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Old 01-25-2009, 01:09 PM
 
Location: Boston
12 posts, read 33,939 times
Reputation: 13

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Hi Oregonians,
I was just offered a job in Salem, OR and was seriously thinking about accepting it. However, I am from MA and know nothing about the area. Can you please shed some light as to how I might like it there?
Here are some background info: I am an African American young female with a big heart. I am laid back and enjoy doing a lot of out door activities. I like to try new things and get involve in my community (this would entail tutoring, being a mentor, entering races, etc).

What I am most concerned about is finding a place that has little to no crime, town that is diverse in thought, words, and deeds, has a bike path where I can travel to and from Salem Hospital, a nice well KEPT hair salon with stylists that are expereinced with AA hair (Most of you are probably like why would I be concerned about that. Well, In my 20 + years of experience, I've had a few bad experiences and I've learned from them and do not plan on repeating them).

I am well aware that the AA population in the state is astranomically low (when compared to MA), to me that does not matter. What matter is the people I live amongst. How they treat me, what they say to me, and whether or not they are ignorant. Ignorant people live everywhere, the last thing I want to do is move to a place where 50% + of the population is ignorant. I want to stay away from drama not create it, nor be in it. If people are willing to let me live a peaceful and productive life than I think I can fit in fairly well because I will do the same.

Last edited by Cradal; 01-25-2009 at 02:07 PM..
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:25 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,983 posts, read 2,579,076 times
Reputation: 1761
Congratulations on the job!

Salem is the state capitol, about 1 hour south of Portland. I don't know much about it. I do have one friend who works there, and it doesn't sound too exciting. It does have at least one good university there, Willamette University, so there is some culture and chance to hear speakers, take classes etc. To give you an idea of the kind of people they bring to campus, the economist Paul Krugman is speaking there this week.

I think there are some very nice people in Oregon, but I did not find it very diverse when I lived there. It's a pretty white state, even in Portland. Yes, there's some diversity but having lived in northern California and Chicago, it just wasn't as much as I expected. To your question about ignorance, there certainly are some narrow minded people in some parts of the state. You'll find ignorance every where, even in the best places. I do think Oregonians in general are pretty open minded, and I think it can be a nice place to live.

If you can adjust to the weather, and love outdoor activities then Oregon can be a beautiful place to live. You'll be about an hour and a half from the ocean and about the same distance from Portland.
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Old 01-28-2009, 10:32 PM
 
Location: Boston
12 posts, read 33,939 times
Reputation: 13
Zitsky, thanks for the reply.
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Old 01-29-2009, 12:23 AM
 
Location: Moose Jaw, in between the Moose's butt and nose.
4,458 posts, read 4,375,858 times
Reputation: 1402
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cradal View Post
Hi Oregonians,
I was just offered a job in Salem, OR and was seriously thinking about accepting it. However, I am from MA and know nothing about the area. Can you please shed some light as to how I might like it there?
Here are some background info: I am an African American young female with a big heart. I am laid back and enjoy doing a lot of out door activities. I like to try new things and get involve in my community (this would entail tutoring, being a mentor, entering races, etc).

What I am most concerned about is finding a place that has little to no crime, town that is diverse in thought, words, and deeds, has a bike path where I can travel to and from Salem Hospital, a nice well KEPT hair salon with stylists that are expereinced with AA hair (Most of you are probably like why would I be concerned about that. Well, In my 20 + years of experience, I've had a few bad experiences and I've learned from them and do not plan on repeating them).

I am well aware that the AA population in the state is astranomically low (when compared to MA), to me that does not matter. What matter is the people I live amongst. How they treat me, what they say to me, and whether or not they are ignorant. Ignorant people live everywhere, the last thing I want to do is move to a place where 50% + of the population is ignorant. I want to stay away from drama not create it, nor be in it. If people are willing to let me live a peaceful and productive life than I think I can fit in fairly well because I will do the same.
The president of Willamette University is AA. There are at least 2 AA churches as well. There was in article in the Statesman that addressed this that came out last Saturday. Maybe you could look it up.
I don't know about hair salons, however, there are plenty of white hairdressers that know how to do black hair, if there aren't "black" hair salons in Salem. For sure there are in Portland, though.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Hillsboro, OR
5,696 posts, read 4,597,507 times
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From what I am seeing these days, AA hair is no different from any other kind of hair due to the crossover of styles curently in vogue. Finding a well kept salon with diverse experience will not be possible. Perhaps someone working out of their home. In any case, I have to advise the o.p. that Salem is not Portland. I've lived in Salem. It was o.k., only o.k. for an African American with a thick skin. For one that is at all sensitive to 'diversity' issues or to large numbers of people who will have little or no ability to deal with you. It's probably best to avoid Salem altogether. There is a reason there are only 2% AA in Salem and 6% in Portland. Bike lanes exist in Salem, but not in profusion. On those roads without bike lanes bikes are still safe, however. Bottom line, Salem probably isn't for you, but I'd never let druthers get between myself and a job. A hospital gig can lead to many things including other gigs in other places. OTOH if you can forget that you are 'black' (don't worry every now and then someone will remind you) and take the job in Salem and maybe learn to do your own hair and find it ok to go for weeks at a time without seeing other black people you'll do ok, not only in Salem but lots of other cool places in Oregon as well.

