|Factions:||The Mutant Council, Saylanders|
|Notable events:||The Great War, Oregon Brushfire Wars|
Salem, also known as Old Salem, Sayland, or the Haunted City in the past, was the pre-War capital of Oregon. The city was hit hard by nuclear bombs, and the ruins remained abandoned for a while. They even became known as haunted. Currently, Salem serves as a sort of mutant sanctuary, giving them refuge from the brutality and bigotry of the wasteland.
The Willamette Valley has been inhabited for over ten thousand years. Indian tribes prospered in the fertile valley until the arrival of Europeans and European diseases.
The first permanent American settlement in the area was the Jason Lee Methodist mission located in the area north of Salem known as Wheatland in 1841. In 1842, the missionaries established the Oregon Institute (the forerunner of Willamette University) in the area that was to become the site of Salem. In 1844, the mission was dissolved and the townsite established.
After the dissolution of the Oregon Institute, Salem was founded. In 1851, Salem became the territorial capital after it was moved from Oregon City. Salem was incorporated as a city in 1857, and with the coming of statehood in 1859, it became the state capital.
The Salem Standard, not Salem's first newspaper but no doubt its most important, was founded in 1920 by Caleb Cabot. It was an independent and self-proclaimed unbiased news source for the city of Salem, providing information on both the celebrity status holding and power-wielding political figures of the United States, whilst also having sections dedicated to financial ongoings, sports and domestic news. It did quite a lot of reporting during the twentieth century, but its importance increased in the next century.
Salem has had three state capitol buildings. The third and current Oregon State Capitol was completed on the same site in 1938 and was recognizable due to its distinctive pioneer statue atop the capitol dome that is plated with gold-leaf, officially named the Oregon Pioneer.
Throughout the twentieth century and early twenty-first century, Salem remained more or less unchanged, even as the United States of America grew around it. Growth just kind of passed Salem by, especially after the creation of the Commonwealths.
However, Salem's luck began to turn in the latter half of the twentieth century, ironically enough. The city saw an uptick in growth after the Sino-American War began, and the Salem Standard won national acclaim for its reporting on domestic issues in the rapidly declining United States of America.
Salem had a brief moment in the national spotlight in the fall of 2070 due to the unfortunately named "Road Rage Rampage" in which an enraged trucker on Interstate 5 killed seventeen people by ramming his rig into their cars before offing himself by crashing into a ditch. News media from all over the country came into Salem to the Salem Standard's dismay and swarmed like flies. However, the hype over the event eventually died down. Any clear motive for the trucker's rampage was never discovered.
By the time 2077 rolled around, Salem had become quite tense. Rationing had set in, and the Unamerican Activities Force was investigating the Salem Standard for suspected treason, causing many residents to become paranoid of themselves being investigated. This only compounded their already ever-present fear of nuclear holocaust. A couple of Salem residents were taken in by the UAF, but none were ever convicted.
However, this fear was offset by the opening of the Salem Exhibition for Advanced Technologies in 2076. This exhibition included things such as advanced hydroponics, energy weapons, robots, and the centerpiece, a suit of T-51b Power Armor. This drummed up significant interest from the public and even people from out of town. This respite was brief with things returning to dismal reality by late 2077.
On October 23, 2077, Salem was bombed eleven times, a large amount for a comparatively small city. Large parts of Salem were simply blown away by the bombs in Downtown and West Salem. The bridges over the Willamette River were also blown or damaged beyond repair.
The inhabitants of Salem were devastated by the bombs. With no Vaults nearby and little warning, the people were mostly killed by initial bombings or radiation. Those that did not die from the bombs or radiation were mutated into horrific-looking ghouls. Some were feral, some were still sane. A very small number of people survived in Oregon State Hospital but soon either died or left for parts unknown. Immediately following the Great War, the remaining sane ghouls fled Salem to take refuge elsewhere. Salem was given up on by the initial response teams to the Great War because of word that much of city had become a radioactive crater. The city was devoid of sane life by the winter of 2077.
