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Old 04-13-2011, 09:01 PM
 
625 posts, read 1,252,893 times
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Hi all. I looked at the forum a bit and am trying to find out more about what Corvallis is like, as I may be visiting and interviewing. I think I've found a few things out: Corvallis is small, esp. compared to its university: 55,000 people including about 20,000+ students; it is beautiful with the riverfront downtown and the hills; its fairly "liberal" and clean; and housing prices seem to be going up. Corvallis looks nice and even though I've generally been attracted to cities like Portland, I sometimes think a more rural-esque life might be nice for us (I want to try my hand at gardening, and love cycling in the countryside ...) I do like college towns as well.

I'll be blunt from my experience in other college towns: My concern is that Corvallis might be an anti-growth community where "liberalism" is associated with strict anti-growth movements, keeping people out and elitism leading to higher housing costs so that only tech workers and aging hippies live in town and the working class and even middle-class commute in. This brand of "liberalism" sees anything urban as bad and opposes even smart growth sustainability in favor of keeping things the same, and so opposes not only sprawl but "smart growth" while turning a blind eye to the environmental impacts of workers having to commute in. If I say in conversation that "I like Portland" people will give me strange looks because, after all, how could anyone like a monstrous city? Diversity is occasionally praised in public but in reality no one cares if its lacking, because there are after all other priorities. Or is Corvallis more forward-looking than this?

If this is Corvallis, my concern is that despite the positives I might find it hard to live there ... I've been to Portland and to Eugene, liked Portland and after reflecting on Eugene's grunginess, felt I could live there because people are nice, schools are good, it seems if the economy ever recovers Eugene is poised to become a nice small city in its own right, and I like being in a bit smaller city closer to the countryside ... might I fit in in Corvallis?
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:59 PM
 
Location: Corvallis, OR
43 posts, read 212,333 times
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I've heard complaints that people think Corvallis is anti growth. I'd say we're just cautious. There are bedroom communities supporting Corvallis, buses that go out to Albany, Monroe, Philomath... They're planning a biking path to Albany. The downtown is trying to get new business... but does seem to be adverse to building up. Corvallis has a bunch of beautiful land to preserve and farmland, so there are tight building regulations. Can't say I've ever heard anyone complain about Portland being "monstrous," that would be silly. We're just not uh, militant about our views. Live and let live and all that.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:32 PM
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Quote:
My concern is that Corvallis might be an anti-growth community where "liberalism" is associated with strict anti-growth movements, keeping people out and elitism leading to higher housing costs so that only tech workers and aging hippies live in town and the working class and even middle-class commute in. This brand of "liberalism" sees anything urban as bad and opposes even smart growth sustainability in favor of keeping things the same, and so opposes not only sprawl but "smart growth" while turning a blind eye to the environmental impacts of workers having to commute in.
You just described Corvallis almost exactly. A large portion of town is vehemently anti-growth of any sort. They want no stores and no new housing, and they don't care if that means people will get priced out of town or be unable to find a job here. Just look through the newspaper when Trader Joe's or Market of Choice were coming to town. People whined for months. Or look at the whining about the Witham Oaks swamp being turned into housing. People have been whining about that for years.

Corvallis has some nice characteristics. There are lots of parks, little traffic, and a reasonably lively downtown (especially compared to similarly sized towns that have let in the big box stores).

Corvallis isn't a terrible place to live, but it's not for everyone. Spend some time in town before you make a decision.
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:00 AM
 
625 posts, read 1,252,893 times
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Thanks for the response so far ... sorry if the post sounds very "direct" - my link quit and I couldn't edit but I guess it illustrates my misgivings having experienced this before. I guess though Corvallis does not face that much growth pressure and maybe doesn't need to "grow." I can tell there are many positives to the community, although I admit to being attracted to somewhat larger communities that offer more diversity.

If I could follow up, what are the prospects of a couple living on $50,000 a year? I can see we'd be stretching to buy a 2-BR or maybe 3-BR house around 1,000 sq. ft. but there are options listed now (say under $200k). Being able to bike to work (on campus) is important to me so don't want to be relegated to living far away.

What is social life like for those in their 30s? With close to 40% of the population being OSU students?

