- George HW Bush is inaugurated as president in January, promises tax cuts as his priority.
- Almost 3,000 are killed in the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Towers (which collapse), the Pentagon and rural Pennsylvania when terrorists take control of US airliners in suicide missions.
- Anthrax spores are sent through US mail: 22 persons exposed, 5 die.
- The US invades Afghanistan.
After the 9/11 disasters, vigils at Riverfront Park give residents of Salem an opportunity to express public sympathy for the loss of life in the terrorist attacks on our citizens. A memorial is mounted in Riverfront Park. Two months later, a memorial observation platform was erected at Basket Slough for Rich Guadagdo who died in Pennsylvania during that attack.
When you visit
The Riverfront memorial to worldwide victims is mounted at the south end of the park overlooking the Willamette Slough and Pringle Creek.
Follow this map link to the Rich Guadagno Observation Platform, or or follow these directions to drive to the Basket Slough National Wildlife Refuge, located 10 miles west of Salem in Polk County. From Marion Street Bridge, drive west on Route 22 for 9.7 miles and turn right on 99W. Drive north 1.9 miles to Coville Road and turn left. After 1.5 miles, you arrive at the Trail head parking lot and information kiosk. Begin the moderate uphill trail and turn left at the junction. The memorial is .4 miles from the parking lot. (Note: walk softly: on our last visit to the memorial, a deer crossed the path and stood to gaze at us.)
- At Riverside Park in June, a joyous occasion is celebrated as the Carousel opens. Hazel Patton, A visit to Riverfront Park should include a stop at the Carousel, even without children. No one can resist the appeal to listening to the familiar music (if you are old enough to remember the experience from your own childhood) and watching the joy of the children passing as they ride the horses around in a lively circle. As you leave, notice the mementos inscribed in tiles along the walkway. In this fashion, local families have contributed to the lasting heritage of this historical entertainment. Hours of operation vary, but generally it is opens every day, 11-5 with a fee for children, but no cost to accompanying parent.
- Bob DeLong is appointed City Manager.
- The City Council also experiences changes, giving Mayor Mike Swaim his "first friendly majority since his election in 1996". The Statesman recorded the council's opposition to "unfettered growth", years-old rules concerning land use for builders, as they raised minimum wages for city workers and employees of contractors and began work on "corporate disclosure that would require contractors to submit information on environmental, labor and consumer relations records." Mayor Swaim announced he would not seek re-election next year.
- In a local poll taken at the end of 2001, readers of the Statesman Journal report the outstanding local story of the year was the economic crisis when low rainfall and federal decisions caused Detroit Lake to be drained to meet fish needs and water quality downstream. Because of the hardship caused to recreational business and families sustained by them, the Save Our Lake committee is formed and the area put under a federal recreation lake program to bring money for improvement projects.
- The attraction of the Carousel and the opening of the Oregon Garden in Silverton tie for second place in the newspaper poll. In the following year, the garden attraction added another feature with the relocating of the Gordon House to the property: bringing to our area of Oregon a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
- A traffic accident south of Salem causes the death of Albany police officer Jason Hoeroef and Oregon State Police senior trooper Maria Mignano. A young driver, Jacob Todoriko, fell asleep at the wheel of his pickup, which left the highway and struck three officers who were helping a disabled motorist. State Police Sgt. John Burright is critically injured. Todoriko's sentence includes public addresses to inform other motorists of the dangers of driving while drowsy.
- As meth addiction in Oregon and Marion County deepened, Congress allocates $580,000 to help combat the production and trafficking of the addictive stimulant.
- Local school news includes the $5,700, 000 sale of historic Bush School, the last downtown elementary school, to Salem Hospital for demolition. Parents are relieved that a replacement Bush School on 14th Street (near Mill Street) will alleviate traffic concerns on Mission Street, but concerned because that the new construction will demolish 16 homes in the SESNA neighborhood.
- Other school construction, funded by a $177 million school bond of 1998, creates four new schools in the Salem-Keizer School District. The bond also funds renovations at other schools, including a new wing at North Salem High School and a student commons at South Salem High School.
- The Statesman describes the Salem downtown as being threatened with "decaying buildings, climbing vacancy rates, fizzled improvements, and economic doldrums". Suburban malls and conflicts between teens and merchants are also mentioned. One business that closed this year is the more than 80-year-old Anderson's Sporting Goods on Liberty Street. However, an encouraging event is the new National Register listing of the Salem Downtown Historic District.