Planning Your Move to Salem, OR

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Complete Moving Guide to Salem, OR

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The third largest city in the state of Oregon, Salem is home to historic architecture, fascinating museums, and acres of scenic, undeveloped land and recreational parks. The reasonable living costs and laidback lifestyle make this agricultural city a great place to consider relocating.

If you are planning a move to this Pacific Northwest city, read on for more information to ensure that it is the right place for you.

Salem Climate

Salem lies in the Marine West Coast climate zone, with some characteristics of a Mediterranean climate. Weather in the region is moderate, with temperatures rarely dropping below freezing or exceeding 90 degrees.

The city experiences warm, dry summers with temperatures in the 70s and 80s, and cool, wet winters with temperatures in the 30s and 40s. Rainfall is most plentiful in late fall and throughout winter, but showers the city from October until May. The region's dry season lasts from June through September.

Snow is infrequent--light snowfall occurs in the winter, with major accumulation being rare.

Salem Neighborhoods

Before choosing a part of the city to live, be sure to conduct thorough research on the cost, convenience and crime rates in the area. The city is home to a variety of diverse districts, each with something unique to offer.

If you're wondering what parts of the city are known for luxurious living, some of the most affluent areas include Pratum, North Howell, Rosedale, Sunnyside, and Eola. If you are relocating with a family and safety is a primary concern, these areas of the city also have some of the lowest rates of crime, as well as the Fruitland neighborhood.

If you will be relocating with children, the areas with proximate access to public schools include Sunnyside Road, Rees Hill Road, Commercial Street, Candalaria Boulevard, River Road, Vitae Springs Road, and West Salem.

Registering Your Car

Upon establishing residency in your new home state of Oregon, you will have 30 days to title and register your vehicle in the state. You will need to fill out an application, pass a safety/admissions test, and have the proper documents.

To transfer your driver's license, you will have to fill out and submit an application, take a photo, pay the applicable fees, bring your old out-of-state license, supply your Social Security number, present proof of birth and residence, pass an eye exam and a written test.

Salem Schools

Public education in the city is served by the Salem-Keizer School District. The system is the second largest in the state, and operates 46 elementary schools, 11 middle schools, six high schools, and five charter schools, with a total enrollment of about 40,000 students.

If you would prefer to send your child to a private or parochial school, the city has several options, including Blanchet Catholic School and Salem Academy Christian.

Options in higher education include Chemeketa Community College, Corban University, and Willamette University.

Salem Employment

The city is a hub for agricultural food processing and farming, and is also home to a number of computer-related manufacturing plants. Salem is also the headquarters of the Oregon Department of Corrections and four state prisons, including the Oregon State Penitentiary. The largest employers in the region include the State of Oregon, Salem Hospital, Spirit Mountain Casino, the T-Mobile Calling Center, GE Security, Wells Fargo Customer Contact Center, NORPAC Foods, Inc., Roth's Fresh Markets, Sanyo, and Willamette University.

No matter where you relocate, the pressure of finding a job can be quite stressful. If you are moving to the city without secured employment, you can visit the Worksource Oregon website for job-hunting assistance and resources for the region. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, you can contact the Salem Chamber of Commerce for information on how to start a business in the city. You can also apply for city jobs at the Salem Government official website.

Living Costs in the City

The cost of living in Salem is eight percent above the national average. Healthcare costs are 14 percent above average, and grocery costs are 12 percent higher. Transportation costs are 19 percent above the average national rate. Housing is one of the most affordable expenses in the city--only five percent above the national average, and 13 percent less than the state average.

If you are planning on renting in the city, a one-bedroom apartment will cost you around $600 a month, and a two-bedroom will rent for about $750 depending on location, size and amenities. If you plan to buy, the median home price in the city is listed at $156,900.

Salem Moving Resources

There are many moving and storage companies located in Salem that are waiting to help you relocate to your new home. Be sure to do your research and obtain estimates from several different services before choosing one for hire. You can compare online quotes from many different moving companies and other services to aid you in your move, whether you are coming from the next city or overseas. Visit the following pages here at to get fast quotes for the following services:

Salem Transportation

Mass transit in the city and in the neighboring community of Keizer is supplied by Salem-Keizer Transit, more commonly known as Cherriots. The regional bus service operates Monday through Friday along 22 routes, and two express routes running to Grande Ronde and Wilsonville. The buses also connect with the Chemeketa Area Regional Transportation System buses at the Salem Transit Mall for further travel.

Amtrak provides passenger rail service to the city from the Salem Station via the Coast Starlight line, with trains traveling to Los Angeles and Seattle daily.

Culture and Contemporary Life

The city is home to many historic buildings, museums, restaurants, markets, parks, and cultural festivals to entertain locals and visitors alike.

Salem's largest event is the Oregon State Fair, held at the end of August and featuring carnival rides, competitions and exhibits. Other popular festivals include the World Beat Festival, for international food, music, and folklore; The Bite of Salem, for foodie and restaurant lovers to gather and sample the best cuisine the city has to offer; and the Salem Art Fair and Festival, featuring interactive exhibits, artwork, and food.

Museums and historic sites include the Mission Hill Museum, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, the Tudor Gothic style Elsinore Theatre, and the Reed Opera House--a 19th century performing arts venue-turned plaza featuring boutiques, eateries and bars.

Like many cities in the Pacific Northwest, Salem is a haven for outdoor recreation. The city's park system is extensive, encompassing nearly 2,000 acres, 46 parks, and 30 miles of trails for hiking, bicycling, camping, boating, fishing and other sports. The city is also known for its abundance of beautiful cherry blossoms, earning it the nickname "Cherry City".

Salem Relocation Tips

  • Make sure you extensively research any moving company you are considering for hire. Begin by comparing quotes from several movers that can service your move to Salem, then perform a background check by reading reviews, checking references, and verifying the company's DOT number on the FMCSA website.


  • Save money on your move by downsizing your belongings before you relocate! The less you haul with you, the less you will spend, so be sure to sort through your possessions and donate, sell, or give away whatever you can do without.


  • Pick up a copy of the Statesman Journal to stay up-to-date with your new city's news and events.

Helpful Links

  • City of Salem
    Everything you need to know about the city of Salem, including information on government services, taxes and recreation.
  • Oregon DMV
    Here you'll find information on how to register your car in Oregon if you are moving from out of state, and how to update your driver's license.
  • Cherriots
    Learn all you need to know about Salem's public transportation service, including routes and fares.
  • Oregon Department of Transportation
    Here you can find all the information on traffic and parking regulations in the state.
  • Salem Schools
    Learn all you need to know about the city's school district.
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on August 7, 2013 - Moving Expert
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