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A research project from

The Ford Family Foundation

Baker County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

We appreciate when we as a community are encouraged to make changes for ourselves as opposed to being told how we should live and do things from those not living in our area.

I feel safe in my community and appreciate the people here. Most have been here a long time, but most that move here really appreciate and respect our beautiful town.

I thought that being LGBTQ and moving back to rural NE Oregon was going to be impossible, but the pandemic allowed us to give it a try. This community has been the same welcoming place I grew up in. I have not experienced hate, harassment or anything but love and acceptance.

Businesses are struggling, having a hard time finding workers. People appear depressed (adults and kids), which translates into stress at home. To me, poverty is the primary problem area. I have found that people are burdened by a lot of unresolved trauma that gets passed on in their interactions with others.

Community Participation

Love the challenge of a remote small city that has a deep history and unique cultural DNA that is both very Oregonian and distinct at the same time.

I love the physical landscape, frontier resilience, access to the wilderness, community engagement and creativity.

There is narrow-mindedness and a dislike of different opinions.

Encroachment of social radicals

Like many communities, there are good and bad aspects. There are people who understand how to live in a small town, willing to help others and count many as adopted family. And there are those who move here and try to treat it like a city. They don't know their neighbors or understand that their actions affect the whole.


The most difficult [service] to access is healthy food. Since we have winter, access is even harder and gets more expensive due to our geographic disadvantage.

Cell service is inconsistent. Some areas are really bad, like by the high school and hospital. We have a good clinic, library and snow removal.

My town is very discouraging to any new business.

There are many things to do if people seek out the opportunities.

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Benton County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

The gap between the professional class and service sector class is widening. We have many more houseless families who seek shelter in public parks and forest land.

Life is hard for most people and there should be a fairer wealth distribution. How can anyone live on $1,500 a month if rent is $1,200?

Great neighbors, greenspace, and access to what Oregon and our region have to offer.

Overpopulation, overdevelopment, noise, stress and strain

High education levels, cultural and outdoor opportunities, tolerance of diversity, and science and environmental awareness

Many of our youth are struggling with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues exacerbated by the pandemic.

Constantly overrun by city and urban voters who affect our quality of life with their ideas.

Small town, beautiful area, friendly people

Community Participation

There is a strong sense of community and the way people take care of each other, including disadvantaged members of the community.

Everyone is always eager to chat when walking around the neighborhood, and there is generally a sense of belonging.

We are a privileged community — well educated, stable finances, active retired people, positive view of the world — in general. What distresses me is the increase in uncivil discourse and behavior, even here and much more in other parts of the state. That we are a less civil society and that individuals seem to have less regard for how we are tied together concerns me for our future.

There seems to be new growth and energy in this small rural town that has become a bedroom community.


I feel that mental health services for children and adolescents are underfunded and simply not available at the level they need to be.

En ocasiones no acompleto para el pago de la renta. (Sometimes I do not have enough money to pay rent.)

I would like to have more department stores in Corvallis and restaurants like Olive Garden or Texas Roadhouse and more housing in rural areas where there could be trails and a place to garden.

We lack supports for the growing number [of] Latino families. All local jobs are either agricultural work or in the service industry, meaning they are low paying.

No real internet options

Lack of basic needs jobs, housing and quality education

Jobs do not pay enough for the cost of living in this community.

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Clackamas County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

I love the outdoor culture.

A lot of people are struggling and having financial issues, forcing them to get rent or mortgage assistance or help with utility costs.

It feels very unsafe with the rise of crime and homelessness.

Lack of transportation and low-income housing services for elderly and disabled.

The community’s population grew at a [high] rate in the last 10 years, and new neighbors are not blending in with older residents.

Increasing divide between income groups, especially those at the highest incomes and those at the lowest.

Community Participation

Rural life has trade-offs that require mindfulness and resilient behavior. Just as all city dwellers aren’t the same, diversity comes in all shapes and sizes in a rural community such as this. Where we connect is the love of the land, space and simple values.

In my neighborhood we look out for each other. Several of us have each other’s house keys. I live in a great little subdivision, in a great little town.

It’s a mix of liberal and conservative here. The longtime businesses try to give back to the community. The high school leadership class raises thousands ($100,000+ last year!) for a family in need or a charity they choose in three week’s time!

There is a sense among a number of residents that this is a very exclusive community. My preference would be to have it more inclusive, racially and culturally.

My neighbor is very helpful. [They] bring in my garbage cans when I'm not home.

There is a sense of community and pride in our town.

We have an amazing mayor who cares for the little guys and is not afraid to challenge things.


My county ensures we have access to camping, hiking, rivers, etc.

Monopoly with cable and phone systems that are not very reliable is very frustrating

Parents bring up huge concerns about dental access for families. For most dental care you have to pay before service.

It's difficult for families to find affordable housing and child care.

Our grocery store is very expensive — sometimes twice the cost of other similar stores. People who can choose, because they have transportation, shop elsewhere. People without are forced to use their SNAP benefits here and do not get as much food as a result.

Where I live is a recreational area. We have many tourists that mostly speed through on their way to something else. Local food stores tend to be priced and focused on this recreational population, making some food shopping very expensive if you are outside of Sandy, like Welches for example.

Inside the city limits there is internet available as a public utility — this is a brilliant idea that should really be happening on a national level.

Lack of resources and hiring shortages in schools.

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Clatsop County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

The wildlife we see nearly every day is very precious to us and one of the rewards of living here. Deer and elk regularly come to our yard to eat, and we are always thrilled to see them.

Concern about increasing property values and increasing property tax for fixed-income households in retirement

The natural beauty of the beaches and greenery

Concern about tsunami risk

The scenery, the people, the arts, the history, the festivals, the new people

Affordable housing is needed. We need homeless support. Drugs are out of hand.

There is no access to therapists, health specialists or opportunities for kids, teens or adults with disabilities.

Community Participation

We've lost local control of our purpose of place and quality of life.

Lots of space, quiet and helpfulness of neighbors

Willingness of neighbors to volunteer time to the community

People here have been very welcoming and kind since we have moved in.

There are a lot of friendly people willing to jump in and help, but there is a significant lack of resources available to actually address and solve problems. Most resources are prioritized for densely populated, high-profile areas such as Portland.


Housing cost is astronomical. A single person cannot afford a studio. Rent is upwards of $1,000. Most of us work service jobs and do not make the required three times the amount of rent. If I lose my current housing situation, there is not another one bedroom for rent for less than $1,200, which I can’t afford on a single person’s salary.

The lack of social service resources results in challenges like addiction, mental health concerns, houselessness, work force shortage and crime cycles.

Watch out for bad roads and heavy traffic.

Lack of funding for infrastructure

Inability to address the lack of workforce housing and the homeless transient population.

Lots of things close by, ability to shop local

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Columbia County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

The beauty of the river, mountain views and wildlife

Being able to have an effective voice when I choose to exercise it.

We do not have employment opportunities to allow folks to work local. There are not enough good restaurants or events. Our downtown has wonderful buildings that sit empty that could be used for events and to bring diverse activity and services to the area.

It’s a great place to live. It needs improvements in electric company billing, better cellular coverage, and better jobs that don't revolve around mills and service industries that pay a living wage so folks can pay rent and bills.

I have nothing to complain about. I love it here and never want to leave.

Community Participation

Everyone pretty much knows everyone and takes care of each other.

