Oregon has become the new California

Imagine if a grizzly bear and a beaver squared off in a cage match. It would be a decided mismatch in the bear’s favor.

That’s how interstate competition used to be between California – which prominently features a bear on its state flag – and Oregon – which boasts a two-sided flag, the backside on which appears a beaver.

But the script has been flipped, according to United Van Lines’ annual migration study, which tracked nearly 130,000 interstate moves in 2013. While California continues to lose residents to other states, Oregon is now the nation’s top moving destination.

Oregon boasts much of the same appeal as California, UCLA economist Michael Stoll told CNNMoney, including mild winters, open spaces, and local arts and entertainment scenes. But the Beaver State does not have California’s sky-high cost of living.

For instance, the median price for a single-family home in greater Portland is $285,000, according to Zillow Real Estate Market Reports. In greater San Diego, it’s $468,000; Los Angeles, $522,500; San Francisco, $617,500; and San Jose, $722,500.

Meanwhile, Oregon’s economy is stronger than California’s by several key measures:

  • The Beaver State’s GDP grew by 3.9 percent in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), which ranked third among the 50 states. The Golden State’s GDP increased 3.5 percent, ranking fifth.
  • Oregon’s nonfarm employment grew in 2013 by 2.3 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, tied for fourth in the country. California’s nonfarm employment increased 1.6 percent, tied for 16th in the country.
  • Oregon’s personal disposable income grew by 10.1 percent between 2006 and 2011, according to BEA. California’s grew by 6.3 percent over the same span.

Finally, the Beaver State’s tax regime is less onerous than here in the Golden State.

Kicker law

Indeed, Oregon is one of only five states that has no sales tax. It also is one of only six states that has a so-called “kicker law” on its books, stipulating that when tax collections exceed government forecasts by 2 percent or more, the excess must be returned to the taxpayers.

Since the law was enacted in 1979, Oregon residents have received refunds seven of 11 biennia.

It’s because Oregon promises those seeking economic opportunity a more abundant life than they can expect in California that Oregon has supplanted California as the destination state here on the Left Coast.

As Charles Tiebout, the economist and geographer famously declared all the way back in 1956 – when California was widely regarded as a promised land, flowing with milk and honey – people “vote with their feet.”

The continued loss of tens of thousands of residents in 2013 to Oregon and other states amounts to a vote of no confidence in the caretakers of the California economy.


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  1. LetitCollapse
    LetitCollapse 7 February, 2014, 11:28

    Oregon is a very beautiful state for sure. Especially western Oregon. And the people are generally very nice with traditional values. Oregon’s a great state if you like the rain. And I do. It’s the closest thing I’ve seen in real life to Little House on the Prarie. But this article failed to mention that Oregon is also a very liberal state with a very liberal government that has enacted some very crazy liberal rules and is a strong supporter of political correctness. So those with conservative values considering a move should be warned in advance. If governance is important to you, you probably won’t want to jump from one frying pan into another.

    Oh, and it may be advisable if you take the leap to sell your Ca car before you leave and purchase another one with Oregon plates. The folks up in that neck of the woods are often a tight-knit group and may at time be a little inhospitible to newcomers from Ca. Not saying it’s right, but just something that you might want to keep in the backs of your minds.

    Oh, and the folks who flee Ca to Oregon are generally Oregon’s gain and Ca’s loss. Producers. Which does not bode well for the Ca’s welfare state. If too many revenue producers leave it can only mean one thing: Higher fees and taxes.

    Reply this comment
    • Bill Gore
      Bill Gore 7 February, 2014, 19:33

      Yeah I and my business moved to Bend from San Diego a year and a half ago. Still love it! Has all the sunshine of SoCal, lots of water, much cheaper utilities, etc. It IS colder in the winter, the beach is about 3 hours away, and people are generally very friendly, open and down to earth. While “the valley” as the area west of the cascades is known, is overall quite liberal, Oregon also has a very strong tradition of government accountability, with much higher rates of citizen involvement in government. People here demand ‘good government’, which is derided as ‘goo goo’ in Sacramento….

      Reply this comment
  2. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 7 February, 2014, 20:27

    You become useless or sick in Oregon they eye you up as juicy fodder for the little green pellets machine….ala Soylent Green.

    If you like greener pastures, we can provide fast, efficient, tailored moving equipment and supplies!

    Just sayin

    Reply this comment
  3. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 7 February, 2014, 22:24

    Is this some derivative of Morse Code?

    Reply this comment
  4. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 8 February, 2014, 08:26

    keep up the good work trailer hitch buddy-you got a lot of mouths to feed

    Reply this comment
  5. Queeg
    Queeg 8 February, 2014, 08:48

    We work tirelessly in the rental yard kissing up to trolls reluctantly moving to Redneck Utopia. We love to assist….we have lots of pictures, maps and fast food coupons in our road kits…..seems to soothe them….trolls are eccentric and unpredictable…you know.

    Our free time is used in “passive” identifying, corralling,
    and reeducation of glum/hapless doomers.

    Hard work but some Comrade must do it. Oh My!

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 8 February, 2014, 09:50

      Do you ever comment on the actual topics or is your speciality limited to trashing talking, ridiculing, insulting and attacking other posters who take the time to actually contribute productive topic related dialog?

      At least make an effort to mature past the prepubescent stage of life. You’re a detriment to intelligent public discussion.

      Reply this comment
  6. Queeg
    Queeg 8 February, 2014, 10:53

    Oh My!

    There are so many sick and twisted posts out there. Someone has to bring light and levity and subtle “hints” none
    of this crap is serious in the long run. It’s got to be reined in toward fair and balanced!

    It is really dangerous and foolish to influence fragile sick minds teetering on the edges of civility by posting gloom, doom, dark tomes, bitterness, hopelessness and disrespect for authority verging on anarchism.

