Major Industries and Commercial Activity
The major industry in Salem, as the state's capital and county seat of Marion County, is government, where state, local, and federal governments employ 28 percent of Salem's workers. Trade, transportation and utilities comprise 16 percent; education and health services make up 13 percent; and professional and business services make up a further 10 percent of jobs in the metropolitan area (in 2003).
Agriculture and livestock, which is highly diversified in the Salem area, was valued in 2002 at more than $556 million in Marion and Polk counties. Vegetables and fruits, nursery and greenhouse crops, grass seed, and dairy products led with more than 50 percent of the total agricultural value. During the peak of food processing time in August and September, some 10,000 workers are employed in the industry. Contributing to this growth is the Willamette Valley wine industry, which is gaining a strong national reputation for its wine varieties.
Manufacturing in the Salem area has become increasingly diverse. Major manufacturing employers include the traditional food processors, fabricated metal products, high-tech equipment such as cell phones, snow boards, and area newspapers. Most employment classified as lumber and wood products is actually in the manufactured building industry making pre-fabricated structures.
Items and goods produced: high-tech components, vegetable and fruit products, wood and paper products, grass seed, ornamental plants, dairy products, manufactured homes, and metal products
Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies
In recent years the emphasis in the Willamette Valley has switched from business recruitment to business retention and expansion programs designed to help resident companies "stay put and stay healthy." Most incentive programs are state loan, worker-training, and tax credit packages provided by the Oregon Economic Development Department and arranged through the Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments or the Salem Economic Development Corp. (SEDCOR). The Salem area has three enterprise zones for qualified manufacturing and wholesale distribution firms that allow a three- to five-year property tax exemption on improvements.
Job training programs
The state of Oregon has approved an education program, the first in the nation, that establishes a statewide apprenticeship program and has students choose between job training or a college preparatory program after the tenth grade. The program is to be installed in stages in schools through the year 2010. The state's JOBS Plus program allows employers who hire a JOBS Plus-eligible worker to receive benefits that include reimbursements, the opportunity to train and evaluate the worker during the contract period, and the opportunity to treat the employee as a temporary employee. Chemeketa Community College's Training & Economic Development Center in downtown Salem has a variety of programs to help small businesses develop and to assist existing businesses to expand. SEDCOR has partnered with Chemeketa and the Oregon Manufacturers Extension Partnership (OMEP) to run the Oregon Gateway Project to train business and workers in state-of-the-art manufacturing processes at the Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Institute (AMTI) at the college.
In 2001 Courthouse Square Transit Mall was completed. It consists of a bus transfer area, office and retail space, and a parking garage. In 2005 the new Salem Conference Center and attached Phoenix Grand Hotel opened in the heart of downtown Salem, just a few blocks from the state capitol building. The Meridian, a 130,000 square foot mixed-use development of luxury condominiums and medical offices will begin construction in 2005 near Salem Hospital. The largest development project to be started in the mid-2000s is the development of the Mill Creek area labeled as "Salem Regional Employment Center." This 646 acre parcel will be developed as an industrial area with business and industry parks, with 100 acres set aside as open space and wildlife habitat.
Economic Development Information: SEDCOR, 350 Commercial St. N.E., Salem, OR 97301; telephone (503)588-6225; fax (503)588-6240; email [email protected] Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, 1110 Commerical Street NE, Salem, OR 97301; telephone (503)581-1466; fax (503)581-0972; email [email protected] Employment percentages from the Oregon Employment Department at www.qualityinfo.org.
Salem is located on the main lines of the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroads. Located in Salem are 28 long haul truck lines with seven terminals. Interstate 5, the primary north-south highway of the West Coast, passes through the east side of Salem, and Interstate 84 connects to states in the east. Nearby Portland has marine terminals and deep water ports, ranking third on the West Coast in cargo shipped. The Salem Municipal Airport at McNary Field is a 750-acre facility with a 5,800-foot ILS, precision runway that has full facilities for corporate and general aviation aircraft.
Labor Force and Employment Outlook
The Salem area labor force is diversified, with skilled and semi-skilled components including metal workers, assemblers, electrical/electronic technicians, machine operators, computer operators, and programmers.