Lack of tolerance to change and diversity

Small community with many older neighborhoods where people care about and for each other. My neighbors actually know my name.

Everyone comes together in good or challenging times.

When I moved here it was very welcoming with close knit people working together to take pride in the community. After the flood, people worked together to put the town back together. People made sure their neighbors had what they needed. Then after the financial crash, it seems like a lot of people in the valley lost their homes and moved here or because housing was ‘affordable,’ not because they wanted to. It really seems like their attitude has been divisive and with a sense of entitlement. But perhaps that’s a sign of the times.


Good internet is expensive and unreliable. Cell phone coverage is irregular because of the mountainous terrain, so there are null spots.

The recent surge in inflation is making life impossible for people to eat well if they are in the lower economic strata.

While lacking many basics for living, we are close to urban areas that have more services available. For example, primary care providers are local but specialist[s] are located in the PDX and metro area.

My community, like many, need local jobs that pay enough to support a family, preferably in technology. Kids should be taught coding and STEM so we can develop as ready workforces for common future careers.

Very nice community. Housing is way too expensive for young families. There is no hospital locally in Columbia County, which is a hardship for many elderly.

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Coos County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

Quiet, friendly community

Outdoor activities like hiking, lakes, rivers

Our community collaboration. People genuinely care about one another.

The small town makes for an easy living, convenient lifestyle for those fortunate to be making an adequate living income.

We are older, and it is difficult to hire people to get things done mostly because we are put off a lot, and our resources are limited and hard to find, and a lot of people don't take us serious.

I love it here. We have come a long way, but there is so much more work to do. The climate now makes even community events seem like a battleground of views, and we are seeing a decrease in volunteers because people just do not want to deal with the drama.

Homelessness and crime, both out of control, is a huge problem.

Coos Bay is a much safer place overall, and the weather is much better than most of the state.

Community Participation

The people are nice and help one another, and of course the beach is beautiful and peaceful.

The residents seem to resist change, even if it means they sacrifice quality of life.

Basically nice people

It’s a nice small town, just has problems handling the bad situations such as affordable housing, homelessness and drug abuse.

There’s lots of ‘if only’ sadness at the community’s seeming incapacity to acknowledge or tackle fundamental issues due to widespread suspicion and fear of change or anything new plus the lack of enough capacity to sustain good initiatives.

There are a group of agencies and people who do their best to unify and strengthen our community. There is little tolerance or respect for different cultures or experiences.


Roads are falling apart. We’re lacking in sheriff deputies in rural areas. Homeless people are living in the woods, which doesn't feel safe.

Lots of things to do here for adults and youth, but seniors in our area are against allowing new business in.

Investments in high-speed, reliable internet access, vocational training and mental health access are the needs I am most aware of in my surrounding community.

Businesses need employees, but there aren't enough places for the employees to live. We have too many vacation homes here that are rented out for travelers.

We are at a critical point. Mortgages and rents are extremely high, while wages remain low with limited job benefits. Many properties are owned by out-of-town investors who are looking for a profit.

Medical care is challenging as many doctors don't stay. One of the reasons is actually limited shopping.

We have an extremely high percentage of people with addictions and/or mental health diagnoses and few resources to help them. Our community needs a lot of help.

Quality day care and affordable housing are big issues.

It's a great place to live, with great schools, but we need more jobs and more affordable housing.

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Crook County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

We love our life. We love the concerts in the park. We love that the community values its children and its seniors and veterans. This is home!

People are friendly and generally upbeat. There is pride in the community and interest in improvement and innovation, while trying to maintain small town character.

The people are nice here, wildlife, the scenery

The outdoors and the general good nature of the community

I feel it is difficult to retain top quality employees in government, police, medical professions, recovery programs, etc. because pay is lower and opportunities in neighboring counties are greater. This results in greater turnover and generally lower quality of living.

I'm just concerned about the access to medical care and the lack of transportation to the medical care we do have, which is 35 miles away.

It's a very white community and people of color are not treated well, neither are women.

Community Participation

The people are friendly, helpful and interested in their community.

Just about everything is within walking distance. It is a very friendly town, and everybody knows everybody.

If we could begin conversations toward unity instead of towards othering and division, I think we could move towards our shared values and heal much of what is hurting.

The community can come to together to solve problems very easily. Our community struggles with the government telling us how to solve the problems, as it generally doesn't solve the issue.

Lack of educated people resulting in poor decisions that affect our community

Our community has a can-do attitude, is friendly and has some multi-generational businesses.

Politically divided, some with strong anti-government sentiments.

When the community works together, they accomplish good things.


Only satellite internet is available, and it's EXTREMELY slow — as in kilobytes instead of megabyte speeds.

The county is upgrading many things: roads, streetlights, sidewalks, select areas like the skate and bike park.

The housing prices — both buying and renting — are too high for this small town.

The wages are too low for the cost of housing. There is no housing available for anyone [living] on the local wage.

The schools provide many activities but always need family support.

Facebook has made a real change in our community. Some say in bad ways; some say they are a financial boost to the community’s schools.

I was tired of the complaints when our children were young that there was nothing to do. I am exhausted now in being the support for our grandchildren to get to all of their activities.

Most assistance programs require a very low income to qualify. Those of us at moderately low income rarely qualify for help, but we struggle to pay bills every month.

We have no options for garbage, so service is unreliable. Our internet is very poor also.

It’s hard to make ends meet at times.

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Curry County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

There is a lot to do for outdoor lovers. It is still relatively unspoiled and costs nothing to explore. There are a few really good places to eat and shop, especially as part of a coastal road trip, and significant crime is very low. Everyone generally knows what everyone else is doing.

It's very hard to get help with work that I cannot do alone. Medical and dental services are limited. Affordable housing is difficult to find. Political climate is not pleasant. Diversity is limited. All consumer-oriented products are limited. Social connections are limited, and the workload is intense for my job.

We work hard.

It is quiet. The air is clean. People smile and wave.

Immediate access to nature, wildlife, rivers and lakes, state parks

Lack of family wage jobs and housing.

Nice and quiet, hearing sirens is rare

Community Participation

I think what's interesting about living here is that community frequently seems to come before cultural/political differences. Although we don't talk about the topic directly, I know quite a few people on the other side of the political spectrum, and I can talk with them freely, respect them, and empathize with them because I know them. I'm almost certain they would say the same about me. We're different in many ways, but we have the common tie of community to bring us together.

[Moving here] has been a major improvement in quality of life. No grid lock traffic means less stress overall.

Racism, bigotry and radical anti-government sentiment

Socially isolated, secluded and quiet with few, yet friendly, neighbors

People are kind. Being in a small town makes us less anonymous.


We are in desperate need of help with our water system. We have 50% leakage! No one knows where the leaks are let alone how to fix it. We pay eight times the national average water bill, and you can't even drink it.

I can live on the salary I have for now but will be in huge trouble when retirement comes along, which is not very far off. I may become homeless then!

We need laws to remedy the cancer of non [local] resident-owned vacation rentals that are ruining the town.

Transportation is a big problem. I have a very costly commute. Limited mass transit. No taxi.

We do lack good medical choices. We have to go to Medford — a long drive — for specialists. And it’s VERY lacking in alternative medicine.

No job

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Deschutes County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

It’s a great town. Pretty landscapes, clean water, good weather.

We have so many options for outdoor activities. People are friendly. [It’s a] beautiful city.

