These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Oregon For 2018

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

Join RoadSnacks
This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2018.

Swipe left for slideshow. Article continues below.
Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

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 73 cities with a population of 5,100 or more, we came up with this list as the 10 worst places in Oregon:

  1. Madras (Photos)
  2. Ontario (Photos)
  3. Prineville (Photos)
  4. Sweet Home (Photos)
  5. Klamath Falls (Photos)
  6. Cottage Grove (Photos)
  7. Milton-Freewater (Photos)
  8. Springfield (Photos)
  9. Umatilla (Photos)
  10. Woodburn (Photos)

What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small town America, that’s not the case. We understand there’s a lot of good in every place.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2018.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

How we determined the worst places to live in Oregon for 2018

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:

  • Good education
  • Lots of jobs
  • Low crime
  • Low poverty
  • Nice homes
  • High incomes
  • High population density (Lots of things to do)
  • Short work commutes
  • Health insurance

The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight — if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,100 people were considered — leaving 73 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 73 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the rankings into one ‘Worst Place To Live Score’.

Finally, we ranked every city on the ‘Worst Place To Live Score’ with the lowest score being the worst city in Oregon — Madras. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in Oregon.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

Advertisement. Article Continues Below.

1. Madras

Madras, Oregon

Source: Google Maps

Population: 6,504
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $105,400 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.2% (3rd worst)
Madras needs some tough love as it ranks as the 1st worst city to live in Oregon for 2015. There’s not a lot to do here, and when you factor in some of the lowest student support in the state and some of the worst weather, it’s not a place you might want to move to.

And the crime in Madras is the 21st highest in the state, where 1 in 27.1 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.

2. Ontario

Ontario, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,045
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Home Values: $108,500 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.6% (17th worst)
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.

3. Prineville

Prineville, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,419
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Home Values: $133,000 (7th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.2% (7th worst)
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.

4. Sweet Home

Sweet Home, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,171
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 3)
Home Values: $118,500 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.3% (2nd worst)
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 have a 15.3% unemployment rate.

Additionally, 2590.0% of the population lives below the poverty line.

5. Klamath Falls

Klamath Falls, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 21,322
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 3)
Home Values: $139,300 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.5% (4th worst)
Klamath Falls needs some tough love as it ranks as the 5th worst city to live in Oregon for 2015. There’s not a lot to do here, and when you factor in some of the lowest student support in the state and some of the worst weather, it’s not a place you might want to move to.

And the crime in Klamath Falls is the 22nd highest in the state, where 1 in 27.2 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.

6. Cottage Grove

Cottage Grove, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,889
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Home Values: $161,000 (17th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 10.7% (16th worst)
The unemployment rate in Cottage Grove is a sky high 10.7%, which is the 16th highest in the state. Ouch.

The median income in Cottage Grove is $38,994. That means 2190.0% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn’t horrible here, but you have a 1 in 18.1 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within city limits every year.

7. Milton-Freewater

Milton-Freewater, Oregon

Source: Google Maps

Population: 7,059
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 4)
Home Values: $108,800 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (23rd worst)
Milton-Freewater, part of Umatilla County, is the 7th worst place to live in Oregon for 2015.

. Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $40,495, and crime 35th worst in Oregon.

Additionally, the poverty level is 3050.0% in Milton-Freewater.

8. Springfield

Springfield, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 60,611
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 5)
Home Values: $166,300 (19th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.8% (24th worst)
Things are starting to get progressively more ‘modern’ and in line with what you expect in a great state such as Oregon when we get to Springfield. Sure, the unemployment rate is at 9.8% (which is really high), and the median income is $39,670. But the homes are at least above the $100,000 mark, and the schools aren’t a complete mess.

9. Umatilla

Umatilla, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 6,986
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 2)
Home Values: $114,700 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 14.5% (4th worst)
Umatilla, part of Umatilla County, is the 9th worst place to live in Oregon for 2015.

. Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $41,771, and crime 72nd worst in Oregon.

Additionally, the poverty level is 2050.0% in Umatilla.

