other choice.

  18. I don’t know about the other city’s but I agree about Grants Pass. I fact i think it should be # 1. I live here and its the worst city ever.

  19. Roseburg is a disgusting town with no healthy restaurant options, the mall looks like a bomb went off 20 years ago and people are just now trickling back in, most people are obese and 90% of them smoke so it seems like Roseburg itself smells like an ashtray. The jobs rarely pay above min wage however there’s not many jobs here period. The only town worse than Roseburg is Sutherlin and that is like the armpit of the freeway, where slobs walk around all day in their pajamas obviously in the throes of different stages of their meth addiction. Oh and there are stores lining the streets that look like people are selling their old junk that’s broken and smells like cat pee. And label it as “antiques” or “collectables”. This area SUCKS it’d be a great place to visit and enjoy the river but it’s a depressing horrible place to live.

    1. Then leave and go to Portland.
      If your going to rate a place get out of the ghetto areas. It’s OK YOUR dumb remarks will keep the Crack heads here while you move on…C ya… I have been all over the US and this area is wonderful…Folks can have their ivory towers…simpler life styles are much healthier and enjoyable.

  20. Lived in Brookings for the past 8 years. Have you even been here for 8 minutes? You must use the same “science” to reach your conclusions as Al Gore did to reach his. One teacher per 580 students! Come on. Pistol River? Haven’t you ever looked at map and seen we are 30 miles from Crescent City, California (yes the road runs south as well as north).

  21. WHAT A JOKE…….. COME VISIT SWEET HOME….. We have not one but 2 lakes, a river running through the town and the added advantage of being the gateway to one of the most beautiful national forests you have ever seen……. never mind stay where your at !

  22. Good! The more BullShit like this that gets published, the more stupid people that believe it the better off my gorgeous Oregon will be! Stay away. This is Paradise, and we really truly do not need any more dimwitted folk like the ones who put this hot mess together. I have lived in 4 of these towns over the last 48 years and there is no truth to your judgments. The people here are smart, kind, and generous. Stay home. We don’t want you here.

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