What Matters About Living in Corvallis?


On March 9, 2015, 50 people participated in facilitated conversations at the invitation of the Corvallis City Club and the League of Women Voters. Attendees addressed two questions:
1. What matters about living in Corvallis?
2. What do you want the community to be like in 20 years?

Below is a collection of responses grouped by common topics. Responses reflect only the variety of comments recorded at each table. There was no attempt to evaluate them or reach agreement among participants.

The meeting was moderated by Peggy Joyce, member of the board of Leadership Corvallis. The comments were compiled by Nick Houtman, member of the City Club program committee.

WHAT MATTERS ABOUT LIVING IN CORVALLIS?

Community
·      Corvallis has a cooperative community spirit.
·      People volunteer with service organizations that benefit the community.
·      Locally raised food is available at the farmers market and Co-op.
·      Corvallis has a strong environmental movement with a focus on sustainability and organic food.
·      The community is still small enough for citizens to have a voice and effect change.
·      Corvallis is a safe community, a good place to raise a family.
·      Corvallis is a good size, a small city with services and amenities.
·      Corvallis has good local newspapers.
·      Corvallis has a compact “real downtown.”
·      Traffic is favorable compared to other communities.
·      The fareless bus system helps people get around.
·      Corvallis is a quiet city.
·      Corvallis has a mild climate.
·      People have pride in Corvallis.

Culture
·      Corvallis has access to an excellent public library and opportunities in the community and at the university; local arts (visual and performing) and sports.

Education
·      Corvallis has a well-educated citizenry and a high tolerance for ideas.
·      Corvallis has good schools.

Business
·      Locally owned businesses provide lots of shopping opportunities.
·      Corvallis is not dominated by big-box stores.

Health care
·      Corvallis has access to high-quality medical care.

Services
·      Corvallis has high-quality drinking water.
·      Corvallis has exceptional public safety departments — police, fire.

Recreation
·      Corvallis has access to hiking trails and natural areas (Greenbelt Land Trust)
·      Corvallis is easy to get around by bike and by foot.
·      Corvallis has access to the Willamette and Marys Rivers.
·      Corvallis has good local fitness opportunities.


WHAT DO YOU WANT THE COMMUNITY TO BE LIKE IN 20 YEARS?

Community
·      Promote diversity in leadership positions.
·      Welcome the growing Hispanic community.
·      Develop a stronger local government — better planning for new development.
·      Develop more engagement opportunities for young people.
·      Reject sprawl in favor of higher density development.
·      Enable people to live where they work.
·      Strengthen the connection between local agriculture and the city.
·      Create more of an even playing field for OSU/Corvallis relations.

Culture
·      Develop more diverse musical opportunities and support for the arts.
·      Hold more activities at the riverfront.
·      Promote architectural cohesiveness downtown.
·      Develop more indoor activities for children.
·      Build an amphitheater on the Willamette River.
·      Make local investments in cultural events and facilities.

Education
·      Increase support for local schools.

Business
·      Develop a diverse business community (private and nonprofit) providing jobs and living wages.
·      Locate more business services (especially a grocery store) in south Corvallis.
·      Close the fiberglass plant.
·      Use permaculture approach to local food production.
·      Increase the use of solar electricity.
·      Develop more local jobs and a stronger local economy.
·      Build a faster fiber-optic communications network.

Health care
·      Offer greater choice in medical care.

Housing
·      Use a “smart growth” approach to development, including a variety of housing (such as the Pringle Creek Community in Salem) based on the principles of “green” development.
·      Foster increased density, mixed uses (commercial and residential space), walkability.
·      Build more “affordable” housing.
·      Build more housing to serve the needs of local people.
·      Make a variety of senior living arrangements available.
·      Corvallis needs a sustainable solution to homelessness.

Transportation
·      Develop rail service to Portland and plan for high-speed rail.
·      Build a parking garage downtown.
·      Improve public transit in Corvallis and the regional transportation network.
·      Make more parking available at OSU, including remote parking lots.
·      Build wider bike lanes with more separation from cars/trucks.
·      Reconfigure some streets without parking.
·      Buses should run on Sunday and later in the evenings during the week.
·      Reduce our dependence on cars.
·      Install a light rail system between OSU and downtown.

Environment
·      Protect natural features such as wetlands.
·      Respond to climate change and the likelihood of people moving here from elsewhere — “climate refugees.”


FUTURE PRIORITIES (NOT IN RANK ORDER) IDENTIFIED IN PLENARY SESSION
·      Improved mass transit
·      Affordable housing
·      Economic development
·      Liveability through the support for the arts and culture
·      Population diversity through the practice of inclusiveness
·      Green space and wetland preservation
·      Support for local business
·      Sustainable solution to homelessness
·      County context for future planning
·      More downtown parking
·      Alternative energy, especially solar
·      Support for education, K-16
·      Better integration of north and south Corvallis
·      Expansion of this kind of grassroots conversation

A Community Conversation: What Matters About Living in Corvallis



Co-sponsored by the Corvallis City Club and the League of Women Voters
March 9, 12 noon to 1:10 pm
Gerding Builders Gym, Corvallis Boys & Girls Club


Medical care, educational opportunities, the farmers market, the Willamette River, high-tech businesses — these and other attributes of Corvallis add up to an attractive, livable community. But if you won the lottery, would you stay? What keeps you here? What do you really value about your neighborhood and the community? What do you want to see maintained in the future?


On March 9, be a part of a community conversation hosted by the Corvallis City Club and the League of Women Voters. The goal: articulate grass roots priorities for community livability. By gathering residents to describe what makes Corvallis a great place to live and documenting the features that we value, these organizations will help set the stage for further consideration of a vision for the city’s future.

Attendance is free and open to the public. Lunch will be available. Registration is necessary only if you are having lunch. Send email to info@cityclubofcorvallis.org by March 5.