After the bombs fell, Salem was naught but death and destruction with most of city becoming a land of sand, with only the tops of buildings sticking out. The ruins were highly radioactive due the excessive bombings. The first few decades after the war, Salem was left completely abandoned by civilization. Feral ghouls ruled the ruins, and the shattered remnants of Salem remained too radioactive to be inhabited by humans.
However, that did not mean people did not pass through Salem on occasion. Travelers going on I-5 invariably passed through Salem at some point, though most knew to pick up some Radaway before entering Salem’s accursed ruins. Indeed, many of the first scavengers who tried to loot Salem of its riches died of radiation poisoning with a particularly large number dying in 2099 on a failed expedition to find the Salem Exhibition for Advanced Technologies.
By 2100, Salem had earned a reputation as a city uniquely ruined by radiation. Tribal superstition thought the place was haunted, eventually calling Salem the Haunted City. More civilized peoples knew of the truth of Salem’s radioactive dangers but also lost the city’s true name in time. Locals and scavengers more commonly called it Sayland while travelers often called it Old Salem due to its ruined status. The name Sayland the one that stuck until the mid 2200s.
In the early 2100s, new residents began moving into Sayland to replace the still remaining feral ghoul population. These new residents were geckos from the south who were soon followed by their deathclaw predators. Soon enough, the two species had mostly displaced the feral ghouls and set up their own ecosystem among the city’s sand and ruined buildings. Due to the area’s radioactivity, next to no one interfered with this ecosystem for nearly fifty years. The ghoul artist Cesare captured this wild untamed Sayland in one of his paintings in 2152 before moving on north.
That was until 2159, when scavengers began pushing into Sayland trying to loot what was left of the Old World in the ruins. These scavengers were happy to meet no opposition from usually territorial tribals but were predictably blindsided by Sayland's natural hazards. The scavengers used the Penthouses on the edges of Salem as a base of operations and ransacked the surrounding area looking for valuables, the Salem Exhibition for Advanced Technologies in particular.
The scavengers got a lot of scrap, preserved food, and electronics but were unable to find the Salem Exhibition for Advanced Technologies due to Sayland’s various dangers. However, in those years a new legend emerged of a golden statue buried in the ruins, seen by a intrepid scavver who was quickly chased off by a deathclaw before noting the statue's definitive location. Rumors of this treasure spread and soon people were looking for this prize as well. As time went on, loot became harder to find which made scavvers even more territorial.
In the late 2100s, super mutants began drifting through Sayland by way of I-5 after the collapse of the Master’s Army. The scavvers in Sayland frequently traded shots with super mutants who wandered into their territory out of anti-mutant bigotry. This brought the scavengers a lot of grief when in 2175, they killed one of a pair of super mutants passing through Sayland. The super mutant killed was the son of the other super mutant, an intelligent mutie named Zeus, who wreaked righteous vengeance on the scavengers for the next three years. The already deadly ruins of Sayland was turned into a war zone by this one-man Mutant Army who lived off the land and killed more than half of Sayland’s scavengers in three years. The deathclaws and geckos began to reclaim many places in Sayland once lost to Radaway-infused humans.
The scavengers finally managed to kill off Zeus in 2178 using bounty hunters hired from Portland. They celebrated their ‘victory’ for a brief time. By that time however, salvage had already grown very sparse in Sayland, the pipe-dream treasures of Sayland remained pipe-dreams, and the scavengers had lost too many of their number to Zeus. In 2178, scavengers began quietly leaving Sayland to go north and east to areas less touched by other scavengers (and more in tribal areas). By 2190, only two scavenger families were left in Sayland: the Greens and the Rossis. The Green Family's patriarch Evan took over as the two families' unofficial leader, organizing their defenses against those who attacked them.
