Our Salem: Planning for Growth

Aerial image of downtown Salem with a mountain the background.

Salem is growing, and that presents both the need and opportunity to better guide and plan for how and where the city will grow. Sign up to get email updates about the project.

What's our vision for the future?

How do we want Salem to grow and develop? What goals do we have? How can we improve our community?

The City is in the midst of a multi-year project to update the Salem Area Comprehensive Plan, which guides development in the Salem area. 

Work session

The City Council and Planning Commission held a joint work session on the Our Salem project on October 18. Staff presented the draft Comprehensive Plan and associated maps and code changes that have resulted from the three-year Our Salem project. You can watch recordings of the work session:

Read the draft Comprehensive Plan

A draft of Salem's updated Comprehensive Plan is complete and available for review. This marks a major milestone in Salem's efforts to plan for future growth and development. It is the result of a three-year project called Our Salem, which has involved extensive community engagement.

Physical copies of the draft plan are available in the Permit Application Center Planning Desk at City Hall, 555 Liberty Street SE, Room 320, in Salem.

The draft plan will not be effective until it has gone through a formal adoption process. Staff plans to start that process by the end of this year. The adoption process will include public hearings next year at the Planning Commission and City Council, which will vote on the draft Comprehensive Plan. 

To stay informed, sign up for email updates on the Our Salem project.

View the revised zoning map

We have revised the proposed zoning map based on community input and analysis. You can view the revised maps in English and in Spanish. Zoom in to see proposed changes on specific properties and to read street names. You can also click on the name of each zone in the map's legend, and it will take you to more information about each existing or proposed zone:

You can view the maps by visiting City Hall at 555 Liberty Street SE. Large maps in English and in Spanish are hanging on the windows of the third floor next to the entrance to Room 305.

Despite the map revisions, the proposed zoning changes are still not final.

Staff expects to start the formal adoption process by the end of this year. The adoption process will include public hearings at the Planning Commission and City Council, which will vote on the proposed zoning changes. The proposed zoning map will be not final until the adoption process is complete.  

Existing zoning map

You can view the existing zoning map via an interactive map or here:

Proposed Comprehensive Plan map

We have revised the the proposed Comprehensive Plan map to reflect the changes in the proposed zoning map. You can view it here:

You can also view the existing Comprehensive Plan Map below.

Sign up to get email updates about the project and learn about opportunities to get involved.

Summer 2021 outreach

We are continuing to conduct outreach as part of the Our Salem project

Zoning subcommittee

The Our Salem Zoning Subcommittee met virtually six times between May and August 21 to discuss six zoning options intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The subcommittee included four City Councilors and four Planning Commissioners. 

To learn more about the subcommittee's work, visit the Our Salem Zoning Subcommittee page.

Weekly public meetings

Thank you to everyone who participated this spring in weekly virtual public meetings and online surveys focused on policy ideas.

 You can see a list of ideas that we are considering in this document and this packet.

If you missed the virtual meetings, you can watch recordings of them on YouTube: https://bit.ly/planningpublicmeetings 

We will use the community's input to revise and draft new policies that will guide future growth and development. The policies will support the Our Salem Vision and be incorporated into our updated Comprehensive Plan.

Gen Z: Focus groups

In April, we held three “Your Voice, Your City” forums for youth and young adults between 14 and 22 years old. The virtual forums were on April 24, 26, and 29. The forums were a chance for youth and young adults to share their ideas on future growth and development in the Salem area. 

City Council accepts the vision

Check out the Our Salem vision

Nuestra Salem Visión

The City Council accepted the Our Salem Vision on March 8, 2021, marking a major milestone in the Our Salem project. It is a culmination of more than a year and a half of community engagement.

The Vision includes broad goals and a map that depict how the community wants the Salem area to grow. It sets the high-level framework for all of the detailed work ahead - the development of policies, zoning map changes, and zoning code updates.  Nothing is final until it goes through the formal adoption process, which is expected at the end of this year.

The Council also voted to form a subcommittee of councilors and Planning Commission members to make recommendations on six zoning code changes intended to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You can see those zoning options in this City Council presentation.

