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Old 07-13-2010, 12:08 PM
 
6 posts, read 26,864 times
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Howdy, all! I'm hoping that many of you will be able to help me. I'm thinking about applying for a job in the Albany/Corvallis area. Because the application process is quite lengthy, I'd like to get honest feedback from those who live there, have lived there, or simply have experience with the area.

How's the racial diversity in the area? I ask because I've heard that Oregon is a pretty liberal, open-minded state. While that sounds great and very ideal, I'd honestly like to know how it really is. I live in the Midwest (STL area) and the metro area really tries to sell people on it's diversity. I'll be the first to tell anyone new to the area that it's just not true. While you see blacks and whites everywhere, the city and surrounding suburbs are still very much segregated. There are still many areas where it wouldn't be best to be after dark if you're black.

With that being said, I'm not specifically searching for a black area of Albany/Corvallis. I'm more so interested in finding out if I'd be treated any differently because I happen to be a black female in (what I assume) is a majority white area in Oregon. I just want to make sure that my safety and well-being would not be compromised, or that I'll feel very ostracized from everyone else.

Also, how is the singles scene/dating life in that area? I'm single, so I'd be interested in dating. I'm in my 30s, so it's not like I'm interested in the hot and heavy night club scene, but I'd like to know if there are options available. And interracial dating is absolutely fine with me. I don't have a problem with it. A better question is would the residents of Albany/Corvallis have a problem with it?
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Oregon
218 posts, read 701,685 times
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I lived in Corvallis for 7 years and its a nice college town. So I will try and answer some of your question. Since a majority of your question seem to be about race I will tackle that one first. Oregon and the Northwest is prominently white and a lot people are mislead by that. Most people could actually care less about your race. Corvallis does have a rather large Asian population which is due to the College there. Honestly from what I have noticed, the black population there is rather small. With the college there, you will meet people from all over the world. Corvallis is a very safe place to live. The entire time I lived there I never locked my doors. lol. The nightclub scene... Corvallis has a quite few bars mostly downtown and on Monroe st. in front of campus. Corvallis in the summertime is very very quiet with most of the students gone for summer break and the bar and some of the local businesses feel the effects of that.
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:43 PM
 
6 posts, read 26,864 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iamscott View Post
I lived in Corvallis for 7 years and its a nice college town. So I will try and answer some of your question. Since a majority of your question seem to be about race I will tackle that one first. Oregon and the Northwest is prominently white and a lot people are mislead by that. Most people could actually care less about your race. Corvallis does have a rather large Asian population which is due to the College there. Honestly from what I have noticed, the black population there is rather small. With the college there, you will meet people from all over the world. Corvallis is a very safe place to live. The entire time I lived there I never locked my doors. lol. The nightclub scene... Corvallis has a quite few bars mostly downtown and on Monroe st. in front of campus. Corvallis in the summertime is very very quiet with most of the students gone for summer break and the bar and some of the local businesses feel the effects of that.

Thanks for your honest response. It's certainly appreciated. I've heard that the area is a pretty nice place to live. And the fact that you said most people don't care about your race -- well that's exactly what I'm looking for!
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Old 07-13-2010, 01:44 PM
 
Location: Baker City, Oregon
4,810 posts, read 7,280,400 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonCrush View Post
Howdy, all! I'm hoping that many of you will be able to help me. I'm thinking about applying for a job in the Albany/Corvallis area. Because the application process is quite lengthy, I'd like to get honest feedback from those who live there, have lived there, or simply have experience with the area.
Here is a previous City Data thread on this subject that you might want to read through:
//www.city-data.com/forum/orego...ut-oregon.html
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:41 PM
 
6 posts, read 26,864 times
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Default Access to Suburban Staples?

