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Old 01-12-2010, 11:07 PM
 
1 posts, read 4,627 times
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We are an inter-racial couple I am African American and my wife is white. We have to beautiful young children the ages of 3 and 4 1/2. We are strongly thinking about moving to Salem and would like to know more about the city in regards to :

- Diversity
- interracial couples ( how they fair )
- education (children)
- job market ( Human Services)
- Housing
- Family activities

* Responses would be truly appreciated ! Thank You
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
9,793 posts, read 10,920,173 times
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I would be very curious as to the motivation for this possible relocation. I sincerely doubt it would be any improvement at all on social, economic or climatic fronts. It must be said, however, that I am also the black male half of a partnership similar to yours and we are here, albeit in Hillsboro. Clearly, what is good for the gander is not always good for the gander.

What attracted us to PDX are intrinsics of climate, environmental awareness, urban growth curtailment, bike friendlness, etc. that are, AFAIK not found anywhere else together in the U.S. We literally could have moved anywhere, once we decided to leave NYC. Four years prior I had spent a year in Salem in another b/w relationship and never before in life had I actually been physically accosted or received as much race heckling from strangers as in Salem. I don't imagine without the presence of a white partner that I would have had access to any kind of decent housing. I met many hugely decent people but made only one friend. Once or twice per week there would be an 'incident'. Nothing major but compiled over a year and you are talking about ~75 minor references to racial difference, 3 thrown soft drink containers, 3 unexplained bouts of food poisoning following restaurant meals. Mind you, and this is key, I could have avoided 99% of that by choosing a black mate, only seeking low wage employment and avoiding fine dining establishments - that doesn't sound like you either.

The only thing hopeful about your choice is the presence of large state employers that are mandated to follow EEO hiring guidelines. You have no chance in the private sector anywhere in Oregon. Maybe in a bike store or other retail but not for anything high level. Even then you have to be supremely talented and recommended. I think Portland is a much more practical choice for an interracial family. I haven't found Hillsboro much different from Salem in social structure. When I visit Portland, however, people change from simply being approachable to outright friendly and engaging. PDX, in fact, was our destination but housing became available in Hillsboro first and who knew a few miles could make so much difference. We do like the peace and quiet though. YMMV. FWIW. GL.

H
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
14,999 posts, read 36,899,155 times
Reputation: 15568
Leisesturm...you lived over by Lancaster down here right?

Honestly, I think it depends on your social class. I have some friends that have that same racial demographic but he is an attorney and she is a teacher. They live in a nice neighborhood and don't have any issues. We do have some racial issues on the east side of Salem.

Salem is much more conservative than Portland is. We are less diverse politically and ethnically. We do have a larger Hispanic, Russian/Ukrainian/Asian population, but our African-American population is woefully under represented. This is true of all of Oregon. Oregon is just, generally speaking, not a diverse state. I came from the Chicago area originally and was stunned when I first came out here, but it is what it is. It doesn't mean you won't be welcome, but just know that you might be one of a few African-Americans. I think at the last census it was like 3% or something for Salem. It's growing, but just very slowly.

Now the other things...jobs. Salem is around 11.3% I think for unemployment and things are rough. We have two tax measures coming up for ballot on the 26th that will cause more job losses either in the private sector or public sector depending on which way things go. The economy is just ugly here right now. Please don't move here without a job. Sometimes people think they have enough savings to make it until they find a job, but I know several people that have been out of work for 6-12 months.

As for family things. Lots of fun family things. We have fun outdoor things like Minto Brown Park, Silverfalls state Park, North Fork Park. Salem is surrounded by many small towns so there are many small festivals, which my kids like going to. Riverfront park has a nice play structure, walking/bike paths, a beautiful carousel, and a splash fountain. There is the Gilbert House for kids. Elsinore puts on nice productions for kids (did Seussical). There is all the normal sports stuff. My kids are 7 and 9. This is actually one of the biggest complaints by singles and young couples is the family oriented nature of Salem. We're not very hip here.

If you want to trek to Portland there is the zoo, Children's museum, OMSI, the Children's theater, Powell's book store.

Schools are pretty average in most of Salem and good down south and west. Class sizes are creeping up here. My son has 24 in his 3rd grade which is low (some kids moved), and my daughter started with 27 in her first grade class and now they have 25. I like my kids teachers and think they do the best with what they have to work with.

Housing is a lot cheaper than Portland which is one of the draws of Salem for people.

I think whether or not Salem is right for you depends on why it is that you want to move away from CA and move here.

As for the unexplained bouts of food poisoning...I have had that happen here. I don't think that is anything personal.
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:50 PM
 
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You'd want to be in Portland
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:32 AM
 
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Having lived in salem for a couple years while going to college, i can tell you salem is kinda a dark gloomy dirty place. For one it rains there year round, and the hispanics have flooded the town to the point people joke that its like a little mexico. High crime and cheap gas. If ya wanna move to the salem area i would suggest keiser or maybe independence. Lets not forget that oregon tends to frown on californains moving up here. Its a pretty common joke here in bend
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
14,999 posts, read 36,899,155 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonyfrombend View Post
Having lived in salem for a couple years while going to college, i can tell you salem is kinda a dark gloomy dirty place. For one it rains there year round, and the hispanics have flooded the town to the point people joke that its like a little mexico. High crime and cheap gas. If ya wanna move to the salem area i would suggest keiser or maybe independence. Lets not forget that oregon tends to frown on californains moving up here. Its a pretty common joke here in bend

Sheesh...It doesn't rain here year round.