    Let’s not forget the racial slurs and bile either. Immigrants are human beings. They fear, love, hurt just like those who despise them.

    Teddy, Skippy, Ulysses, Melman, are “passively” sending hints…..fair and balanced….bad content…distortions, emotional rants don’t deserve content rebuttal.

    Reply this comment
    • LetitCollapse
      LetitCollapse 8 February, 2014, 11:04

      Be civil. Stop provoking. Stop insulting. Stop attacking. Take your spiteful comments to some other board. You are like a cancer to civil discussion. You provoke other decent posters like Bill Gore to respond in kind to your potty talk and it just fuels more eyesore for the rest of us. Go somewhere else to spread your nastiness.

      Reply this comment
    • Bill Gore
      Bill Gore 9 February, 2014, 09:34

      Hola amigos,

      doesn’t “It’s got to be reined in toward fair and balanced!” sound a lot like censorship?

      If your point of view is so fragile and dependent on authoritarian control then does it have any real validity?

      The richness and vitality of the Agora is in direct proportion to the diversity of opinion expressed there, even the lunatic in the orange fright wig, who, like Isaiah, just might be trying to tell you something you really need to know.

      Three thousand years later we still read and study the words of Socrates. The tyrant who silenced him left us nothing, except an abject lesson in the futility of grasping for control over peoples’ words and thoughts.

      And P.S.: If you want to savor some real hate-filled vitriol, bile and spite emanating from your side of the field, go check out the comments on Politico. Yikes!!

      Reply this comment
  7. Queeg
    Queeg 8 February, 2014, 23:38

    Getting into content…..California is a maturing state filled with many needy seniors as well lots of uneducated lower skilled workers. It will take a Herculean effort to improve economic productivity that is long lasting. Jerry Brown has a bad deck of cards dealt to him, but his performance has been remarkable considering California’s challenges.

    He deserves a second term. We do not need another rich cocktail party grazer making dumb blow up the boxes decisions…

    Reply this comment
  8. billybs
    billybs 9 February, 2014, 02:49

    Ok to all, but I am putting my money on a long term challenges in the Golden State that will not be resolved. We are over reaching as a state(promise too much). I see that there will be a day of reckoning, perhaps when same happens for USA. There will be shared suffering for all. Yes, the Super rich will largely escape, but who cares about them? Our resolve, our integrity will be on the line. It will be interesting to see who the leaders are and the citizen’s response. I am concerned that we have become too dependent as citizens with a sense that I need to get mine first. Hence, we have corrupt politicians, businessmen, govt unions, citizens, more than in the history of the country.
    Recently, I listened to a police officer’s conversation with a citizen in a coffee shop. He discussed his bank of time and how he could use given the four day schedule mandated by the contract. It compares to a conversation I had in the 80s with a General Motors union electrician. He explained how he made more than a licensed electrician outside of the company, but could not do what the licensed guy did, ..didn’t have the skills. That worked out well for GM.
    Doomer talk? Prudent talk.

    Reply this comment
  9. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 9 February, 2014, 08:13

    Day of reckoning is wishful thinking trumped up by medieval prognosticators the proletariat finally burned at the stake for fomenting untruths for personal gain.

    The state is booming. We only have too many low skill workers unable to be productive in the information age. Think on it. How many people do you know are obsolete like a 58 Plymouth.

    Reply this comment
  10. surfcitysocal
    surfcitysocal 9 February, 2014, 10:44

    California’s weed-smoking Marxist refugees from the 60s are indeed flocking to Oregon. And when they’re done with Oregon, it’ll be a union-controlled, highest(non-returnable)-taxing, business-squashing, liberty and job-stealing liberal utopia just like California.

    Reply this comment
    • Bill Gore
      Bill Gore 9 February, 2014, 14:43

      Well I ‘flocked’ to central Oregon and I don’t smoke weed. I’m too young to remember the 60’s, I own a business and my political fetishes tend to err toward what passes for ‘ conservative’ here in the USSA.

      Ulysses is right: decorum, please, gentlemen…..

      Reply this comment
  11. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 9 February, 2014, 12:46

    Name calling not allowed….Collapso says so….please heed his rules and directives…..

    Reply this comment
  12. billybs
    billybs 9 February, 2014, 15:18

    No one makes much off what I preach, good old Yankee thrift…make you and yours bed, sleep in it.

    Reply this comment
  13. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 9 February, 2014, 18:34

    Billybubba…..what do you mean Bro.

    Reply this comment
  14. billybs
    billybs 9 February, 2014, 19:02

    We are responsible for our actions. Thrift, integrity, are personal decisions.. if one wants to lie, cheat, not my problem. Move forward.

    Reply this comment
  15. OirishPDX
    OirishPDX 28 December, 2014, 18:28

    To all Californians. You people created the mess that your state has become. Then you start moving in herds to my state and immediately commence to changing into the very thing you moved from! You liberals are all alike, never accept responsibility for your failed policies. Now your ruining my home too. Get out, go back, stay away.

    Reply this comment
  16. trektravelers
    trektravelers 1 May, 2018, 17:13

    California is coming
    I don’t mean the residents the policies.
    Several years ago my Father had to lay off 16 men when the State adopted the Spotted owl protection act It made him physically ill
    Now the schools in Coos bay lack the funding with the loss of the timber industry did not hurt the big guys a bit they did not rely on BLM contracts,
    California is marching North
    Check out Portland it’s becoming the unwashed armpit of Oregon
    Jails releasing criminals due to ACLU lack of space lawsuits.
    California is coming
    Laws considered to take away my personal protection at 76 and Dad at 91 all the while releasing criminals into the general public Thanks Eugene.
    California is coming.
    So who you going to vote for another BROWN.

    Reply this comment

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