These families persisted in Sayland’s Penthouses for the next couple of decades. They suffered through natural hazards, more super mutant incursions, and more nosy scavvers looking for a quick score. It was scavengers looking for the Salem Exhibition for Advanced Technologies who killed the Rossi Family in their beds for the extra meat and also managed to kill the decrepit Evan Green in 2219. Nevertheless, the Green Family managed to hold on undaunted by dangerous wildlife and vicious outsiders.
Around the same time in 2220, a super mutant by the name of Zero wandered into the ruins of Sayland and by chance stumbled upon the Salem Exhibition for Advanced Technologies, locked for centuries in a building mostly buried by sand. Zero, though a dumb mutant, knew the significance of all this technology and marveled at the various pieces of pre-War tech. He took up residence in the Exhibition as a hermit for a few years alone before inviting another super mutant in 2224. There they were safe from Sayland's dangers.
In the early 2220s, the Green Family faced increasing difficulties from Sayland's wildlife. Geckos were a constant annoyance and pest for the family. Deathclaws however posed a much greater threat as some began stalking the father Gavin Green as he was out providing for his family (hunting/gathering). It became harder and harder for Gavin to throw them off his trail while returning to the Penthouses. On top of these other problems, Gavin began seeing an increasing number super mutants entering Sayland. This worried him greatly, and he became even more cautious than before so as not to antagonize the super mutants, remembering Zeus.
The Green Family's luck seemed to have run out in 2226 when a particularly crafty deathclaw managed to finally track Gavin Green back to the Penthouses. This deathclaw bashed its way through the Penthouses looking for the Green Family, causing terror for the family for close to two days as they hid from the invader. However, the Green Family was not entirely out of luck. A traveler passing through Sayland happened upon the Penthouses and saved Gavin Green in the nick of time, distracting the deathclaw for long enough for Gavin to shoot it. The Green Family was very grateful for the stranger's help, who was injured in his efforts to help them. The family helped the man recover from his injuries, giving him all the medical treatment he dearly needed. The Green's daughter Jess made a deathclaw tooth taken from the slain beast and told the stranger he could make it into a necklace. After about a week of rest in the Penthouses, the wanderer left Sayland for parts unknown.
After that, Gavin Green gained back his confidence and began venturing out into Sayland once again. Specifically, he was searching for the Salem Exhibition for Advanced Technologies, hoping to improve his family's still desperate situation. The scavenger, after a few days of looking for the Exhibition, drew the connection with the super mutants coming into Sayland and decided to tail one of them back to wherever their lair was. Gavin eventually found the Exhibition but was found soon afterwards by its super mutant inhabitants.
There were only four super mutants in Exhibition at the time, but they were still worried that Gavin might give away their location to scavvers and get them killed so they debated killing him. However, Gavin Green pleaded with the super mutants to let him go free and told them about his family that needed him. Zero and the other super mutants felt sorry for Gavin and decided to let him go on the condition that he would not tell other scavengers about the Exhibition. Gavin Green soon returned to the Penthouses and told his family all about his experience with the super mutants.
The following years were prosperous for both the Green Family and the super mutants at the Exhibition. The super mutants began to hunt the deathclaws and other dangerous beasts in Sayland for sport which took pressure off of the Green Family. The Greens took advantage of being the only scavengers left in Sayland and got quite a bit of pre-War loot. The Green children even planted a garden on the roof of the Penthouses at this time, adding some much needed vegetables to their diet. In 2231, a super mutant named Henry arrived at the Penthouses and offered to trade with the Green Family. This began a small but effective trade relationship between the Exhibition and the Green Family.
Radiation levels in Sayland took a steep dive in the mid 2230s, making the city more habitable than it had been since the Great War. This should have been a good thing for Sayland's inhabitants but instead it only brought more danger. Scavengers returned to Sayland in numbers to exploit the decrease in radiation to salvage more pre-War artifacts. This predictably led to conflict.
