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Old 02-27-2011, 05:34 PM
 
9 posts, read 17,599 times
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We are considering a move to Salem from a small town in Alaska. My husband would have a job there before we came. I seem to see very mixed reviews here on this board. Some people really like it, others detest it, which is worrisome. Is it a nice place to live? The home prices are very attractive but there are so many houses for sale that it makes me wonder if there's a problem. Have the gangs from Portland migrated to Salem? We are a middle-aged (shudder) couple with no kids and this would be our last move. We are liberals but we can deal with people of other beliefs as long as they don't try and tell me Sarah Palin is the greatest thing since white bread. What about traffic -- I've seen some remarks about traffic. We really want to get out of Alaska but I don't want to jump from the frying pan into the fire. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-27-2011, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
14,789 posts, read 35,861,565 times
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I live in Salem and have lived here for 10 years. You will like Salem if you like sleepy towns. You will hate Salem if you want a hip vibe. I think it's that simple. Salem is a very slow paced and sleepy city. There aren't a lot of bars and clubs here so for people looking for that, they think Salem stinks.

Salem is a very middle class city with lots of state workers. As such the restaurants, etc are geared for people with those incomes. You won't find fru fru high end restaurants in town because state workers can't afford that. But we have some really good restaurants in town. Don't believe people that tell you that we don't. So...that is the deal with Salem.

Politically Salem is moderate when compared to Eugene and Portland. I'd say it seems to be split 50/50 between political parties with most people thinking they are both crazy.

Traffic isn't bad. It depends on your perspective. It takes me 20-25 minutes to get across town.

There are a lot of homes for sale because we are in a recession and people have lost their jobs. Portland, Bend, Medford all have large inventories too. The only city that has really held it's own is Corvallis.

We do have some gang problems here most of which are concentrated in N and NE areas. There are some really specific hot spots and you can call the local police department if you are really concerned about it. I don't consider it an issue, but I lived in Chicago before so I have a different definition of gang activity than they do out here.
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Old 02-27-2011, 06:50 PM
 
9 posts, read 17,599 times
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Excellent assessment for which I thank you. We aren't looking for a rock-'em-sock-'em swinging place, we just need a lower cost of living and more access to goods and services and to get back on the road system. We are basically homebodies who go out to dinner periodically at a moderately priced restaurant (just give me a big plate of authentic Mexican grub and I'm happy) and for the last 10 years have been living in small, laid-back places (Juneau, Bismarck and now Kodiak.) But we're stuck on a god-forsaken island 500 miles out in the Gulf of Alaska, the population is 10,000, the only way in or out is by boat or plane, and the cost of living is 35% higher than the rest of the nation. The only retailers here are a Safeway and a WalMart. We have 1 traffic light and 1 blinking light at a 4-way stop. My husband works for the feds and gets a salary differential for the cost of living but it doesn't even begin to make up for it. Jobs here are hard to get and forget applying for any of the good ones because it's already been (under the table) earmarked for someone's friend, the daughter of someone with a buddy on the city council, etc. I have only been able to find a part-time job. There is snow on the ground 8 months of the year. I grew up in LA so I know all about gangs -- as long as they stay on their turf and I'm not living in that area it's fine -- it's been my experience that they pretty much just fight amongst each other anyhow -- but I really don't want to be confronted with a bunch of tagging all over everything in sight or a bunch of gang bangers driving through my neighborhood blasting the bass on their car stereo. My husband likes to kayak and fish and hike but apparently that won't be a problem. And our Malamute won't roast in the climate. I was a state worker in Juneau for 5 years and hope I can get on with the state in Salem. But anything full-time will make me happy. I'm an executive secretary by trade so it's not like I have some super esoteric job requirements.
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Old 02-27-2011, 07:27 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
14,789 posts, read 35,861,565 times
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There is plenty of kayaking, hiking and fishing. This is Oregon

Most kayakers go down the Santiam for a nearby river, but the Metolius and McKenzie river's are an easy drive and have whitewater. Detroit Reservoir is really popular for lake fishing and the Metolius is catch and release fly fishing. It's really hard to catch there, say my fishing friends. There is a fishing club in the area as well as outdoor club.

It would probably be easier for you to get a job if you did have some specialized skills. There is a lot of competition for jobs so the more specialized the easier to get.

If you are homebodies that like nature who like to go out to dinner every so often, then Salem sounds like a good fit for you.
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:09 PM
 
22,447 posts, read 29,933,916 times
Reputation: 18485
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiskakodiak View Post
We are considering a move to Salem from a small town in Alaska. My husband would have a job there before we came. I seem to see very mixed reviews here on this board. Some people really like it, others detest it, which is worrisome. Is it a nice place to live? The home prices are very attractive but there are so many houses for sale that it makes me wonder if there's a problem. Have the gangs from Portland migrated to Salem? We are a middle-aged (shudder) couple with no kids and this would be our last move. We are liberals but we can deal with people of other beliefs as long as they don't try and tell me Sarah Palin is the greatest thing since white bread. What about traffic -- I've seen some remarks about traffic. We really want to get out of Alaska but I don't want to jump from the frying pan into the fire. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Hey--I lived in Salem for a long time and also am from a small town in Alaska (much smaller than Juneau/Kodiak etc.). These days I live between that small town and another small town east of Eugene about 45 miles (spend my time in both places is what I mean).

I have no complaints about Salem. It's close to wine country, the coast is within reasonable distance and the mountains are as well. Willamette University has some great cultural stuff going on--Oregon Symphony, talks by authors, things like that. It doesn't have as much going on as Portland does but by the same token...there aren't so many overwhelming choices.

I agree with Silverfall; stay way from NE and N and pockets of SE--Candelaria neighborhood is good.
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,697 posts, read 25,414,847 times
Reputation: 35681
Quote:
Jobs here are hard to get and forget applying for any of the good ones because it's already been (under the table) earmarked for someone's friend, the daughter of someone with a buddy on the city council, etc. I have only been able to find a part-time job.
This is true in Oregon as well. Very true. Now having said that, there are people who are fortunate enough to come here and find a job on their own but networking is pretty much the key here. Specialized jobs, especially in the medical profession, are more prevalent than office jobs.

Check out www.orgeon jobs.org. That will give you an idea of what's available.
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Old 02-27-2011, 08:57 PM
 
Location: oregon
899 posts, read 2,704,440 times
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We are Northern california transplants (almost 8 years) and love salem..Its friendly, there are plenty of things to do and more..The gardening is just the best...Take a look at Silverton too..I'm out there once a week and my friends who live there love it..
Good luck with your new home search.
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