Salem is the capital of Oregon and the state's third largest city. It lies along Interstate 5
, between Portland
The city was founded in 1841 by Methodist missionary Jason Lee, whose goal was to gather the Indians together and "teach them to cultivate the ground and live more comfortably than they could by hunting, and as they do this, teach them religion." After limited success, Lee became discouraged and decided to sell lots to the Oregon Institute, which developed into Willamette University, the oldest institution of higher learning west of Missouri.
Today Salem, population 136,924, is the state's governmental center and a distribution, processing and commercial hub of the Willamette Valley. The city boasts a multitude of visitor attractions, including Historical Museums, parks, gardens and wineries.
There is also a Salem, West Virginia.
Salem is part of the Salem, Oregon metro area.