Salem was founded in 1842, became the capital of the Oregon Territory in 1851, and was incorporated in 1857. It is located in the center of the Willamette Valley alongside the Willamette River, which runs north through the city. Salem is located an hour from the Cascade mountains to the east and an hour from the ocean beaches to the west. The city is home to Willamette University and Corban University. The State of Oregon is the largest public employer in the city, and Salem Hospital is the largest private employer.
LDS Members make up 3.34% of the population in Salem. There are 149,089 members in 36 stakes, 253 wards, 50 branches, 3 missions, and 2 temples in Oregon.
A chapel was built in Portland in 1929, ready for an open house on February 15-17, 1929. The building carried the architectural scheme of an old English manor, being constructed of dense lava stone and bricks of the clinker type, and is declared particularly suited to western Oregon climate and surroundings. It included a maternity room and a basement with 14 classrooms. The architect was C. R. Kaufman, and construction had begun on August 1, 1928.