Two upcoming meetings: State of the City on February 5; Future of the Written Word on February 9

State of the City
7:00 pm, February 5
Corvallis-Benton County Public Library

How effectively is our community facing challenges in local government, education, public safety and economic development? Are we headed in the right direction in each area? Come and listen to four community leaders address the state of the city in this session where the audience will have plenty of chances to ask questions.

Biff Traber, mayor of Corvallis
Erin Prince, superintendent of the 509J school district
Jon Sassaman, Corvallis chief of police
Kevin Dwyer, director, Corvallis Chamber of Commerce

Attendance is free and open to the public. No registration is necessary.

Future of the Written Word
12 noon, February 9
Boys & Girls Club

Failing newspapers may be just the beginning. As news, feature stories and fiction flow to websites, blogs and e-books, we are undergoing a transformation in our relationship to the written word. How far is this trend likely to go in the next decade? Will paper survive in niche markets? Will the proliferation of iPads and other tablet computers change the way we read and the way we tell stories? How will publishers, libraries and bookstores adapt to serve the human need for a good tale, no matter the format?

At the February 9 Corvallis City Club meeting, three speakers will discuss what we might see in the changing land
scape of the written word: Jack Wolcott of Grass Roots Books, Mary Braun of the OSU Press and Bonnie Brzozowski of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.

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

Political Fallout from 2014 in 2015: How Radioactive Are Politics Now?

November’s Republican gains in Congress led the party to regain control of the Senate and to capture its largest House majority since 1946. In Oregon meanwhile, Democrats retained the governorship, added to their control of the House and gained a supermajority in the Senate.

At the January 12 Corvallis City Club meeting, veteran political observer Bill Lunch will offer his comments about the state of American politics today. What will the new alignments mean for issues such as health care, environmental policies and the federal budget? How will the president’s actions on immigration stand up to congressional opposition? Are there any opportunities for bipartisanship in Washington or Salem?

Lunch is the political analyst for Oregon Public Broadcasting and a retired professor of political science at Oregon State University. He regularly pays attention to political developments in the nation and the Northwest, particularly Oregon and Washington. He has received awards for his commentary from the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Press Club.

The meeting is open to the public. City Club meets in the Les Schwab Gym at the Boys & Girls Club, 1112 NW Circle. The meeting will begin at 12 noon, and doors will open at 11:30. As always, attendance is free. Lunch is $10 for members, $12 for non-members. Registration is necessary only if you are having lunch. Send e-mail to, with "City Club January 12" in the subject line, by January 9.

View from the Top

Julie Manning, Corvallis Mayor
Any Corvallis resident can serve as Mayor. After all, the Corvallis City Charter makes it simple: “Every fourth year…, a Mayor shall be elected.” And it lists five duties, such as to appoint committees, to run council meetings and to sign (or veto) ordinances passed by the city council. But the Mayor is also a talent recruiter, a representative of the city, a listening ear for citizens and a voice in community gatherings.

At the December 8 Corvallis City Club meeting, outgoing Mayor Julie Manning will share her views about the job she has held for the last four years. In an interview with Gazette-Times Editor Mike McInally, she will address issues such as:
  • The most interesting and rewarding parts of the work
  • The biggest surprises and toughest issues
  • Balancing the Mayor role with her "day job"
  • Advice for anyone considering a role as a city volunteer or an elected representative
Prior to her election as Mayor in 2010, she served eight years on the Corvallis Budget Commission and chaired the city’s 2020 Vision Committee. She was a high school and college instructor in journalism and mass media, a daily newspaper reporter, and assistant press secretary to former Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh. She continues to hold the position of vice president for development, marketing, and public relations for Samaritan Health Services, a regional health system based in Corvallis.

Manning is an active community volunteer. She has served organizations from the Corvallis Area Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Greater Corvallis to the United Way of Benton County and E3: Employers for Education Excellence, the education arm of the Oregon Business Council.

The meeting is open to the public. City Club meets in the Les Schwab Gym at the Boys & Girls Club, 1112 NW Circle. The meeting will begin at 12 noon, and doors will open at 11:30. As always, attendance is free. Lunch catered by Cafe Yumm is $10 for members, $12 for non-members. Registration is necessary only if you are having lunch. Send e-mail to, with "City Club December 8" in the subject line, by December 4.