Quote:
Originally Posted by karlsch View Post
Here is a previous City Data thread on this subject that you might want to read through:
//www.city-data.com/forum/orego...ut-oregon.html

Thanks for pointing out that thread. Very helpful. Another question I have about the area is in reference to the access of stores/restaurants/library. I've heard that there is a mall in the area but what about typical suburban type staples -- Target, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, Pier 1, Marshalls/TJ Maxx, fast food chains (McDonalds, etc.), bar and grills (TGIFridays, etc.), the library, various grocery stores, etc.? Would those things be easily accessible in the Albany/Corvallis area? I live in the suburbs (always have) and love it so I wouldn't want to give any of that up.

Thank you for your help. Your responses are very much appreciated!
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:30 AM
 
Location: Portland Metro
2,317 posts, read 4,398,761 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonCrush View Post
I've heard that there is a mall in the area
Heritage Mall is in Albany. It's a small mall, but has several large chain stores (Target, Sears, Old Navy).

Quote:
but what about typical suburban type staples -- Target, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, Pier 1, Marshalls/TJ Maxx,
You'll find that even though Corvallis has fought very hard to maintain it's downtown core as a working downtown, there are several of these stores in town or over in Albany. I think there's 3 standalone Starbucks and at least 3 that are inside grocery stores. Target is at the mall in Albany (10 miles). There's a Borders bookstore on NW 9th just north of downtown, and a TJ Maxx a little further north on 9th. NW 9th is the main commercial strip in town.

Quote:
fast food chains (McDonalds, etc.), bar and grills (TGIFridays, etc.),
Yep, Corvallis has 'em. McD's, BK, Wendy's, Carl's Jr. (Hardees to those of you from the South), Taco Bell. Ruby Tuesday and Applebee's are there too.

Quote:
the library, various grocery stores, etc.?
The Benton County Library is really great. It's won library awards. Several Safeways, Albertsons, Trader Joe's, WINCO (NW chain), and a great grocery co-op (First Alternative). Lots of people from back east are surprised to hear we have paved streets for our horseless carriages out here in OR!

Corvallisites are very proud of their "buy local" ways. So even though there are chain stores, there are local alternatives. However, many people take the occasional shopping trip out of town to Eugene or Salem for larger malls, or to Woodburn (north of Salem) for the outlet mall, or all the way up to Portland for the city fix.

You can dispense with any concerns about your race in Corvallis. You'll just be another face in the crowd. One time I went to Michigan and spoke with a relative of my wife who was discussing the "black area of town," and I made a comment that I never lived anywhere where there was a "black area of town" (life-long west coaster). He asked where the black people live in Corvallis and I replied, "we all just live in neighborhoods."
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Old 07-14-2010, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Salem, OR
15,278 posts, read 38,299,078 times
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I think the biggest issue for some blacks that move out here is the lack of other black faces. As long as you, personally, are comfortable being around a lot of white people Corvallis is a really nice town. If I were you I'd choose Corvallis over Albany just because it is bigger, but Albany is really close for those larger chains that you want.

Honestly, the Woodburn Mall is a company store mall and can satisfy your shopping needs, I'm sure.
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Old 07-14-2010, 11:10 AM
 
Location: State of Jefferson coast
963 posts, read 2,906,529 times
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You've had sound advice. I don't, myself, much use the term Corvallis/Albany as a combined metro area as the two cities are quite different in some respects. Oregon embraces the concept of diversity much more than it exemplifies it. While you will find full acceptance in Corvallis, you will be part of an extremely small minority. Oregon is overwhelmingly white and what racial diversity exists is mostly Asian, Hispanic and Native American. "Diversity" means different things to different people. For a lot of people, it means "people like me." You're not going to find that in Oregon. Corvallis has much more diversity than Albany on account of OSU, but you're still going to have to be comfortable frequently being -- as an African-American friend of mine said when she came to visit -- "the only chocolate chip in the cookie."