The Salem area economy in the mid-2000s is very healthy. Employment is expected to continue to grow, although at a slightly slower pace than that of the 1990s. The high percentage of government workers has shown to have a stabilizing effect on the area's economy. There are projections that population growth will slow, but as baby boomers retire, more job openings will become available.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Salem metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.
Size of non-agricultural labor force: 141,300
Number of workers employed in . . .
natural resources and mining: 1,400
trade, transportation and utilities: 23,500
financial activities: 7,100
professional and business services: 12,200
educational and health services: 18,300
leisure and hospitality: 12,100
other services: 5,100
Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $13.90
Unemployment rate: 7.7% (February 2005)
|Largest private employers||Number of employees|
|Spirit Mountain Hotel/Casino||1,500|
|Norpac Foods (food processing)||700|
|State Farm Insurance||474|
Cost of Living
The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Salem area.
2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported
2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported
State income tax rate: Ranges from 5.0% to 9.0%
State sales tax rate: None
Local income tax rate: None
Local sales tax rate: None
Property tax rate: $19.32 per $1,000 assessed valuation
Economic Information: SEDCOR, 745 Commercial St. N.E., Salem, OR 97301; telephone (503)588-6225; fax (503)588-6240. Oregon Employment Department, 875 Union Street, Salem, OR 97311; telephone (800)237-3710
Though having a mediocre harbor with no river access to the interior, Salem, Massachusetts was in 1790 the sixth-largest town in the United States. In the seventeenth century the town had developed a profitable trade with the West Indies and Spain, sending provisions and especially wood products to the West Indies, and fish to Spain. When the West Indies trade declined after the American Revolution, Salem developed commercial links with Sumatra, Africa, and China. Some historians believe the Salem rose to prominence thanks to laissez-faire economics, but Salem was actually a prime example of how the unusual political and labor structure of Massachusetts allowed many towns to develop significant shipbuilding and blue water Atlantic trade in spite of their physical limitations.
Massachusetts's towns were incorporated nearly from European settlement, and each town controlled the economic direction of the town and the influx of labor into the town through the town meeting. Not a single acre of land in Massachusetts could be owned without inclusion in a town corporation. Towns used incentives to lure necessary workers and then protected those workers from the global labor market by limiting access to the local labor market. They offered wharves and other materials for free in exchange for development. The town's labor pool was enriched by publicly supported education, and its morale steeled by mandatory Calvinist church services. This social organization developed from the small towns and cities in East Anglia from which the Puritan Massachusetts settlers came, and it remained in place through the American Revolution.
From its first settlement, Salem Corporation lured fishermen and shipbuilders, who were amply rewarded with land and privileges for settlement, including exclusive right to the town's best timber. They created a shipping industry thanks also to the cod offshore and the forests of the interior. After 1650 Salem residents expanded production of ketches to include vessels large enough to sell its fish, local agricultural products, and especially lumber to the sugar islands. By 1698 Salem had a fleet of 21 vessels whose average tonnage was nearly fifty per vessel, requiring a crew per vessel of six or seven people, virtually all from Salem. By 1714 Salem's fleet had grown to 70 vessels. Salem's shipbuilding industry supplied the local market and also other Massachusetts towns, especially Boston. Salem shipbuilders built 140 vessels between 1674 and 1714 of an average tonnage of 52 per vessel. Among 152 owners of 77 port of Salem vessels between 1698 and 1714, no less than 75 percent lived in Salem. Salem men and women also worked and married almost exclusively in Salem. So ingrown was this Atlantic port that as late as 1795 the Salem minister William Bentley asserted that Salem people and the people of neighboring Marblehead were clearly two different races, the Salemites being tall and graceful and the Marblehead folk squat and ugly.
Salem trade survived the disruptions in the West Indian trade, but when the American Revolution and the regime of Thomas Jefferson undermined the Salem town organization, Salem trade and shipbuilding rapidly declined and capital and merchants left. Lacking any great physical assets—and without its old organization of labor and capital—Salem succumbed in an era of laissez-faire economics and declined. Salem survives as a county seat and a quiet tourist center with a great maritime museum.
