Marion County

Marion County was established in 1843 and named after the American Revolutionary General.



Marion County was established in 1843 and named after the American Revolutionary General, Francis Marion. The city of Salem is one of the valley’s oldest cities and state capitol of Oregon. Located south of the Portland metropolitan area, Marion County stretches from the Willamette River to the Cascade Mountains encompassing nearly 1,200 square miles. Most of its population of 347,000 can reach the Pacific beaches in under two hours. Marion County is the fifth most populous county in Oregon with 20 cities. The most well-known cities include: Salem, Keizer, Woodburn, Stayton, and Detroit.


Marion County provides both rural and city living options along with a diverse selection of activities. The St. Paul rodeo, Jefferson mint festival, Woodburn drag races, Silver Falls state park, Detroit Lake, and the Willamette Riverfront are just a few options you have while living or visiting Marion County. There are a variety of museums and tours, antiquing, shopping, and dining, especially downtown Salem where it’s the main hub of entertainment. 


Marion County’s main industries include the public sector, agricultural production and food processing, manufacturing, distributing, and healthcare. The state of Oregon is the largest employer, and the Salem Hospital is the largest private employer with around 3,000 employees. Spirit Mountain Casino and the T-Mobile calling center also provide a large number of employment.


Salem serves as the hub of state government. The government’s public sector is the largest employer, with approximately 17,958 state employees and offices for 69 state agencies located in Salem. Salem is the 3rd largest city in Oregon. Due to the close proximity to the capitol, Marion County citizens have a unique opportunity to be involved in the decision-making processes of the state. The capitol’s mascot, a gold man standing on top of the state capitol, represents a pioneer from the Oregon trail. The capitol prides itself in their pioneer roots, and also offers public museums and tours of the capitol.


There are 8 active colleges in Marion County including Willamette University, Corban College, and Chemeketa Community College. Marion County has 12 jails or correctional institutions mainly stationed in Salem, along with the historical Oregon State Psychiatric Hospital.


There are 10 school districts in the county, and the Salem-Keizer district is the second largest in the state, reaching over 42,000 students with 65 schools. Some of the highest rated school districts in Marion County include Silver Falls and St. Paul. Marion County also has 28 private schools serving around 5,000 students.


The median household income for Marion County is $61,800, the median house price is $449,000, the median listing home price per square foot is $273, and the average population per mile is 292.

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