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Old 11-05-2008, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Eastern Oregon
505 posts, read 2,033,176 times
Reputation: 257

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Hi there,

I can't believe that I'm asking this question, but after fleeing Oregon 2 1/2 years ago for Michigan, there's a potential job opportuntity now in Salem that we're seriously considering. We lived in the Medford area late 80's to 2005, and have family in Portland, so we know a lot about Oregon, but considering I've driven through Salem on I-5, I've never stopped off... always too close to Portland to stop coming or going. I know very little about it, and want to know what it's like.

My main concerns about Salem (and Oregon in general) are schools and housing prices. We moved from S Oregon party due to those 2 factors. I know we'd have more choices in Salem than in Medford, but are there any good schools there? And how are housing prices there? Have they come down a great deal in the last 2 years? What's the average price now? Or the average price for a 3 bed 2 bath house in a good school district? I know we've lost a ton of money on our house here, but probably not as much as if we'd stayed in Oregon, since Michigan never really had as much of a bubble here. Our biggest concern is being able to sell a house in Michigan. Things aren't moving here at all, even bargains. This state is losing population.

Another big concern is being once again far away from most of our family. BUT we'd be much closer to Portland where they could fly in and out of much cheaper and easier than in Medford. How long does it take to get to the Portland airport? An hour?

So, is it doable? We have missed Oregon terribly, despite it's problems, but I've been able to stay home with my kids for over 2 years now, and we never could have done that in Oregon. I hope we can keep that going at least until they are old enough to stay home alone (they're 10 and 8 now).

Are class sizes OK there? We've loved their school here, and would hate to leave it, but this is a really good job opportunity, plus a return to Oregon. Thanks.
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Old 11-05-2008, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Portland, OR
9,792 posts, read 10,651,394 times
Reputation: 9712
I lived in Salem for two years. Its not that big a city. Likely the schools are just a few, maybe one. If that is it then I've seen it. I've seen the kids that are going there. They seemed alright to me. I simply cannot accept that in a city like Salem your children wouldn't receive a decent education but that's me. People worry so much about schools and lose sight of the big picture. If you could send your kids to a private prep school for the elite you wouldn't be posting here. My advice is: find a good neighborhood to live in and call it good. The school (or schools) that supports that neighborhood will not, cannot be awful. OTOH if you put yourself on the dodgy side of Lancaster avenue to save on housing costs then the school (or schools) in that neighborhood might not be the best. However, Salem is not Detroit. That must be taken into consideration. More depends upon the homeschooling that you will still have to perform regardless of what school you actually do find than any other factor. Good luck.

H
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Old 11-05-2008, 11:29 AM
 
Location: Oregon
177 posts, read 916,450 times
Reputation: 89
I live in Salem. I don't have any kids in school, but I do have a nephew who attends school in west Salem. My sister says she will not move until my nephew is out of school because she wants to keep him in the West Salem school district.
I agree with Leisesturm, you want to avoid NE Salem. South and West are the two nicer areas of town. I can't tell you about prices, I do know they have dropped, but have no idea what the average price is. You can look for homes on willamette valley multiple listing service (wvmls.com) to get ideas.
The Salem-Keizer school district has a website(I don't know the exact address, but it shouldn't be hard to find) that might be able to tell you class size, etc.
As far as time to the airport, it depends on the time of day. If you hit the morning(7am-9am) or evening rush hour(4 pm-6 pm) in Portland it can take at least 1 1/2 hours just to get to the parking area.
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Old 11-05-2008, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Albany, Oregon
42 posts, read 180,096 times
Reputation: 38
Salem is actually a very nice city. I have lived in or near Salem for many years. South Salem, West Salem, and Keizer all have good neighborhoods, and nice schools. I would suggest you not look in the Lancaster area, Highland, & downtown, as there seems to be more crime. The Portland Airport is just about an hour away, and the Salem airport actually has a couple flights a day going in & out, with competitive pricing. Good luck & welcome back!
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Old 11-05-2008, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Salem, OR
14,795 posts, read 35,901,143 times
Reputation: 14813
BB39-I live in Salem and I have an 8 year old gifted child and a 6 year old special needs child so my perspective comes from that. My kids attend Schirle Elementary so that is my bias.

Education-the schools are underfunded, but I think that is a problem nationwide. I think for the average child the schools are good. For kids in the TAG (Talented and Gifted) or special needs area you have to really advocate for your kids needs. I have been totally impressed with the staff and teachers at my kids school. Really great people. The district has some policy and procedure issues that I think are totally inefficient for these kiddos, but that is on the district level. My son is in second grade and his class has 24 kids. My daughter's kindergarten that she was going to attend would have 22.

Down south and out west are generally considered to have "better" schools. This is really a socioeconomic issue in my opinion. Most of the wealth of the city is concentrated there and so school fundraisers tend to do well so that the teachers can buy the materials they need.

As for a 3 bed/2 bath 1400-1600 sq feet home down south...the current average for sold homes in the past 3 months is $205,554. We didn't have a huge bubble here, and from what I know about the Michigan market, you would have loss less/nothing in Salem compared to there. Those types of homes which are more moderate homes have corrected 5-10% in the past year or so. The homes that have corrected significantly here are the new construction $400,000 homes. Most Salemites can't afford those.

The Portland airport is about 90 minutes away depending on traffic. If you anticipate heading up to Portland a lot and need to be closer to the airport consider Keizer and the Clear Lake/Forest Ridge area or Wilark Park area which is served by Gubser Elementary.

There is also a construction bond on the ballet for the vote yesterday for about $242M for our local Salem schools for construction of some new schools and repairs of other ones. It looks like it passed this morning. Some of the neighborhoods have large class sizes due to the new construction that went into during the boom and they are bulging.

I don't know what you deem affordable so that may impact things for you as well.
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Old 11-05-2008, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Salem, OR
14,795 posts, read 35,901,143 times
Reputation: 14813
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patti LeBlanc View Post
Salem is actually a very nice city. I have lived in or near Salem for many years. South Salem, West Salem, and Keizer all have good neighborhoods, and nice schools. I would suggest you not look in the Lancaster area, Highland, & downtown, as there seems to be more crime. The Portland Airport is just about an hour away, and the Salem airport actually has a couple flights a day going in & out, with competitive pricing. Good luck & welcome back!
Actually they just had their last flight out of Salem a couple of weeks ago. My hubby who travels was really upset. Gas prices were skyrocketing and airlines cut back. Salem got cut.
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