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DRAFT Salem Area Comprehensive Plan September 2021 (Spanish)9982 KB10/20/2021
DRAFT Salem Area Comprehensive Plan September 202160989 KB9/30/2021
Transportation and Parks Policy Ideas September 2021193 KB9/28/2021
Revised Proposed Comprehensive Plan Map (English)6529 KB8/31/2021
Revised Proposed Comprehensive Plan Map (Spanish)6583 KB8/31/2021
Revised proposed zoning map (English)6037 KB8/31/2021
Revised proposed zoning map (Spanish)6093 KB8/31/2021
Proposed Central Business District Zone from 2021 UDC Update DRAFT1034 KB8/30/2021
Proposed Mixed Use-III Zone September 2021 DRAFT745 KB8/30/2021
Proposed Mixed Use-Riverfront Zone September 2021 DRAFT1610 KB8/30/2021
Proposed Multiple family residential III Zone September 2021 DRAFT382 KB8/30/2021
Proposed Neighborhood Hub Zone September 2021 DRAFT405 KB8/30/2021
Revised Central Business District Zone Overview Summer 2021212 KB8/24/2021
Revised Neighborhood Hubs Map Summer 2021215 KB8/9/2021
Revised Neighborhood Hubs Summer 2021244 KB8/9/2021
Interactive Map Comments - June 2021341 KB6/24/2021
Multifamily Land by Region101 KB6/7/2021
Policy Meeting chat – Summary meeting129 KB5/26/2021
Policy Meetings Summary Presentation2474 KB5/26/2021
Zoning Public Forum May 20212733 KB5/21/2021
Zoning Forum Chats180 KB5/19/2021
Neighborhood Hub Survey Results418 KB5/18/2021
Policy Meeting chats – Natural Resources, Environment, Community and Public Facilities221 KB5/14/2021
Combined Policy Meeting Presentation200744 KB5/13/2021
Policy Meeting chats – Transportation, Parks and Recreation189 KB4/29/2021
Existing Zoning Map (English)3299 KB4/26/2021
Existing Zoning Map (Spanish)3300 KB4/26/2021
Proposed Zoning Map (English)3478 KB4/26/2021
Proposed Zoning Map (Spanish)3479 KB4/26/2021
Mixed Use-III Zone Overview Spring 2021218 KB4/16/2021
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Technical Advisory Committee

A technical advisory committee is advising staff. The committee has 15 members. The committee includes staff from City of Salem departments, area jurisdictions, and partner agencies.

The committee provides technical expertise on project deliverables and guidance on work tasks. The committee is responsible for representing and relaying information about the project to their respective City departments, jurisdictions, or agencies.

Government to government

We are collaborating with other governmental agencies, tribal governments, and other agencies on the Our Salem project. They are providing input and coordinating planning efforts.


City of Keizer

Marion County

Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments

Polk County

Salem-Keizer School District

Tribal governments

Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde

Confederated Tribes of Siletz

Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation

Community groups and organizations

We have been fortunate to be able to engage with a wide variety of organizations, groups, and agencies throughout the Salem area. The City's boards and commissions have also participated. Many of the organizations and groups have invited us to attend their meetings and events, and many community leaders have taken the time to talk with us.

350 Salem

Active Transportation Network

American Association of University Women

Boys & Girls Club of Salem, Marion and Polk Counties 

Capital Planning Commission


Central Area Neighborhood Development Organization

Center 50+ Advisory Commission

Chapman Hill Elementary School

Chemeketa Community College

Community and Partners of East Salem

Crossler Middle School

Downtown Advisory Board

Downtown Rotary

East Lancaster Neighborhood Association

East Salem Rotary

Edgewater Partners

Enlace Community Development Project

Faye Wright Neighborhood Association

Salem Community Markets

Friends of Center 50+

Grant Neighborhood Association

Grant Community School Parent Club

Home Builders Association of Marion and Polk Counties

Houck Middle School

Human Rights Commission


Just Walk Salem Keizer

Kalapuya Elementary School Parents' Club

La Casita

Lansing Neighborhood Association

Latino Business Alliance

LUS (Latinos Unidos Siempre)

