Food carts for outside the downtown core – yes please. According to an online poll, 97% of respondents favor the idea. Michelle Colomb posted the poll, regular readers will know she runs both the Corvallis Area Restaurants and Bars Alliance and Corvallis Culinary Connections. Colomb’s intent is clear when she states, “I’d like to gather support to present to city council.”
In other restaurant advocacy news, another local industry group, the Greater Corvallis Restaurant Association has already made clear they’ll also be approaching the city council about a more robust outdoor dining permit program, similar to what it was over the course of the pandemic.
OSU Research Complex Gets Key Approval: The Historic Resource Commission approved Jen-Hsun and Lori Huang Collaborative Innovation Complex. Sited at Monroe and SW Memorial Place, which is in a national historic district, the commission’s yes vote was a requirement. The matter could be appealed to the City Council, but there were no objections filed with the Historic Commission.
The 144,000 square foot research complex will likely be completed in 2025.
Local Real Estate Market Tightens: The real estate market in Corvallis, and the Mid-Valley generally, is showing signs of strength, with low inventory levels and high demand from buyers.
According to Samantha Ally of Re/Max Integrity, we’re in a seller’s market.
Corvallis has only 1.45 months of available inventory right now, and Albany is at an incredibly low 1.06. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s market is showing a bit more inventory, but still a tight market with an inventory at only 1.95 months of available stock.
Ally said, “These statistics suggest that homes are selling quickly in these areas, and buyers may need to act fast and be aggressive in their offers to secure a property.”
Median prices for the last 90 days: $554,000 for Corvallis, $412,000 in Albany, and $420,000 for Lebanon.
Oregon’s Insurer of Last Resorts Makes Changes: The Oregon FAIR Plan Association board of directors recently approved an increase in coverage limits for personal and commercial dwellings in the face of statewide increased wildfire risk and increased housing values and construction costs. The board also hired Stephen Steinbeck as executive director.
The board increased the retention limits for the FAIR Plan, the state’s insurer of last resort, to $600,000 for personal dwellings and farms and $1 million for commercial dwellings at the urging of the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (DFR). The previous coverage limits were $400,000 and $700,000. A retention limit is the maximum amount an insurance company will pay for claims. The new limits expand the protection offered to Oregon consumers as housing values and construction costs continue to increase. The new limits became effective May 1 and is the first increase in coverage limits since 2016.
“The FAIR Plan coverage increases were needed and it will allow the association to be accessible to more Oregon residents who need this type of insurance,” said Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi, who is also the director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS), which includes DFR.
The Oregon Legislature created the Oregon FAIR Plan Association in 1971 as a nonprofit licensed insurance company supported by its member companies. Every insurance company licensed to write property insurance in Oregon is required to be a member. The FAIR Plan Association is not a State of Oregon entity and receives no tax dollars.
The FAIR Plan, as the insurer of last resort, serves people and businesses who cannot get insurance in the standard market. It operates much like a small insurance company, writing only property insurance for dwellings, commercial property, and farms. The FAIR Plan issues all policies out of its office and handles and investigates all reported losses with independent local adjusters.
The hiring of Steinbeck gives the association someone with nearly three decades of industry experience. He recently spent the past eight years as a senior manager for Oregon Mutual Insurance in McMinnville and before that spent 21 years in various roles with Nationwide Insurance.
“Insurance can be very confusing, so finding ways to explain coverage in simple ways that make sense and unraveling some of the mystery of buying insurance coverage has been the challenge,” Steinbeck said. “The FAIR Plan has an added challenge in that we are serving a clientele with unique needs and often emotional challenges because they were turned down by the standard market.”
Steinbeck will work closely with DFR and Commissioner Stolfi, who serves on the FAIR Plan Association’s board. Steinbeck will be responsible for overseeing all operations, developing strategies and plans for accommodating growth, and ensuring that the Oregon FAIR Plan continues to provide quality insurance coverage to its customers.
“We are excited to have Steve on board,” Stolfi said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this position, having worked in various insurance leadership roles over the years. He is dedicated to continuing the mission of offering fair and equitable access to property insurance for people in Oregon.”
Steinbeck said that the Oregon FAIR Plan is often a stepping stone to getting back into the standard insurance market.
“Our goal is to help each client find ways to make their time with us as short as possible,” he said. “Our primary goal is to get the insured out of our organization and back to the standard insurance market as quickly as possible.”
And, here’s your business events calendar….
Women in Business: Allison Lamplugh is founder of a Corvallis based marketing agency, Lamplight Creatives. In just a few short years, Lamplugh has assembled a team of professionals and become a full charge agency, which is not easy to find in community like Corvallis.
12 to 1 pm, Wednesday, May 17 at Courtyard Marriott, 400 SW 1st Street, Corvallis. Click here to register.
Brown Bag Event for Small Business Owners: Titled Five Reasons You Can’t Find a Good Bookkeeper….and what to do about it. Bring your lunch and learn from the accounting team at Brass Jacks cofounders: Jackie Shaw, CTO and Educator, and Jackie Rockwell and CEO, Business Coach.
12 to 1:30 pm, Wednesday, May 17 at the Chamber of Commerce office, 420 NW 2nd Street
Corvallis. Click here to register.
Impact of Stressful Life Events at Work: This iteration of the Though Leadership series looks at the impact of divorce on employees at work. Dr. Bori (Borbala) Csillag, an Assistant Professor of Management in OSU’s College of Business, will share her research on the importance of organizations understanding the emotional turmoil that employees experience when going through life stressors and crises outside of their workplace. The question becomes – “How and to what extent does going through a divorce affect individuals at work?”.
12 to 1 pm Tuesday, May 23. Virtual event, click here for further info and to register.
OSU Virtual MBA Program Application Workshop: This virtual session reviews the application process, offering tips and suggestions so you can make sure you are submitting the best possible application to MBA, MSB, or Graduate Certificate Programs at Oregon State University. It’s recommend (but do not require) that you attend an Information Session before attending an Application Workshop. Zoom information provided after registration.
5:30 pm to 6:30 pm, Wednesday, May 24. Click here to register.