The scavvers that came to Sayland gave the super mutants a wide berth at first and even traded with the Green Family. Some of the scavengers even took up residence in the Penthouses alongside the Greens. However, tensions began to rise when the scavengers once again began to search for the Salem Exhibition for Advanced Technologies. They managed to quickly find the Exhibition already inhabited by super mutants and were understandably quite put out. However, things did not end there. The scavengers decided that the super mutants needed to go and that the scavvers would take the technology by force.
In 2238, the scavengers ambushed a super mutant in the Penthouses after he finished trading with the Green Family. The super mutant was wounded in the ambush but still managed to get back the Exhibition. There, the super mutant was patched up and told his story to the others. The super mutant's story angered the others, and they blamed the Green Family for assisting the scavvers (since they were scavengers themselves).
The super mutants swiftly carried out an attack on the Penthouses to drive the scavengers out. This attack killed several scavengers and injured Gavin Green. This greatly angered the Green Family and the scavengers, sparking a decade-long conflict in Sayland.
This little war simmered low for years with the mutants and scavengers fighting all over the city. The most people on both sides remained hostile to one another but did not really want to get into any sort of war. They were not raiders after all. The only active player within this conflict was Gavin Green. Feeling wronged and vengeful about being attacked for no reason, Gavin Green decided he would have his revenge for the super mutants nearly crippling him. He got an implant, a hypertrophy accelerator, from a doctor in Portland to upgrade his body and soon took the fight to the super mutants. He managed to kill only one super mutant in the following years but still deepened the feud.
At the same time this little war happened, trade on I-5 between California and Cascadia soared to new heights. More and more caravans passed north Sayland. This eventually brought attention to the conflict in Sayland between the super mutants and scavengers. The Haunted City had always had a certain allure to the foolhardy of the north and south. As a result, a steady stream of NCR prospectors and adventurers began coming into Sayland. These prospectors and adventurers, initially ignored by the warring factions within the city, took up residence in Downtown Salem alongside many of the scavengers already there and started diving into the ruins to look for any remaining pre-War treasures.
By that time, the decade-long war between the scavengers and super mutants had heated up once again with Gavin Green going on a quest for revenge against those who wronged him. This caused his family great distress over the years with Riley and Jess eventually leaving because of their fear of their vengeful father. The scavengers and super mutants suffered as well, though in different ways. The scavengers were greatly reduced in numbers by the super mutants' attacks but fought on stubbornly still. The super mutants of the Exhibition on the other hand slowly gained numbers through a slow flow of newcomers but became increasingly demoralized over the years. The fighting continued on unabated.
The influx of NCR prospectors changed things drastically. The scavengers were increasingly edged out of their territory by NCR newcomers which led to fighting despite efforts at diplomacy. This fight also began to include the super mutants as the newcomers shot the mutants on sight and tried to loot the Exhibition for technology. Things ere changing, and "the locals" were not at pleased. In fact, by the late 2240s Sayland had become known as Salem to all but a very few who resisted the changes, including the Green Family. The scavengers who lived in Salem first termed themselves Saylanders to set themselves apart from the NCR prospectors.
Things were further complicated by the arrival of a new group in 2246: the Nuclear Family. A religious sect made up almost entirely of ghouls and one moderately intelligent deathclaw, the Nuclear Family was from Northern California and looking for refuge in Salem from persecution. So, the Nuclear Family set up residence in Downtown Salem’s radioactive ruins, which sparked conflict with both the NCR prospectors and the Saylanders. The Nuclear Family was eventually driven from Downtown Salem and decided to take up residence in the Penthouses. Upon seeing the deathclaw Proud, Gavin Green tried to shoot the Nuclear Family but was stopped by his wife Harriet, who told the Nuclear Family that they were welcome in the Penthouses. The Green Family and the Nuclear Family eventually teamed up to fight the super mutants at the Exhibition as they came to Trust each other. Gavin Green took the leadership role between the two groups. Nonetheless, the Saylanders and the NCR prospectors remained the dominant forces within the ruins of Salem.
