Salem, Ore. — Since 2017, the City has commissioned the Community Satisfaction Survey to better understand community priorities. Insights drawn from the survey and other outreach activities help City leaders plan for the future of Salem. Survey results are one input into the City Council’s annual workplan – the City Council Policy Agenda – which provides direction to the organization and informs the City’s budget. Salem City Council will consider findings from this survey along with progress achieved on the 2022 Policy Agenda at its work session on November 21, 2022. The 2021-2026 Strategic Plan, annual City Council Policy Agendas, and community satisfaction surveys are found on the City’s Strategic Plan web page.
“Feedback from the residents we serve is always helpful,” said Keith Stahley, Salem City Manager. “We are grateful for the feedback. The survey results indicate where we have work to do. We look forward to working together to achieve the best for Salem.”
Homelessness remains the most important issue for residents. More residents (57%) list homelessness issues as most important for Salem. This is consistent with many communities where homelessness is a top concern, including many in the broader Portland metro region, the I-5 corridor to Eugene, and along the coast. For the first time since 2017, crime is reported by 16% of residents as an important issue.
Optimism Continues to Decline. Satisfaction with City services has dropped to 57% from 2021 levels (70%) and 2020 levels (86%). Optimism in the direction the City is heading continues to decline with almost 70% of residents noting that things in Salem appear to be heading in the wrong direction. A majority (61%) of respondents, however, note the decline can be attributed to a combination of City actions and circumstances beyond the City’s control.
Room for Improvement. While satisfaction with most services has declined slightly, residents site room for improvement in several key areas. Two-thirds of residents (66%) reported dissatisfaction with residents of all income levels having access to affordable housing. Dissatisfaction also increased in driving from one side of the City to the other during peak hours with 82% finding it difficult or somewhat difficult. Levels of dissatisfaction were up in areas of coordinating social services to serve needs of homeless in our community (58%), in enforcing city codes for noise, yard upkeep and other nuisances (46%), growing job opportunities in the local economy (41%), and protecting our natural environment (39%). Levels of difficulty are also increasing as seen in report of difficulty in having concerns heard by City leaders (61%), in finding information about City planning and how decisions are made (59%), and in biking or walking in Salem (46%).
The 2022 Community Satisfaction Survey was conducted from September 7 to September 13, 2022 via cell and land-line telephone calls, with an online option to both English and Spanish-speaking Salem residents. DHM Research took measures to ensure survey responses accurately represented all areas of the City and the diverse backgrounds of its residents.