With 47 miles and a 53 minute car ride between them, Portland and Salem are quite different places to live. Portland is what most people expect from the Pacific Northwest city: a hipster’s paradise filled with urban gardening and food trucks, all with a population of over 600,000 people, making it the 27th largest city in the US.
Portland’s proximity to the great outdoors provides its residents with many activities including hiking, kayaking, and windsurfing in the summer while offering a winter paradise during the colder months. Nevertheless, the city is still a large metropolitan area. For anyone who enjoys the warmth of a smaller town with a close enough proximity to the entertainment of the big city, not many places will beat Salem, Oregon.
Details of the town
With a population of just over 160,000 people, Salem is the perfect size. It is large enough to have its own attractions, entertainment, and activities, but small enough to enjoy a bit of space and solitude. The town is made up of relatively young people, where the median age is about 34 years old, and a median household income falls just below $50,000 per year. Although not considered a college town, Salem has a couple of universities including Willamette and Corban.
In terms of employment opportunities, you might be interested in managerial, sales, or administrative positions, which account for more than a quarter of the work. Although sectors like legal services represent only about one percent of the job market, a high-quality law firm in Salem, OR is still available to those requiring legal assistance. Furthermore, with Salem’s proximity to other towns, other services are a quick car ride away. For example, residents looking for auto body work can look to the auto repair in Dallas, OR with a wide range of services.
Affordability of Salem
The median property value in Salem is below the $205,000 national average, which means housing is more affordable. In a national study conducted and published by a national advocacy group, researchers found that Salem had the lowest monthly rent in the entire state, beating out Bend by $36. This is in sharp contrast with Portland, which had the highest housing costs in the state.
Furthermore, those residing in the town will also enjoy low commuting times when compared to large metropolitan and congested areas like Portland. These travel times are well below the national average. This translates to lower gas consumption and more quality time available. Food is also a great reason to live in Salem. Apart from top farmers markets available in the medium-sized town, the cost of food is lower than other areas. This helped rank the city in the top 10 most affordable places to live in Oregon.
Think that you’re missing out by not living in Portland? This idea is not even close to reality. Salem is in the Willamette Valley, which is one of the most fertile agricultural regions in the country. This means that the scenic views are spectacular. Additionally, Salem is full of history, with an amazing downtown area and several museums. Ancient forests and beautiful trails make hiking an absolute must. With the availability of fresh, clean air and an abundance of outdoor activities, residents are sure to be healthier.
Among the places to frequent while living in Salem is the Riverfront Carousel, which overlooks the waterway. The Enchanted Forest Theme Park is also a great place to take the family on the weekend and includes more than 20 acres of entertainment and rides. With the low cost of living, beautiful scenery, proximity to other cities, and access to outdoor activities, Salem presents a vibrant alternative to Portland living.