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Home | Oregon | Above Average Costs | June 10, 2017

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Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Reader Requested Short Review of Brookings, Oregon

On the scenic southern Oregon coast, at the foot of the Klamath Mountains and along the Chetco River, Brookings (population 6,500) makes it home. It is sometimes lumped in with the nearby town of Harbor and called Brookings-Harbor. With pristine mountains and forests all around, it is not only a picuresque place but also the busiest recreational port on the Oregon seashore. Crab fishermen and shrimpers earn their keep in the waters off Brookings' coast as well.

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The town started out as a logging hub in the early-1900s and even today retains an authentic, rugged quality. It is an outdoor-oriented community, with 15 miles of clean, uncrowded beaches and three nearby state parks. Fishing, camping, sailing, rafting, kayaking and backpacking are a way of life.

The town has a growing retiree population, much of which is comprised of ex-Californians. In fact, nearly half of all residents are age 45 or better. The cost of living is 10% above the national average, and the median home price is $245,000. The town has grown 45% over the last decade or two as it has annexed some surrounding population centers. Crime remains practically non-existent.

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Situated in Oregon's "banana belt," Brookings has relatively warm temperatures throughout the year. That, combined with wet winter, means that subtropical plants thrive and gardens overflow, giving the area a bounty of eye-catching color. Azalea Park is the "crown jewel" of Brooking's parks and bursts with with pink, red and lavendars flowers. It is also the site of Sunday afternoon summer concerts.

Festivals (and yard sales) are long-time staples. The Winter Art and Chocolate Festival is perhaps the most well attended local event, but the Festival of the Arts and the Southern Oregon Kite Festival also draw sizeable crowds.

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Whale watching from the harbor is always fun, and every second Saturday, 10 art galleries provide free hors d'oeuvres, new art exhibits and live music. Residents also enjoy three theatre groups and a golf course. The Chetco Library has an interlibrary loan program, a homebound book program and free internet wi-fi.

Most merchants are locally-owned and include antiques stores, shoe stores, hardware stores and bookstores. Many of these are in the simple but attractive downtown. There are also a couple of shopping centers and some discount stores. The Brookings Harbor Farmers' Market takes place in the big white tent south of town every Wednesday and Saturday year round. It is a great place to find fresh produce, hot treats and local artisans.

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Curry Medical Center is accredited by DNV Health Care and offers a wide range of services. A new Emergency Department is in the works. Sutter Coast Hospital is 20 miles away in Crescent City, California and provides further care. It is accredited by the Joint Commission.

Public transportation in the form of a dial-a-ride program is provided by Curry Public Transit Monday through Friday. The fare is $4, but people age 60+ ride for half price. Coastal Express travels along the coastal Highway 101 and connects Brookings with points north and south ($4 per city segment).

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The nearest domestic airport is in Crescent City, California, and the nearest international airport is nearly 350 miles away in Portland, Oregon.

The Oregon Area Agency on Aging has an office in Brookings and provides assistance with housing, employment, nutrition and more. The Chetco Activity Center receives rave reviews and serves daily congregate meals ($6 for people age 60+). It also has a variety of activities, including exercise classes, driving classes, computer classes and card games.

Summer temperatures are in the 50s, 60s and 70s, and winter temperatures are in the 40s and 50s. Nearly 80 inches of rain fall each year on average. Snow is rare, but summer fog is common. The sun shines 190 days of the year.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes  |   Is Oregon Tax-Friendly for Retirement? No

Brookings oozes seaside charm and has a gorgeous setting, plenty of outdoor recreation and a relatively mild climate for the Oregon coast. It is worth a look at retirement time.

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