One of the things I miss most about living in Central Oregon is the lack of any cultural events like live plays, classical music, choral music or orchestral music. It might determine if I continue living in this area.

I wish we had more restaurants with diverse food, more equity in our processes and our community, and a community vision. I love living here because of the access to nature it provides and because of my friends and family!

I’m concerned about growth that doesn't consider environmental impact.

No good jobs and arrogant wealth

Climate change, specifically wildfires and smoke has been harmful to the community every summer for the past 5-10 years.

Community Participation

As a tourist community, there's a tension between serving wealthy tourists/part-time residents and full-time residents. This tension is evident everywhere from city council meetings to grocery stores. There's not a strong sense of community among locals.

I am in a cross-cultural, international, interracial marriage — I am consistently concerned about racism directed at my husband, children and family.

Insensitivity toward people of color and people who do not have a home.

COVID-19 has been a very divisive issue in the community.

Great community involvement and financial contribution to the good of the community.

Everyone is so friendly and helpful.

Generally, people are nice and friendly. Lots love the mountains.

There is a core of folks who are engaged in efforts to build and maintain the community's offerings.


I don’t have access to high-quality internet at home. The internet at home is very low quality.

I make more money now than I've ever made and cannot afford my own place to rent.

Extremely high housing costs; lack of housing choice; high rate of comparatively wealthy retirees live in the community, which makes it challenging for the needs of non-wealthy, working families to gain attention from elected officials.

Bend has the only co-housing (intentional) community, which is so helpful for residents of all ages.

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Douglas County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

I like living in my town. Lots of recreation, kayaking, the river, hiking, restaurants, community events, the library, and wineries and breweries.

Great proximity to nature and the natural beauty. Community dedication to improvement.

We have lived all over the U.S. and have decided that right now, the benefits of being here (nature/near family) outweigh the drawbacks (poorer schools, fewer cultural/educational resources). It can be lonely to be a non-local, but we have found our tribe of like-minded folks.

We enjoy good friends, open space, access to most of what we need (VA, medical, groceries, auto maintenance, utilities). Good climate, beautiful scenery and a rural/small town way of life.

Ten years ago, there was very little visible litter anywhere I went. Now the roadsides are dotted with trash, regardless of if it's a city street, I-5 or a more rural roadway.

The people are so nice.

It is fun, safe and always entertaining!

Community Participation

People are friendly, and they do pitch in to help each other. Working with several organizations I find people are generous for volunteering to help with various opportunities available to them.

Although we love the size, beauty and many more things about this town, we are considering moving to a bigger town where people are more open-minded and accepting. I find the religious, conservative, political nature of many people here to be frustrating.

I appreciate the small community feel, knowing many people and neighbors being neighborly.

It's lonely. I feel more isolated here than anywhere else I have lived.

Locals make it well known people from California are not welcome to their social circles, churches or community groups.

Homophobia is ever present.


We need more small businesses in town and more opportunities for kids to work and play.

Arts and culture opportunities are underfunded by the local government.

While it's beautiful here, it's tough to enjoy the beauty here in town due to the lack of trails, lighting on the trails (a major safety issue the city ignores) and lack of healthy food options.

I really wish there was more outlets of help for people with mental or substance abuse issues. Too often they're left to wander the streets, likely homeless and not in the right mind, because there's nothing our community will do for them until they've committed a severe crime. I recently lost my father due to him not getting the mental/medical help he needed. That's not right. These people deserve help, and it shouldn't take someone getting hurt for them to get help.

Financial stability means I have much more freedom to pursue opportunities and activities that make living here easier — hobbies, travel, etc.

I believe affordable and low-income housing are still essential to jump start our economy, and I hope that Douglas County will participate more to make housing more affordable.

Very car dependent

This community needs more mental health awareness and providers.

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Gilliam County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

I am concerned about the lack of affordable, livable housing for young families with children who would like to live here.

Greatly worry about access to medical care and expenses. I make decisions on medical care based on what I can afford, not on what I need.

Limited growth will be the downfall of our small towns.

Local government not being connected with community needs and growth opportunities.

It's calm, peaceful, slow-paced, comfortable, safe.

Community Participation

This town is quaint, simple and loving. We are very welcoming of newcomers.

People stick by you when you need it. If someone dies, they all show up with food, help, etc.

Small community, friendly people. I know most of their names.

The sense of community and volunteerism to make our community a better place to live.

This community is full of people who care about other people. In moments of difficulty, people come together to help one another and find a solution. I love the community I live in.

We have strong local leadership at the County, City, and Chamber of Commerce levels. These leaders help keep the community alive. Community members volunteer on numerous boards and committees to better our community.

Not the most welcoming to newcomers


Things to do for kids seem to keep disappearing. Summer activities are few and far between.

Child care in general is a real issue. Even if you take a job, you just may not be able to find the support that you need with child care. Our center is full.

Internet service must be improved.

Lack of housing and employment opportunities

We are barely able to pay all bills and send our kid to school.

Can’t survive working part-time for $14 an hour

This is a great place to live and raise kids, although we have lost so many things from our schools over the years like FFA and agriculture programs. Fewer and fewer kids are doing 4-H it seems.

We are fairly safe, and we are able to let our kids out to ride their bikes and don't worry if you take your eyes off of them for one minute that they won’t still be there.

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Grant County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

Love the climate, friends and neighbors. Easy access to recreation.

People are friendly and interested in getting to know each other.

It's a very supportive, delightful community.

Lack of stimulation, adult education, arts theatre

People are turning against each other.

Friendly, lots of people know each other, and not a lot of traffic!

Beauty of rural living, hunting, fishing, ranching, providing quality beef for so many, 4-H horse program.

Community Participation

Very satisfying. I am proud of my community and my part in it.

Small community, low crime, friendly place, mostly Republicans

The recent presidential election changed the atmosphere in our community. It is very sad. Regardless of my opinions, I would never force them on others, but treat each person with respect and kindness. Our community used to be like that, however, it isn't anymore. It is an area of civic unrest.

We are not rich but are good stewards of what we have and continue to work to improve what we have. We tithe and help many. We live very frugally. We sacrifice affluent living to help many in our county. We supply the horses, tack, training facilities and care of horses so children in horse 4-H can come and learn to ride here. We do this by working every day by selling custom order, grass fed, natural beef right out of our meadows.


It is a depressed economic area.

The internet is terrible, but otherwise I love it here.

Towns like this have limited resources and no monies to help with the limited water supply, emergency services, or maintain the city streets.

Not enough shopping for food or prescription drugs

Lack of investment into keeping the community up with the twenty-first century

Families are struggling due to the lack of child care.

School enrollment is dropping. There are no jobs.

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Harney County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

I really love the access to diverse outdoor opportunities. I have what I need but not really anything extra. I hope my community stays mostly the same, but I would like social issues addressed (child neglect, substance abuse, housing).

It's a wonderful community. It's not very big yet with enough to do. Compared to larger towns, it was reasonably affordable prior to pandemic.

I like the continued training of community values that are held in the Burns and Hines area.

The people are wonderful, the air is clean, the land is vast, the community works together.

I like the rural slower-paced life with friendly community.

Community Participation

People can prioritize pride in traditions over research and progress.

Everyone in our small town knows or are related to each other. We are not hesitant to speak or help one another.

Good hearted people making efforts to help others, especially in community health and the Senior Citizen Center.


We need high speed internet badly.

A visiting physician might help us.

Less expensive fuel? The closest town is 115 miles away.

