Salem, Oregon

Salem is the capital city of Oregon and is also regarded as the county seat of Marion County. It is situated in the core of Willamette Valley that lies beside the Willamette River. This river runs north across the city and forms a boundary between Polk and Marion counties. Nicknamed as "The Cherry City", it was founded in the year 1842. In 1851, it became the capital of the state's territory. It was later incorporated in 1857. This city is an hour's drive to either the ocean to the west or the Cascade Mountains to the east.

According to 2010 census, the city is home to almost 154,637 residents and is the third largest city after Portland and Eugene in the state. It is also regarded as the biggest employer in the state with Salem Hospital as the major private employer.

The city has a metropolitan style that is complemented by Willamette River with parks, recreation. opportunities and natural areas. Their unique character is found throughout the Oregon region in their historic downtowns, galleries, museums, events, shops and eateries. Throughout the city, you experience lush vibrant scenery that is accompanied by exceptional hospitality at every turn.

Salem is a great place to live in. The city also has a bustling nightlife, various places to eat, places to see and can also offer you a great shopping experience. It is also an area of history and culture.

Salem History

The Kalapuyans were the Native Americans who originally inhabited the Salem city area and named the area  "Chameketa", which means "resting or meeting place" in the Central Kalapuya language. With the formation of the Oregon Institute, the community was named "The Institute". However, when the institute was dissolved, the trustees chose to name the new town "Salem". The name was derived from Semitic words (Hebrew-Shalom and Arabic-salam) for peace.

The Kalapuya people inhabited Willamette valley for almost 10,000 years. However, their population declined during the nineteenth century because they were removed by US government through treaties and force. These Native Americans then moved to Grande Ronde Reservation that is west of Salem. Europeans were the first descendants who arrived during 1812 in this area. They were food gatherers and animal trappers for fur trading companies located in the city of Astoria, Oregon. Permanent American settlement began in the city by the Jason Lee Methodist mission (1840). In 1851, Salem became the capital and was later incorporated in 1857. After the introduction of statehood, it became the capital of Oregon in 1859.

The state had three capitol buildings. The first capitol building was a two story house that was burned in 1855. The second building was constructed in the original site in 1876. However, on April 25, 1935, the building was destroyed by fire. The third and the current Oregon State Capitol was completed and recognized in 1938.

Salem's economy remained strong even after World War II. It adopted a council form of government with J. L. Franzen as the city's first manager in 1947. Salem later annexed the adjoining West Salem community in 1949. With this, the city was expanded to the western and eastern shores of Willamette River where the residents lived in Polk and Marion counties respectively. During 1950s, Salem extended and improved its crucial utilities, including natural gas connections and sewage treatment system.

In 1961, Salem gained national attention by receiving the prestigious "All-American City" award. It experienced a heavy windstorm that caused extensive damage to the city in 1962. In addition another natural disaster occurred in 1971 where the Marion Hotel that was regarded as the downtown landmark was burned. During 1960s and 1970s, many cities deteriorated. The outcome of Salem's efforts revitalized downtown and the city got a new look. New streams were uncovered and new parks, footpaths, bicycle lanes and plazas were constructed. The citizens were also actively involved in various neighborhood associations and addressed major issues such as livability, parks and crime prevention.

Salem continues to remain the heart of the state and center for retail, finance and other services in mid-Willamette Valley.

About Salem, Oregon

According to the Federal Bureau, Salem is widely spread across 46.4 square miles, out of which 0.6 square miles is water and 45.7 square miles is land. Salem has a Marine West Coast climate along with distinct characteristics of Mediterranean climate. It is governed by mayor-council system which consists of members elected from single individual member wards.

Life in Salem has always revolved around art. The Salem Art Association which is headquartered in Bush Barn Art Center has three galleries that display the works of local artisans. Other galleries that are highly regarded throughout the world include Pheromone Gallery, Mary Lou Zeek Gallery, and Salem Multicultural Institute's World Beat Gallery, which have reached the cultural boundaries across the country.

The city also hosts major events and festivals that are held throughout the year. The "World Beat Festival" held annually, mostly in June features international music, crafts, food, folklore and dance from every continent. The "Bite of Salem" is another event where the local restaurants in the city offer samples of their food to patrons with live entertainment. Other events include "Chef's Nite Out" and "Oregon Wine & Food Festival". The Oregon State Fair is regarded as the largest event in the city that is held in August. It offers competitions, carnival rides and exhibits from all around the world.

Salem and its neighborhood are blessed with a variety of landscapes combined with a mild climate that make the city an ideal combo for discovering, exploring, getting outside and at times, just relaxing. The Champoeg State Heritage Area offers a selection of opportunities for outdoor recreation. It has a great network of flat trails that make it easy for riding or walking, cycling with children and also provides an easy way to the calm Willamette River where boaters take advantage. Camping options in the area include yurts, tent sites, full RV hookups and cabins. Various waterfalls at Silver Falls State Park are impressive any time of the year. The 400 foot deep manmade Detroit Lake is the prime destination for water-skiing, wakeboarding and sailing.

Downtown Salem offers various shopping options which include specialty shops, unique boutiques and numerous department stores. As an extra bonus, the downtown shops remain open late offering entertainment, specials, wine tasting and various other activities on the first Wednesday of every month. Other shopping areas include Aunt Bee's House, Flea market, Sterling shop, Lancaster mall and Woodburn Company stores. Salem also has a huge number of vineyards and wineries that are open for the public including the state's oldest winery, "Honey wood Winery".

About Marion County, Oregon

Marion County was founded on July 5, 1843. It was one of the four districts of the Oregon territory besides Clackamas, Twality and Yamhill counties. It was originally nicknamed as Champooick District, after Champoeg. On September 3, 1849 it was renamed in the privilege of Francis Marion who was a Continental Army general by the territorial legislature. According to the 2010 US Census, the population of the county is 315,335. The total area of the county is 1,194 square miles out of which 10 square miles is water and 1,184 square miles is land.

Marion County is recognized as a part of Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area along with Polk County. Initially, the county stretched southward till the California border and to the Rocky Mountains in the east. However, with the emergence of Linn, Polk, Wasco and other counties, this area was reduced in size and the present geographical boundaries was established in 1856. Salem City was designated the county seat in 1849. In 1852, the territorial capital then moved from the city of Oregon to Salem.

Food processing and Agriculture are vital to its economy in addition to manufacturing, education and lumber. Marion County is regarded as the leader among agricultural production when compared with all other Oregon counties. The county's economy is largely derived from the government as it is a home to the 38 largest state agencies.

Marion County cooperates expansively with numerous jurisdictions and agencies to provide the finest viable park settings in the most economical manner. Some of the seasonal parks open to public include Aumsville Ponds, Scotts Mills, Spongs Landing, North Fork, Salmon Falls, Minto, Bear Creek and Niagara Parks. The parks that are open all year round include Rogers Wayside near Silverton, Denny, Santana, Joryville, Labish Village, St. Louis Fish Ponds and Packsaddle.

The county is also a home to major establishments in the field of education. Some of them include Corban University, Chemeketa Community College and Willamette University. Marion County also hosts many public parks, lakes, forests and streams that offer countless hours of different outdoor activities. Opportunities such as fishing, hiking, picnicking or hunting are available in plenty.