Salem is nice and not nearly so expensive as Portland, which is only an hour away. Research your neighborhoods well, as some are pretty dicey.
If you're interested in Salem, I would suggest you also look at Dundee, Brooks, Keizer, Eola, Rosedale, Gervais, & Silverton. All very pretty and nice towns, and no state prison with fewer probationers.
Be ready for months of cloudy days in a row, and beautiful summers and autumns.