Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Retire in Salem, Oregon?
Overview: Salem, Oregon's capital, is a quiet, mid-sized city along the Williamette River in northwestern Oregon's lush Willamette Valley. Surrounded by natural beauty, it is just one hour away from the coast, an hour away from the Cascade Mountains and an hour from Portland. Speckled with parks, gardens and green lawns, Salem is a visually appealing place and is award-winning for being environmentally friendly.
For many years, the city was an agricultural community, with cherry groves all around, and it still has a slight country ambiance. At least two farmers' markets, including the decades-old Salem Saturday Market, pay homage to the city's agricultural past. Eateries come in all shapes and sizes, from cozy cafes and locally-owned diners to national chain restaurants. Residents also enjoy a handful of wineries and microbreweries. Several community theaters, a handful of museums, the Salem Chamber Orchestra and the Oregon Symphony bring a bit of culture. The city is also home to the Oregon State Fair, Willamette University (2,800 students), Coburn University (1,000 students), the Oregon State Penitentiary and the Oregon State Hospital, which is the state's largest psychiatric hospital.
Downtown is mostly comprised of mid-century, mid-rise buildings. Neighborhoods are leafy, compact and well tended with a variety of architectural styles, including Cape Code, Arts and Crafts, Craftsman, bungalow and more. City events include A Bite and Brew of Salem, the Salem Art Fair and Festival, First Taste Oregon and the World Beat Fair.
Population: 165,000 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 34%
Cost of Living: 10% above the national average
Median Home Price: $285,000
Climate: Salem has a marine west coast climate. Summers are warm and dry with temperatures in the 60s, 70s and low-80s. Winters stay cool, with temperatures in the 30s, 40s and 50s, and wet with 5 to 7 inches of rain each month. Snow falls occasionally. The sun shines just 154 days of the year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: Yes
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Split down the middle
Is Oregon Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? No
Cons: The air quality is slightly below the national average, and the earthquake risk is nearly 200% above the national average.
Notes: Salem has an eclectic population, a mix of farmers, retirees, students, professionals, outdoor types, hippies and others. It is often considered a poor step sister of Eugene and Portland and sometimes gets a bad rap for being the site of the state prison and the state mental hospital. The movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was filmed at the hospital. The city has grown by 50% within the last couple of decades.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Oregon became a territory in 1846, but its request to become a state was bogged down by Congress and the free versus slave state debate. Southern politicians finally allowed Oregon to enter the Union as a free state on February 14, 1859.
Although the 42nd parallel marks its southern border, water delineates most of the Beaver State's boundaries. The Columbia River separates Washington from Oregon on the north. The Snake River helps form the state's eastern border with Idaho. The Pacific Ocean is on its western edge.
Oregon is one of the country's most geographically diverse states and is characterized by volcanoes, dense forests, high deserts, and abundant bodies of water. For its latitude, its climate is mild. Mount Hood, at 11,249 feet, is the state's highest point. Crater Lake, the center of the state's only national park, is the deepest lake in the United States.
Timber, fishing, and hydroelectric power have pushed the state's economy in the past. Technology, however, is finding a firm footing. Tektronix and Intel helped establish the state's Silicon Forest. Notable companies who are or have been part of the forest include Google, eBay, Airbnb, and WebMD. Sportswear companies like Columbia and Nike also bring in billions to the state.
Portland, the state's most populous city, has more breweries in its boundaries than any other in the world. As of 2016, there were more than 60. The city boasts the world's smallest park. Mill Ends Park, dedicated in 1948, is a total of 452 square feet.
Population - 4,093,465
Persons 65 years old and over - 17%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 89%
Bachelor's degree or higher, age 25+ - 31%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 12%
White persons, not Hispanic - 76%
Median household income - $51,243
Median home value - $237,300
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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