The land on which Salem's Waterfront Park sits was originally part of a paper and wood pulp processing plant owned by Boise Cascade. Buildings were cleared from the land, but a few of the chemical tanks remained, including a quite large spherical tank that was once used as part of the acid bath process for paper making.
No one was quite sure exactly what to do with this tank. It was too large to move it easily, and being made of substantial welded together steel it certainly wasn't something that could be easily demolished either. What does one do with a huge sperical steel tank?
The creative citizens of Salem came up with the idea of leaving the tank right where it always was, and creating the EcoEarth Globe, which is a tile mosaic created on the outside of the tank. This astonishing piece of artwork, much of which was created with donations and volunteer time, features mythical creatures (mermaids in the ocean), historical pictures (railroads arrive in North America), historical figures (Nelson Mandela in South Africa), animals, plants and even entire ecosystems (Brazilian rain forest) famous to certain areas of the world.
EcoGlobe is at the far south end of the Salem Waterfront Park. If driving, follow signs to the business loop of 99E, which runs along the Willamette River as Front Street NE. Just before going under the bridge at Marion Street, turn onto Union Street. Continue driving south along the river until you get to the large parking lot on the south side of the bridge. Once in the park, keep walking to the very far southern end of the park.
If taking transit, from the Salem Transit center walk west on Court Street 3 blocks to the park. After crossing Front Street and entering the park, keep following the sidewalks to the southern end of the park.
I have put a few more photos of the EcoEarth Globe in a Travelogue so that you may see yet more of the artwork if you so desire.
As the state capital, naturally Salem has a great number of state office buildings. Many of those are located very close to the capital building itself.
Through the northern part of this "administrative district" is located Mill Creek, which in places crosses private property but through the area by the state offices has a public walkway, picnic tables and other features.
Each of these park-like areas is a little different, based on which state office is located on the land next to the creek.
The state agriculture department building area has benches and picnic tables, plus one fireplace for those who would like to do some outdoor cooking right in the middle of the state capital. It is a nice, peaceful place to enjoy a break from your other activities.
The edge of the area with the fireplace is right at the water's edge, and from time to time you can find locals dangling their feet in the water here (swimming in the creek is most certainly not recommended!!! and it's too shallow for that anyway!).
The state building of veterans affairs has a number of war memorials on its grounds. This includes a small memorial to Korean war veterans and others who lost their lives there.
The setting is very much a park-like structure, but I would have hesitations about sitting on marble benches dedicated to those who lost their lives in a war.
The official address of the building is located below, in the "other" section. The monument is just slightly north of the building, along Summer Street.
There are many good reasons why we should probably wait until after a conflict is over before constructing a memorial to war dead. After all, suppose a few "dead" are found in enemy camps afterward? Should we not wait for the conflict's resolution in history for it to have some historical perspective? There are many reasons.
Be that as it may, for various reasons the decision was made to build the Afghan-Iraqi Freedom memorial during the conflict. It is far larger than any of the other past war memorials in the area near the state veterans office. A huge space exists on the stones for adding many more names to the list of those killed in combat.
The monument consists of a flat world map, with a fountain erupting out of north western Africa. An Octagonal pillar with a man (possibly a soldier, but he doesn't hold a weapon as is frequently the case with war memorials) posed as if pointing at Portugal.
The monument is located just north of the state of Oregon Veterans Affairs building on Summer Street.
This sculpture is completely hidden from all major and most minor throughfares. It is located in a courtyard surrounded on three sides by the North Mall Office Building, and on the north side by a pathway.
On the weekends, when this busy office complex is vacant, this area is a nice, quiet place to have a meditative moment - though just what meditations this type of sculpture creates may be "interesting" at best.
The official address of the North Mall Office Building is 725 Summer Street NE, Salem, Oregon. However, the building is large enough to face three different streets.
The sculpture was created from reclaimed materials, and is supposedly an example of such "recycling" which was to make the North Mall Office Building a trend setter in the area of green development.
This monument is located on the grounds of the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs, near several other military monuments such as the Doughboy Monument and the Korean War Memorial, though it is slightly more hidden from Summer Street due to trees planted around it to keep it somewhat quiet from traffic noise and therefore respectful.
Unfortunately, the monument is overwhealmed by the new Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Monument, which completely dwarfs this and other monuments in the same section of the grounds.
The monument gives basic information on the Medal of Honor, and lists Oregonians who have earned the Medal of Honor through military service.
This monument to the veterans of World War I is located in a park-like area just north of the department of agriculture building.
The statue was rededicated in 1991, as stated on the plaque on the statue.
