The Benton County Committee to discuss solid waste issues will be chosen on Tuesday, Aug. 23. To date, this discussion has cost the county $25,000 with another $161,000 in possible money spent on the line.
Some issues that will be interesting to hear about are what Republic Services has to say about their business model and its needs for expansion. One question of particular interest will be how many years are left before Coffin Butte is “full” and needs to be covered for the last time to be allowed to settle back into earth.
This committee will be building something that will be a part of Benton County for a long time to come. You can watch the County Commissioners meeting tomorrow at this link to see who will be
Helen Higgins said, “I’m not trying to be a conspiracy theorist here, but Republic Services is very good at giving money to everybody, so it really causes all of us to think twice about speaking in a way that can be deemed ‘not on their side’… So I think it is well worth the money.”
When asked if she had accepted money from Republic Services during her campaign for County Commissioner, Higgins said, “They offered. They said ‘you know, we fund candidates,’ and I went ‘Thank you, but no thank you.’”
When asked if she had volunteered for the committee, Higgins said she had.
Senior Games End: You may have noticed a few extra people around town these last two weekends. That’s because Corvallis has been hosting the Oregon Senior Games. The games brought 739 participants to the area, many staying in hotels and dining in our local restaurants. For those interested in the results of the games, or to see if anyone you might know will be advancing to the National Senior Games, you can check out this website.
Congratulations to Visit Corvallis for another successful Games. We’ll look forward to them again next year.
New Downtown Committee: The Chamber of Commerce began its new Downtown Committee this last week. This committee will be the advisory arm for the Chamber on how to handle issues in the downtown corridor between 1st through 5th St. and from Van Buren through the skate park.
This is a brand new group beginning with nine people who will start their service by deciding how they want to move forward and what issues they want to focus on. Members of this group were invited to participate by the Chamber for this first round as a means of getting a diverse set of voices. New members will be added as needed.
Members of the committee include Christina Rehklau, Michelle Dobson, Eric Blackledge, Jerry Sorte, Jessica Hougen, Colin Schneider, Wendy Joy, David Sidel, and Bob Baird. This group hopes to bring new energy into the downtown area as the Chamber begins to step into the space left by the Downtown Corvallis Association’s dissolution.
“I’m actually kind of excited about this, because this is an area that we’re new to as well – at least physically,” the Chamber’s Simon Date said about this new group. “And it’s the hub of the city. We’ve got to get this part right.”
If you’re interested in knowing what committees are part of the Chamber of Commerce and whether or not they are seeking new members, go to the Chamber website and click on “The Chamber.”
Parking Wars in CMUs: With the new Commercial Mixed Use (CMU) development model for the Downtown area of Corvallis, what will happen with parking?
It’s generally a given that people in the Pacific Northwest tend to have cars. In a survey conducted by Data USA in 2019, they found that the majority of full-time residents of Corvallis drove alone to work, and that on average each household had two cars. If these statistics hold as more people move into Downtown CMU buildings, where will these two cars per household park?
In a guide put together by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) titled “Transportation and Growth Management,” their solution has been one of “mandating each development provide plentiful off-street parking.” However, they found that this “solution” led to other issues – increased housing prices, less walkability in the city, more pollution, and added cost to businesses.
ODOT changed the mandate to allow property owners to determine their parking needs, with the city then handling the management of on-street parking spaces when those spaces become “overfull” – when the block is 85% full. This should allow drivers to find a spot that government dollars provided when they need one.
Another idea offered by ODOT would be to issue either permits for those who live in an area to be allowed to park there or, alternatively, use meters to set limits for how long a car can use a parking space.
One solution could also be found in underground parking as is available to people living in some condominiums in town have underground parking, so it would be possible to require CMU builders to include that, although the cost would need to be factored into the end cost of the housing units created. Additionally, Corvallis has rivers, so what will happen when water levels rise?
As CMU buildings become more prevalent in Corvallis, this issue will be one that will likely be more vehemently discussed.
The Good and the Bad of Crisis Center: As we continue the march toward building the new crisis center in Downtown, there are comments in the business community regarding a few positives to the idea.
For one, the crisis center – with its larger staff – will bring more people into downtown on a daily basis. Several businesses have seen a decrease since Benton County moved staff to Research Way. While the final structure is still a while away, this might be a bright spot on the horizon.
Also, according to a source in Community Development, there will be some wrap-around services for people to allow for residential living. This would be a smart income model in the form of rent which, while likely subsidized by the state, will defer some of the costs of running the center.
Along with these goods for the center, we have questions pending with Benton County Health about the negative impacts on the city. So come back here to see what the county has to say.
Guiding More Good Conference: The Benton Community Foundation in partnership with the Nonprofit Association of Oregon is bringing the Guiding More Good Conference to Corvallis on Sept. 10.
The conference is a chance for those governing nonprofits to learn more about other nonprofits, as well as having discussions about various issues that arise in the nonprofit world. Corvallis’s own Chris Quaka will be leading a session on fundraising.
This one-day conference will be at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center, located at 725 SW 26th St. Click this link to register.
Chamber Events: Coming this week from the Chamber of Commerce…
On Tuesday, Aug. 23, from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m., Greeters will be held at the Corvallis Museum, located at 411 SW 2nd St., Corvallis. While the event is at the museum, it is being hosted by KRVM, Public Radio for Eugene through North Corvallis. Learn more about this weekly opportunity to talk business here.
Aug. 25 will see the next installment of Women in Business featuring CEO of Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Laura Hennum. This remarkable lady has 35 years of working throughout the Western U.S. under her belt, and you can hear what she has to say about it from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriott , located at 400 SW 1st St., Corvallis.
Also on Aug. 25, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., is the continuation of ABC House’s training. This time the topic is Smart Cyber Choices. “Every time a kid uses a smartphone, tablet, computer, or even logs on to a game, the door is open to a virtual world populated by cyberbullies, hackers, and predators.” Find out more about this training here.
By Sally K Lehman