Salem, Oregon, the state capital and the seat of Marion County. It lies on the Willamette River in northwestern Oregon and is a trade center for the central Willamette Valley. The manufacturing of paper and other wood products and the processing of fruits and vegetables are major industries. An airport and an Interstate highway serve the city.
The focal point of Salem is the Capitol Mall, which is adjoined by the white marble capitol, several office buildings, and the state library. Willamette University, a Methodist school established as the Oregon Institute in 1842, is the oldest university in Oregon. The Oregon State Fair is held in Salem. The city has the council-manager form of government.
Salem was founded by Jason Lee as a Methodist mission in 1840. The townsite was laid out four years later. Salem was made the capital of the Oregon Territory in 1851 and became the state capital after Oregon was admitted to the Union in 1859. The city was incorporated in 1860.