What city near Portland, Oregon is home to a water park, municipal airport, private golf course, space museum, hiking trails and named one of the Best Small Towns to Live by Sunset Magazine? The city of McMinnville! Today I am answering the most popular of my clients questions regarding all things McMinnville and what to know before moving here.
Where is McMinnville and how big is it?
McMinnville is a short one-hour drive southwest down the I-5 and Oregon route 99W corridors from Portland, or for those that are more familiar with Salem, the capital of Oregon, McMinnville is a 40-minute drive northeast up Oregon Highway 221. We are located in the northwest corner of the Willamette Valley where McMinnville is actually the epicenter of Oregon’s wine country. McMinnville is surrounded by over 80 wineries and 200 vineyards in our county alone, notwithstanding the other 500+ additional wineries that are located in the Willamette Valley region alone. Covering 10.58 square miles, McMinnville is home to 35,000 residents making it the largest city in Yamhill County.
FUN FACT: Yamhill County, whom McMinnville is the county seat of, is the most concentrated county of grape growers and wine producers here in the entire state of Oregon.
What schooling options are available in McMinnville?
Alongside the five elementary, two middle and one public high schools, McMinnville parents of younger students also have the options of five additional private elementary / middle schools and there are two online school options as well. Regarding tertiary education, McMinnville is home to the Linfield Wildcats! Linfield who competes in the NCAA Division III Northwest Conference, is a private liberal arts university that attracts students from all around the world. I believe they have 23 countries being represented by students this year (’21-’22). The school consists of the four colleges of Arts, Science, Business and most notably they’re recognized in Nursing. Linfield University also has a postgraduate level program of earning a Master’s of Science in Nursing as well. Additionally for higher education, Salem’s Chemeketa Community College also has a full campus of their own in McMinnville.
What does Employment look like in McMinnville?
Employment in McMinnville is a wide net with really not one industry having dominance over any of the others. If you think of the job, I’m pretty sure that you can find that it exists. Having acres of farmland and vineyards, the agricultural industry is very strong here. We are home to over 90 manufacturing companies, the largest being Cascade Steel Rolling Mills. Due to being the county seat, the county’s government offices and courts are all located here in McMinnville providing government employment opportunities both for the city and for county positions. Education and Health employ many, not only in just the previously mentioned schools, but in all the medical offices that are around town and in McMinnville’s Medical Center which is a 60-bed, acute care, 24-hour full-service hospital. It also has an attached cancer center that provides radiation and chemotherapy services. Being obviously a tourist destination, known for not only our wines, but the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museums, the water park, world-class dining and all the boutique hotels to name just a few, hospitality employment is very plentiful here. McMinnville is home to, and runs, the third busiest regional airport in the state. It’s a 650 acre municipal airport that accommodates private jets, small planes, and has a helicopter flight school allowing for employment in aviation. Oregon Mutual Insurance, founded here in the late 1800’s, still maintains their headquarters here, along with multiple insurance and investment companies, employing many in the financial and professional service sectors as well. As mentioned in one of my previous videos, we are also a very supportive community of self startups and small businesses. McMinnville has a strong economic development partnership that helps not only businesses that are trying to relocate here or to expand to get larger, but they also provide connections for small businesses when they are just getting started. So if one of the previous jobs didn’t sound good to you, or one of the other industries wasn’t for you, there are many resources here for starting up your own business.
What is the cost of Living in McMinnville?
This is a very good question. I ran a few comparisons between different cities for cost of living between McMinnville and cities where we see a lot of people moving here from. If we were to compare our wine region with another wine region here in the United States for example, Sonoma, California… McMinnville is about 33% cheaper to live, than if you were to live in Sonoma. When we look at Seattle, just north of us, we are 32% cheaper in cost of living. And when compared to Portland, which is just a short drive away (in fact I worked and commuted on a daily basis back and forth to Portland for many years), we are almost 15% cheaper here in McMinnville. (Watch YouTube Video for full chart comparison breakdowns on all parts of cost of living breakdowns between the cities.) For utilities, McMinnville owns and operates its own water, sewer and electric utility company and has its own source of water. This helps to keep our utility costs here in McMinnville, one of the cheapest cities in the state. The biggest factor of all the comparisons though and really the biggest factor wherever a person is going to move, is the cost of housing. The largest sold price range of homes in the last two months here in McMinnville was between $400k and $500k. 33% of our sold homes were in that price range. The median home value here in McMinnville, as of January 31st of 2022 is sitting at about just over $445,000. One thing that none of the previous charts actually compared are taxes. We all have them. Local, state, income, sales tax, property taxes… they’re everywhere. The city of McMinnville itself does not have any imposed taxes at all but of course all the states do. So if we were to compare those, the state of Oregon is only one of five states that does Not have sales tax, yay! We do have, like 42 other states, income tax, which is pretty standard, but sales tax is non-existent. In comparing property taxes, when I pull comparisons from wallet hub, rocket mortgage, and taxfoundation.org to get a comparison for the 2021 tax year, Oregon ranked between #23 and #27 of the 50 states, so really not too significant in either direction when you compare our property taxes to the other 50 states of the nation.
The last question that I’ll answer today, which is another very popular one, is …
What is There To Do in McMinnville?
In addition to all the things that I’ve already mentioned that draws tourists here that we as residents definitely enjoy ourselves, McMinnville truly is a cultural hub, especially in our downtown area of 3rd street where you will find not only amazing food, craft beer, of course a lot of wine, art galleries and boutique stores… but pottery painting, one of our two local movie theaters, an arcade and our Gallery Theater that puts on multiple stage productions each year. I believe this year there are seven productions planned. These are not events to look forward to attending, but a lot of people get involved and actually participate in the productions. McMinnville is also a very outdoor friendly area with walking a bike path throughout a lot of the neighborhoods. We have 18 city parks with various amenities including nature trails, playgrounds, disc golf, picnic shelters, basketball hoops, pickleball, water features, sports fields, dog parks, skate parks… and so much more! In addition to city parks, we also have Miller Woods. A 130 acre conservation district about three miles west of the city that has miles of hiking trails through the forest and opportunities for learning about a vast array of ecosystems, plants and wildlife, that are all there. The city pool and the library have activities for all different ages and our Parks and Recreation department create youth, adult and senior events throughout the year on a consistent basis. which are fun to participate in as well. I think that I could actually create an entire post focusing solely on just the options that we have! McMinnville too, is home to both a private 18 hole golf course and a public par 3 and 9 hole starter course. Yearly events too, are looked forward to each year. Such as the farmers markets all summer, the IPNC , International Pinot Noir Celebration, in mid summer. Alien days in May. County fair in the fall. Many live music, bring your chair, gatherings that are hosted by numerous entities and of course there are often a variety of activities to meet up with friends throughout the year at a lot of the wineries around the area, if you just keep an eye on their calendars. There really is never a shortage of things to do or to keep busy with here at all.
Have I intrigued you yet? If you have been thinking about making a move, you are more than welcome to feel free download my free Yamhill County Relocation Guide here → HERE .
My Guide includes links to not only McMinnville, but to all of the nine cities here in Yamhill County that I help buyers and sellers in as well. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to reach out to me. I would love to help you!