Are you freaking kidding me?
How much of a payoff from the Salem Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau did it take to get the Livability web site to rank this town #15 in 100 Best Places to Live among small and medium cities in the United States?
The Cherry City of Salem, Ore., earned a cherry ranking on our 2014 list thanks to its many recreational, cultural and natural amenities; easy access to quality and affordable health care; and a population well distributed across age groups to support both.
Twenty-five percent of the 154,637 living in Oregon's capital city are under age 18, and the city has many amenities to suit these children and young families, including a park system of 46 parks covering more than 1,600 acres and still growing. Another popular attraction for kids is A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village, an interactive children's museum with science-based exhibits throughout three Victorian homes.
The city also scores well when it comes to educating these kids, too, largely because of its many choices. Salem-Keizer Public Schools is the second-largest public school system in the state, enrolling more than 40,000 students throughout 65 schools. Parents opting to send their kids to private schools have many options, as well.
Salem is home to the first university in the West, Willamette University, which enrolls approximately 1,800 students, as well as Corban University, an independent Christian college. Then there's Western Oregon University in Monmouth, which is about 20 minutes from town, and an hour's drive to Portland State University or University of Oregon in Eugene. Oregon State just more than two hours away in Bend.
It's pretty clear that the Livability staff hasn't actually been to Salem, or likely to many/most of the other 99 cities they recommend. The rankings are based on statistical criteria. Notice how there is nothing in the description above that couldn't be learned from a Wikipedia perusal.
(Note to LIvability: Oregon State University is in Corvallis, not Bend. I guess your quick Googling in the course of writing Salem's description turned up a mention of a satellite campus in Bend.)
I was bemused by the photo of Salem shown next to our #15 ranking. Whoever took it had one heck of a powerful telephoto lens up in an airplane, or whatever. Makes it look like Salem is nestled at the foot of snow-capped mountains.
Skiers, make an airplane reservation! Oh, forgot, you can't. Salem doesn't have an airport with actual scheduled airline service.