We have very limited resources to raise local funds due to the lack of large businesses or employers.

We need housing; people are living in motels around here. We have a housing shortage. We have a lot of people coming in, and I don't know where they are living.

We have the ability to deal with natural disasters or other disasters.

There is a good paying job for anyone willing to work. Most people are friendly, hard workers.

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Hood River County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

It is open, kind and caring, but it’s getting loved to death by tourists.

It is beautiful and family- and community-oriented.

Small and close-knit community, beautiful scenery

We lack affordable housing and representation for people of color.

There's easy access to a variety of recreation, entertainment, goods and services, healthcare, continuing education, volunteer opportunities, and people are open, cooperative, and friendly.

It has become very busy with tourists and people escaping overpopulated areas, hence making this place overpopulated and busy.

Community Participation

I feel that work needs to be done to make rural Oregon more welcoming to Black, Indigenous and people of color who may wish to live in smaller towns. I also am concerned that the extreme political divide we are experiencing is undermining our sense of community.

It's a recreational paradise with a strong art community. There's a divide between cultures, American and Mexican-American, but this is blending over time and generations.

There is a strong sense of community. Many activities happen that involve the community.


There is a GREAT disparity between the haves and have nots, so while there are many people who can afford to purchase $600,000 homes there are also many who struggle.

We could use more designated bike lanes on the streets, in town hiking trails, parks and downtown parking.

I worry about how the high housing costs are going to impact the future of our community and long-term livability.

We need support for working single moms, like subsidized child care or more and longer school activities.

I'm concerned that the Hood River Valley is becoming choked with cars and fumes, crumbling infrastructure and the city population that has more than doubled in the last 40 years. The ecological and social problems that arise from overcrowding are in full swing.

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Jackson County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

Very active, engaged community of individuals who are outdoorsy, educated and well-traveled. Nice population of young families with children. We’re working on more housing for lower income families.

Our community lacks social activities that do not center around drinking. Nature is an untapped social resource in our area. We are very blessed to be able to raft, hike and ski, but many others don't have that opportunity.

Beautiful natural surroundings and easy access to culture, restaurants and wineries.

The smoke from fires is making us consider moving away from Oregon for the first time since we have lived here.

We have a lot of amazing parks that we frequently visit in our own city limits. We love the people here, and our neighborhood is great.

I’m concerned about our unhoused population, lack of mental health support, lack of diversity and lack of affordable housing.

I appreciate the people and how they care for and look out for each other.

Community Participation

People are friendly and look out for each other, though this is not universal across the board. There are people who are isolated and left out of this kind of support.

My community is a great mix of people from all walks of life, and it is a magnet due to its opportunities for smaller communities all around us.

It's a very progressive community with caring people.

There’s little celebration of diversity. Good ol’ boys run the place.

Lots of art for a smaller area!


It was a mistake for the legislature to raise the minimum wage in Portland but only partly raise it in places like Jackson County. Combine that with the lack of affordable housing and you have the basis for social problems like mental illness, addiction, homelessness and more.

We lack long-term sustainable planning for how our communities can build back better. For example, a RV trailer park was put on wetlands to house displaced people.

There are very limited internet choices and only one high speed choice.

We’re conveniently rural with adequate shopping, health care, etc., but not crowded.

The wine industry has done wonders for our community. The hemp/marijuana industry dragged things down.

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Jefferson County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

People know each other in the community. I love going to the bank and seeing people I know, having the kid who bags my groceries being a child of a friend and seeing neighbors at community events.

There is a great deal of wealth disparity in this region, and the schools are poor. We also have a larger problem with homelessness and substance abuse in our community now versus five years ago.

Mountain views, clean air and water, abundance of outdoor recreation

I appreciate the nature, the small-town vibe, and the proximity to both Bend and Portland.

I am concerned about the kids in my community and their spiritual, emotional and physical needs.

We have freedom of movement and ease of access to services.

Community Participation

I am able to be a part of my native culture and my people.

Good people; magnificent environment

I’m concerned about the fact that native voices aren’t being heard. We go through racism in the towns next to us.

We are very diverse, a lot of people are trying to help the cultures learn more about each other.

People with means are generous to help local organizations financially.

We have folks wanting to help make changes in the community, but funding isn't always available.

People here can be divided on issues like everywhere else. Because we live on east side of Cascades, our community does not agree with most other counties on political issues.


Even though both my spouse and I work, it is still hard to make ends meet.

We need services for seniors, like groceries and medications delivered.

Internet that is reliable is difficult AND disappointing — even when paying the second most expensive package. It has directly impacted my work and source of income.

We are limited on resources to help with food, basic needs items, exterminator services and housing that is fair for all.

I wish that there was better residential planning for homes. I wish that I just had a place that I could go buy a pair of underwear, a bra and a baby shower gift. I wish that I could support my local business community, but there is essentially no business community to be had. I wish that I could feel safe enough to walk my dog around the block without carrying a gun or pepper spray. I wish there were ordinances to help keep the community clean, free of trash and homes in good repair.

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Josephine County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

The weather is wonderful, including winters — although there are changes in the weather that have affected how it used to be. The people we meet and socialize with are all kind and friendly. Neighbors watch out for each other.

The land, the river, the mountains, and access to the coast, Crater Lake and other places to hike and love the outdoors.

It’s a friendly place to live for the most part.

The number of homeless people is disheartening.

Lower cost of living. The actual town is nice and has some good amenities.

I appreciate the people who are kind, generous and open minded.

I appreciate that there are basically great people who try to check in and take care of neighbors.

Community Participation

The community is very vibrant; there are a lot of ‘small town’ events and actions, even though in town things have gotten much bigger, because everyone is very caring.

There is a lot of unnecessary divisiveness such as homophobia and a lack of general discourse between people.

The people are great, but we have a LARGE amount of crime.

We have some great non-profits looking after our community.

The arts have improved in the last 40 years, and it has helped the community in many ways. We need more activities for both kids and adults besides drinking in bars.

There are opportunities for community engagement, but many families are distracted with everyday stressors.

I have a good job, and it is a fine place for us, but if you are BIPOC or poor you are not going to have your needs met. People in general look down on those who have more challenges, blame the victim, refuse to acknowledge they got where they are due to privilege, and generally don't take into account that with freedom comes duty to [take] care of our community and the others in it.


More than half of residents have no access to cell or internet networks except to drive to the library.

I am most frustrated by the lack of cell service and low broadband reception.

We need affordable housing, better sex education, more rehabilitation services, and a humane and safe way to help the homeless population. We need higher paying jobs that treat their employees fairly.

Almost impossible to obtain housing, and when you do it's rarely affordable. I am thankful every day for my affordable blessing in the center of our concrete jungle. I miss having a lawn.

There is a lot of desperation. Lack of affordable housing is huge in our area, so there's no need for more jobs because we can't house people.

Cave Junction needs a tenfold increase in internet speeds now and storefront and Main Street grants. We also very urgently need a 4-star hotel chain.

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Klamath County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

Good access to BLM or Forest Service land to run our dogs or hike and explore.

I appreciate the beautiful Tribal culture, the valuable natural and scenic setting.

In Chiloquin, the water shortage and lack of opportunity

There’s a lack of health and wellness-minded people.

There are wonderful people who care about their community. It’s a small town feel where people know one another. It’s remote and isolated.