The multi-sided conflict in Salem lasted another decade but eventually came to an end due to two things: the formation of the Mutant Council and the Oregon Brushfire Wars. In the spring of 2249, the Vault 14 Explorers arrived in Salem which they had mostly avoided due to its bad reputation. Almost as soon as they entered, the Explorers stopped at the Penthouses for supplies only to be attacked by super mutants. The Vault 14 Explorers actually managed to mitigate the attack after half an hour and sent the super mutants back to the Exhibition.
The conflict between the Saylanders and the NCR prospectors heated up that summer, putting the Nuclear Family, the Green Family, and the super mutants at the Exhibition in an awkward position. They were all outnumbered by the two bigger groups and the walls had begun closing in on them. So, some of the super mutants decided to reach out to the community at the Penthouses to try to apologize for past wrongs and try to unite against the hostile scavver factions that were tearing Salem apart. The Nuclear Family cautiously received the super mutants and talked about the situation. Harriet Green stood in for her husband Gavin during the talks. After about a week of negotiations, the super mutants of the Exhibition, the Green Family, and the Nuclear Family decided that their conflicts were ultimately insignificant compared to the scavvers’ fighting in the streets of Salem. So, a peace was worked out but only that for the moment.
The scavvers continued fighting everyone as both groups of mutants and the Green Family worked out their differences. Trade was shakily reestablished between the Penthouses and the Exhibition under the watchful eye of Gavin Green. The man seemed poised to take leadership over much of Salem, wanting to negotiate a peace with the Saylanders, but his resentfulness towards the super mutants was seen as too much of a detriment. So when the Vault 14 Explorers arrived back in Salem in late 2249 wanting to establish a new ‘government’ over Salem, one of them was paid by an Exhibition super mutant to poison Gavin Green. This was carried out without suspect of any foul play. Being unaware of this assassination and hopeful to unite the mutants of Salem against the city’s predatory scavengers, the Vault 14 Explorers helped found the Mutant Council with the reluctant intelligent deathclaw Proud at its head. The Explorers left Salem afterwards and did not return to the city for years.
After the death of Gavin Green and the founding of the Mutant Council, the Nuclear Family and the Green Family were both invited to join the super mutants at the Exhibition. The Nuclear Family accepted while the Greens remained in the Penthouses, where they remain to this day. The newly-established Mutant Council mostly remained on the sidelines of the war between Salem’s scavengers in the 2250s, staying out of reach in the Exhibition and living relatively easy lives. Proud managed to guide the Mutant Council wisely for its first couple of years
The war between Salem’s scavvers came to a head in 2259 with the Ruins War breaking out. The war was mostly in Portland and southern Oregon, but Salem was still seen as a major “flashpoint” by the NCR in Cascadia due to the presence of NCR prospectors already there. So, the NCR supplied these prospectors with more advanced weapons which tipped the scales of the conflict. The Saylanders were annihilated by the NCR prospectors while the Mutant Council hid in the Exhibition. The NCR prospectors took over a portion of the Penthouses in 2259 to the Green Family’s displeasure, but they could hardly resist.
By 2260, the NCR prospectors had driven the Saylanders deep into the still radioactive Downtown Salem and were given free range to salvage what was left of Salem’s treasures. However, the NCR prospectors soon found that Salem had was nearly not worth the effort. The situation only became worse when the Mutant Council began to emerge to attack the prospectors as they neared the Exhibition. It took about two years, but the NCR prospectors finally decided to leave Salem in 2262. Unfortunately before they left, some of the prospectors unintentionally killed the Mutant Council’s leader Proud. The Mutant Council decided not to uplift another leader to honor Proud and to instead remain a council.