SEE ALSO Agriculture; Baltimore; Boston; Cargoes, Freight; Cargoes, Passenger; Chambers of Commerce; Charleston; Containerization; Empire, British; Free Ports; Harbors;Los Angeles–Long Beach;New Orleans;Newport;New York;Philadelphia;Port Cities;San Francisco–Oakland;United States.
Bailyn, Bernard. Massachusetts Shipping 1677–1714.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1959. Morison, Samuel Eliot. The Maritime History of
Massachusetts, 1783–1860. Reprint edition. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1979.
Phillips, James Duncan. Salem in the Seventeenth Century.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1933.
Tapley, Harriet, ed. Early Coastwise and Foreign Shipping of
Salem: A Record of Entrances and Clearances of the Port of Salem, 1750–1769. Salem: Essex Institute, 1934.
The State Capitol building in downtown Salem is constructed of white marble and features a 22-foot bronze and gold leaf statue, "The Oregon Pioneer." Willson Park, next to the Capitol, contains the Waite Fountain, a replica of the Liberty Bell, and a gazebo for open-air concerts. Bush's Pasture Park is a large park near the Willamette River and downtown Salem that features the Bush House, a Victorian mansion; historic Deepwood House and Gardens, a 5.5-acre estate built in the Queen Anne style; Bush Barn Art Center; and Bush Conservatory. The Salem Municipal Rose Garden is also located in the park. Riverfront Park on the Willamette River has an amphitheatre, a playground and picnic areas, is home to Salem's Riverfront Carousel, featuring hand-carved horses. The A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, a children's museum, is also in Riverfront Park. Salem Saturday Market brings local farmers and artisans to the corner of Marion and Summers Streets May through October. The Reed Opera House, built in 1869, has been renovated and now contains a number of shops and restaurants.
Attractions at Enchanted Forest, a family-run amusement park, include Storybook Lane in a woodland setting, a Western mining town, summer comedy theater, a haunted house, the Ice Mountain roller coaster, and bobsled and log flume rides. The Salem area features more than 20 wineries within an hour's drive.
Arts and Culture
Theatrical performances are held year-round by the Pentacle Theatre, a community theater group. The Elsinore Theatre presents international and national tours of musicians and theatrical performances, hosts a children's play series, and presents films on Wednesdays. The Willamette Playhouse is where theatre majors from the Willamette University perform, along with the university's Distinguished Artists Series that brings speakers, concerts, and plays to the venue. Musical performances by local groups include classical and pops concerts backed by the Oregon Symphony Association of Salem. The Willamette Falls Symphony presents three concerts a year. Salem is also home to concert and jazz bands, a chamber music group, and men's and women's barbershop choirs. The Hallie Ford Museum of Art, the state's largest art museum, opened in 1998. It houses Willamette University's collection of Indian baskets, Northwest paintings, prints, photographs, sculpture, and European, Asian, and American art. The A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village is the largest children's museum in the Northwest and includes the National Toy Hall of Fame. Half of the museum is housed in a Victorian home once occupied by Gilbert's uncle and the other half is in a Victorian building separated from the first by a charming outdoor activity center.
Mission Mill Museum is a 5-acre site that is home to the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill, the historic buildings of the Jason Lee House, the Parsonage, the John D. Boon House, and Pleasant Grove Church. The modern PGE Waterpower Interpretive Center showcases the importance of waterpower to Salem's textile industry.
Arts and Culture Information: Mid-Valley Arts Council, 189 Liberty Street NE, Ste 208, PO Box 149, Salem OR 97308-0149; telephone (503)364-7474
Festivals and Holidays
The Oregon Wine and Food Festival, billed as "The first taste of the wine season" is held at the Oregon State Fair-grounds in February. In April, the Oregon Ag Fest at the State Fairgrounds brings over 20,000 visitors a year to enjoy the Trade, Garden and Craft Show, live entertainment, food, and petting zoo. In June, Riverfront Park hosts the Salem World Beat Festival, with music, dance, crafts, and food from around the world. The Salem Art Fair and Festival occurs annually in the third weekend in July and exhibits the works of artists from throughout the Northwest. Also in July is Salem Hoopla, an all-ages 3-on-3 basketball tournament held right on Court Street, and the Marion County Fair takes place at the State Fairgrounds. The Oregon State Fair is a 12-day celebration each August that features floral and art exhibits, agricultural displays, a midway, and live entertainment. The nearby Bavarian-style community of Mt. Angel holds a popular Oktoberfest each fall. The Festival of Lights Parade in December features floats and marching bands on a route through downtown at night.
