Oregonians vs. Californians


I didn’t know Oregonians hated Californians. I didn’t know I would get a cold snarl from the worker at the poorly lit DMV on South Liberty when I handed in my California I.D. I didn’t know the pastor of a prominent local church would poke fun at potential supporters moving north into his community in lieu of cheaper housing. And most of all, I didn’t know Salem was such a great city.

My name is Chip Conrad. I have lived everywhere. Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Texas, and even Nevada. But this last move, in which I came to Salem, was from California. After getting married this past August to a native Salemite I figured I should bring her home. I was ready for a change and I knew my wife would love to get back to her roots. After all, a happy wife a happy life, right?

We didn’t just blindly move though. I did my research first. Affordable housing, no rush hour, and no sales tax were all I needed to hear. We packed up the Neo-Uhaul, aka Budget truck, and migrated north.

Upon arrival I was stricken speechless. The weather was great. Our “cheap” rental was way nicer than the pictures on Craigslist and we happened to narrowly miss the snowstorm of the century. Needless to say my wife and could have easily been described as bright eyed and bushy tailed.

It wasn’t until I started the humbling experience of getting to know the people of Salem that I discovered a softly spoken rule: Oregonians hate Californians.

Proud of my move, I would freely tell everyone where I was from until the fact that I was not indigenous started hurting my ability to join the community. Bank tellers ignoring me, the D.M.V. skipping over my number, cops pulling me over for no reason, I quickly changed to Oregon plates and kept my mouth shut about my recent move.

Now, I have learned to blend in. Though, I am sure people can still pick me out from my straight-leg jeans or the fact that I’m pushing 40 and still ride my skateboard to the store. But it’s not like me to be quiet. I’m suggesting a Friends of Californians Alliance. Lets all just get along. Look at what we Californians have to offer. The fact that we can stay up later than 10 p.m. improves the revenue of the restaurants downtown and I think a Surf Shop on Commercial would be a hit. I’m a Californian and I’m okay with that. Can we call a truce? After all, you can’t keep Salem a secret forever. This is a great city.

18 thoughts on “Oregonians vs. Californians”

  1. From what I here people actually do hold a bit of a prejudice towards people from California. Unlike others, I’m not some rich Californian that sold his/her house and wrecked havoc on Oregon’s economy. I just grew up and California, grew out of it, and realize that it’s a better place to just visit. Lived in San Francisco, North Bay, whole life. San Francisco is a good example, it’s like a big carnival that you live in day to day. Oregon is much more calm, less noisy, better weather. I personally don’t have anything against people from either state, if you look hard enough you’ll find mean people or nice people, just depends on what your focus is.

  2. Chip, yes its that Tiger, miss you back home in FL. FYI, I’m not fond of Californians either. At least not their governments, apparent lifestyles, thoughts and views. I also agree with you we needs some sort of Oregonian Peace Treaty or something. I can get past my prejudice.

    Good article.

  3. Now I have been wanting to move to Oregon for a few years now. I just love everything about climate and vibe. It’s beautiful and green; plus I LOVE RAIN. However, this whole prejudice towards Californians is really off putting. Not all of us are rich, stuck up snobs looking to over develop. Some of us are trying to get away from that, we want the serenity and slower pace. So why judge an entire state of people based on a few greedy bastards. You cant tell me that their are NO developers or rich snobs in Oregon. If I move there will I find it impossible to find work with a Cali resume? Will I be friendless? Will my kids be ostracized for having no control on where hey were born? It just seems crazy to me lol.

  4. Our housing goes up the more you move here. There is more traffic the more of you move here and it really — it is your douche bag attitudes. But tell ya what, grow a bit of a beard, don’t be a hipster, drink Oregon beer, stop whitening your teeth, wave when someone lets you during traffic, give a nod when you pass some one on the street, don’t say goddamn thing about LA and you and me can be neighbors any day of the week.

    1. You’re right, I was sick of all the douche bags in California. So, I moved to Oregon. I work from home so I am not adding to the traffic. I’m now paying Oregon income taxes from California earnings. Yet, Oregon hates me. The only difference is the nationality of the douche bags.

    2. I am from Arkansas, and have read all of the above comments because we are looking to relocate. What I’d like to say to the Oregonians is this: embrace your new neighbors, be courteous, friendly and welcoming, and IN THE LONG RUN, you will have more influence upon them when it comes to sharing your views about why you want Oregon to stay the same, than if you reject and insult them from the outset. This is the most intelligent way to handle newcomers. Don’t judge all Californians before you’ve had a chance to make friends. Some of them might become your allies.

  5. First off I want to say I don’t believe this is true for everyone who moves up from California and I know that judging the whole isn’t fair for the exception.
    I live in Bend, The biggest problem myself and many locals have is the attitude. Californians tend to build up in the nicer neighborhoods and have a mindset that they run the place, trying to get into every ones business and impose liberal values. I don’t need people trying to change my life and home to suite how they think things should be. These people should stay in the environment they created down in Cali and stop trying to escape themselves at our cost. I don’t like being on private property and having some woman pull over and tell me I can’t smoke because it’s too close to her neighborhood. I don’t like the idea of my state parks being turned into damn golf courses.
    I don’t like someone who is disconnected from the local community getting involved with local politics. I don’t like the prospect of buying a house at 2 times it’s previous cost because I cannot afford your economy. I’m not going to live in a slum because your collapsed middle class mediocrity works to your advantage here in Oregon.
    For the few who came from California without the BS this isn’t directed at you and welcome. For the rest of you and deep down you know exactly who you are.. gtfo of our state.