After the NCR prospectors finally left, the Mutant Council finally fully asserted itself and took to the surface of Salem. The Mutant Council started from the Exhibition and started policing the streets of Salem. The remaining Saylanders, scared of mutants from past experiences, hid from the Mutant Council’s representatives in Downtown Salem. This was only worsened when some of the Mutant Council’s mutants settled in Downtown Salem to get away from the crowding in the Exhibition. The people in the Penthouses were more eager to trade with both the Mutant Council and the Saylanders, but they took great care not to inform one side of the other due to their presumed hatred for each other.
The 2260s and the 2270s were rather uneventful for Salem as the city’s reputation as a refuge for mutants and being haunted warded off many caravans and travelers. This was even though the city laid right next to the major trade route of I-5. The next couple of Oregon Brushfire Wars also avoided Salem even as new forces rose in Cascadia.
The Penthouses at least finally managed to get some traffic in the 2270s and 2280s as some caravans began to stop by in Salem. They found little of value there, but the people of the Penthouses were grateful for the new source of food and supplies. The little band of Saylanders had degenerated into hunter-gathers for the most part rather than scavengers. The Mutant Council meanwhile remained reclusive from these caravans (and even the Penthouses most of the time) because of their self-reliance. However, their time of isolation can only go on for so long before the rest of Cascadia comes knocking.
Salem is divided in two by the Willamette River, but that hardly matters anymore. The city as a whole was almost blown apart by the Great War, leaving most of it uninhabitable. There are few recognizable parts of the city left with most of Salem being either sand or unremarkable rubble. Salem's center in Downtown was the worst hit with hardly any pre-War structures standing there. In fact, the area used to be so radioactive that going in unprotected meant a quick death until the early 2200s. Only feral ghouls and the occasional scavenger/adventurer go through that part of Salem.
The only interesting part of the city now is further out from the center such as the Penthouses and the Exhibition. Further out are abandoned suburbs which often serve as haunts for feral ghouls.
I-5, Cascadia's major caravan trade route, "technically" runs through Salem, but almost no caravans ever stop in Salem for obvious reasons. The ones that do, to trade with the residents of the Penthouses, prefer to get their trade done and leave quickly.
Salem has a largely self-contained economy due to its inhabitants' isolation. There is some trade with the outside at the Penthouse, but that is still quite limited to necessities needed by the Penthouses' residents such as food, purified water, and chems. The Penthouses also trade with the Exhibition.
At one point, scavenging was a big business in Salem. Scavengers and prospectors from as far away as the NCR dove into the ruins of Salem, sometimes underground, to find pre-War treasures. It was a dangerous job but also extremely rewarding. Eventually, one group of scavengers in Salem known as the Saylanders banded together and effectively forced any other scavenger groups out of the city. Now, non-Saylander scavengers are a rare sight in Salem due to their bad reputation and the lack of good loot left in the Haunted City. A couple dedicated scavvers from Portland do comb the ruins yearly for a particular treasure in the ruins of Oregon State Capitol.
The Exhibition is completely self-sufficient due to the Mutant Council's undaunted efforts. The mutants there have utilized the Exhibition's technology to sustain themselves with minimal need for contact with the outside. The Mutant Council does do some occasional trade with the residents of the Penthouses and the Saylanders in Downtown Salem for some extra caps.
For most of its post-War history, Salem has not had a large enough population to have its own culture. Large groups of people did not want to stick around in Salem's accursed and dangerous ruins. The only people to live in Salem in the early years were scavengers in search of remaining scrap and valuable pre-War artifacts and a couple of ghouls left over from before the war. After a few decades, only a few sane ghouls from before the war were left living in Salem along with some of the reclusive shut-ins in the Penthouses. This status as a ruined, empty city gave Salem a reputation for being haunted and mysterious in the late 2100s.
A real post-War culture managed to finally develop in Salem upon the arrival of mutants from north and the south in the early 2200s. Both ghouls and super mutants took up residence in the ruins of Salem, making the Haunted City into something of a sanctuary for mutantkind, an accepting community. In a contradictory sense, the "accepting" mutants divided themselves into ghoul and super mutant communities which sometimes clashed with each other. However, they were united in their hatred of aggressive NCR prospectors or independent scavengers that came into Salem looking for treasure.