Homeless in Corvallis

Area nonprofits and the city are currently working to make long-term decisions about services for Corvallis’ homeless population. As they grapple with costs, benefits and impacts, the Corvallis City Club has scheduled a special evening meeting to examine current and possible future approaches and ramifications.

On November 18 at The Majestic Theatre, doors will open for a short mixer at 5:00 pm with the discussion starting at 5:30. Attendance is free, and registration is not necessary. This special event will take the place of the usual City Club monthly meeting. The meeting will conclude by 6:45.

Panelists include shelter operators Gina Vee from Corvallis Housing First, Kari Whitacre of Community Outreach, Sara Power from Room at the Inn and Ann Craig from Jackson Street Youth Shelter. Bethany Carlson will also be on hand; she regularly reports on homelessness and shelters at The Corvallis Advocate.

This meeting will focus on what area shelters currently offer in Corvallis and their future plans. What sorts of people do each of these shelters serve? What future plans does each have and how does the county’s homelessness plan affect them? There will be a time for attendees to pose questions as well.

GMOs in Food: Will Oregon Follow Vermont's Lead?

Last April, Vermont became the first state to pass a law requiring the labeling of foods that contain ingredients made through genetic engineering. Similar laws have been passed in Maine and Connecticut (implementation is contingent on adoption by the other New England states) but narrowly failed in public referenda in California and Washington. Oregon voters defeated a proposal to label such foods in 2002.

On November 4, Oregon voters could follow Vermont’s lead if they pass Measure 92 on the statewide referendum ballot. The measure would require the labeling of genetically engineered food that contains 0.9 percent or greater of genetically engineered material. It would exclude the labeling of alcohol, food served in restaurants and animal products from animals fed genetically engineered feed.

For retailers of raw foods produced through genetic engineering, the proposal would require a label, “Genetically Engineered,” to be affixed to packaging, shelves or display bins. Suppliers would have to label shipping containers. Processed foods made with at least one genetically engineered ingredient would carry a label, “Produced with Genetic Engineering” or “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering.”

On Oct. 13, the Corvallis City Club will give the public a chance to hear about the science of genetic engineering and the economics, pros and cons of labeling. Speaking on the science will be Steve Strauss, distinguished professor of forest biotechnology at Oregon State University. Economist Bill Jaeger with OSU’s Department of Applied Economics will review the economic consequences of a labeling requirement.

Speaking for the Yes on 92 organization will be Ray Seidler. He holds a Ph.D. in microbiology, taught at Oregon State for 16 years and was senior research scientist and GMO biosafety team leader for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for 17 years. He is now retired.

Colin Cochran will be the spokesperson for the No on 92 Coalition. A principal in Hilltop Public Solutions, he has worked in government affairs, communications and grassroots outreach on a variety of issues throughout the Pacific Northwest.

The meeting is open to the public. City Club meets in the Les Schwab Gym at the Boys & Girls Club, 1112 NW Circle. The meeting will begin at 12 noon, and doors will open at 11:30. As always, attendance is free. Lunch catered by the Delicias Valley Cafe is $10 for members, $12 for non-members. To register, send e-mail to, with "City Club October 13" in the subject line, by October 10. Please indicate if you are having lunch.

High Noon for Marijuana

Is marijuana medicine? And what would legalized recreational sales look like in Corvallis? Three dispensaries have opened in the past several months, currently selling medicinal marijuana. The passage of Measure 91 could mean that recreational marijuana will also go retail.  

Brock Binder and Kayla Dunham own two of the recently opened dispensaries in town. Binder owns High Quality Compassion and Dunham owns The Agrestic. At the Sept. 8 Corvallis City Club meeting, they will join Corvallis Police Chief Jonathon Sassaman and Seth Crawford from the OSU Department of Sociology and School of Public Policy to discuss marijuana use, health impacts and law enforcement.

They will discuss outcomes that can be expected given Colorado’s experience and the contrasts between dispensaries versus the traditional black market, as well as their effects on one another.  Criminality associated with medical legalization and the possible effects on children and teens will also be discussed.

City Club meets in the Les Schwab Gym at the Boys & Girls Club, 1112 NW Circle. The meeting will begin at 12 noon, and doors will open at 11:30. As always, attendance is free. Lunch catered by a local restaurant (TBD) is $10 for members, $12 for non-members. To register, send e-mail to, with "City Club September 8" in the subject line, by September 4. Please indicate if you are having lunch.