Thanks again.

Last edited by docwatson; 04-14-2011 at 12:25 AM..
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Old 04-14-2011, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Corvallis, OR
43 posts, read 212,333 times
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Well, how far is too far to bike?

What kind of neighborhood do you want to live in? Do you want to be far from any partying? If you have kids you might be OK with living off Circle or Walnut, where there are a couple $200k homes. If you want to be in a more established neighborhood 200k will be difficult. Many of the $200k homes listed for sale around OSU are rentals that have been trashed and need to be torn down. Some of the 200k homes are right off the train tracks.

redfin.com & walkscore.com are fairly good websites to get a feel for neighborhoods.

As for social life... there are a lot of bars around. You can hear the college kids staggering home well into the night (3am ug). If you're into business marketing, there are a couple groups that put together meet ups around town. Every, I think its first Thursday of the month, people get together downtown to drink wine and be merry. There are some running and bicycling groups... More outgoing you're willing to be, more you'll find.

50k is possible, depending on your life style. Might be easier in Eugene, depending on where you ended up living.
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Old 04-14-2011, 01:03 PM
 
625 posts, read 1,252,893 times
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I would say yes, a house that is not falling apart and where my neighbors won't be partying at 3 AM would be nice. Too far to bike is probably more than 3-5 miles - so I think Albany is out.

I am assuming Corvallis doesn't have much in the way of nicer, centrally located non-student apartments?
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Old 04-14-2011, 01:11 PM
 
Location: State of Jefferson coast
963 posts, read 2,752,589 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by docwatson View Post
What is social life like for those in their 30s? With close to 40% of the population being OSU students?
Many of those OSU students are in their 30's as well. What will probably surprise you are all the gray heads in Corvallis. Someone in their 30's will still be considered quite young. Your social life is what you make of it. Some people are still bar-hopping in their 30's. For others in their 30's, "going out" is a rare event that entails hiring a babysitter.
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Old 04-14-2011, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Corvallis, OR
43 posts, read 212,333 times
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To the west of OSU there are some cheaper housing / apartments, within a 5 mile bike ride, but they're pretty far from downtown / amenities. Basically between Philomath & Corvallis.

Centrally located non student apartments... not that I can think of. Students will go anywhere there are openings since we have a housing shortage here. But there are some landlords that have strict rules for their tenants, so you won't even notice you're surrounded by students.
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Old 04-14-2011, 01:59 PM
 
Location: Corvallis, OR
43 posts, read 212,333 times
Reputation: 34
New housing going up in Nov:
After years of delay, development starts construction
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Old 04-14-2011, 02:02 PM
 
625 posts, read 1,252,893 times
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Quote:
Many of those OSU students are in their 30's as well. What will probably surprise you are all the gray heads in Corvallis. Someone in their 30's will still be considered quite young. Your social life is what you make of it. Some people are still bar-hopping in their 30's. For others in their 30's, "going out" is a rare event that entails hiring a babysitter.
Thanks Brenda - One of my concerns is that the housing shortage results in most residents being gray hairs or students, not in my opinion the recipe for a healthy diverse community. From the years of controversy I read about one apartment building, I can imagine Corvallis might be similar to where I live in creating its own housing crisis and forcing ever-increasing numbers of students to live in single-family rentals ... I already work in a community where 30s is considered quite young and I definitely feel it at work ... as a married professional with experience, I was a bit taken aback my first week when an older co-worker suggested I may enjoy living in the student ghetto where I could party!

I guess I am thinking more a place that has social life, music, places to hang out beyond the 20-something bar-hopping dives and the suburban cocooning at home. Where I lived before, my firends didn't hire a baysitter, they put their kid behind the bike, went for a ride, and then hung out (with kids and friends) at a local pub's courtyard patio, as an example; there was a lively accoustic music scene, young professional gatherings, and the downtown wasn't solely a student hangout in the evenings ... maybe not the best reasons to pick a place, but if we'll be somewhere for a while it would be nice. Or is it more dinner parties with a close circle of friends, joining the local cycling group, etc.? I've never been too good at home entertaining or planning outings, so it would be a change.

Last edited by docwatson; 04-14-2011 at 02:25 PM..
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