10. Woodburn

Woodburn, Oregon

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 24,765
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 5)
Home Values: $157,900 (16th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (27th worst)
When you’re looking at science and data, Woodburn is the 10th worst place you can live in the state of Oregon. Let’s see why.

First off, the crime here is really high, in comparison to the rest of Oregon. Woodburn is the 40th most dangerous place you can live in the state, where you have a 1 in 37.4 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime. Meaning lots of people are getting robbed here.

Homes here average $157,900, which is the 16th lowest in the state. You can defend ‘cheap living’ all you want, but the fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there’s not a lot of demand to live in Woodburn.

Income levels are just about $44,228, the 31st lowest in Oregon.

When you add it all up, Woodburn really is quite an undesirable place to live. The people who have to live in here could use a big hug right about now.

Wrapping Up The Worst In Oregon

If you’re looking at areas in Oregon with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Madras ranks as the worst city to live in Oregon for 2018.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Oregon:

  1. Lake Oswego (Pop. 38,065)
  2. Sherwood (Pop. 18,965)
  3. Brookings (Pop. 6,390)

For more Oregon reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In Oregon

City Rank Previous Rank Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
Madras 1 1 6,504 15.2% $105,400
Ontario 2 4 11,045 10.6% $108,500
Prineville 3 5 9,419 12.2% $133,000
Sweet Home 4 7 9,171 15.3% $118,500
Klamath Falls 5 2 21,322 14.5% $139,300
Cottage Grove 6 6 9,889 10.7% $161,000
Milton-Freewater 7 3 7,059 9.9% $108,800
Springfield 8 13 60,611 9.8% $166,300
Umatilla 9 11 6,986 14.5% $114,700
Woodburn 10 15 24,765 9.6% $157,900
Winston 11 26 5,364 11.3% $149,900
Sheridan 12 9 6,054 15.8% $153,000
Sutherlin 13 12 7,883 8.9% $126,300
Redmond 14 8 27,998 9.8% $194,600
Stayton 15 16 7,875 13.1% $195,700
Grants Pass 16 17 36,776 9.7% $186,200
Independence 17 19 8,982 11.8% $150,300
Roseburg 18 22 22,201 10.5% $170,900
Seaside 19 24 6,514 12.1% $258,100
Lebanon 20 18 16,162 8.8% $143,100
Medford 21 14 78,856 7.6% $213,300
St. Helens 22 25 13,169 7.7% $179,300
Hermiston 23 26 17,150 7.4% $143,600
Salem 24 21 161,975 9.0% $188,900
Gresham 25 23 110,042 8.8% $224,000
Talent 26 46 6,323 10.4% $186,600
Coos Bay 27 10 16,129 10.2% $166,200
Pendleton 28 48 16,861 11.0% $147,400
Tillamook 29 5,063 7.1% $177,100
Florence 30 29 8,597 11.0% $180,900
Hood River 31 52 7,476 2.7% $324,600
Cornelius 32 20 12,241 11.5% $193,300
Mcminnville 33 30 33,724 10.3% $200,800
Eugene 34 39 161,649 8.3% $246,400
Eagle Point 35 31 8,790 9.6% $192,900
Troutdale 36 42 16,535 11.6% $233,600
Astoria 37 28 9,595 6.4% $233,600
Fairview 38 34 9,215 7.3% $211,600
Molalla 39 33 8,867 6.5% $207,200
Portland 40 51 620,589 7.5% $319,400
Albany 41 36 51,919 10.1% $179,900
Damascus 42 49 10,842 8.0% $360,300
La Grande 43 53 13,079 7.0% $150,000
Dallas 44 43 15,175 11.2% $179,400
Creswell 45 39 5,154 8.5% $185,000
Monmouth 46 44 9,919 6.8% $198,100
Newport 47 32 10,139 5.7% $219,100
The Dalles 48 45 15,276 5.6% $177,500
Forest Grove 49 35 23,214 7.6% $232,400
Ashland 50 65 21,002 7.4% $362,500
Wilsonville 51 63 21,814 6.8% $349,800
Warrenton 52 37 5,260 4.9% $208,600
Central Point 53 60 17,793 9.3% $188,300
Newberg 54 38 22,749 6.6% $228,000
Scappoose 55 66 6,901 9.2% $222,400
North Bend 56 41 9,635 9.1% $169,400
Happy Valley 57 68 17,474 6.5% $425,300
Keizer 58 57 37,497 8.2% $203,600
Corvallis 59 69 55,766 8.1% $276,900
Hillsboro 60 53 100,462 6.3% $255,700
Gladstone 61 56 11,850 8.8% $232,300
Tigard 62 58 50,787 6.1% $320,100
West Linn 63 72 26,242 5.6% $397,500
Beaverton 64 50 94,865 7.9% $303,500
Bend 65 67 84,416 5.6% $295,300
Silverton 66 61 9,585 8.3% $230,500
Canby 67 47 17,218 5.4% $256,900
Tualatin 68 64 27,024 6.2% $337,100
Milwaukie 69 59 20,643 7.2% $245,000
Sandy 70 55 10,369 6.6% $219,600
Brookings 71 62 6,390 7.3% $264,400
Sherwood 72 70 18,965 4.8% $313,000
Lake Oswego 73 71 38,065 6.3% $508,500

