Salem, the capitol of Oregon, has a population of approximately 150,000. While Salem is a gay-friendly place to live, there is only one notable gay bar. However, Salem is less than an hour by car from Portland, which features at least a dozen dedicated gay and lesbian bars as well as many gay-friendly clubs and bars.
The Southside Speakeasy is open seven days a week and frequently hosts special events, dance nights and shows. The Speakeasy also sponsors Salem’s gay softball team, the Speakeasy Saints. The bar is located at 3529 Fairview Industrial Drive SE, and you can contact the bar by visiting their website (http://www.southsidespeakeasy.com/index2.shtml) or by calling the establishment at 503-362-1139.
Salem has a number of GLBT social groups and organizations that meet outside of bars, and can often be convinced to go to a bar afterward. The Confluence Chorus (www.confluencechorus.org) is an open local GLBT chorus that performs frequently; the Imperial Sovereign Court of the Willamette Empire (www.iscwe.org) organizes events throughout the year; and Salem Pride hosts the annual pride celebration as well as has a list of community resources (http://www.salempride.com/resources.htm#glbt support).
Portland ranks close to Seattle and Vancouver, Canada in population density of outspoken GLBT people and related services and entertainment. According to OKCupid, Oregon is the most bi-curious state in the union. If you are located in Salem, driving, car-pooling, or commuting by train or bus to Portland every so often is an option to consider. Portland’s premium gay bars include C.C. Slaughter’s (http://www.ccslaughterspdx.com/), Eagles Portland (http://www.portlandeagle.com/) and The Roxy, a queer-run diner (no website, located at 1121 SW Stark St.).
Calla Hummel is a doctoral student studying contraband in international political economy. She supplements her student stipend by writing about personal finance and working as a consultant, as well as hoping that her investments will pan out.