Sports for the Participant
More than 1,800 acres, 29 miles of trails, 42 developed parks, and 26 undeveloped parks in Salem offer a variety of outdoor recreational activities. Water sports include fishing, swimming, and boating. Twenty-eight parks maintain ball fields, and there are also 23 public tennis courts and 7 public golf courses; some provide accommodations for the handicapped. Minto Brown Island Park, the largest park at 900 acres, is located along the river about a mile from Salem's center city and contains picnic grounds, jogging and bike paths, and a wildlife refuge. Within 50 miles of Salem are coastal beaches and state and federal recreational areas and parks.
Shopping and Dining
The downtown Salem Center Mall, Lancaster Mall, and Woodburn Company Stores Outlet Mall are the three main shopping areas in Salem. A system of skywalks connects the four major department stores downtown. A number of other specialty stores and smaller shops, such as Mission Mill Village, featuring antiques and crafts in a historic village setting, are scattered throughout the area.
Salem restaurants specialize in fresh, grown-in-Oregon foods and famous Pacific seafood along with cuisine from around the world. The Willamette Valley's vineyards produce a variety of fine wines that area restaurants proudly feature.
Visitor Information: Salem Convention and Visitors Association, 1313 Mill Street SE, Salem, OR 97301; telephone (503)581-4325; toll-free (800)874-7012; fax (503)581-4540
Settled in 1626 by a small band of English Puritans, Salem, Massachusetts, like most early New England towns, originally encompassed a broad geographic area that was later divided into numerous smaller communities. By 1754 the town encompassed about 8.5 square miles and was one of the most prosperous ports in New England. Salem's densely populated center, which took up less than one-eighth of the town's area, faced Salem Harbor. Surrounding the town core were farms owned by Salem merchants and professionals and smaller plots owned by or rented to Salem's numerous artisans and shopkeepers, who used these lands for grazing and planting.
In 1754 Salem contained 3,462 people. Subsequent censuses reveal that the population grew to 5,337 in 1776 and to 7,291 in 1790, when Salem was the new nation's sixth most populous community. The population reached 12,613 in 1810, when a combination of factors, including the outward migration of some of Salem's most prosperous merchants and the War of 1812, slowed commercial activity in the town. Thereafter its population growth tapered off, reaching only 13,895 in 1830.
During Salem's growth years, various developments in the Atlantic world, the British Empire, and the new nation influenced its economy. Originally the community engaged primarily in "codfish commerce," where fish caught off the New England coast and timber cut from nearby forests were shipped throughout the North Atlantic and the Caribbean in exchange for goods of the West Indies, Spain, France, England, and a variety of other trading partners. Later Salem's economy underwent a series of transitions as a result of the French and Indian War, independence, and the War of 1812. During the French and Indian conflict, enemy privateers drove much of Salem's fishing fleet from the seas and seized many Salem merchant vessels, but war-generated demand created offsetting opportunities for the town's traders as well. By 1763 Salem's fishermen were back on the water and the town's population rose, although somewhat irregularly, until 1774. Even before the Continental Congress declared American independence, Salem merchants sent out privateers. During the war for independence the town ultimately supplied over 20 percent of privateering vessels from Massachusetts and about 10 percent of all such ships in America. Following independence, Salem developed a complex trade with Europe, Africa, South America, the Far East, and the West Indies.
Although some Salem families had French, German, or African roots, the town population remained rather homogeneously English throughout these years. The African American population was less than 4 percent of the town total in 1754, and less than 2 percent in 1830. In the later year there were only eighty-eight nonnaturalized aliens in town.
From the Revolution through the War of 1812 Salem experienced a variety of political divisions. Several wealthy landed families, which prospered from salaries and fees earned as civil officials, opposed independence, while the merchant, artisan, and seafaring classes in the town supported separation from England. Most Salemites embraced the Constitution, but during the early years of the nation, when party divisions emerged, both Federalists and Democratic Republicans developed strong followings in the town.
