There has to be a place.
That’s been the overriding theme as we’ve built what you’re reading now, what we’ve decided to call Salem Is.
A place to document what makes Salem the city many of us have chosen as our own — the interesting people living here, the richness hidden just below the surface and the history you didn’t know you were connected to.
A place to house revealing, genuine and well-crafted narratives that show the vitality of Salem, famous for being the Oregon state capital and halfway between two other places often deemed more interesting.*
*Also famous for not being that other Salem. Keep your witch jokes to yourself.
A place for the numerous talented and creative people in this city to tell the stories they want to tell, both through words and through images.
As is true with many of the great ventures in our nation’s history, Salem Is was born out of the creative frustration of a pair of former journalists and backed by a soundtrack of House of Pain, Lady Gaga and Queen.
We (Sarah Evans and Chris Hagan) are both past Statesman Journal writers who have moved on from the newspaper industry. Though we never worked together, the strong bonds among ex-reporters eventually connected us.
Shortly after Chris left the paper last year, we began talking about side projects while at a friend’s dance party and discovered we both had been toying with an idea for a site devoted to the stories of our adopted hometown.
We realized we weren’t interested in breaking crime news or digging up dirt on politicians. Instead, we wanted to reveal the fascinating, lesser-known stories that we knew were waiting to be told.
We couldn’t do it alone, so we reached out to the many creative people we knew and asked them to contribute. Again and again, we heard that they loved the idea, that many of them had considered doing something similar, that they thought this type of project was needed in Salem.
In the subsequent months, the idea grew into a name, a website and eventually actual content, which we are debuting today. Check back every Monday for new stories from a range of local writers and artists.
We hope to expose you to more of the creative people living in Salem, while helping you to see the city in a different light. If you believe in this goal, too, help spread the word. Tell your friends and neighbors; share this on Facebook, Twitter and telephone poles; or contact us and contribute something yourself.
There’s a place for that now.