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Old 01-30-2009, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Denver
1,082 posts, read 4,494,669 times
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I just returned from two days in Salem. The weather was colder than I hoped--snow at PDX the morning I arrived--but the following day it got up to the mid 40s, partly cloudy. Taking the HUT shuttle from the airport was easy, convenient,and stress-free. The only downside is they only stop at the Red Lion, and I noticed on the way home that they allow dogs.

It was a $3.90 plus tip cab ride to my hotel, it was short enough to walk and you probably could have taken a local bus if you knew the schedule. I was cold and lazy and had a suitcase. Next time I might try the train going back but I did not see any hotels near the station and convenience was my big goal this trip.

I stayed for free at the BW across I-5 because I get frequent stay points. Nevertheless, the place had a spotless swimming pool/hot tub area, a breakfast lounge attended meticulously by staff, and a standard room with upgraded bath. The room was chilly but that was probably me as I am not used to the damp and the thermostat was set at 65. They also have free internet in the lobby and that saves me hauling around lap tops.

After checking in, I walked down Market Street and in the NE part of town toward downtown, all the way to the state buildings. The next day I used the bus service. The bus lines seem to go all over town but run on a basically once an hour schedule so if you have to transfer it takes a bit of time. This would work best if you took one bus back and forth to work, like downtown.

The bus drivers were great--very kind, sensitive to all riders, and willing to explain anything you needed to know. The ridership mid day was, of course, middle and high schoolers after and before school, elderly, shoppers, and I did not ride rush hour. I rode just the 17 (a slice of urban life but nothing compared to NYC subways) and the lines around the south end of town. In several hours on the buses, there was only one time a driver had to scold two riders, and that was because they were immature teenagers.

I thought I might use a realtor to see the areas, but due to the weather and the short stay I just used the bus to tour the parts of town I thought I might be interested in. That worked well. As far as I could tell there was NO traffic by any usual standards.

Where I ate: I walked to the Kyoto Japanese restaurant one night (south east of Fred Meyer's) and it was great. I overheard a vendor and a chef discussing the merits of flash frozen on the ship versus other types of fish and never knew that even sushi grade fish was often/sometimes frozen. In Denver there is market where you can get it fresh if you know what to do with it. It was my most expensive meal, a 20 oz import beer, three sushi dishes and a deep fried soft shell crab dish, the most expensive single item, under 35. The crab was not as good as they do it in the New York City area but for inlanders, we get desperate.

I also walked to a Mexican fast food place across from Fred Meyer's for lunch my last day. I won't name it, but it was terrible. The Rellenos were odd and bad--the peppers were probably grown in Oregon because they were large, half the size of a green pepper, stringy, dark green, cooked whole with pods and seeds left inside, and not at all spicy. The breading was soggy, totally wet either because of bad cooking or because of too much tomato and lettuce on top, or both, and the tomato tasted like hot house. The refried beans were the standard canned tasteless watery ones. NOT impressive even though the people there spoke Spanish. FYI, I live in Colorado and go to New Mexico and this climate is much better for hot chiles but even the prep was lacking.

I had coffee twice and quiche once at the coffee shop in the Marion County Bus Building, it was a great local coffee shop and the food was good. I can't remember the name but it is the "first coffee shop in Salem" I was told.

Nice town, nice visit. I know people like to complain about transportation services but honestly I have seen many worse. The only thing that amazed/appalled me were the sheer number and size of the state buildings all over town. The amount of money that goes into buildings like that--all over the world--and the construction is usually short term jobs. It was palatial. I hope that the residents of Oregon get their money's worth out of all that marble.
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Old 01-30-2009, 10:37 AM
 
Location: Salem, OR
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Esya, sounds like you had a decent trip.

Most state captials have marble, brick, or stone buildings. While it seems like a lot of money, they last forever so in the end they cost taxpayers less. Our NW weather is tough on buildings and there are not a lot of materials that stand the test of time out here.

There are 16,000 state jobs in town. They have to be housed somewhere. Not sure why you would find that appalling.
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Old 01-30-2009, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Oregon
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Quote:
Most state captials have marble, brick, or stone buildings. While it seems like a lot of money, they last forever so in the end they cost taxpayers less. Our NW weather is tough on buildings and there are not a lot of materials that stand the test of time out here.
They also tend not to burn down in a fire. That saves the cost of completely rebuilding the building. I know the capital building itself has had a few fires over the years.