I appreciate that there’s no traffic, less crime than our previous California home, four seasons, camping, outdoor activities, close to Medford shopping, nice people, and my large family all lives here.

Community Participation

Often the narrative regarding how Klamath County is perceived is generated from a very small faction of C.A.V.E. people (Citizens Against Virtually Everything). In truth, the community is a very lovely lifestyle that admittedly has areas where it could improve.

I am happy with personal relationships in our community, but I am increasingly concerned about ‘manifestations of hate.’ There are an increasing number of people with guns for personal use rather than just hunting.

Everything — community, church, people are helpful

I appreciate the people. They are friendly and genuine.

I love my community but I’m uncomfortable living here. It’s horrible that as an indigenous person, a member of the Klamath Tribes, I don’t feel I can thrive on my ancestral homelands because of lack of economic opportunities, racism, settler colonialism and far right extremism. This is our homeland. We should be free to live here and thrive without facing hatred from the broader community. Otherwise, I love this beautiful place and the beautiful people that is my home, and homeland.


I had a great job, 401k, great pay, great benefits and a home, but when I moved back to Klamath Falls, I lost my financial stability because we lack living wage job opportunities.

I have a steady, well-paying job compared to many other employers, and I still struggle to make ends meet.

The businesses here are embedded, as owners run businesses out of their homes or personal property.

I'd like to see better food options and more community-oriented city projects.

There is a lack of affordable, decent housing.

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Lake County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

I appreciate the small-town neighborliness. People help each other.

I’m concerned about the lack of ethnic and economic diversity.

It is safe, beautiful and friendly.

It is a great place to raise kids.

I’m concerned by a lack of opportunity for the younger generation. Few jobs, businesses closing, a lack of resources.

I appreciate the ability to be so close to outdoor spaces that don't have crowds.

Community Participation

It’s a warm community, people wave as they drive by. If your broke down someone stops to help. People tend to mind their own business, if you need help you get it.

It is a place of contrasts. As a white, cis male I have it easy in many ways. It is not as easy for minority races, LGBTQ, and even women do not enjoy the freedoms I do. This is a great place for outdoor recreation, not so much for cultural events.

My community is comprised of many hard-working people. We band together in times of need. We celebrate each other's success. We get discouraged and frustrated when dictates from Oregon's central government do not seem to be in our best interest.


Our schools struggle to recruit and retain teachers. The divide created by COVID vaccine reluctance has made this worse.

The water is NOT drinkable, yet the water charges go up in price. It's brown and full of calcium and iron, old sediment.

Essential services are readily available and the cost of living is a little cheaper.

Housing needs to be cleaned up, more pride instilled in the looks of our community.

When it rains, the power goes out.

Our one grocery store has the basics and some luxury items but lacks any variety of ethnic foods and has very poor-quality produce.

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Lane County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

I appreciate how close the town is. We all help each other out when someone is in need.

I’m concerned by ‘groupthink,’ especially among parents in the community.

I love my neighbors and feel like I live in a town full of friends. It is truly a little piece of heaven for my family and my kids. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

There’s too much emphasis on tourism without taking sufficient care of the residents. Few jobs pay enough to make rent, and very few smaller homes are being built. People who grew up here have to leave to survive economically.

We face extreme levels of inequality — e.g. professors living in million-dollar homes while my streets are filled with people without homes.

I appreciate having so many trees, the outdoors, and being close to the dunes and beach.

Community Participation

It is a wonderful community full of people who love our town, work hard to make it the best it can be and look out for each other.

There is a rural-urban divide. Too many people living outside the limits of our town take no interest in town government, services, etc.

This community is really great in a lot of ways, and I enjoy living here. It just has some big things to work on, and I think the community is able to take care of these issues on its own. Individuals just have to make the choice to do so. That would be my hope for this area, and I hope to be involved in that.

Our community had become more unified after decades of polarization, but it seems that circumstances in the last few years have greatly polarized our community once again.

I wish we were more supportive of our diverse populations.

Females are viewed and treated as second class citizens whose voices are often not even heard.


Cell service is a continual challenge. The youth 11-13 and 14-20 REALLY need a place to hang out and be involved in stimulating, creative activities.

Too much emphasis on tourism. Locals struggle to get regular services like shopping, repairs, office supplies, clothing, meeting places, etc.

Our surrounding community could really use some cable upgrades so everyone could receive decent internet without having to drive into town. It is not available to everyone and even cell service is infrequent.

It’s known as a retirement town, but families are moving in and we need housing. We need activities for our children. We run this town, we keep grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, etc. open and running. We deserve to live here and be able to afford to live here.

The availability of rentals is nonexistent, and buying is out of reach due to pricing for many people.

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Lincoln County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

I like the ‘live and let live’ attitude and small-town atmosphere.

I appreciate the natural beauty and clean air. Plus, it's a small, supportive, coastal community.

Our economy is dependent on tourism, so many jobs are low wage with no or limited benefits and seasonal.

If you have stable housing and employment, it is the best place in the world to live.

I’m concerned by the lack of a community atmosphere caused by the tourism industry and an overabundance of vacation rentals that cause the price of housing to skyrocket and create a shortage of long-term rentals.

Community Participation

The community is very welcoming, with high levels of volunteerism.

It has a real community feel to it, but it lacks diversity of all sorts.

Community members are supportive of each other, are creative and innovative, and welcome new people and ideas.

The county fair used to be a big deal, but community support and participation has really declined in the past 10 years.

I feel lucky to live in this community. Despite being retired and single, I feel supported and rarely feel lonely. There are many ways to volunteer, to learn, to exercise, to immerse yourself in nature and to be happy.

We are inclusive and support the arts. People know one another and there is a ‘small town’ feel here.


There’s a lack of affordable housing and child care coupled with high poverty and homeless rates. Even the school district with higher wage teaching jobs has a hard time obtaining and holding onto quality employees because they can't find housing or child care.

I want to stress that there is a need for the age demographic 18-35 to feel like they are welcome in this community. There are very few opportunities in this town for that group to feel like this is their forever home.

For people with complex and ongoing health issues, the nearest specialty care is at least an hour's drive away.

I believe we need a children's gym, a children's museum, more affordable housing, and a better education system.

We pay SO MUCH for internet and the quality is awful. I can never get assistance. Too many cell phone ‘dead areas.’

The city is making strides with homeless housing using motels. I think things are better than before pandemic.

I’m concerned by the influx of tourism without the supporting infrastructure.

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Linn County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

I appreciate that it's a small, caring community with a vibrant downtown. I’m concerned that decisions and legislation aren’t made for our region but rather by the great state of Multnomah — and they are not appropriate for rural.

I wish there were more opportunities for connection and open-mindedness in my community.

I appreciate resources and opportunities available in the small rural community.

I’m concerned by rising housing costs and the ever-growing homeless issues.

Community Participation

Community members know each other well and can be kind and helpful.

These past years have divided folks. There’s less understanding for people with different ways.

I'm happy here. Of course I see plenty of places where we need improvements, and I try to volunteer to help make that happen. I hope all others feel welcome here, but I think that the bullying towards newcomers and people of color makes that hard. I wish our local public officials would have more empathy.

People have become so divided and so much has changed, not always for the better. Our politicians need to start working for the people again and not just themselves. They do not live hand to mouth as so many people do and have lost touch with how things really work for the common folks out here.


We need more activities for the youth and more diversity of choices. We need to bring back core classes that really prepare our youth to deal with the future that is in front of them. We are more than a university town and need more help to make things better.