Bentley, William. The Diary of William Bentley, D.D., Pastor of the East Church, Salem, Massachusetts. 4 vols. Gloucester, Mass.: P. Smith, 1962.
Felt, Joseph B. Annals of Salem. 2nd ed. 2 vols. Boston: James Munroe & Co., 1849.
Morison, Samuel E. The Maritime History of Massachusetts, 1783–1860. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1921.
Phillips, James D. Salem in the Eighteenth Century. Salem, Mass.: Essex Institute, 1969.
——. Salem and the Indies: The Story of the Great Commercial Era of the City. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1947.
Richard J. Morris
SALEM. A port city in Essex County on the north shore of Massachusetts, Salem lies nineteen miles north of Boston. Salem is the site of one of the earliest European settlements in America, and it was a major trading port in the eighteenth century. It is perhaps best known as the site of the notorious Salem witch trials of 1692. Booming international trade soon overshadowed the Salem witch trials.
In 1626 a small group of settlers led by Roger Conant left Cape Ann (now Gloucester) and made their way south to a sheltered bay at the mouth of a river, a place Native Americans called Naumkeag or Comfort Haven. The group of settlers renamed the settlement "Salem" from the Hebrew word "shalom" or peace. Early settlers farmed and fished for cod.
By 1692 Salem had grown into a sprawling community, and divisions began to arise between Salem Village, the primarily agricultural outskirts, and Salem Town, the commercial and judicial heart of Essex County. Accusations of witchcraft were initially made against three
village women, but by the time the hysteria was brought under control a year later, 185 people had been accused of witchcraft. Nineteen women were executed on the gallows, and one man died while being interrogated. The Witch Trial Memorial was dedicated in 1992 by the Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel to commemorate the tercentenary of the Salem witch trials and to advocate for peace and tolerance.
Salem developed into a major shipbuilding, fishing, and trade port in the eighteenth century. The growth of the codfish trade with Europe and the West Indies brought wealth and prestige to the town. Salem, with its money and its ships, was poised to be a key player in the American Revolution. In 1774 the Provincial Congress was organized there. Salem merchant ships quickly equipped themselves for war and seized or sank over 450 British ships.
Salem reached its zenith between the Revolution and the War of 1812. It was the sixth largest city in the United States in 1790 and had the highest wealth per capita. Wealth from international trade, particularly with the Far East, led to the construction of magnificent mansions and stately homes. Many Salem captains and merchants commissioned Samuel McIntire (1757–1811), a great architect and woodworker, and Salem developed into the home to one of the most significant collections of Federal architecture in the world.
Salem became an industrial city in the mid-nineteenth century after shipping moved to deep-water ports. Immigrants came to Salem to work in cotton mills and leather and shoe factories.
By the twenty-first century tourism and retail were the base of Salem's economy. Its museums, magnificent architecture, numerous historical sites, and proximity to Boston made it a prime destination. It is also the home of Salem State College, and some industry remained in the area. Salem Harbor is used primarily by pleasure vessels and fishing boats, but they share the waterfront with the Friendship, a replica of a 1797 East India merchant tall ship. By 2000 Salem's population of thirty-eight thousand shared the city with over 1 million visitors every year.
Flibbert, Joseph, et al. Salem: Cornerstones of a Historic City. Beverly, Mass.: Commonwealth Editions, 1999.
McAllister, Jim. Salem: From Naumkeag to Witch City. Beverly, Mass.: Commonwealth Editions, 1000.
"Salem, Massachusetts." Available at http://www.salemweb.com/guide.
See alsoMerchant Marine .
Salem: Education and Research
Salem: Education and Research
Elementary and Secondary Schools
The Salem-Keizer Public Schools is the second largest school district in the state. It is governed by a seven-member, nonpartisan school board that appoints the superintendent. Like many districts, in the 2004-2005 school year Salem-Keizer faced budget cuts, but pledged to keep the focus of their programs on academic achievement and overall student success.
The following is a summary of data regarding Salem public schools as of the 2004–2005 school year.
