Lansing (Salem, OR)

Named after a farmer who grew apples and peaches on its land, Lansing is a smaller, 500-acre neighborhood in central Salem that stretches from Interstate 5 to the Oregon State Fairgrounds. It quickly filled with houses built after World War II that are now attracting a new generation of residents looking for something in a convenient location that they can fix up. "It's close to all of the amenities," says Jose Gonzalez, the principal broker with Tu Casa Real Estate and a Lansing resident since 2012. "Schools, major roads, shopping, and even a couple of parks."

For nearly 70 years, C.F. Lansing and his daughter, Margaret Pooler, raised apples and their trademark Early Columbia peaches on a sprawling complex of orchards less than three miles from the city's center. Pooler sold the family's final tract of agricultural land to residential developers in 1943. Her timing couldn't have been better because the area quickly filled up with minimal traditional and ranch-style houses built for people returning from World War II. Because they built these houses for families just getting started, these developers left plenty of space on their 6,000 to 8,000-square-foot lots for possible expansion. Walking down the neighborhood's streets, you'll see the roof lines on many of these houses drop where their original owners added a third bedroom or a family room. They also added garages at the front or side of their houses. Others have an above-ground pool or an outbuilding in their backyards. These outbuildings are especially common if the house sits atop a long, narrow lot that stretches toward an alley where you can park your car. "A lot of families live here,” Gonzalez says. “They'll use these houses and let the next buyer come in and improve it."

Gonzalez says this strategy helps keep prices low in the neighborhood. The typical house in Lansing fetches $250,000 to $450,000, which skews toward the lower side of the city's median home price range. They sit under Douglas fir and big-leaf maple trees that provide some level of shade and add to the splashes of color you'll see in the spring and fall when the flowering trees many residents have planted in their front lawns start to bloom or get ready to shed their leaves. Sidewalks are sporadic in this neighborhood, and many of its streets spill out into a dead end, a cul-de-sac, or a T-intersection after a few blocks. These abrupt ends are so common in the neighborhood's suburban layout that only three streets – Sunnyview Road, Silverton Road, and Market Street – run across its entire width.

Two of these streets, Market Street and Silverton Road, have blossomed into commercial districts where you'll find restaurants, shops and various other businesses. Silverton Road, which makes up the neighborhood's northern boundary as it runs from the fairgrounds to I-5, features the Kim Huong Vietnamese Restaurant, which one online reviewer described as a "family-run, hole-in-a-wall restaurant with authentic Vietnamese food", the Que Huong Oriental Foods grocery store, and Taqueria El Rinconcito De Los Flores, a Mexican restaurant where a menudo soup and crispy fried tacos with beef and potatoes rank among its most popular dishes. Keep heading west on Silverton under an I-5 overpass, and you'll get to a Walmart SuperCenter, a Safeway, and a Mega Foods grocery store. The neighborhood's fourth grocery store, a Fred Meyer, is on Market Street just east of its I-5 interchange. Because this exit provides a straight shot from the interstate to the State Capitol Building and downtown Salem, it's surrounded by a cluster of hotels at Lansing's southeast corner that provides a steady stream of customers to Sassy Onion's Market Street location, where you can get corned beef hash and blueberry pancakes every morning until 2 p.m., Pietro's Pizza, and Capitol City Grill, the Salem Holiday Inn's house restaurant.

Livingston Park, which features two basketball courts, a basic playground, a walking trail, and a large open field, stretches west from Hawthorne Avenue about halfway between Silverton Road and Market Street. Just below Taqueria El Rinconcito De Los Flores in the neighborhood's east corner is Lansing Park, with its large open field, playground, and walking trail. Neighborhood residents will also find open space and opportunities for recreation in a large lot about half a mile east of the fairgrounds that's shared by Washington Elementary School, which simultaneously publishes its monthly parent newsletter in English and Spanish, and Waldo Middle School. Most of the neighborhood's children will attend these schools from kindergarten through the eighth grade. Those who live between Sunnyview Road and Market Street, however, will attend Englewood Elementary and Parrish Middle Schools. Students at all four schools, which boast student-teacher ratios that are either below or on par with the Salem-Keizer School District's average, will eventually graduate from North Salem High School.

Ever since World War II, the ranch style and minimal traditional houses that sprouted on C.F. Lansing's old orchards have provided an opportunity for people to start a new chapter of their lives. This tradition has continued and that's what makes this central Salem neighborhood a great place to call home.