Business in Corvallis: Opportunities and Obstacles

Corvallis’ Vision 20/20 statement (1997) calls for “a vibrant economy that is anchored by key strategic industries and complemented by a wealth of diverse, environmentally-friendly businesses.” While a key indicator, the city’s unemployment rate, remains among the lowest in Oregon, the employment mix has changed dramatically over the last decade. Manufacturing accounts for less than half the jobs in March 2014 (2,980) that it did in 2002 (6,010), according to the Oregon Employment Department. Moreover, total private sector jobs have slightly declined over that period. Growth in the public sector, principally at Oregon State University, has resulted in about 5 percent more total jobs in 2014 than in 2010.

Although the City of Corvallis has established an Economic Development office, there may be other steps we can take to achieve a nearly 20-year-old economic vision. What are the persistent challenges facing Corvallis in creating a “vibrant economy anchored by key strategic industries”? Is the city business friendly? Through its policies and practices, how can it nurture and retain new businesses and foster the success of those already located here? What are the major challenges and how should we address them?

Tom Nelson
At the June 9 Corvallis City Club meeting, four speakers — Tom Nelson, Skip Run, Jack Wolcott and Kevin Dwyer — will discuss the city’s business climate. Since 2012, Nelson has managed the Corvallis Economic Development office. A graduate of Oregon State, Nelson served seven years with the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department and four years with the City of Sherwood, Oregon, as the economic development manager, before he came to Corvallis.

Skip Rung
Skip Rung is the president and executive director of the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute (ONAMI), which grows research volume and commercialization in the broad area of nano- and micro-scale science and engineering. Prior to accepting his current post, Rung was director of research and developed at HP’s Corvallis campus. He has BS and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford.

Jack Wolcott
Jack Wolcott is the owner and founder of Grass Roots Books and Music, which he started in 1971. He is also a co-founder of the Corvallis Independent Business Alliance, which builds support for local businesses. He graduated from Oregon State with a degree in psychology.

Kevin Dwyer
Kevin Dwyer is the Executive Director of the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce. He has spent the past 16-plus years in the Chamber and Economic Development fields. Prior to coming to Corvallis, he ran chambers of commerce in Washington State, including 10 years at the helm of the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce.

The City Club meets in the Les Schwab Gym at the Boys & Girls Club, 1112 NW Circle. The meeting will begin at 12 noon, and doors will open at 11:30. As always, attendance is free. Lunch is $10 for members, $12 for non-members. To register, send e-mail to with "City Club June 9" in the subject line by June 6. Please indicate if you are having lunch.

Drought on the Horizon: Where will you get your water?

When: Monday, May 12, 12 noon
Where: Boys & Girls Club of Corvallis

"Summer time, and the living is easy." Or so the song goes. Changing water availability is already making things less easy for our neighbors in southern Oregon and California. Willamette Valley residents could be in for similar experiences. Storing more of what falls or what we now send down our drains might help alleviate future shortages. Rainwater storage systems are already becoming a sight in Corvallis gardens. Gray-water systems are less common.

Two speakers — Dave Eckert and Lisa Franklin — will address the practical and regulatory aspects of rain and gray-water storage and use for businesses and homeowners. You may be surprised at what's possible, what's legal and what some of our neighbors are doing.

For more than 20 years, Dave Eckert has been helping people install these systems. He has made films about rainwater collection and initiated local projects that led to the first Corvallis permits for such systems in 2008 and graywater in 2012. He currently teaches free public workshops on rainwater collection and raingarden systems. He is also the Water Action Team Leader of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, which installed the Three Waters Project at the South Co-op to prove that businesses can reduce their water consumption and stormwater runoff. The Team is currently working with engineering students at OSU on OSU stormwater controls.”

Lisa Franklin is an engineer for the city of Corvallis and oversees the city's rainwater collection permitting process. She reviews site engineering and right-of-way matters associated with development. She is the primary contact for floodplain and private drainage questions and has been on the Development Services team since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Oregon State University. During college, she worked for the Industrial Assessment Center assisting industries in processes to reduce energy usage, increase productivity, recycle bi-products and reduce waste. She spent seven years in private practice as a civil engineer.

The City Club meets in the Les Schwab Gym at the Boys & Girls Club, 1112 NW Circle. The meeting will begin at 12 noon, and doors will open at 11:30. As always, attendance is free. A buffet lunch will be catered by Nearly Normal's. The cost is $10 for members, $12 for non-members. To register, send e-mail to with "City Club May 12" in the subject line by May 9.