PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The town of Remote, Oregon, isn’t known for much else other than being a former gas station pit stop along a now-defunct segment of freeway. But the internet age changed that, as evidenced by one job seeker’s experience as he was searching for postings on job sites.
Brian Feldman, who writes a newsletter about internet culture, is in the process of changing careers from a full-time journalist to a software engineer, he told KOIN 6 News.
“I did one of those coding boot camps for software engineering while I’m in the midst of applying to a bunch of jobs and searching job boards and stuff,” said Feldman, who lives in Brooklyn, New York. “And so I, you know, scanned listings and I started seeing a few for ‘Remote, Oregon’ and I wrote ’em off. Cause I figured it was a weird town name or whatever.”
Feldman did not want to relocate to somewhere in Oregon just for a job, he recounted in a blog post in late February.
But after looking up the Wikipedia entry for Remote, Oregon, he realized it isn’t the bustling metropolis he thought it was. Instead, the city is often listed as a placeholder on job boards to represent if a position is a remote-work position.
Feldman’s best guess for the phenomenon is that whenever someone lists the location for a job listing as “remote,” whatever automated system a job site uses cross references that phrase with some sort of database that links a physical location to the job posting.
“Mostly, I think it’s funny,” he said.
Feldman guessed there was likely a surge of job postings with “remote” in them at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and that the sites were not prepared for such an in-flux, thus why he seemed to spot so many “Remote, Ore.” postings during his job search, but he isn’t sure.
Wanting to find out more about the town of Remote, which the Wikipedia article listed as being an unincorporated hamlet of Coos County, KOIN 6 News reached out to Coos County Commissioner Melissa Cribbins.
Cribbins said she, too, had noticed job listings for Remote, Oregon, and was also confused by it.
“The first few times I saw it I thought, what on Earth? Is there some economic revitalization going on in Remote? And then pretty quickly you realize it’s a remote job. But I thought it was funny, too,” she said.
Cribbins explained she was familiar with the area because her husband’s family is from there.
She said just about the only notable thing about the town is a now-closed gas station and grocery store that was once the back drop for a Coca-Cola commercial.
The store was once a pit stop on a highway but that changed when a bypass built in the late ’70s rerouted the highway, Cribbins said.
Other than the now-shuttered store, the town has a couple homes, the Sandy Creek Covered Bridge, and an RV park near the confluence of the Sandy Creek and Middle Fork Coquille River.
“I would guess that that’s the only business in Remote right now,” Cribbins said.
In addition, Remote is known as a place where divorced parents exchange their children when trading off visitation days, as it is halfway between Coos Bay and Roseburg, Cribbins said.
KOIN 6 News checked many of the major job sites, like Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Monster, but only found one listing on Monster for Remote, Ore., at the time of this writing. It’s unclear if the sites have since remedied the mix-up in regard to Remote, Ore., job listings or if there was just a shallow pool of posts at the time.
We reached out to many of those sites for comment, but they did not reply in time for publication.