This facility includes a small park, located just northwest of downtown Salem. There are several bridges over a small stream, benches, and a few trails that connect the park area to nearby neighborhoods. As this area is set aside from busy roads, even though it is close to many of them, it is a quiet place.
To get here from downtown if on foot: walk north on the wide sidewalk that is directly next to the railroad tracks that parallel 12th Street. At the far end of this trail, it crosses a bridge and enters the park area. It is a very easy walk from the Safeway store in downtown Salem (all you have to do is cross Marion Street and walk about 1/2 block north on the trail). So if you stop in Salem to get snacks for a long drive, this is one place you can get to that is an easy and quick walk that would serve to refresh you, and also serve as a good picnic area.
Unfortunately, some of the facilities are not in the best of conditions due to financial limitations.
Entrance by auto is a little more complicated but there is a parking area from A street from the residential area to the northwest of downtown Salem.
There are a few other minor pathways that connect this area to the surrounding neighborhood.
This little park, at the intersection of Union Street NE and Summer Street NE, preserves a tree planted by a Salem pioneer in 1872. As the roads have gotten wider and the rest of the city has developed around the tree, one edge of the tree almost touches Summer Street.
The surrounding trees make it difficult to find the entire tree in photographs taken from a distance far enough to show the entire tree.
When it was constructed, it was referred to as the "North Mall Administrative Building" and was to set an example to the world of environmentally friendly building standards. The official address is 725 Summer Street NE, Salem, Oregon
It is surrounded on the south by another building (which is just north of Union Street NE), and on the east and west by Summer and Winter Streets, respectively. On the north side, there is a small trail that wanders along a creek, with a small set of benches overlooking the creek.
In the middle of the building, there is a nice courtyard which is quiet as it is hidden from major streets. There is quite a lot of attractive landscaping, but the dominant feature of this courtyard is "The Sampo" sculpture.
I suggest doing a Google search for "North Mall Administrative Building" to find out more about the various "green" building standards used in constructing this building.
The building is a very short distance north of the Salem Saturday Market, and the courtyard may be a good place to rest from the crowd if you go to that market.
This monument is "dedicated to all who have served in the armed forces of the United States and to those who even now guard the gates of freedom." The monument is a globe with a soldier standing at the north pole.
It is a simple expression of thanks to those who served and serve in order to protect the country, as opposed to more recent monuments that are far more complicated and huge by comparison.
Just a few blocks north and east of downtown exists a significant inventory of finely restored residences dating between the 1880's and early 20th century. In addition to this architecture is an outstanding landscaping of old growth trees. Salem residents are generally putting a lot of effort into restoring their historic homes and maintaining their landscape of old trees. These images are but just a few examples.
Many years ago, there was a plan to connect Salem to the coast and cross the Cascade Mountains, making Salem part of a transcontinental railroad link.
The railroad going west and east from Salem was built, but going west the furthest it got was somewhat past the city of Falls City. While it didn't serve the dreamed transcontinental link, it did bring lumber into Salem and helped fuel the lumber industry in downtown - an industry that continued to operate until approximately 2005, when the last of the waterfront lumber processing facility was closed.
The railroad going west from Salem was slowly cut back as unnecessary over time, until by around 1995 the only piece of it left in Salem proper was a connection from downtown Salem to the industrial areas of west Salem, on the other side of the river.
By 2005 this section of railroad was closed as well, and the railroad line and bridge was turned into a pedestrian bridge around 2010.
The bridge connects parks in downtown Salem with parks on the west side of the river, without pedestrians having to deal with the awful traffic on the highway bridge over the river.
As seen in the main photo of this tip, the bridge has been made into a sort of attraction in its own right, as it has colored lights on the towers that slowly change colors over time.
Take Portland Road out to Hazlgreen Road and turn onto that. Drive to E.Z. Orchards Farm Market at 5400 Hazel Green Rd
During the summer they have fresh strawberry or peach shortcake depending on the season.
All year round they have strawberry and apple cider donuts inside. You can try a sample and if you like them a dozen or half dozen can be bought. They also sell their yummy apple cider. This was my first job and I loved to work there. It is a fun atmosphere to shop in.
After you are done, down the road about half a mile is Bob and Barb's Blueberry Farms. Their is a U-Pick here that lasts until the end of July. I have picked blueberrys here and they are very good.
When you're up at Clear Lake, drive down a mile and see Sahalie Falls on the McKensie River. Be sure and walk down the path a ways. The river there is very wild! If you walk far enough, you'll come to the top of another waterfall.