League of Women Voters


Marion County Health and Human Services

Mayor's International Council

McKay Islander Club

Micronesian Islander Community

Mid-Valley Association of REALTORS

Morningside Neighborhood Association

National Association of Women in Construction

North Gateway Redevelopment Board

North Lancaster Neighborhood Association

North Neighborhoods

North East Salem Community Association

Northeast Neighbors Neighborhood Association

Northwest Senior and Disability Services

Oregon Marshallese Community

PCUN (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste)

Rotary of South Salem

Safe Routes Partnerships

Salem Area Chamber of Commerce

Salem Art Commission

Salem Citizens Advisory Traffic Commission

Salem City Club

Salem Cultural and Tourism Promotion Advisory Board

Salem Environmental Education

Salem for Refugees

Salem Keizer Collaboration

Salem Keizer NAACP

Salem Keizer Public Schools Community Transition Program

Salem Keizer Public Schools Indian Education Parent Advisory Committee

Salem Kiwanas

Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board

Salem Public Library Advisory Board

SEDCOR (Strategic Economic Development Corporation)

South Central Association of Neighbors

South Gateway Neighborhood Association

South Salem Connect

South Salem High School Leadership Classes

Southeast Salem Neighborhood Association

Southwest Association of Neighbors

Sunnyslope Neighborhood Association

Sunrise Rotary

United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley

Washington Elementary School

West Salem Business Association

West Salem Neighborhood Association

West Salem Service Integration Team

West Salem Redevelopment Advisory Board

Willamette University


There are many different ways you can participate in the Our Salem project. We will host public workshops, have tables at community events, conduct stakeholder interviews, send out surveys, and partner with local organizations.

If you want us to attend your neighborhood or organization’s meeting or event, please contact Eunice Kim at [email protected] or 503-540-2308.  You can also sign up to get project updates via email, and you can always contact Eunice Kim with any questions or comments.


A consultant team led by Fregonese Associates is providing technical expertise.

Stakeholder Advisory Committee

stakeholder advisory committee advised staff during the first phase of the Our Salem project. It had 15 members. The committee consisted of Salem officials and representatives from partner jurisdictions, neighborhood associations, and other organizations.

  • Elected officials: The committee included two Salem City Councilors appointed by the Mayor, two Salem Planning Commissioners appointed by the Planning Commission President, and one elected official each from Keizer, Marion County, and Polk County. The officials from Keizer and the two counties were selected by their own jurisdiction. We included them because this project covers Salem's portion of the urban growth boundary, which goes beyond Salem city limits. Changes to the Comprehensive Plan impact the broader area, so coordination is important, and in some cases, required. 
  • Neighborhood associations: Land use chairs from three neighborhood associations were on the committee. The land use chairs were from neighborhoods located in southeast, northeast, and inner portions of Salem. These are areas that were not represented by the two City Councilors on the committee, which generally represented West Salem and South Salem. We selected the neighborhood representatives to try to achieve geographical representation in the city after the Councilors were selected.
  • Agencies and organizations: The committee included representatives from several agencies and organizations, including Cherriots, the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, the Home Builders Association of Marion and Polk Counties, Salem 350, and Enlace Cross Cultural Community Development Project. Most of the representatives were selected by their own organization or agency.

The committee was a non-voting committee. It provided a forum to understand differences and shared values among the participants for mutual gains. The public was be invited to attend and participate in all committee meetings.

What is the Comprehensive Plan?

The Comprehensive Plan is a long-range plan for future growth and development in the Salem area that aims to meet the needs of current and future residents.

The plan has goals, policies, and maps that shape everything from where multifamily housing is built to how our street system is designed to how our natural resources are protected.

Simply put, it represents the community's vision for future growth.

Why is the City doing this project?

The community identified a need to develop a vision for growth and development as part of the strategic planning process in 2017.

The Comprehensive Plan has not been updated altogether in decades. It may not reflect the community's vision for the future. This project is an opportunity to better understand Salem and how the community wants to grow over the next couple decades.

