As someone who lived in the Portland area, its not as cheap as some people make it sound. Its not San Francisco or New York city but the its still more expensive then plenty of Midwest or Southern area major cities. Its probably going to go up since the entire region (especially the areas across the river) are being flooded with new people moving in.
Yeah, the Oregon law schools send alot of people into non-private careers. UO has alot more people going into public interest then most other schools I know of. The environmental program is a big deal in Eugene, same with L&C.
University of Washington pretty much dominates the law market. If you get in there, your pretty much set if you want to the NW. After that it depends on where you want to work. Lewis & Clark is great if you want to work in Portland for example.