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Living in Oregon

Living in Oregon is one of the special benefits of attending the university. Residents take pride in their state and are concerned with the quality of life in their cities and with preserving a remarkably beautiful and diverse natural environment. Eugene, home of the University of Oregon, and the neighboring community of Springfield are gateways to several stunning recreational areas.

The Oregon coast, just an hour’s drive to the west, is a compelling recreational attraction: miles of shifting sand dunes; long, driftwood-strewn beaches; and tidepools at the margins of basaltic headlands provide possibilities for the wilderness experience.

The timbered foothills of the Cascade range are a ten-minute drive from the university. The mountains rise from the floor of the valley to above 10,000 feet in dramatic volcanic peaks. Vast areas of designated wilderness are crossed by a trail system restricted to hikers only. Nature enthusiasts can experience the solitude of the primal forest year round through hiking or cross-country skiing. Outdoor sports predominate in the mountains and forests of western Oregon — downhill skiing, camping, rock climbing , river running, and fly fishing are a part of the experience to be enjoyed in these nearby mountains.

Eugene-Springfield, the state’s second largest metropolitan area has a population of about 200,000. It is located at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers at the southern tip of the lush Willamette Valley. Portland, Oregon’s largest metropolitan area and gateway to the scenic Columbia River Gorge, lies 175 km to the north. Eugene is located on the main travel corridor that connects the major West Coast cities of Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and is easily accessible by car, rail, or air.

In recent years three national quality-of-life surveys have rated Eugene near the top in the nation for cities of comparable size. Its climate is mild throughout the year; winter days are damp but rarely frigid, and summers are dry and sunny. The city offers a cosmopolitan range of cultural, entertainment, and shopping opportunities yet retains its comfortable, small-town atmosphere. The Hult Center for the Performing Arts added a new dimension to cultural opportunities in Eugene. The Eugene Symphony Orchestra, the Eugene Ballet Company, and the Eugene Opera Company are in residence, and national touring companies, orchestras, and performers are scheduled regularly. The university itself offers first-class musical and drama events and sponsors films, art shows, and lectures on campus each year. Two major events on campus are the University Chamber Music Series and the two-week long Oregon Bach Festival, which are critically acclaimed as among the finest. The popular Oregon Shakespearean Festival takes place in Ashland, Oregon, located south of Eugene.

Miles of bicycle paths and jogging trails are maintained in the city and local parks. A favorite stretch is in Alton Baker Park, across the Willamette River from campus. A footbridge provides access from the university and makes it possible for students living in North Eugene and Springfield to bicycle to campus. “Pre’s Trail”, also in Alton Baker Park, is a specially designed European-style jogging and exercise course. Eugene is recognized internationally as one of the country’s leading sites for track-and-field competition.


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