I'm glad you had a nice trip overall. It's nice to see a positive post about Salem.
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Old 01-30-2009, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Salem, OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dachmom View Post
They also tend not to burn down in a fire. That saves the cost of completely rebuilding the building. I know the capital building itself has had a few fires over the years.

I'm glad you had a nice trip overall. It's nice to see a positive post about Salem.
That's true the capitol building burned down twice and the court building burned down once. You know we had a crazy guy drive into the court building last year? or the year before, and it caught fire. I think the damage would have been much worse if it wasn't marble.
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:44 PM
 
378 posts, read 1,488,978 times
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I think Salem's capitol buildings are nice. (maybe we could do without the gold man on top, ha,ha?). I think it is beautiful in the spring because the grounds are spectacular in bloom.
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Baker City, Oregon
4,480 posts, read 6,797,437 times
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Stone signifies importance and permanence. In the Western World, for thousands of years, important structures such as government buildings, temples, churches, etc. have been built of stone. It is an integral part of the Western cultural tradition.

In the much of the East, especially in China, Korea and Japan, it is different. The Forbidden City is built largely of wood and bamboo. The beautiful wooden shrines of Japan are constantly being rebuilt by incredibly skilled craftsmen, not because they need to be, but because renewal, as opposed to permanence, is a part of the Japanese culture.
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Old 01-30-2009, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregonbeachlover View Post
I think Salem's capitol buildings are nice. (maybe we could do without the gold man on top, ha,ha?). I think it is beautiful in the spring because the grounds are spectacular in bloom.
Oh man...suggesting getting rid of the Pioneer guy...after he was cleaned and everything...

I agree that they cherry blossoms are spectacular in the spring. I think I have some pictures in my city-data album of them.
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Old 01-30-2009, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Denver
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It wasn't really a criticism, but if you've ever been to tight fisted Colorado, the difference is striking: our capital building in Denver is the one built with the gold dome at the height of the gold rush, and the rest are funky ugly old office buildings.

The contrast was what really was shocking to me, I'll admit. I also wondered about population differences of the state (did not look it up) but it's a study in contrasts bec Colorado is known for its' Tabor amendment and another one that strictly limits govt spending. Not better, just shockingly/appallingly different. There is a reason I am interested in Oregon, ya know. I'd rather have marble buildings than roads, too.

Last edited by esya; 01-30-2009 at 04:09 PM.. Reason: Correct mis statement
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Old 01-30-2009, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
15,006 posts, read 36,925,220 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esya View Post
It wasn't really a criticism, but if you've ever been to tight fisted Colorado, the difference is striking: our capital building in Denver is the one built with the gold dome at the height of the gold rush, and the rest are funky ugly old office buildings.

The contrast was what really was shocking to me, I'll admit. I also wondered about population differences of the state (did not look it up) but it's a study in contrasts bec Colorado is known for its' Tabor amendment and another one that strictly limits govt spending. Not better, just shockingly/appallingly different. There is a reason I am interested in Oregon, ya know. I'd rather have marble buildings than roads, too.
Roads? Naw...we use horses and carriages out here and they only need packed mud..

Many of the marble buildings were built a while ago. I think all of the newer ones have brick or some other type of masonry that can withstand our weather a little bit better and is a little bit more cost effective than marble...

You really need to see the capitol mall in the spring with the cherry blooms and the fountains. It is quite stunning.

I think having Willamette University right there with all of the red brick buildings and then the capitol across the street is really nice.
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Old 01-30-2009, 04:30 PM
 
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Esya - I lived in Denver for four years (I left four years ago) and loved nearly everything about it. I only moved on to further my career. Why is it you are planning to move to Salem? I currently live in Chicago and am hoping to move to Salem in the next month or so. I am, however, from Oregon originally, and am moving to be closer to family in PDX, Springfield and Coos Bay, since Chicago is just too darn far away.

What are your favorite restaurants in Denver? My favorites were Cucina Colore (the peach budino/bread pudding is incredible!), Vesta Dipping Grill, Pasquini's and Cherry Tomato. Oh boy, do I miss Denver! I just love hearing about it!
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