Like RoadSnacks on Facebook:

 Rankings, Worst 

43 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Oregon For 2018

  1. In your colection of “scientific” information you should have been informed Roseburg is south of Eugene, And it’s just Roseburg, not north roseburg….

  2. You meant COBURG, not “Roseburg North.” Roseburg has over 21,000 citizens, and is south of Eugene. The photo you’re using is of Roseburg as well. Just because you write on the internet doesn’t mean you shouldn’t proofread and fact-check yourself. Shame on you and this site for publishing this without reading it first.

  3. Im not sure what “North Roseburg” is. I live in Roseburg Oregon, which is one hour SOUTH of Eugene and we have a population of 21,549. Maybe get your facts straight.

  4. Roseburg North??? I have lived in the state for 37 years and lived in Eugene and never heard of this place. Do you mean Coburg? The town of Roseburg is an hour south of Eugene and has over 20,000 residents.

    1. Winston is home to wildlife safari, an incredible drive through zoo my family visits once a year. Not to mention awesome hikes to waterfalls and rivers nearby and a 2 hour drive to Coos Bay. I wouldn’t want to live there, but there certainly isn’t ‘nothing to do’ in Winston/Roseburg.

  5. You have the location of Roseburg incorrect. Not sure how much of this to believe, depends on what you classify as things to do.

  6. What a negative article. I wonder if you ever thought about writing an article about the best places to live in Oregon. Or were you too busy coming up with only negative things to say?

    If you don’t like the places you listed, then do their citizens a favor: Stay away. Stay far, far, *far* away.

  7. When Oregon had jobs which was before logging & working were dirty words, the towns you mention were 180 degrees different than what they are now.

  8. Jennings Lodge is #7? Interesting. I have lived here for 15 years, and did not even know that it was an actual city, as opposed to an ‘area’. However, we refer to it as the banana belt as it is usually a bit warmer here than 5 miles south or north (scientifically that would be Oregon City, Milwaukie, and 5 more miles would be Portland) We also are within 5-7 minutes of freeway ramps going N. and S. on I-205. The Willamette and the Clackamas rivers join forces just down the road which gives us plenty of water activities, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming, sunning, and of course fishing and boating of all sorts. Houses that do go on the market sell rapidly and for asking price. Yeah, you’re right, who’d want to live here?

  9. People please! If you don’t agree with this list that’s okay. I don’t either. But, to better state your case, be nice. I see so many mean posts and it’s not necessary.

  10. I would just like to say that many of the residents of this community are RETIRED. thus we will have a LOWer INCOME. Yes there has been an increase in crime, but remember, we are very close to Medford and regretfully get their overflow.