It’s a small town with the minimum amenities. We have a grocery store, gas, city water and sewer, a fire department and a city park.

There’s a lack of sidewalks and safe places for people to get exercise.

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Malheur County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

People truly like each other, and we live in a friendly, giving community.

It’s great place to be retired. We have a low cost of living compared to other places.

Our rural way of life is being taken over by influx of people. Farmland is being swallowed up at an alarming rate.

Being rural and close to Idaho, we are often forgotten and misrepresented when it comes to being a part of Oregon.

I worry about the lack of jobs and economic opportunities available here.

It is rural, yet an abundance of services and cultural experiences are accessible in a short amount of time.

Community Participation

I appreciate the closeness of our community. Most individuals are involved and if they're not, they're bound to hear about an event going on from a friend.

The school is the main connector of people in our community. Generally, people are willing to help out when they are aware of the need.

Jordan Valley is a safe community. Neighbors truly look out for each other and lend a helping hand when necessary.

It is very welcoming and local nonprofits do their best to ensure the community is involved.

There’s a lack of diversity and appeal for younger age groups.


There isn't much to do. I look at the surrounding areas around my hometown and they have so much more to do. In order to go shopping for clothes or even get to a family fun center, you have to travel an hour away.

The community does not have too many options for artistic interests the area. If a child does not want to enter sports, there are no music, art, dance, or theater classes for them to take.

We have to do the majority of our business, shopping, and doctoring in another state because of our location.

It’s a great community, but we are lacking in workforce housing, low-income housing and jobs for kids when they come back from university.

For many in our community, there is no place to access higher-quality internet. There are no gathering places in town.

It is a difficult community to live in if you do not have transportation or the ability to drive.

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Marion County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

The environment out here is paradise.

Prices are going up, but wages aren't.

It's big enough to have exciting things going on, but small enough to bump into people you know at all fun things happening.

I appreciate the number of Hispanic businesses and authentic variety of food/product available.

It is unique because we can have horses, goats and other animals within city limits. It is a mecca for hobby farmers who don't want to live too far away from the conveniences of major medical and social benefits of neighboring big cities.

We have lots of discrimination from the police force and service providers.

Community Participation

Family, whether by blood or just the sense of family created from our community. People really do pull together to support each other, despite the negativity and hard times over the past couple of years.

Neighbors are supportive. There is a vibrant (though small) arts community. However, the pandemic has affected community life.

Everyone is friendly, waves hello while walking, stops to talk.

Finally the city and school representation more closely reflect the Latinx majority.

There are many people who do really good work and pull together to support our community. At the same time, there is a long, quiet history of racism that is becoming more and more apparent and, seemingly, creating more and more of a divide in our community. This is concerning. All in all, though, I believe this community is rich with love and kindness. It's just that everyone is tired.

My community is an adequate place to live, but families with children of all ages need to get more involved in City Council meetings and decisions to make sure their needs are heard and acted on as well as those 50 and older.


We're financially challenged and there is a severe shortage of housing.

We’re close to basic services like groceries and healthcare.

Everything is close by. There are stores and gas stations nearby beside other amazing, creative departments.

The area where I live have to many homeless people on the street, and it is difficult to see the need when we don't have the resources to help — mental health resources, drug treatment, shelters, or food.

The rent prices are too high.

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Morrow County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

It is diverse in ages and traditions. Some are very open to change and some are wholly against change. All agree we need to preserve our small town feel and not just develop for the sake of developing.

We are very closed off from the rest of the world that we don’t get to experience a lot of other cultures so for our kids to make it out of here and be able to see other parts of Oregon or other states would be wonderful. Our community is growing and our younger kids are changing. I would like to keep our old traditions alive and bring new ones in as well. We are a welcoming community.

It is small, friendly—we have no traffic to fight. We help each other when needed; everybody knows everybody.

The quality of life is good for those financially stable. Many are not, however, and need to work multiple jobs to get by.

Community Participation

Our rural community has people that are polite, caring, volunteer frequently, and keep our small community an enjoyable place to live.

We are thoughtful of other people and we strive to be good people with good morals.

We have a lot of the same challenges in our small town as large communities do, only on a smaller scale. But we don't have anonymity, so we are fortunate to be able to show care. We make eye contact, smile, say hello, ask about each other's families, and help out quickly when needed. We choose to live here.

We appreciate a simple life with common sense decisions and heavy community involvement through volunteerism, giving, helping, etc. If an elderly person needs leaves raked, we make that happen. If a family is struggling after their house burns down, we help them… We try our best and always put our best foot forward to do so when we aren't over-regulated by state and federal government telling us what they think we should do in our own local area.


There is nothing for young people to do in town unless they are active in school activities. There are no jobs for them either — all minimum-wage and entry-level jobs are held by adults.

Some of our teens and high school seniors are the best volunteers in town and are always willing to help when needed. We just don’t have the resources to open up an arcade or a roller skating rink or something along those lines.

The elderly need more amenities — a retirement home, housing for those over age 55.

We respect our police, they keep us safe, and our crime rate is very low.

Housing is affordable, there just isn't enough of it.

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Multnomah County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

I appreciate the access to natural spaces, nice people, amazing food.

Most people live from paycheck to paycheck. There is a fine line between surviving and struggling.

I appreciate that neighborhoods are different, vibrant, and are filled with small businesses.

I appreciate being near family and friends, an hour away from the forest, mountains and beach.

There are families asking for money at the side of the road, but police just drive by. I feel unsafe at night with a lot of shootings happening — once in broad daylight.

I’m concerned about living in a high crime area, with car thefts, home invasion, car break-ins and shootings.

Though it is very populous, it is also isolating. I'm a person of color and don't see many people like me in my community. I've experienced discrimination and many of the people in power around me are white… I don't think most people understand how they can make the world better for people who are not like them but nevertheless deserve a strong shot at being safe and happy.

Community Participation

We have annual neighborhood block parties which are a good way to network and meet the people in the community.

I love the sense of community I have with my neighbors.

I am not happy with the fact that so few of our citizens get involved these days... Leaving it to others seems to be the role of most of our community citizens.

Portland has a greatly supportive queer community, and I've gotten more help from them than I ever have from any government or organization.

Diversity of opinion is a shared value, however, that is more in theory than in actual practice. People seem to feel they have more permission these days to share their opinions but in a mean-spirited and aggressive manner — effectively nullifying a meaningful exchange of information.

It deserves better. The city and the state are floundering in their duty and opportunity to uphold the promise of this region.


The disparity between wages and housing costs has displaced so many people and we don't have funded infrastructure to support mental health and addictions.

I’m concerned about a lack of investment from the city. We need help for houseless folks, mental health care, housing (#1) and substance abuse treatment.

Sería bueno tener un lugar donde puedan cuidar a niños para bajos ingresos y así las familias saldrían adelante. Porque las guarderías son muy caras para pagarse. (It would be nice to have a place where they can take care of children for [people with] low incomes and thus the families would get ahead. Because daycare is too expensive to pay for.)

I’m concerned about building equity for all in a housing market that prices many out of home purchases and some out of renting.

I am in walking distance from resources like grocery stores, performance halls, galleries and restaurants.

There’s a lack of mental health care, a healthy sense of community, and affordable housing.

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Polk County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

There is some tension between growth and new opportunities and people who have lived here a long time not wanting to see change.