  6. Hello, I am from Nor Cal and have been planning to move to Oregon for 3 years now. I have been hoping that there would not be a huge anti Cali problem for me. The reason that I want to live in Oregon is because well, Cali is driving me insane, and when we are in Oregon, things make sense.

    I am a teacher and like to teach Alternative students and thinkers, so Oregon made sense to me. I would like to live in a live and let live situation. Cali is getting just too in your face for me. However, I am concerned that I will get an attitude that I am invading when I really just want to find a community where I don’t feel like everyone wants you to be just like them, which I think is the main problem here in California. People should have the right to be who they are and as long as you do not put others down and live your life, it should be okay.
    I thin Oregon is beautiful and certainly don’t want to change it.
    Did I say I was from Nor Cal…I think I should point out that Californians don’t like Californians, so maybe that is the problem.

    1. I moved to Portland from L.A. (originally from the SF Bay Area) last year and surprisingly I’ve gotten a warm welcome except for one person (who was from Seattle btw). When my husband and I were looking to buy a house we were competing with a lot of people; I’m sure some were from CA but mostly they were local investors or investors from the East Coast or foreign countries. We certainly did not have $600k to drop on a house (or even close) and we are in the same boat as a lot of Portlanders, money-wise. We left CA, not because we hate it, but we were ready to leave it and its lifestyle. Maybe because I have family roots in Portland and WA meant that I already give off a non-Californian vibe. 😉 My point is, not everyone here hates Californians, and you should not let that stop you. Actually, it’s very likely your new neighbor will be from somewhere besides Oregon, for better or worse.

  7. This morning I noticed that my neighbor was having a garage sale. I stopped by on the way back from getting my mail. Said hello to the kids and bought some lemonade… Their mom came out and I introduced myself as their new neighbor pointing to my house. She replied, “oh, you’re from California.” Who is the douche bag in this situation?

    A few months ago my friend from high school suggested I speak to her friend, Lori, from UofO who grew up here. She thought I might gain some helpful tips. Lori sent me a Facebook message telling me to call her. Me: “hi Lori, this is Stefanie. I’m moving up to OR soon and had a couple of questions for you.” Lori, “why are you moving here?” Who is the douche bag in this situation?

    Please explain why increasing your property value is bad(if you currently own a home which all of the above people do). Please explain how to respond to the comments above in an acceptable Oregon manner without sucking up to the rude comments.

  8. I’m coming…me, my three daughters and partner. 5 new CA transplants. Then hopefully our parents will follow. We’re coming to take you away, ha ha. We’re coming to take you away!:p

    1. I’ve heard self-identified liberals bash Californians when they would never consider a similar comment about anyone based on race, religion, or sexual orientation. i know more people from other states, but even those immigrants bash Californians. I’ve come to understand that Oregon is a big small town. They distrust outsiders. Bashing Californians confers a sense of belonging.

      Do as Chip did. Dump your CA plates. Don’t mention where you came from. Try to blend in, which means don’t try to merge on the freeway. Drivers here will create a two-mile traffic jam for an exit because merging from two lanes to one is considered rude or pushy, which is something Californians are known for.

  9. My family left California because our new neighbor claimed that my special needs son was bringing down the value of his home. He said that. Even though we had a fence around our place, he said people could hear my son making noise, and that my son had no right to be around normal people. He called the police repeatedly, claiming my son was disturbing the peace. He threatened to call CPS. None of my other neighbors stuck up for us. In some ways, people from the Northwest are right about the culture. California is cutthroat that way. Everyone was hostile. Walking to the car felt like we were in the spotlight. When I spoke to an advocate, she said: “All you can do is move.” But we couldn’t afford it. Even though my husband and I worked full time, we couldn’t afford to rent a place with enough room around it to just raise our son without people being cruel. It got so bad that every time my son made any noise, I would tell him to be quiet. I had to stay at hotels with him when it got bad. I never liked SoCal, but my job of over twelve years was there. Let’s be clear, here-I didn’t make California that way. That’s how it is, and some people like it just fine. We endured it as long as we could, and then we left. I left friends and family. We needed a place where we could quietly raise our son without bothering anybody. I don’t want a fancy house. I don’t have a fancy car. I always drive courteously. I try to treat the people around me with compassion and respect, because that’s how I want to be treated. But it’s just as bad here. Now people hate us because we have a California license plate. People tailgate me and stare. A donut store clerk yelled at us, saying we were raising the cost of living. I don’t think we’ll make any friends here. I get it. It’s a genuine problem, and you all are loud and clear-you don’t want us here. That’s fine. I’m used to it. It reminds me a lot of home.

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