What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Salem, Oregon?

Gary Evans
by Gary Evans

Oregon has become a popular spot for people seeking a new home, but which city there is right for you? Cities like Eugene and Portland are among the best known and they have a lot to offer for sure. You cannot forget about the city of Salem though.

Salem is the capital city of Oregon and there are definite reasons why you should consider living there. Then again, there are some downsides that come with that potential move too.

Living in Salem means you get to enjoy the great outdoor environments there. Salem’s close proximity to other major metropolitan areas and its own promising economy serve as additional incentives for a potential move. Homes are pricey in Salem though and that alone could derail your plans.

Are you thinking of potentially moving to Salem, Oregon sometime in the near future? Figure out if that’s the right move for you by checking out the pros and cons we’ve detailed below.

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What Are the Perks of Living in Salem, OR?

We want to kick things off in a positive way so we’ll focus first on the perks of living in Salem. Check them out yourself and see if they are compelling enough for you to move there.

The Great Outdoors

There are many reasons why folks move to Oregon. Among the most popular reasons why is because the state boasts an incredible amount of natural beauty. You can complete a whole catalog of postcards with just gorgeous outdoor shots of Oregon.

Salem is certainly not lacking in terms of beautiful natural locales. If you’re feeling stressed out, you can drop by one of the parks in the city to unwind. Minto-Brown Island Park is a favorite haunt for residents. Take up a spot along one of the observation platforms and just soak in nature for a while. Cascades Gateway Park houses Walter Wirth Lake. You can have fun fishing or canoeing there.

Willamette Mission State Park is another popular outdoor location. Visiting Willamette Mission State Park can be a somewhat surreal experience due to the old structures that still reside there.

If you’re looking to experience the Oregon outdoors differently, you don’t have to settle for park visits. Hike the Oregon Coast Range and take on the challenge presented by nature. Cross the rivers and conquer the peaks that await you there.

Of course, you can also make the trek down to the Oregon coastline and witness the majesty of the Pacific Ocean. Nothing can quite compare to your first experience of seeing the Pacific Ocean. It’s a trip well worth taking if you have the time to spare.

Close Proximity to Major Oregon Cities

Living in Salem doesn’t just mean that you’re staying close to some terrific natural locales. The city’s location is also quite convenient because of how close it is to other major Oregon cities.

For instance, living in Salem while working in Portland is possible given how close the two cities are. If you’re driving to Portland, you can expect the trip to take about 50 minutes. Heavy traffic will probably bump that commute time up to an hour.

You can also drive from Salem to Eugene on a regular basis. The drive to Eugene is longer, but it’s not by much. Expect the drive to take around 70 minutes at most. Salem’s close proximity to both Portland and Eugene is a big reason why people like the idea of living there. As we noted earlier, you can live in Salem while still working in Portland or possibly Eugene.

Beyond that, Salem’s location also gives you more options when it comes to how you spend your free time. If you want to experience something different during a long weekend, you can head out of town. Catch a Trail Blazers game in Portland or watch the Oregon Ducks defend their home turf in Eugene.

Great Economic Outlook

Take a gander at Salem’s economy right now and you will find justifiable reasons to be discouraged. It simply doesn’t look good at the moment.

The unemployment rate for the city is at 6.2 percent. That puts it slightly above the country-wide number of 6.0 percent. As for economic growth, Salem’s job market actually shrunk ever so slightly from last year. The decrease is minimal at just 0.1 percent, but any kind of shrinkage in that regard can trigger alarms.

So, why do we have this entry in the pros section of the article? That’s because economic experts are projecting great things for Salem’s job market.

Current projections indicate that the job market for the country will grow by about 34 percent over the next decade. What’s worth pointing out here is that economists are even more optimistic when it comes to Salem. The experts believe that the job market in Salem will grow by 40 percent over that aforementioned timeframe.

Salem is seemingly primed for major growth in the near future. Now is as good a time as any to move to Salem if you want to benefit from its expected growth.

What Are the Pitfalls of Living in Salem, OR?

Although there are definite reasons to love Salem, there are not so great aspects of living there as well. Let’s discuss the less than ideal parts of living in Salem below.

Expensive Homes

Homes are expensive in Oregon. It’s a reality that can often act as an obstacle to anyone with plans of moving there.

The median price for a new home in the United States is $231,000. In the state of Oregon, that shoots all the way up to $344,000. Interestingly enough, the median home price in Salem is actually lower compared to the rest of Oregon. The number in Salem is $283,000, which is still above the country’s median mark.

Those home prices in Salem speak to how highly sought after Oregon properties currently are. You will have to pony up if you want to purchase a new home as you move there. We do want to point out here that other cost of living expenses in Salem are not that high. Grocery prices in the city are about where you’d expect them to be. Expenses related to transportation, utilities, and healthcare are way more affordable.

If you can spend big when you first move to Salem, you may be able to manage additional expenses long-term. Consider that when looking at the high home prices again.

Rainy Weather

The climate in Oregon is pretty comfortable throughout most of the year. Summers are warm, but not excessively so. The winters do get chilly for sure, but they are more than manageable.

The only real downside to the climate in Oregon is the abundance of rain. Rain almost becomes a fixture of the daily forecast during certain stretches of the year. Dealing with rain that often can really wear a person down.

Unfortunately, Salem itself is not exempt for the frequent rains. The city gets about 45 inches of rain annually. 45 inches is well above average rainfall for a city in the United States. Flooding is not a real concern for most residents, but you still have to keep your home in good condition. You also don’t want to head out with no umbrella. Even if the sun’s out, rains can arrive in Salem unexpectedly.

Salem also gets snow every year, but it’s not a lot. Residents can only expect about four inches of snow annually in the Oregon capital.

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Related Questions

Is Criminal Activity a Major Concern for Salem Residents?

Your level of concern regarding crime rates in Salem will depend on which types of offenses you’re looking at. The trends look very different for violent crimes and property crimes.Starting with the violent crimes, you can clearly see them trending downward. After a surprising spike in violent crime a few years ago, trends are again pointing down for Salem. The violent crime rate in Salem is slightly below average compared to the rest of the United States. It’s certainly an encouraging sign if you’re planning to move there.The property crime rate is a different story. Sadly, the recent numbers pertaining to property crimes paint a troubling picture. The property crime rate for Salem is way above average right now and it is becoming a huge problem.You must recognize the threat of property crime if you’re planning on moving to Salem sometime soon. Safeguard your home properly and avoid being victimized by would-be burglars.

What Kind of Cuisine Does Salem Feature?

There is no one kind of cuisine that’s synonymous with Salem. Instead, restaurants in the city focus more on freshness.They always make a point out of cooking with the freshest ingredients available. It’s common to see restaurants in the area that feature changing menus. That’s because they make adjustments depending on whichever fruits and vegetables are in season.Numerous vineyards and breweries can also be found in Salem. You’ll be grateful for their presence if you ever decide to move there. There’s nothing quite like a seasonal dish paired expertly with a good wine or bottle of beer. It’s just about the perfect way to cap another delightful day in Salem, Oregon.

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Gary Evans
Gary Evans

Gary Evans is passionate about home improvement. He loves finding out how to make improvements in the easiest, most practical, and most affordable ways. Upgrading his home kitchen is one of his ongoing hobbies. Gary is also a long-time content creator and enjoys spending his free time tending to his hydroponic vegetable garden.

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