  11. Hahaha! Thanks for this! I grew up in Jennings Lodge and YES, it is not a city, it’s a neighborhood and YES, it TOTALLY belongs on this list! Glad the person above is happy living there but high crime, drug dealers, drunks, domestic violence, rape, incest, dog fights, poverty and sh*t, etc are all things I remember from my childhood there. I and other escapees I’ve met refer to growing up and leaving as “getting out,” as in “when did you get out?”

  12. Since when does Grants Pass have the worst climate? Its famous a giant “It’s the climate!” sign hanging on the same street pictured in your article! Most people say it’s better than Portland rain and eastern Oregon’s freezing temps any day.

  13. I was sad to see Sheridan on your list. Sheridan is a great little community, as are many of the others you listed. Most of us who live in these small communities wouldn’t think of moving to your supposed “best places”. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    1. Sheridan is a great small community they have Sheridan days the Monroe center friendly people it’s only like 12 miles from Mcminnville where u can find big item stores it’s only like 30 miles from the beach 25 from Salem 50 to Portland hmmmmm

  14. Winston has Wildlife Safari, there is no such place as North Roseburg and they are idiots if they think that their values (urban = better) makes any sense. I deliberately live in a place with fewer people so I don’t have to listen to this kind of logic and lack of integrity.

  15. 1. Regarding the “science” behind the article, since when is low population density a bad thing ? If so then people from these towns would be migrating in droves to Southern California, not vice-versa. Speaking of those Californians, when they move to my home town of Grants Pass, they call it paradise and pass the word along to their friends. These folks bring crime and sundry other urban baggage with them. I’d like to see if the ten worse communities in Oregon are also the ten most popular destinations for invaders from California. I’d bet the two lists would mirror each other.
    2. Grants Pass weather is fantastic.

  16. Hit the nail on the head regarding Grant’s Ass. It’s funny to see all the lames get their panties in a bunch defending their state that has only one thing going for it anymore, the geography.

  17. Grants Pass is a wonderful place to live Roseburg North is not a city, nor is Jennings Lodge, plus all these places are better than living in Portland, Assland(Ashland) and Lake NoNegroe

  18. I really love living in Grants Pass, all the people hear are very nice and very kind. The community even though it is quite a big place is a very tight nit community. Plus the weather truly is fantastic, every year we have sunny days all through the summer a good amount of rain each year not the torrential down pours in Portland every year. We also only get a little bit of snow each year not the 20 inches in Bend every year

  19. As pointed out, Jennings Lodge isn’t even a city, it’s an unincorporated community in Clackamas Country, so it’s hard for your article to have an credibility if you can’t get the definitions correct. Also, I think the photo you used, which I guess is supposed to show a boarded up building on right to highlight the run down aspects of JL, was actually a new restaurant under construction which is now completed. You could have also taken a photo of all of the nice homes along River Rd. in the city of “Jennings Lodge”, but that would I suppose defeat the purpose of the article. Also, Grants Pass has bad weather and Lincoln City has nice weather? Have you even been to Oregon? Lastly, you talk about Winston with no mention of “Wildlife Safari”? Get out from behind your desk and actually go see the places first before you regurgitate statistics.

  20. why with all the judgmental accusationswho are you to judge only god can judge me what are you arguing with me I’m not arguing with you

  21. This is the most ridiculous thing I have seen about best worst places to live. Brookings is 60 % retirement, of course there is a low employment rate. Every one is retired living the life. Density lol we are classifies as frontier on the tax roles with 27 miles to the next town.. How do you compare that to Tigard. Housing vacancies because there are a lot of second vacation homes and vacation rentals… What a miss representation… The good news is it may keep more people from flooding the area and affecting our density.

  22. First of all, Brookings does NOT have high crime. I mean, yes, it is quiet with not alot to do if you are used to big city life but it is a tourist town and retirement community. Many people here have two homes. For example, some retirees have a home here for summer time and then one in Arizona to go in the winter. I would like to ask where this “scientific” data come from? It is beautiful here and very slow pace but many people enjoy that way of living.

