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 136,924 at the 2000 census, with an officially estimated population of 155,469 on July 1, 2009, 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.More
State 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.More