Wednesday, August 17, 2011
US Capitol Cities: Salem, Oregon
Salem is the capital of the U.S. state of Oregon, and the county seat of Marion County. It is located in the center of the Willamette Valley alongside the Willamette River, which runs north through the city. The river forms the boundary between Marion and Polk counties, and the city neighborhood of West Salem is in Polk County. Salem was founded in 1842, became the capital of the Oregon Territory in 1851, and was incorporated in 1857.
Salem had a population of 154,637 at the 2010 census, making it the third largest city in the state after Portland and Eugene. Salem is less than an hour driving distance away from Portland. Salem is the principal city of the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers Marion and Polk counties and had a combined population of 347,214 at the 2000 census. A 2009 estimate placed the metropolitan population at 396,103, the state's second largest.
The city is home to Willamette University and Corban University, as well as the main city in the Salem-Keizer School District and is home to the main campus of Chemeketa Community College. Other schools include the Chemawa Indian School, and the Oregon School for the Deaf. The state of Oregon is the largest employer in the city, with Salem Hospital as the largest private employer. Transportation includes public transit from Salem-Keizer Transit, Amtrak service, and non-commercial air travel at McNary Field. Major roads include Interstate 5, Oregon Route 99E, and Oregon Route 22 which connects West Salem across the Willamette River via the Marion Street and Center Street bridges.
Oregon has had three capitol buildings in Salem. A two-story state house, which had been occupied for only two months, burned to the ground in December 1855. Oregon's second capitol building was completed in 1876 on the site of the original. The revival-style building was based in part on the U.S. Capitol building. The building received its distinctive copper dome in 1893. On April 25, 1935, this building was also destroyed by fire. The third and current Oregon State Capitol was completed on the same site in 1938. It is recognizable by its distinctive pioneer statue atop the capitol dome that is plated with gold-leaf and officially named the Oregon Pioneer.
Capitol Center in downtownState government is Salem's largest employer, but the city also serves as a hub for the area farming communities and is a major agricultural food processing center. It lies along the I-5 corridor and is within an hour's drive of Oregon's largest city, Portland.
In a bid to diversify its economic base, Salem attracted a number of computer-related manufacturing plants in the 1990s. In November 2003, the Sumitomo Mitsubishi Silicon Group (SUMCO), one of these arrivals, announced it would be closing its two silicon wafer plants at the end of 2004, eliminating 620 jobs, and moving production to other plants.
The top private employer in Salem is the Salem Hospital with over 2,700 employees. Others include the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde's Spirit Mountain Casino west of Salem, the T-Mobile Calling Center, GE Security (Formerly Supra Products Inc.), Wells Fargo Customer Contact Center (Formerly Wachovia Securities), NORPAC Foods, Inc., Roth's Family Markets, Sanyo, and Willamette University.
Salem is the headquarters of the Oregon Department of Corrections and home to four state correctional facilities, including the Oregon State Penitentiary, Oregon's only maximum security prison.
Numerous projects are underway to increase the supply of housing in the downtown core. These projects will provide upscale, low and high rise condominium and office space.
Posted by Ghost Guns at 1:01 AM