The clashing parts of Salem's mutant community were finally united in 2249 under the Mutant Council. The mutants of Salem managed to form a proper community that could protect itself and even police other areas of Salem. The community remains rather isolationist and skeptical towards non-mutant outsiders. However, they are not actively aggressive and try to stay out of people's way. The mutants also are not completely sold on the "Mutant Unity" message of the Mutant Council, especially the ghouls.
The few permanent scavvers left in Salem mostly live in Downtown Salem and make their living as hunter-gatherers most of the time while scavenging what they can. They all know each other and regard themselves as one big family, the Saylanders. They value loyalty, respect, and obedience to your elders. However, Saylanders are very territorial and only recently became peaceful with the mutants. They continue to be hostile towards outsiders and will raid the occasional caravan that wanders into Salem unawares.
The Exhibition is the headquarters of the Mutant Council and where most of Salem's mutant population is located. Known as the Salem Exhibition for Advanced Technologies before the Great War, the Exhibition sealed itself when the bombs fell and managed to survive the nuclear holocaust. The Exhibition still holds a wealth of technology which served its new mutated occupants well when they arrived there. As result of its occupants' hard work, the Exhibition is fully self-sufficient. The Mutant Council governs over the Exhibition with a fair hand and has fortified it well against the dangers of the wasteland.
Downtown Salem is barely even a cityscape, it was so affected by the Great War. Downtown used to be one of the most dangerous areas in Cascadia but has become more habitable in the last century or so. It is a land of sand, with only the tops of buildings sticking out. The geckos and deathclaws that once roamed the area were mostly forced out by the organized efforts of the Mutant Council, but a few stubborn creatures remain, ever hungry. Some mutants under the Mutant Council's protection live in Downtown rather than the Exhibition, preferring the wide-open space to being cooped up in one building for the most part. A couple of human scavengers also live in Salem's downtown but try to keep a low profile, avoiding the mutants of the area. The mutants in Downtown know the scavvers are there but do not mess with them as long they stay out of each other's way. There is some occasional trade but nothing consistent.
Oregon State Capitol
The Oregon State Capitol collapsed in on itself in quite a dramatic fashion soon after the bombs fell in 2077. The site remained radioactive for many years until recently when most of Salem had already become habitable. The Oregon State Capitol is currently in ruins with most of the building having fallen down. Rumors persist among mutants and scavengers of a golden statue buried in the ruins somewhere. These rumors have never been proven but have persisted for generations, leading many a foolhardy scavver to their untimely death.
A public psychiatric hospital with a harsh reputation, Oregon State Hospital was already a scary place before the bombs fell. The bombs did not physically harm the hospital much, but it was reduced to burnt ruins within a year by its increasingly deranged inhabitants. Currently, the ruins of Oregon State Hospital are seen as an accursed place even for mutants. Rumors of horrible things living among the smoldering buildings keep away most people in Salem, and even animals seem to avoid the place.
The Penthouses was once the only part of Salem that was habitable, pre-War apartments that had been on the fringes of Salem's radioactive death zone. However, that did not mean life there was easy as first learned in the winter of 2077. The Penthouses have been inhabited on and off since 2077 by various occupants and inhabited continuously since 2186 by members of the Green Family. Currently, the Penthouses have about twenty inhabitants, mostly mutants and remaining members of the Green Family with a few exceptions. All in the Penthouses are under the understood protection of the Mutant Council as long as they do not cause trouble. Most traders who stop at all in Salem come here, as it is almost as safe as the Exhibition and more accessible.
West Salem lies across the Willamette River from the rest of the ruins of Salem. The Marion Street Bridge, Center Street Bridge, and Union Street Railroad Bridge that once connected both sides of the city are all destroyed, separating West Salem from the rest of the city. The ruins are out of reach of the Mutant Council and as a result, are still infested by mutated creatures.