Off-grid living means disconnecting from the electric grid and pursuing an independent lifestyle without relying on municipal services such as water supply. Oregon is one of the off grid living friendly states and a near-perfect place to have a homestead for those who want more self-sufficiency and less dependence on established institutions. The state has fertile land and has many policies that favor individuals living sustainably. But what are the best places to live off grid in Oregon?
Oregon has many places that are perfectly suitable for off-grid living, particularly for those who are looking for quality and readily available natural resources. Notable places to live off the grid in Oregon include:
- Three Rivers Recreation Area
- Breitenbush Hot Springs
- Klamath County
- Douglas County
- City of Bend
Read on to find out everything you need to know about off the grid living in Oregon: the best places to live off the grid in Oregon and off-grid communities in Oregon.
What Are Best Places to Live off Grid in Oregon?
Almost anywhere in Oregon is suitable for off the grid living. The state has some desert places, but western Oregon up and down the Cascade mountain range is excellent. Central Oregon is desert, but it’s high desert-like with a mild climate.
Oregon’s mild climate and rich natural resources, such as freshwater, wildlife, and timber, especially in the western and Cascade regions, make the state a perfect place for fishing and hunting. Also, property costs are low, and laws regulating farming and livestock are lenient.
In a study ranking the best states in the US to live off the grid, Oregon came up among the top 20 places to live off the grid.
The research compared all 50 states in the US, including the District of Columbia, across 20 essential factors, from the legality of rainwater harvesting, average monthly temperature to the average per-acre price of farmland.
Another key point is that Oregon does not impose state sales taxes.
If you are looking for a fantastic off-grid property but still want access to technologies, Klamath County is a near-perfect location to live off the grid in Oregon.
The county is home to Klamath Falls, Oregon’s City of Sunshine, one of the cheapest cities to live in in the US.
For years, Klamath County’s economy was based on agriculture and timber, which may make it easy for you to grow your own foods.
Be sure to check with the local authorities on the current laws of off the grid living.
Douglas County offers numerous advantages for those who are looking to living a more self-sufficient lifestyle:
- Mild winters are summers are not blistering hot
- Water is abundant for most months of the year.
Douglas County offers plenty of lumber and has multiple points of access to water, making this county an ideal homestead location.
You can grow a beautiful garden, produce fresh vegetables and fruit for eating fresh and canning, and grow chickens for fresh eggs.
City of Bend
Located east of the Cascade Mountains in Central Oregon, the city of Bend has a high desert climate with typically mild winters and warm, dry summers, which make it perfect for solar panels.
Bend is also fortunate to be located near to water sources with excellent quality. It is also perfect for hunting as it is more wide open and not heavily forested.
It also is possible to build an off the grid homestead in Bend. Al Tozer designed a house with a rainwater harvesting system and delivers no sewage to the area sewage treatment plant.
Oregon off-grid Communities
If you prefer to connect with other like minded people in off the grid communities in Oregon, you may consider the two of the largest off-grid communities: three Rivers Recreation Area and Breitenbush Hot Springs.
Three Rivers Recreation Area
Located in Central Oregon, Three Rivers Recreation Area is one of the largest off-the-grid communities, housing over 600 residents. Three Rivers operates solar energy and water supply shared systems and covers 4000 acres.
Thanks to the solar panels, Three Rivers Recreation Area’s residents enjoy modern luxuries, such as satellite television and high-speed internet.
For those interested in outdoor activities, the community offers many activities such as hunting, fishing, riding dirt bikes, and stargazing.
From modest campsites to cabins to million-dollar homes, you can always find a property in Three Rivers Recreation Area that best suits you, whatever your budget is.
Greater World Community
A second Oregon off-grid Community is Breitenbush, which defines itself as an intentional community and worker-owned cooperative.
This community is home to the world’s first “Earthship” homes subdivision, which are sustainable, solar-powered buildings made of eco-friendly materials, like recycled tires and Adobe.
The residents of Breitenbush chose to adopt an off the grid lifestyle, and instead of relying on power lines, they use geothermal wells to meet their heating needs.
The community has 100 buildings on the property, including a lodge, large dining, a kitchen and dining space, a conference building, and guest cabins.
Breitenbush’s community is quite open to guests; its Buddha’s Playhouse, Hot Springs Retreat, and Conference Center attract tourists throughout the year. The guests experience an off the grid lifestyle and enjoy a unique community and beautiful mountain.
Is It Legal to Live Off the Grid in Oregon?
Off-grid solar legal, rainwater harvesting, and composting toilets are all legal in Oregon. It is known to be one of the best states for off-grid living.
However, Oregon allows rainwater harvesting only from an artificial, impervious surface such as a rooftop. It is not legal to capture rainwater on the ground, such as in reservoirs with dams. Some places in Oregon, including Portland, give incentives for setting up rainwater harvesting systems. Learn more about Oregon water rights.
Furthermore, composting toilet systems have been allowed by the Oregon code since 1978, according to the City of Portland. However, some places may require a permit and may be subject to inspection in some instances. The Oregon law explicitly states that it is legal to use composted human waste around plants, including fruit trees, except edible vegetation and vegetables.
Overall, Oregon is one of the best states for off the grid living in the US.
If you decide to establish in Oregon, be aware that Central and Eastern Oregon have some pretty reasonable land prices and gorgeous areas to live in. However, the place is a bit dry and can also be a bit tougher gardening with the dryer desert climate and the late start to growing. Also, the further west you go in Oregon, the more expensive the land prices become.
If you find a property that takes your interest, do yourself a favor and go to the local weed inspector and find any known noxious weeds on the property or surrounding properties.
Before making any final decisions, do thorough research and don’t forget to check with the local authorities, government websites on tax structure, and experienced people who are already living off the grid in Oregon.