I'd call Lancaster area dirtyish and ugly, but not the rest of Salem. Maybe you didn't get around town much?

Salem's Hispanic population is around 11%. How is that "flooded" considering the national rate is 15%? That is a sad statement about wanting diversity. I think it's interesting that you suggested Independence which I think has a higher percentage of Hispanics than Salem does.

Also there has been a significant decrease in crime here (but petty thefts will probably increase in all Oregon cities due to unemployment issues) FBI Releases Preliminary 2008 Oregon and Washington Crime Stats - Salem-News.Com
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Anchorage
4,060 posts, read 9,201,123 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverfall View Post
Sheesh...It doesn't rain here year round.

I'd call Lancaster area dirtyish and ugly, but not the rest of Salem. Maybe you didn't get around town much?

Salem's Hispanic population is around 11%. How is that "flooded" considering the national rate is 15%? That is a sad statement about wanting diversity. I think it's interesting that you suggested Independence which I think has a higher percentage of Hispanics than Salem does.

Also there has been a significant decrease in crime here (but petty thefts will probably increase in all Oregon cities due to unemployment issues) FBI Releases Preliminary 2008 Oregon and Washington Crime Stats - Salem-News.Com
I sometimes think that the percentages aren't correct. If you were to go into a store, for example, and count how many customers were of a certain ethnicity, it always seems different. And if the percentage were so low, why would a lot of the schools use Spanish words over the library door but not have it in English? And I hear the unemployment rate in Oregon is around 12%, yet it seems like many more people than that are affected. Statistics are funny sometimes.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Oregon & Sunsites Arizona
8,000 posts, read 15,919,938 times
Reputation: 2814
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonyfrombend View Post
Having lived in salem for a couple years while going to college, i can tell you salem is kinda a dark gloomy dirty place. For one it rains there year round, and the hispanics have flooded the town to the point people joke that its like a little mexico. High crime and cheap gas. If ya wanna move to the salem area i would suggest keiser or maybe independence. Lets not forget that oregon tends to frown on californains moving up here. Its a pretty common joke here in bend
Independence has a much higher Latino population than Salem, but not real racial friendly for mixed couples including Latinos. If you are not coming here for a job you have already locked up, my best advice is DON'T. Not anywhere in the state. Portland has a lot of mixed race couple of all social status, but you need a job in writing and sealed in gold before you arrive.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:31 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
14,999 posts, read 36,899,155 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gobrien View Post
I sometimes think that the percentages aren't correct. If you were to go into a store, for example, and count how many customers were of a certain ethnicity, it always seems different. And if the percentage were so low, why would a lot of the schools use Spanish words over the library door but not have it in English? And I hear the unemployment rate in Oregon is around 12%, yet it seems like many more people than that are affected. Statistics are funny sometimes.

We have three Spanish/English immersion schools in Salem, Lee has a program, Harritt has a program, and Grant has a program. These are meant for parents that want their kids to be bilingual. I know several Caucasian families that have their kids in these programs to learn Spanish because they think it is good for their kids. The other schools that might have that probably have high Hispanic populations. The reality is that the Hispanic populations are concentrated. While we would all love to pretend that they aren't, we all know they are. All you have to do is look at the school demographics and you can see where the populations are concentrated. I am sure the school you are referencing has a high Hispanic population, hence the need for Spanish over the door.

Statistics are averages. Salem's official unemployment rate is 11.3% last time I read, and yes it doesn't include the many people who had pay cuts or who are employed part time. It also doesn't include people that have stopped looking for work. I don't think this is any big news to anyone and I don't think the fact that the number leaves out many people is a big secret either. The "real" unemployment rate is talked about all the time. Statistics is about measuring and tracking. How do you measure people who have pay cuts? How to you measure people who stopped looking for work? I'm not sure it really matters. Even if 11-12% was the real unemployment rate it is too high regardless.

Last edited by Silverfall; 01-20-2010 at 03:32 PM.. Reason: Typo
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:44 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
9,793 posts, read 10,920,173 times
Reputation: 9717
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverfall View Post
Leisesturm...you lived over by Lancaster down here right?

Honestly, I think it depends on your social class. I have some friends that have that same racial demographic but he is an attorney and she is a teacher. They live in a nice neighborhood and don't have any issues. We do have some racial issues on the east side of Salem.

Salem is much more conservative than Portland is. We are less diverse politically and ethnically. We do have a larger Hispanic, Russian/Ukrainian/Asian population, but our African-American population is woefully under represented. This is true of all of Oregon. Oregon is just, generally speaking, not a diverse state. I came from the Chicago area originally and was stunned when I first came out here, but it is what it is. It doesn't mean you won't be welcome, but just know that you might be one of a few African-Americans. I think at the last census it was like 3% or something for Salem. It's growing, but just very slowly.
What are you trying to imply? Should I be offended? And, yes, I did live over by Lancaster but I don't believe I ever mentioned that in open forum. Do you know me? Do I know you? I'm only a little bit paranoid at this point but getting more so with every day that passes without an answer to this burning question. You have to admit, if you have ever spent much time in Portland, that it is probably the better choice for the o.p.

H
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