Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Florence (population 9,500) is a weathered waterfront town at the mouth of the Siuslaw River on Oregon's rugged, scenic mid-coast. It has grown by 5% during the last 10 years and is popular with retirees.
In fact, 62% of residents are age 45 or better, and 24% of all locals hold at least a four year college degree. Racial diversity has not yet arrived, and politics lean very much to the left. The crime rate is below the national average. The cost of living is 5% above the national average, and the closest city of any size is Eugene, 50 miles to the east.
Neighborhoods are peppered with pine trees, cherry trees and cedar trees, while many yards have a leafy ground cover instead of grass. Homes are primarily ranch ramblers and bungalows. The median home price is $410,000, reflecting a 24% increase since a year ago. Florentine Estates is a lush 55+ community with a sense of privacy.
Commercial fishing has always played a part in this area's economy, and while it still does so today, gambling tourism now mingles with the rugged maritime culture. The Three Rivers Casino is the reason why. With four restaurants, nationally recognized entertainment acts, table games and 700 slot machines, this busy establishment - and Florence - attract people from around the region.
Along the river, Old Town is the touristy section and has fun art galleries, bookstores, cafes, pubs and trinket stores. Grocery stores, fast food outlets, gas stations, banks and more are further inland on either side of the Oregon Coast Highway, which is Florence's main drag and one of two roads in and out of town.
The annual Rhododendron Festival dates from 1908 and is a town highlight, but a book festival, an arts festival and a dozen more festivals happen, too. The 457-seat Florence Events Center hosts exhibits, food and beer events, the Eugene Ballet and more.
Outdoor recreation plays a large part in most people's lives here. Three state parks and miles of often empty beaches are close at hand, with migrating whales and sea lions cavorting offshore. Seventeen lakes provide plenty of fishing opportunities.
Between Heceta Head State Park and gorgeous Hobbit Beach, about 10 miles north of town, the Hobbit Trail is a secluded walking path hewn from the forest's thick underbrush. Hikers call it magical and legend says that short, human-like creatures with curly hair have occasionally been seen crossing the trail.
The local branch of the Siuslaw Public Library District and the senior center both receive rave reviews. The library is well organized and offers free wi-fi and an interlibrary loan program, while the senior center features exercise classes, card games, line dancing, congregate meals and more.
Peace Harbor Hospital is small with just 21 beds but is accredited by DNV - Healthcare. It accepts Medicare patients and is a Level IV trauma cneter.
Rhody Express is the local transportation system and makes a loop around town, stopping at the gorcery store, the hospital, the casino and more. Bus buddies are standing by to assist anyone who needs help riding the bus, and all buses are wheelhchair accessible.
Summers are cool with temperatures in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Winter temperatures are in the 30s and 40s. On average, the area receives 70 inches of rain and a dusting of snow each year. Winters are often overcast.
It should be noted that Florence's earthquake risk is 375% above the national average.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is Oregon Tax-Friendly for Retirement? No
While Florence is somewhat remote, it has an accredited hospital, safe neighborhoods, good senior programs, excellent outdoor recreation and a beautiful locale, making it a place to consider for retirement.
Oregon became a territory in 1846, but its request to become a state was bogged down by Congress and the free versus slave state debate. Southern politicians finally allowed Oregon to enter the Union as a free state on February 14, 1859.
Although the 42nd parallel marks its southern border, water delineates most of the Beaver State's boundaries. The Columbia River separates Washington from Oregon on the north. The Snake River helps form the state's eastern border with Idaho. The Pacific Ocean is on its western edge.
Oregon is one of the country's most geographically diverse states and is characterized by volcanoes, dense forests, high deserts, and abundant bodies of water. For its latitude, its climate is mild. Mount Hood, at 11,249 feet, is the state's highest point. Crater Lake, the center of the state's only national park, is the deepest lake in the United States.
Timber, fishing, and hydroelectric power have pushed the state's economy in the past. Technology, however, is finding a firm footing. Tektronix and Intel helped establish the state's Silicon Forest. Notable companies who are or have been part of the forest include Google, eBay, Airbnb, and WebMD. Sportswear companies like Columbia and Nike also bring in billions to the state.
Portland, the state's most populous city, has more breweries in its boundaries than any other in the world. As of 2016, there were more than 60. The city boasts the world's smallest park. Mill Ends Park, dedicated in 1948, is a total of 452 square feet.
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