Living in the Salem Area

Located in the heart of the beautiful Willamette Valley, Oregon’s capital city of Salem offers something for everyone. The original name of the city was Chemeketa, which in the language of the area native Kalapuya means “meeting or resting place.” The name was later changed to Salem, an anglicized variation of the Hebrew word, “Shalom,” meaning “peace”. The area continues as an agricultural hub, known as the “Cherry City” and the “Marionberry Capital of the World.”

Salem is the home of Willamette University, the first and oldest university in the Western United States. University of Oregon, home of the Ducks, is in nearby Eugene. Oregon State University, home of the Beavers, is in Corvallis. Spontaneous displays of green and yellow or black and orange crop up as Oregonians from all over the state proudly show their loyalty during the frequent “civil war” games between these universities’ many accomplished sports teams.

Today, Salem is the home of the Oregon State Fair and the Salem Art Fair and Festival, the World Beat Festival, the annual Festival of Lights Holiday Parade, as well as numerous outdoor concerts, sports, and cultural events. Nearby Mt. Angel hosts Oktoberfest. Local wineries abound and offer tastings for casual wine enthusiasts or serious aficionados. Salem’s central location also offers easy access to Portland, the Pacific Ocean, skiing, hiking, and more.

Finding a Home

Salem has maintained a steady population growth over the past decade, but housing is still affordable. To view houses that are currently for sale in Salem, visit the “Quick Search” page of

More about Salem

Here are some fun facts:

Population 160,614 (as of 2013)
Area 48.45 square miles (125.5 square km)
Elevation 154 feet (46.7 m) above sea level
Time Zone Pacific
Miles to Ocean 58.9
Miles to a Glacier 121.9
Average Temperatures January, 48ºF (8.88ºC)
July, 82ºF (27.8ºC)
Average Rainfall 39.61″
Acres of Parks in Metro Area 1,870

For relocation information, visit the Salem Chamber of Commerce. For more information about Salem and surrounding areas, see the Travel Salem Visitors Center.