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Mar 30, 2015

Salem, Oregon 101

If you’ve made the decision to study at Institute of Technology’s Salem location – or are considering doing so – congratulations! Salem is a beautiful, vibrant city located in the center of the Willamette River Valley. It’s the capital city of Oregon, just 47 miles from Portland, located an hour west of the Cascade Mountains and an hour east from the ocean and beaches.

First, Native Americans fished the streams of the Willamette Valley for thousands of years. Then, animal trappers and fur traders of European descent settled Salem as early as 1812, with the first permanent American settlement arriving around 1840. Salem incorporated officially as a city in 1857 and became the state capital in 1859.

Salem has a lively arts community and is no slouch in the entertainment industry either. As home to Oregon’s largest art fair each summer, residents and visitors alike can enjoy the original creations of international artists, locally prepared food, and entertainment from bands and musicians on two different stages. The Oregon Symphony Association and the infinite selection of restaurants, brewpubs and coffee shops provide all the dining and “hang out” opportunities you’ll be looking for.

Salem is less than an hour from Portland, Oregon’s largest city, and has many attractions of its own, including the natural beauty of the Oregon coast. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the city’s tourism site for the continual events and attractions update, and take particular note of perennial favorites, including the Willamette Heritage Center, the Historic Deepwood Estate and the Bush Barn Rose Gardens. Download this map of downtown Salem, and do a walking tour of downtown to see for yourself!

Interestingly, the 45th parallel passes straight through Salem. Not so interesting, you say? Well, consider that that locates Salem at the midpoint between the Equator and the North Pole. This and its coastal location give Salem some characteristics of what some consider a Mediterranean-like climate –moderate with heavy rain in the fall, light amounts of snowfall in the winter and a mean annual temperature of 53 degrees F.