Consumer culture in the mid-valley emphasizes independent businesses over big-box stores and chain restaurant generics. You'll find more of the consumer-culture generics in Albany than in Corvallis as there are more lower-income folks in Albany.
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Old 07-14-2010, 04:59 PM
 
6 posts, read 26,864 times
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Thanks so much for the replies! The information has been quite helpful. The area seems like a great place, and somewhere where I won't necessarily be "bothered" by the fact that I'm in the minority. There's a difference between "being" the minority vs. "feeling" like the minority.
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Old 07-14-2010, 08:33 PM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
4,767 posts, read 5,893,461 times
Reputation: 6797
Quote:
Originally Posted by LemonCrush View Post
Howdy, all! I'm hoping that many of you will be able to help me. I'm thinking about applying for a job in the Albany/Corvallis area. Because the application process is quite lengthy, I'd like to get honest feedback from those who live there, have lived there, or simply have experience with the area.

How's the racial diversity in the area? I ask because I've heard that Oregon is a pretty liberal, open-minded state. While that sounds great and very ideal, I'd honestly like to know how it really is. I live in the Midwest (STL area) and the metro area really tries to sell people on it's diversity. I'll be the first to tell anyone new to the area that it's just not true. While you see blacks and whites everywhere, the city and surrounding suburbs are still very much segregated. There are still many areas where it wouldn't be best to be after dark if you're black.

With that being said, I'm not specifically searching for a black area of Albany/Corvallis. I'm more so interested in finding out if I'd be treated any differently because I happen to be a black female in (what I assume) is a majority white area in Oregon. I just want to make sure that my safety and well-being would not be compromised, or that I'll feel very ostracized from everyone else.

Also, how is the singles scene/dating life in that area? I'm single, so I'd be interested in dating. I'm in my 30s, so it's not like I'm interested in the hot and heavy night club scene, but I'd like to know if there are options available. And interracial dating is absolutely fine with me. I don't have a problem with it. A better question is would the residents of Albany/Corvallis have a problem with it?
1) Grew up Corvallis, still visit quite often.

2) "How's the racial diversity in the area?"

Lily white or growing Hispanic for most year-round residents, quite a few Asian students. Not many African-Americans.

3) "I ask because I've heard that Oregon is a pretty liberal, open-minded state."

Generally quite true...even very conservative people aren't super-prejudiced. You'll find more prejudice against Hispanics among farmers due to the perception of them beginning to flood up-and still not much of that, most of them realize they are taking the very low-wage jobs.

5) "There are still many areas where it wouldn't be best to be after dark if you're black."

Untrue for Corvallis, certainly-very safe-and most of Albany that I have spent time in, also. Being black wouldn't increase your exposure to crime, at all. If you're going to get rolled, they'd roll you regardless of your skin color-it's not targeted at your ethnicity, and crime is not too bad.

5) "With that being said, I'm not specifically searching for a black area of Albany/Corvallis."

That's fortunate. There isn't one. Not enough to make an "area".

6) "I just want to make sure that my safety and well-being would not be compromised, or that I'll feel very ostracized from everyone else."

It won't (be compromised), nor *should* you feel ostracized. <- I am Caucasian so I won't have the same experiences you may, but I personally never perceive any issues with skin color in the area and never really saw much *overt* racism against African-Americans.

7) "Also, how is the singles scene/dating life in that area? I'm single, so I'd be interested in dating."

Sparse (1/3 of the residents are students) but very possible. There are young single professionals, some would be interested in dating for sure if you get along. Just have to meet them.

I went to college there as an older student; as a year-round resident and a native of the area, I had *great* luck with the non-student population, because I knew how to tap into it.

8) "A better question is would the residents of Albany/Corvallis have a problem with it?"

Generally, no. They wouldn't have a problem with it. I did date an African-American woman in Corvallis, and later one in the South. In Corvallis, a couple of second glances but not much pushback. In the south-I really felt I was about to get my a** beat a few times, there was a lot of hostility. Particularly (and interestingly) by African-American males.

9) Corvallis definitely isn't the South, and it's not the East. You will be a minority-but not one they are used to, so it's not had a chance to become a huge issue.
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