Total enrollment: 38,236
Number of facilities
elementary schools: 45
middle schools: 10
senior high schools: 6
other: 4 charter schools
Student/teacher ratio: K-2, 26:1; 3-5, 28:1; 6-8, 29.5:1; 9-12, 30:1
Funding per pupil: $6,941 (2002-2003)
Salem is also served by 26 parochial and private schools spanning pre-K to 12th grade.
Public Schools Information: Salem-Keizer Public Schools, 2450 Lancaster Dr. NE, Salem, OR 97305; telephone (503)399-3000
Colleges and Universities
Salem is home to Willamette University, a private school affiliated with the Methodist Church that traces its roots back to 1842. With an enrollment of more than 1,500, the university offers a wide range of undergraduate degrees in many fields and a number of postgraduate programs, including law, teaching, and management. Recent additions to the campus include the F.W. Olin Science Center, the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, and the Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center. Chemeketa Community College serves more than 48,000 students annually, and offers one- and two-year associates degrees. A branch of Tokyo International University opened in Salem in 1989 to meet Japanese corporations' increased demand for a culturally adapted workforce. Other area colleges and universities are Western Baptist College, George Fox University, and Western Oregon State College in Monmouth.
Libraries and Research Centers
The Oregon State Library provides quality information service to Oregon state government, provides reading materials to blind and print-disabled Oregonians, and provides leadership, grants, and other assistance to improve local library service for all Oregonians. Among its more than one million items are in-depth collections in business, history, political and social sciences, federal and state government publications, genealogy, and a comprehensive collection of materials about Oregon. In addition, its Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped collection consists of more than 50,000 cassette, large print, Braille, and talking book titles.
The Salem Public Library maintains a main library, one branch, and a bookmobile with a total of more than 300,000 items, including more than 800 periodical titles. The library features a special photographic history collection. At Willamette University the Mark O. Hatfield Library houses more than 300,000 volumes and about 1,400 periodical subscriptions; and the J.W. Long Law Library houses collections of Oregon, national, and international law titles.
Public Library Information: Salem Public Library, 585 Liberty Street SE, Salem, OR 97301 telephone (503)588-6315
Salem: Population Profile
Salem: Population Profile
Metropolitan Area Residents
2003 estimate: 363,000
Percent change, 1990–1998: 24.9%
U.S. rank in 1980: 126th
U.S. rank in 1990: 122nd
U.S. rank in 2000: 129th (CMSA)
2003 estimate: 142,914
Percent change, 1990–2000: 25.8%
U.S. rank in 1980: 195th
U.S. rank in 1990: 178th (State rank: 3rd)
U.S. rank in 2000: 162nd (State rank: 3rd)
Density: 2,994.0 people per square mile (2000)
Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)
Black or African American: 1,750
American Indian and Alaskan Native: 2,064
Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 643
Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 19,973
Percent of residents born in state: 45.0% (2000)
Age characteristics (2000)
Population under 5 years old: 10,190
Population 5 to 9 years old: 9,620
Population 10 to 14 years old: 9,244
Population 15 to 19 years old: 10,159
Population 20 to 24 years old: 11,252
Population 25 to 34 years old: 20,659
Population 35 to 44 years old: 20,539
Population 45 to 54 years old: 18,252
Population 55 to 59 years old: 5,679
Population 60 to 64 years old: 4,291
Population 65 to 74 years old: 7,541
Population 75 to 84 years old: 6,653
Population 85 years and over: 2,845
Median age: 33.6 years
Births, Marion County (2003)
Total number: 5,094
Total number: 2,622 (of which, 4 were infants under the age of 1 year)
Money income (1999)
Per capita income: $19,141
Median household income: $38,881
Total households: 50,585
Number of households with income of . . .