The City Council approved funding for this project in 2017.

What happened during the first phase of the project?

A lot happened but not visioning. The first phase focused on data, indicators, and scenarios.

  • Data: We worked with a consultant team and others to collect and analyze information related to the built environment. This included looking at our housing stock, parks, jobs and businesses, development patterns, streets, and more. We also completed a greenhouse gas inventory to better understand the community's impact on the environment.
  • Indicators: Using all of this data and input from the community, measures – or indicators – were selected to evaluate the current state of Salem. We answered questions like: How livable are our neighborhoods? How strong is our economy? How sustainable is our community? Indicators included things like housing affordability, proximity to parks, average wages, tree canopy, and bicycle and pedestrian use.

  • Scenarios: Once we knew how we were doing now, we created different scenarios for how Salem could grow over the next 20 years under current policies. We used the same indicators to evaluate and compare these future scenarios. We created a report card to help answer the question: Are we headed in the right direction?

The results of the first phase of work will inform the next phase, community-wide visioning.

If phase one – Our Salem: Today – did not include visioning, what decisions were made during the first phase?

There were two decision points during phase one. At both of these points, we asked the public for input.

    1. What indicators should we use to evaluate the city? We asked the community to select indicators to evaluate Salem as it is today and as it could be in the future under our existing policies.
    2. Given the results of the analysis, is Salem heading in the right direction? At the end of this first phase, we brought the results of the evaluation to the community and City Council. The results were in the format of a report card and helped answer the question:  Are we heading in the right direction?

What were the results of the first phase?

The first phase resulted in a report card  that evaluates whether we're heading in the right direction given current policies.

It also resulted in a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory . All this work is informing the visioning phase of the Our Salem project.

Check out this story map  to see what we did and what we learned in phase one.  

Is the City developing a climate action plan as part of this project?


The 2017 Strategic Plan recommends developing a climate action plan, but was not funded as part of the Our Salem project. The City Council voted in June 2019 to provide $50,000 for work on a climate action plan. Work on the climate action plan has begun, and collaboration between that work and the Our Salem project continues.

  • Greenhouse gas inventory: The City developed a greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, as called for in the 2018 Council Policy Agenda. This inventory was incorporated into the first phase of the Our Salem project. We did this because the built environment – buildings, related transportation networks, etc. – affects GHG emissions, and the results of a GHG inventory can and should inform larger discussions about how and where Salem should grow in the future.
  • Goals and policies: We expect to update the goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan as part of the Our Salem project. The updated goals and policies will address GHG emissions, particularly as they relate to transportation and the built environment.  Environmental actions that are not related to the built environment fall outside of the purview of the Comprehensive Plan.

What is the second phase – visioning – all about?

It's about developing the community's vision for the future. We have been conducting community-wide visioning since the summer of 2019. This means we have been out and about, talking to the community about future growth and development in Salem. We've been asking people: What thoughts, concerns, and ideas do you have for the future?

We've done this outreach in a variety of ways, including public workshops, outreach at community events, stakeholder interviews, virtual meetings, surveys, and more. In June, we had a Facebook live event on the City's Spanish Facebook page  where we answered questions about the Our Salem project in Spanish. You can watch the video here.

What were the scenarios that were developed in the visioning phase?

We developed four scenarios during the visioning phase. They were essentially different options for how the Salem area could grow in the future. The scenarios focused on land use. To read more about the scenarios, check out these frequently asked questions.

We held a webinar on the scenarios in April. If you couldn't join us, you can watch a recording of the webinar online. You can also watch a video about the scenarios in Spanish

We want your input 

Queremos sus sugerencias

Please take our new survey.

Policy Survey (English)

Encuesta Política (Español)

Project phases 

​Phase 1

Evaluate existing conditions and how Salem could grow


Phase 2

Establish a community vision for future growth


​Phase 3

Update the Comprehensive Plan to implement the community’s vision

What we've learned 

Our Salem Report Card


Contact us

Eunice KimProject Manager
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 305
Salem OR 97301
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City of Salem