When people think of living in Oregon, it is often the major cities—such as Salem, Eugene and Portland—that first come to mind. Or perhaps it is the high desert in the eastern part of the state, or the small towns lining the coast that bear the strongest association.
However, there are numerous small and medium-sized cities that provide the quintessential Oregon lifestyle, complete with beautiful surroundings and access to other destinations in the state. One such municipality that stands out as an enticing place to set down roots is Albany, Oregon, also known as the “Hub of the Valley".
What is Life Like in Albany, OR?
Albany, the 11th-largest city in Oregon with a population of roughly 54,000, is located in Linn County, on the outskirts of Corvallis. It is described as having a sparse suburban vibe that embodies charm and a laid-back lifestyle. Here are a few of the key characteristics that make Albany a desirable place to call home:
1. Above-Average Public Schools
Albany is primarily serviced by Greater Albany Public School District, which encompasses 22 schools providing K-12 education. Some top-rated schools in the Albany district include North Albany Elementary School, West Albany High School, Oak Grove Intermediate School, and Liberty Elementary School. Many of the institutions in the district boast a relatively low student-teacher ratio, dedicated staff, a healthy blend of academics and extracurricular activities, and a culture of pride. If you prefer private education for your children, there are also a handful of faith-based and Montessori-style schools in the area, such as Sunborn Children’s House and Albany Christina School.
2. Natural Beauty Abounds
Albany is situated in the Willamette Valley, which is well-known for its lush green landscapes, agricultural amenities and wine production. This small city is also the site of the confluence of the Willamette River and Calapooia River, which is good news for locals who enjoy outdoor recreation and stunning views of the water from various locations throughout town. There are several parks and outdoor attractions within the city, such as Talking Water Gardens, North Albany County Park, Takena Landing Park and Teloh Calapooia Park. You also have the Siuslaw National Forest to the west and the Willamette National Forest to the east.
3. Easy Commute for Work and Play
If you want to live in Albany but work in a larger city, that’s easily doable. The commute time from Albany to Portland, Oregon, is slightly more than an hour via Interstate 5, given you hit light traffic, while Salem is only a half-hour or so away by car. To the south, the city of Eugene is roughly 44 miles away. There are both buses and trains that run between these and other cities along I-5. Meanwhile, Corvallis—home of Oregon State University—is approximately 11 miles to the south. As a result, living in Albany is sort of like having two great communities to call home that each possess a unique vibe and different attractions to keep you busy with your friends and family.
4. Reasonable Cost of Living
One of the appealing things about living in Albany, even if you commute for work or school, is the relatively moderate cost of living. The median home value in Albany is approximately $275,000 and the median income per household is $54,000. Most new homes range between $300,000 and $500,000. However, in the areas of healthcare, transportation and utilities, the average cost of living in Albany is significantly below the national average.
5. Visiting the Cost or Mountains
When you need a vacation or a brief escape to a different environment, you’re in luck. It only takes about one-and-a-quarter hours to get to the coastal city of Newport, Oregon, or you can drive north a bit and get to Lincoln City in one-and-a-half hours. From there, you can travel U.S. Highway 101, also called the Oregon Coast Highway, to visit other seaside destinations to the north or south. If you prefer a mountain getaway, you can travel north about two and a half hours to Mount Hood.
6. Attractions for all Ages
One of the most widely known attractions in Albany is the Historic Carousel and Museum, which features a fully restored 1909 Dentzel carousel with more than 50 hand-carved animals and cool artifacts to look at. It is located downtown, where you will find other historic architecture that ranges from Colonial Revival to Second Empire. The Monteith House Museum and Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site are other popular attractions for history lovers. Albany also is home to the annual Northwest Art and Air Festival, wine walks, and other cultural and arts-related events that delight both residents and visitors. For nightlife, you can hit up one of Albany’s breweries, bistros or dive bars, such as the Growler Garage & Tap House, No Rails Ale House and Vault 244.
7. Strong Job Market
Albany has seen consistent job growth over the past few years, and the outlook is even brighter. Future job growth is estimated to be 40.8% over the next 10 years, while the U.S. average is 33.5%. There are job opportunities in manufacturing, agriculture, construction, retail, and healthcare. OSU and Linn-Benton Community College are also big employers in the area.
Building a Home in Albany, Oregon
Albany’s historical charm, lush green environment, and affordable cost of living are just a few of the characteristics that make it a comfortable place to settle down. Whether your housing goals involve new construction or renovating an older home,Corvallis Custom Kitchens & Baths can help bring your vision to fruition. Our services in Albany include whole home renovations and additions. Through our design-build process, we can work with you to create a quality home that sets you up to enjoy the Oregon life.