Salem or Eugene
  • $450   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $745   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1230   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  northwest US)

71% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands require a car. 5
dog friendly, temperate climate 6
great during the day sketch at night, hicks, sailing!, bad drivers, and aging hippies are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Salem and Eugene roommate rundown:

10,000 runners in well-designed sneakers are stampeding Salem and Eugene!

All the time!

OK, maybe not all the time.

(They mostly sleep at night.   Mostly.)

But the vibe is all the time. You don't have to run yourself. But you've got to find the sneaker stampede amusing . . . or this might not be the metro for you.

Locals love an outdoor running track under a tree canopy with a festival nearby serving locally crafted beer and wine. That scenario is their soul/sole whisperer.

Shoe giant Nike was founded in Eugene by runner Phil Knight in 1971. And more and more people have been running here since then. There isn't a metro area with more runners per capita or a huger history with running. Several dozen running clubs from amateur to collegiate to Olympic preparatory plus a wide variety of track and field events are hosted here now.

And all runners enjoy the cool but mostly temperate climate, while wearing what must be their ultimate running gear, as they're spoiled for choice. But if you don't love Nike, with all those knowledgeable runners running by, you'll still spot another great apparatus for you. If that exists.

If you don't love to run, lower key jogging would work. Or fast walking. Strolling too, but someone moving faster might leap out of the trees and lap you. This is your warning.

And locals also love the trees they're running around, particularly the cherry. Salem is nicknamed "Cherry City" due to cherries' historical agricultural importance. Also their bus system, Cherriots, and their flat track roller derby league, the Cherry City Roller Derby!

And when you've run up and down and all over town with its fairly flat terrain, more hiking and biking friendly farmland surrounds you. There are a lot of breweries north and west, and the same wineries of the Willamette Valley offering tasting rooms downtown also offer vineyard tours out in the countryside. Between the trees.

Historically, lumber largely built this area. The University of Oregon campus itself is an arboretum, maintaining over 500 species of trees, along with scenic trails in and around them.

Locals even love their trees when there's not even enough room to run around them. Downtown Salem is the home of the smallest city park in the world, measuring 12 by 20 feet. It's just one tree, but it's a giant sequoia currently over 80 feet tall. The plaque says, "WALDO PARK: This Redwood Tree was Planted by Willam Waldo in 1872: City of Salem." Waldo sold his property to Salem with the legal stipulation the tree be preserved, then later additional activism by local Salemites not only maintained the sequoia but gave the tree landscaping and a plaque.

You're also in truffle country, experiencing exponential growth in truffle hunting and truffle dogs. If you and your roommates' dogs hunt truffles too, they can compete in the North American Truffle Dog Championship.

Or if someone(s) aren't quite ready, they can attend Truffle Dog Training and learn the fundamentals of scent training in the forest.

The rest of the Salem and Eugene roommate lowdown:

  • Salem is the state capital, with a relatively recent capital building, completed in 1938. The first two burned down.
  • Salem is about an hour's drive from Portland, in the center of the Willamette Valley alongside the Willamette River running through the city, with a walkable downtown and a waterfront park. Eugene is located at the southern end of the Willamette Valley.
  • about 170,000 residents in Salem, about the same in Eugene, and they both have a similar college town atmosphere.
  • Parking is usually free.
  • The State of Oregon is the largest public employer. Salem Health the largest private.
  • extremely mild climate due to the Cascade Mountains in the east, the coastal ranges to the west, and the proximity of the Pacific Ocean, dampness from October through April, much more dry the rest, some snowfall in winter but accumulation is rare
  • low cost of living compared to the rest of Oregon
  • home to Western Baptist College, Western Oregon State College, Willamette University, and the University of Oregon

After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Salem and Eugene's:

  • State Capitol Building: If you love Art Deco, you should definitely take the tour to the top to see the Gold Man. Also, the Oregon State Legislature.
  • Hallie Ford Museum of Art: Museum associated with Willamette University, but open to the public. Many exhibitions on permanent view, special focus on historic artwork of the Northwest and regional traditional Native American baskets.
  • Salem Riverfront Park: 26 acres along the Willamette River, hosts a lot of festivals, etc. The whole park resulted from industrial land restoration. What was once no longer active paper, flour, and wool mills, a junkyard, and a coal plant . . . are now a large park with grassy areas, pavilions, an amphitheater! There's also a dock with access to the river and the Willamette Queen Sternwheeler.
  • Museum of Natural and Cultural History: Lots of adult and community programs and evening talks on a wide variety of cultural issues. Also the state's official repository for paleontological materials with hundreds of thousands of archaeological, geological, zoological, and ethnographic objects.
  • University of Oregon's Knight Library: Largest library in Oregon with more than 3 million volumes.
  • Ballet Fantastique: The Northwest's inventive dance theater, since 2000.
  • Minto-Brown Island Park: Over 1200 acres, larger than NYC's Central Park. Includes 29 miles of trails, picnic areas, restrooms, a fishing dock, and a 30-acre designated-off-leash area for dogs.

Here's the city of Salem's official .net for moving to Salem, which may include stuff new roommates will need, like parking, library cards, and park activities.


1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.

2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.

3.   From zumper.com.

4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.

5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.

6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.

7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.