I appreciate the uniqueness of a rural community that is home to a state university. This makes for a great and somewhat diverse community.

We have great river access, a small-town feel and a walkable downtown area.

There are clear divides in social/economic class in addition to racial divides.

I’m concerned by the lack of diversity.

Community Participation

I like small communities, but where I live has a hard time accepting people who are different. I would like to see more involvement by a larger swath of the community.

The presence of a university leads to a more open-minded populace than stereotypes might lead one to expect.

I love living in a small town where people know each other and are connected to each other.

We are a tight knit community but with groups of opposing viewpoints.


I have access to clean and safe parks.

If rent gets much higher, I will be forced to live on the streets.

We need better public transit to surrounding communities. Many people have doctors and needs in Salem and public transit is inconvenient to utilize.

Services in our area have declined tremendously since 2019: city, county, healthcare, child care, addiction recovery, even basic emergency services.

I see a reluctance to invest in the things that matter, like improvements to our schools or programs to help families who are struggling. Many of our families don't make a living wage — especially with the high cost of housing.

It feels like there are not a lot of social services available here, particularly for teens. There is a lack of city-run recreation for kids, youth and families — swimming pools, sports fields — as compared to other communities of our size.

We need more supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, etc. and infrastructure improvements — especially for our roads.

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Sherman County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

I appreciate many things: The ‘small town’ atmosphere where I know the people in the community, the trust and relationships that knowing people leads to, a conservative attitude, and the space and freedom to live how I please.

There are not enough activities, not enough people and it’s too far to travel for necessities. But it’s home!

We have beautiful geography, no traffic, no crowds, and great jobs.

I’m concerned about access to groceries, doctors and emergency services.

I appreciate my view of the beautiful Columbia River and Klickatat Mountains.

Most who live here are honest, friendly — love their country, believe in the Constitution.

Community Participation

The community is very kind and giving to 'locals' but can be unwelcoming to new families, especially if they don't fit their ideal.

We are a very self-reliant community — solving our own problems — and we do not enjoy government mandates.

The community comes together in a time of need.

I appreciate knowing nearly everyone here — and looking out for one another.

Ultimately the people here are good, hard-working people who care about their fellow man, but our society has become so divided and extreme. Sometimes I feel like an outcast because of the extreme conservative culture. I'm not very vocal about my values because I don't want to make life harder for my kids.


There are no mental health [providers], hospitals, dentists or eye doctors in Sherman County — only one family medical provider. There are also no grocery stores or clothing stores, so for most shopping and medical needs, you must travel out of county.

I wish we had more opportunities for activities for kids and more diversity and culture for them to experience.

We are used to traveling to receive services and to shop.

There’s a lack of opportunities and housing for younger generations.

We live 40 miles from the closest full grocery store and for many people that is a challenge.

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Tillamook County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

I appreciate the natural beauty and the fresh clean air of the Oregon Coast. I do like the small-town lifestyle, though it is a lot different with all the people visiting.

I have lived in Oregon my entire life. I once loved it here but I no longer feel that way. We have been taken over by tourism — there are too many people now, it’s all about money — and I feel we are being pushed out of our own communities and state.

It's a diverse county economically. The north end is quite wealthy. It does not have affordable housing or services for those not so well-off. An increasing number of people are living in vehicles and RVs.

As an elderly adult, I feel sadness about how our town feels like it is in disrepair and slowly fading.

It feels safe and predictable and offers a reasonable combination of services and privacy.

I’m concerned about divisive politics and the lack of affordable housing.

Community Participation

It is becoming more divided, with political division affecting people's interactions and support of others and of community programs. In emergencies, though, people come together to manage the crisis since outside support can be limited for some time.

We’re living in a fragile harmony with Trump supporters, anti-vaxxers, white privileged newcomers and Timber Unity neighbors — all of whom 20 years ago I would have described as just being hardworking, independent-minded people. Everything is politicized and spread by polarized media and social media.

Our communities need to be more welcoming and supportive of immigrants. The Hispanic population is now a critical part of the workforce.

I’m concerned by the quality of the community with out-of-state investors buying up and renting out their properties.

People visit freely at the YMCA, grocery store and at our local events.


This community cares a lot about youth and providing youth with access to educational, recreational and enrichment opportunities.

We need affordable housing, a lot more long-term rentals and apartments, and a cap on vacation rentals.

We have poor access to reliable cell phone service and limited broadband availability.

Road safety is a concern. There are so many auto accidents on our roads.

There’s a lack of affordable housing. Services for elders and disabled are lacking. Health care services are subpar.

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Umatilla County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

People are friendly, houses are not crowded together and children are safe in the community.

We are lucky to live by a larger city for access to arts, culture, food and shopping.

I love my community, but we need to teach cultural competency.

We like being rural. We don’t like big government.

As a person of color, I am observing an increase in racism in my community. My children are also experiencing this.

Our population is small, so our voices and concerns are never as important as heavily populated areas in the state.

We live on stolen ground with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation nearby but we rarely honor the Native Americans other than with some ceremony at Round Up.

Community Participation

You get to know the business workers and owners and feel like you are an important part of the community.

It’s very community oriented here. We’re focused on kids, restoring GEM Theatre and civic-minded activities.

People are friendly but it seems like a front to me. There are many ‘cliques’ in town and it can feel almost like high school.

The community does try to help out when needed and watch out for one another.

It is a very conservative community and is not very welcoming to different ideologies or people of color who are not Latinx.

Many people use racist, sexist and homophobic language here — more than anywhere else I’ve lived.


Young people and professionals leave because of the lack of childcare and housing. It is decimating our school system and making our community poorer.

The community has a decent population of young families so there is a lot of potential there. The concern is the shortage of child care.

Public transportation is essentially non-existent. We have to drive 12-15 miles to access reasonably priced and quality groceries, medical care and pharmacies. Clothing purchases within 50 miles are available at only one store.

We need more shopping other than Walmart; much of our clothing is ordered online. Our two livestock supply stores have trouble keeping up with demand and are often out of what we need for our animals.

There’s very little housing available at any price. Child care is impossible, even with money.

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Union County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

We are independent, relying on ourselves, family, friends, neighbors and community members. We live surrounded by extraordinary beauty and wildlife. We drive slower and spend more time outdoors than urban and suburban residents.

It's beautiful here and we love it. I worry about the future, though — the economy, energy, global warming, education, medicine and our lack of resources.

It is possible to connect with people here. Additionally, I can climb, bike and hike within 15 minutes of my door.

I think at times we feel left out of politics. It's all about the west side of the state.

I’m concerned by the inability for some to differentiate between public responsibility and political rhetoric.

Our way of life, culture, and opinions are constantly denigrated and dismissed. We do not have the voting power to protect our rural culture and way of life.

Community Participation

I think the majority of the people are good people who would be willing to help me if I needed it. I have seen this community step up and help a fellow citizen out when needed.

It's a nice community. We have our problems, but we work to overcome them.

It’s a small community where people know and care for each other.

We pull together in times of trouble and help our neighbors.

Frontier communities would like to have their voices heard and their way of life given the same consideration as urban and suburban communities. ‘One-size-fits-all’ does not work… We are proud of our history (warts and all) but are not averse to change (just not necessarily the change that ‘others’ might think is needed).


Most amenities urban and suburban residents consider ‘normal’ are not available to frontier residents. We drive long distances just to get to school, shopping, work and community events. We get mail 3 days a week. There’s very little public transportation outside of the small cities.