less than $10,000: 4,497
$10,000 to $14,999: 3,490
$15,000 to $24,999: 6,903
$25,000 to $34,999: 7,530
$35,000 to $49,999: 9,309
$50,000 to $74,999: 10,231
$75,000 to $99,999: 4,580
$100,000 to $149,999: 2,771
$150,000 to $199,999: 595
$200,000 or more: 679
Percent of families below poverty level: 10.5% (27.6% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 12,077
Salem: Geography and Climate
Salem: Population Profile
Salem: Municipal Government
Salem: Education and Research
Salem: Health Care
Salem: Convention Facilities
The City in Brief
Founded: 1848 (incorporated, 1860)
Head Officials: Mayor Janet Taylor (since 2003); City Manager Robert Wells
142,914 Percent change, 1990–2000: 25.8%
U.S. rank in 1980: 195th
U.S. rank in 1990: 178th
U.S. rank in 2000: 162nd
Metropolitan Area Population
Percent change, 1990–2000: 24.9%
U.S. rank in 1980: 126th
U.S. rank in 1990:
122nd U.S. rank in 2000: 129th
Area: 46.37 square miles (2000)
Elevation: 171 feet above sea level at State Capitol
Average Annual Temperature: 52.6° F
Average Annual Precipitation: 39.2 inches of rain, 6.4 inches of snow
Major Economic Sectors: Agriculture, lumber, government, services, trade, high technology
Unemployment Rate: 7.7% (February 2005)
Per Capita Income: $19,141 (1999)
2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported
2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported
1999 FBI Crime Index Total: 12,077
Major Colleges and Universities: Willamette University, Chemeketa Community College, Western Baptist Bible College; Tokyo International University (branch)
Daily Newspaper: Statesman Journal
The site of present-day Salem was called "Chemeketa" by the Calapooya tribe. The word means "meeting" or "resting place," and the tribe used the region for many years in that capacity. In 1840, Jason Lee, a Methodist-Episcopal missionary, moved his mission to the area and called it "Chemeketa," but most settlers referred to it as "The Mill," because of its proximity to Mill Creek. Two years later, the mission established the Oregon Institute, a training school for the local Native Americans that eventually became Willamette University.
The mission was closed in 1844, but in 1848, a town was laid out on the site and called Salem. Some controversy remains over who actually named the town Salem, but historians agree that it was either David Leslie or W. H. Wilson. A fierce battle over where to locate the capital of the Oregon Territory began when the capital was moved from Oregon City to Salem in 1851. In 1853 the Oregon State Legislature began debate on whether to change the town's name to Thurston, Valena, or Corvallis, but a vote in 1855 retained the town's original name. The capital was moved again in 1855, but it returned to Salem later that same year. A suspicious fire that destroyed the Capitol building in late 1855 added to the controversy. When Oregon became a state in 1859, Salem was named the tentative capital, but it was not until 1864 that the city was officially chosen as the capital by election. Salem was incorporated as a city in 1860, and the present Capitol building was built in 1938, after the previous building was destroyed by fine in 1935.
Beginning as a wool processing center, Salem has grown to be an important center for the processing of agricultural products and lumber, as well as a hothouse for technology and information companies. The city's historic buildings, surrounding natural beauty, and modern amenities make it a draw for new residents and businesses alike.
Historical Information: Marion County Historical Society Museum, 260 Twelfth St., SE, Salem, Oregon 97301-4101; telephone (503)364-2128; Fax (503)391-5356; email mchs @open.org
Newspaper and Magazines
Salem readers support one major daily morning newspaper, the Statesman Journal, and a number of weekly papers that provide business, agricultural, government, and general news, including Willamette University's Collegian. Among the magazines published in Salem are Dialogue, a magazine for the visually impaired, The Capital Press, a farming newspaper for the Pacific Northwest, Oregon Beef Producer, and Oregon Food Journal.
Television and Radio
Two television stations broadcast from Salem: PAX and WB affiliates. Salem is also served by a number of stations broadcasting from Portland, Oregon, as well as cable television. Five FM and AM radio stations are located in Salem, and along with broadcasters from the surrounding communities, serve the area with an assortment of music, news, and informational programming.
Media Information: Statesman Journal, 280 Church St. NE, Salem, OR 97309; telephone (503)399-6611; toll-free (800)874-7012
City of Salem home page. Available www.cityofsalem.net
Oregon Economic Development Department. Available www.econ.state.or.us
Salem Area Chamber of Commerce. Available www.salem chamber.org
Salem Convention & Visitors Association. Available www.travelsalem.com
Salem Economic Development Corporation. Available www.sedcor.org
Salem-Keizer Public Schools. Available www.salkeiz.k12.or.us
Salem Public Library. Available www.salemlibrary.org
Statesman Journal. Available www.statesmanjournal.com