H
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:08 PM
 
16,101 posts, read 16,080,123 times
Reputation: 7135
A friend of mine who lived in Salem used to go to Portland to get her hair styled; she said that Salem stylists weren't skilled in AA hair.

You might try Cosmos Studio in Salem for your hair.

Go to the Off Center Cafe (near the intersection of 17th and Center) if you want a casual place to hang out and meet people.
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Boston
12 posts, read 33,939 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlakatla View Post
A friend of mine who lived in Salem used to go to Portland to get her hair styled; she said that Salem stylists weren't skilled in AA hair.

You might try Cosmos Studio in Salem for your hair.

Go to the Off Center Cafe (near the intersection of 17th and Center) if you want a casual place to hang out and meet people.
I tried finding Cosmos online but was unsuccessful. Would you please forward their address to me if you have it? Thanks Metlakatla.
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Boston
12 posts, read 33,939 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
From what I am seeing these days, AA hair is no different from any other kind of hair due to the crossover of styles curently in vogue. Finding a well kept salon with diverse experience will not be possible. Perhaps someone working out of their home. In any case, I have to advise the o.p. that Salem is not Portland. I've lived in Salem. It was o.k., only o.k. for an African American with a thick skin. For one that is at all sensitive to 'diversity' issues or to large numbers of people who will have little or no ability to deal with you. It's probably best to avoid Salem altogether. There is a reason there are only 2% AA in Salem and 6% in Portland. Bike lanes exist in Salem, but not in profusion. On those roads without bike lanes bikes are still safe, however. Bottom line, Salem probably isn't for you, but I'd never let druthers get between myself and a job. A hospital gig can lead to many things including other gigs in other places. OTOH if you can forget that you are 'black' (don't worry every now and then someone will remind you) and take the job in Salem and maybe learn to do your own hair and find it ok to go for weeks at a time without seeing other black people you'll do ok, not only in Salem but lots of other cool places in Oregon as well.

H
Leisesturm, thank you for the heads up. However I am not keen on forgetting that I am AA. Its who I am and it makes me unique. Just like you I never allow anything or one get in the way of my career. So Salem here I come.
Also not seeing another black person is not new to me. I've lived in towns and worked in departments where I am the only AA. Yeah at first it was weird, but I got use to it. I embraced everyone's differences and made the best of it. I learned from them and they learned from me.Interesting thing was that all the other team members weren't so open. Anyhoo, when I get to town, I'll see what Salem has to offer and I'll show Salem that not every "black" person look and act like "black" people they see on BET or MTV.
If anyone is going to take offense to the above comments. Please cool off, my comments are not meant to offend you, they are just what I learned over my 20+ years of experience in the world we live in.
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Old 02-03-2009, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,024 posts, read 7,897,853 times
Reputation: 3015
Salem has a reputation for being boring, really boring. As an AA you will stand out but I expect people will treat you well. Frankly I loved being the 'different one' in my youth. In the 60s I worked in Paterson, NJ. My boss said I was the only natural blonde in town and he never had to wonder what I was doing as the community called asking him where I came from.

I would talk to your local HR Rep for insights about housing. It is my observation that living among academics is a good choice, ask if there is a neighborhood were the Wmt. University staff tend to settle. Don't feel pushed to buy a home, prices are falling in Salem just like everywhere else.

Last edited by Nell Plotts; 02-03-2009 at 03:45 PM..
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Old 02-06-2009, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Long Beach Peninsula, WA
204 posts, read 462,210 times
Reputation: 248
Your inquiry is posted in the Eugene section of the Oregon forum, but here is a link to another discussion regarding safe areas of Salem http://www.city-data.com/forum/orego...lem-avoid.html This thread started in 2006 but has been carried forward to the present, so perhaps it will give you some insight about areas in which to look for housing...or avoid.

Good Luck!
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