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Old 02-27-2014, 09:58 AM
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Eugene and Salem are roughly the same size, but are their downtown areas the same or are they different? Which do you think is more developed physically and/or culturally and why?
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:27 AM
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Wow, tough question. I would say different.

Salem is a bit more cohesive. Comparably it has a well organized downtown, moderately charming but not exactly a tourist destination.

Eugene on the contrary is a jumbled mess, but with some significant draws in the mix (Hult Center, 5th St, Saturday Market, library). The UO campus is more of a draw than Willamette's.

Also better dining in Eugene. But it has pockets that are rundown (or knocked down, persistently awaiting development...someday), it's unfocused, and arguably one of its primary functions is being a pass-through to the UO campus. As the campus grows (on-campus student body has grown something like 33% the past decade) outward it's mostly forced toward the west, and so some of what used to be unused space, particularly along 13th/11th does seem to be filling in, for better or worse.
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Old 02-27-2014, 10:44 AM
Location: Salem, OR
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I'd say Salem's is a bit better and agree with much of what bler144 wrote. Salem also has Saturday and Wed markets, the library is at the edge of downtown. Normally I would agree with better dining in Eugene, but Salem has had a huge uptick of new establishments opening downtown in the past 5 years so the dining scene has changed a lot. I think they are fairly comparable on the dining front now.

Salem officials have a tree chopping addiction so many of our large gorgeous trees have been chopped down in recent years. They were replaced with trees with deeper root systems so that it would spare the sidewalks, but it means we have a lot of young trees downtown. It definitely kills the charm.

Salem also has really large wide streets for a downtown. Ours are almost 100 feet wide, instead of the normal 60ish so there is a lot of concrete to separate one side from another. We have three lanes plus pull in parking (not parallel) on many streets. It keeps it from having that traditional downtown charm of similar sized cities.

U of O has 25,000 students to Willamette's 2,000 so Salem doesn't have a downtown nightlife scene to support the campus. Eugene has more of that.

They are different.

Edit: Eugene's is more bike friendly. We don't have a lot of bike parking downtown as Salem is still struggling a bit to encourage biking.

Last edited by Silverfall; 02-27-2014 at 10:56 AM.. Reason: Bikes
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Old 02-27-2014, 02:27 PM
Location: Dallas, Oregon & Sunsites Arizona
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Salem not so bike friendly, but Downtown is still alive and business like.

There are actually four shopping districts.

Downtown Salem, unlike Eugene, did not tear down the old mainstays and anchor stores, but connected them with second story walkways to create a mall.

Commercial in South Salem is heavy business/retail. Lancaster in East Salem is the same, and so is River Road in Keiser.
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Old 02-28-2014, 06:10 AM
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I prefer Eugene, it's very easy to get around especially bike wise. But they really need to improve Downtown, the way it's laid out is kind of strange (it's all just straight one way roads) and it does need some more businesses. But some areas are really nice like 5th Street Market.

Overall I find that Eugene just has more of a Downtown city life than Salem. There is much more hustle and bustle, more outdoor areas, and morenight life than Salem. Plus the U of O which adds to it even more.

That being said, Downtown Eugene has a lot of weirdos and meth heads hanging around, especially at the Downtown Public Library. But that's how it is in pretty much any city.
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Old 02-28-2014, 08:53 AM
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When I saw "Downtown Eugene vs Downtown Salem", I pictured all the state workers, justice department types, etc. who work in the state capital area -vs- the "hippies" and similar types running around Eugene's downtown area. (Quite a contrast!)
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