I’m disabled, and the cost of living is getting so high. My power and water bills, taxes and everything else has gone up, yet my income did not.

Resources are scarce, and providers of social services are spread thin trying to help.

There are not enough jobs for our young people. They graduate and leave for work.

I’m concerned about the substance abuse crisis and housing struggles.

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Wallowa County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

You would have to experience it — the feeling of the magnitude of this place. There's no way to explain it to you. To see lightning illuminating the entire neighborhood... The weather between the canyons changes all of the time, the climate here... You can listen to the rocks in the river because there is no traffic.

Too much growth is changing the fabric of the area. It also creates inequality in real estate cost availability. Second and third homes are outpricing the cost/availability of local people's first homes.

We have gorgeous weather and a pristine lake just up the road — as well as excellent skiing and hiking options in our surrounding mountains.

I love the beauty of the place — the open spaces, farms and ranches — and the people I know who care about one another.

Life is difficult right now for many. Even though we may have low incomes here, we have a bounty of care and concern in our neighbors.

Community Participation

It's the ‘Land of a Thousand Mothers’ and the best place to raise children. It’s very safe, and people look after each other.

It’s generally a friendly community, but elements of racism and cultural suspicion of ‘outsiders’ are certainly present.

I have wonderful neighbors who share, exchange, buy/sell homegrown food with each other.

We collectively come together to tackle hard things.

Community leaders have great ideas, but we sometimes need financial support for the community.

My community is more collaborative and integrated than most.


It's enjoyable to live here, but it's very hard — you need to know what you're doing. If you forget to get fuel, you will run out. Once we leave our homes, we have no cell service until we get to town, which is a two-hour drive. You need to be able to do for yourself.

As in every other community low incomes and disability severely limit our options, but it is more comfortable here than in a big city.

Limited jobs make it difficult to keep young families which hurts our school system.

Cell phone service is sketchy. Using it for the internet does not work easily without our satellite.

Finding housing is impossible and unaffordable.

People must work more than one job to live here.

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Wasco County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

I love seeing the Milky Way and experiencing total silence when in my yard most of the time.

I appreciate the scenic beauty and easy access to the outdoors.

I’m concerned that our fire danger is increasing.

There’s a lack of investment in the community.

I understand everything changes, but the cost of housing and taxes for housing have gone crazy over the last few years. Wages have not kept up so that families can afford child care, housing and food.

Community Participation

It's a smaller community, so it has a feeling of being connected, yet it's large enough that anonymity is still possible.

We have the potential to help many different people work together in a gorgeous Oregon landscape.

Neighbors help their neighbors.

Being a rural community, people reach out to help others. People are very generous with their time and money.


We are unable to grow due to zoning restrictions placed on us. This is exacerbating an already critical housing shortage.

If you want to go shopping for groceries, clothes or any parts, you have a 40-mile round trip to get anything.

Homelessness is being somewhat addressed. School meals are provided through the year.

There is a worker shortage in all sectors with many positions unfilled and businesses either reduce their hours or close.

We really need better internet access.

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Washington County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

People are generally friendly. It feels safe to engage in outdoor activities. We have a park in the center of town with ready access to the river.

We have libraries, abundant nearby neighborhood parks, food options, a farmer's market and forward-thinking leadership.

Hay mucha gente que vive en la calle. (There are many people living on the street.)

We have clean air, beautiful outdoors, good people and good city management.

Inflation is making it harder to make ends meet.

I fear that our water will run out due to agriculture and more people moving out here. There is a battle going on in our community over our aquifer.

Community Participation

Community members are working closely with the city to raise and address resident concerns.

If I didn't volunteer, I wouldn't have food.

I feel a bit isolated because I don't know a lot of people my age... I'm not really in touch with what's going on in our community.

My neighbors really look out for one another and take care of one another.

People in my community are very kind and intelligent. I can speak with them about topics ranging from the refugee crisis and structural racism to the stress of trying to raise decent human beings as parents.


I appreciate living close to transportation and other amenities — medical, groceries, etc.

Home prices are keeping certain groups out from owning a home.

There’s growing houselessness and desperation in many people.

We enjoy many of the amenities available in Portland without the inconveniences of residing in the city.

I’m concerned about transportation, traffic and road quality. Travel is much more dangerous now.

We need so much more child care. It costs as much as our mortgage to pay for child care.

There are not a lot of assistance programs in this area. I understand that there are limited resources and unlimited needs. I could at least breathe if housing was affordable.

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Wheeler County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

I appreciate our sunrises and sunsets — and having no neighbor closer than a mile.

I love this community — its location, the people, the scenery. I'd love to see more housing, more pride taken in the ‘look and feel’ of the community.

It is awesome but remote. Great sense of community, but it is a lower socio-economic area. We need family-wage jobs and adequate housing. People want to move here, but there is no place to live.

I’m concerned that with global climate change, this place will suffer desertification. There's so little rainfall and such hot temps, the summer fires are bad.

It's quiet, safe and full of wildlife — turkey, deer and owls. One can own horses.

Community Participation

During natural disasters, floods and wildfires, community members show up with shovels and backhoes to help.

Our community of 150 people are like family and we all work together.

Our schools are fantastic and are an integral part of our community. Much of our services such as ambulance, fire, and search and rescue are all volunteer. We are always in need of more volunteers and better equipment.

There are very honest, hard-working people here. They know the community and are aware of those that need assistance. The church provides wood for those in need during winter. Meals are taken. Community vans take people to doctor appointments, to go shopping and for social outings.

Neighbors are supportive of one another.


Living in a frontier community is more expensive than living in a town. Plumbers, electricians, mechanics, veterinarians and many other service providers don't exist here. Grocery shopping is a 225-mile roundtrip. Taxes are high. Internet and phone reception are unreliable.

The availability of housing — both for rental and purchase — is challenging. We have more jobs than places for workers to live.

We are a retirement community and it is hard for young couples to find work and housing.

We don't have good health care and have to travel 100 miles for a hospital.

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Yamhill County

Areas of Appreciation and Concern

I appreciate the views of the countryside and distant view of mountains. I have appreciated the friendship or acquaintance of those who live in my immediate neighborhood.

There seems to be some economic polarity in my community. On the one hand the cost of housing indicates wealth, on the other hand we have a lot of people struggling to get by.

The divisiveness over race and equity is a concern.

There is a political divide and culture wars between conservative and progressive ideologies.

Community Participation

The community is warm, welcoming and pulls together when things get tough.

I love the community feel — people taking care of people.

The community is politically polarized and it shows up in all areas… It is very disheartening.

Neighbors are connected and support one another.

I am becoming less comfortable in Yamhill County due to the threatening behavior of those who would identify themselves, or the press would identify, as the far-right.

If people don't talk about politics or social issues — everyone is ready and happy to help each other.


There are plenty of grocery and farm stand options — there’s food availability.

I believe housing, child care and homelessness are our biggest issues to solve.

The cost of housing is way out of reach for people of lower incomes. I heard that even professors at George Fox cannot afford to live in Newberg.

Much of our town lacks sidewalks. It's a drive-thru community to larger towns and people drive incredibly fast.

I’m afraid that we are pricing people out of our community with the insane home prices.

The homeless population just keeps growing, and resources for help are becoming less and less.

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Preferred citation:
The Ford Family Foundation. (2023). Oregon Voices: Interactive Data Explorer. Oregon Voices.