Media Room

Remarks As Prepared

Welcome to Salem Reception, May 19, 2015


Thank you, Mayor Peterson, and thanks also to Jason Brandt and the Salem Chamber, as well as SEDCOR, and Larry and Jason Tokarski at Mountain West Investments for hosting us tonight.

When I told my husband Dan that I thought perhaps the Salem mayor was going give me the key to the city, he said, “Hey, I thought we took all your keys away.”  

Ok, it’s true, I have been known to misplace my keys on occasion. But I promise to take very good care of this one.  Thank you. 

I have been driving to Salem regularly over the course of my 23 years in public life and obviously, during that time, I ventured out of the Capitol frequently enough to form a few opinions:

Best chai: Governor’s Cup.  

Best hot chocolate: Ike Box. 

Best quick lunch: Willamette University. It’s good, it’s close, it’s cheap, and there are almost always college kids, dogs or ducklings on campus.  There are lots of good restaurants in Salem, but it’s tough to compete with kids, dogs and ducklings.

These are basically the kinds of things a commuter learns about Salem. But since we have become locals, Dan and I have made all kinds of discoveries. 

For example, in Salem, there’s no separation of Church and State – streets, that is.  Since that intersection has a church on one corner and state government on the other, the street names makes perfect sense – but it’s the kind of thing the attorney in me finds pretty entertaining.

Dan and I really like Bush Park, especially in the spring when it is literally carpeted with blue camas blossoms. We go walking there two or three times a week, even though it is haunted by a famously grumpy owl. I figure, as long as I remember to bring along the tall members of my security detail, I’m less likely to suffer from ‘irritable owl syndrome.’

We also like living in Mahonia Hall in the beautiful Fairmount neighbourhood, where everyone knows each other – as well as the history of every house in the neighbourhood since World War II.  Governor Kulongoski told us that our Fairmount neighbors were going to be really friendly. He said when he and First Lady Mary Oberst moved out of Mahonia Hall in 2010, the neighbors even threw a going-away party at Fairmount Park for their dog, Hershey. More than 70 people attended -- and 18 dogs.

Dan and I have also become fans of the organic produce at the Salem Farmers’ Market. And we enjoy other locally-sourced specialities such as the music of True North, and the wide variety of Salem microbrews – preferably together.

I appreciate that the Statesman Journal is first and foremost a hometown paper – one of the few I want delivered at home to read in print instead of online. I like that the achievements of high school athletes dominate the sports section, and they still have the morning salute, where readers express gratitude for good deeds and acts of kindness in the community.

I know there’s lots more to discover about this town, and I look forward to doing more exploring after the legislature goes home.  I will never forget the very warm welcome Dan and I have received from the people of Salem.  Thank you for honouring me with the key to the city, and for making us feel at home in our new hometown.