    1. Exactly… ironically they have another article about the safest cities in Oregon and Brookings is on it as well… so the author is clearly clueless and making up the content as they go along.

  23. All in All Sheridan’s actual Community Population is only 3300 as out of the 6100 you are stating 2800 are inmates housed at the Federal Prison. Unless you have spent a long period of time in Sheridan or lived there for a couple years or longer you really cannot give an opinion especially stating its on the Top 10 list of Worst Places To Live In Oregon. Every City in Every State has Good & Bad traits you Really Cannot Narrow Any Of Them Down To Being The Worst !!!

  24. I use to live in Roseburg and it sucked!! Totally nothing to do there very boring! No entertainment and if you wanted to go do anything fun you have to drive an hour or more away. Sorry to say but this is one of the worst places to visit or live.

  25. You guys are so out of touch with reality reality is Grants Pass number 8 has a very well-funded police force you’ve taken the crime weight from Josephine County you stupid f****** next thing as household income is $32,000 if you have a job in Josephine County 80% of the county drives to Medford for a job so when you really want to know what the annual income is you have to look at medford’s income

  26. All these towns you actually have to do work to succeed in not sit around on your ass all day like all the homeless in Portland. Also you clearly have never been to cave junction Oregon because if you have that would on the top of the list. Even people in CJ would agree. Just wish you could get your facts right

  27. McMinnville drives me crazy. The crime has increased over the past few years and the things the taxpayers pay for in McMinnville is downright ridiculous. I liked living in forest grove ok except that it’s expensive to live there. Most of the people who live in McMinnville bother me too particularly my moms neighbor who i call Mr scrudge. He always calls animal control on us to the point where I can’t take my dog to my parents place anymore. I live near amity which is more peaceful and quiet which I prefer compared to a community environment. City life isn’t for everyone that’s for sure. I could own 20 dogs where i live and none of my neighbor’s would notice. I like that I can do projects where I live and no one cares.

  28. I live in roseburg ater many years in crime infested san diego area (el cajon) i researched roseburg and to me all parts are outstanding, especially stewart park, the Y to name many more, whoever wrote this city is in my opinion an idiot and anyone who shares this article is trying to stir up fake crap…

  29. I see you have the “white trash” and the “whitest” cities which you specify looking at the white people per captia.
    That’s the only “color” used in your descriptions.
    Why is that?
    I have my own theories but what “reason” will you share with us?

  30. You want to see a trashy Town go to Green Oregon on char

    You want to see some trashy Street go to Green Oregon on chartres Street 95% of the houses are filled with white trash

  31. This so called study is obviously intended to generate controversy and keep people scanning through the ads. However I’d like to explain to the advertisers that this thing is a sad waste of your resources. I’d wager that the majority of hits you get from this is purely accidental. Maybe that is good enough for you, but you csn probably do better.
    The title of this scam is totally bogus. If the authors truely believe it is “scientific”, then they are really poor scientists. A better title might be 15 Oregon cities with highest unemployment rates.
    I believe beauty, crime, commute time, access to nature, overcrowding, friendly people, lower cost of living, and number of liberals should be included in any best/worst plaves to live study. Go back and do your homework. Most of all, survey the people who choose to live in the places and find out from them what is really important.

  32. I am not an Oregonian; I have never been one; I have driven through Oregon only twice but I am considering moving there, which is how I found these so-called stats on Oregon towns and Cities written by Roadsnacks. I have read most of their articles and based on their use of words and opinions, It didn’t take me long to realize that their views are bogus. Especially when I read their definition of “redneck” which was a crime in itself. There is only one definition of a redneck – “One who does outdoor work where the sun bares down on the back of their neck and turns the color reddish brown.” These are usually hard-labor workers and you can add any other characteristic you like but you will find that in most cases, a true red-neck will be the best friend you could ever have.

  33. I have been to all these places except Ontario and cant really disagee. The only thing I will say is if you add in traffic, polution and homeless population, I think Portland or Salem would rank higher. I am in those two cities quite often and the homeless people there are very aggresive. It is not a fun to dine or shop in a lot of areas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *