Last Thursday, we called all city dwellers and dreamers to share their ideas and vision for a better Corvallis, at The Corvallis Advocate’s Dream Launch open mic night and benefit event, hosted at Cloud & Kelly’s Public House.
The room was packed-full of participants who spoke and wrote down their dreams and desires for our community’s future, which were posted to a collaborative Dream Board (featured in the picture). We heard words from city leaders, such as current County Commissioner Anne Schuster, and The Advocate’s commissioner endorsee and local school board president Vince Adams, as well as other key community members and concerned citizens—even a couple of children.
Opening remarks by Editor-in-Chief Stevie Beisswanger included a call for more mental health awareness and community combat of social stigma—followed by impassioned remarks by Publisher Steve Schultz, who thinks, with our community’s resources and level of education, there is no reason our regional mental health institutions should be so inaccessible. He also shared his sincere wishes for a sky tram and a “decent f*&%ing pastrami sandwich, I mean seriously.”
Beisswanger wishes for a community treehouse that could maybe feature a library and serve as a relaxing getaway for adventurous folk. She, along with many others, raised the more pertinent concern over a lack of affordable housing in Benton County. Adams prompted, “how is it possible that a teacher can’t afford to live in the community where they teach?”
Schuster shared her hopes in securing around 50 acres of unused land owned by Oregon State University as potential housing property.
Speaking of OSU, one participant pushed for continued awareness and action against local white supremacists, stating how uncomfortable and unsafe she feels attending the same University as the self-proclaimed neo-nazi Andrew Oswalt. She and her peers want more support from institutional leaders and University action safeguarding local acts of terror, plus added support for sexual assault survivors.
Many participants advocated for more community integration of minority and stigmatized groups, such as those with disabilities and international students. People asked for a space in the community where people could intermingle.
Brad Attig, Director of the Foundry in Corvallis, promoted the Foundry’s space, where small businesses and innovative individuals can get a jumpstart. He spoke over a few exciting events coming our way involving women in tech and an upcoming creative exchange meetup, “In Cahoots.”
Bruce Burris, Director of Collaborative Employment Innovations Artworks, thanked The Advocate for their long-standing arts coverage, while asking for more artist profiles.
Many vouched for more events catered to those below 21 years of age, and one middle schooler even expressed concerns over a lack of inclusion and attentiveness of school agers by institutional leaders. And one participant asked for more coverage on climate change and sustainability issues.
There were calls for a Letters to the Editor section in the Advocate, as well as community member spotlight pieces.
It is our utmost hope at The Corvallis Advocate that we can help many of these dreams come true (and more). Profits from the event totaled to $1533. These and future profits will help keep this vision alive by directly supporting our writers in pursuing these issues, as well as creating a picture of what’s possible.
We’ll continue to bring our Dream Board to future events and encourage audience participation, so we can help sustain a shared vision for our city’s future, built by its people.
This event was sponsored by Habitat for Humanity, the Corvallis Farmers’ Market, Shonnard’s Nursery, Darkside Cinema, and Marie Jane’s. The Corvallis Advocate thanks all sponsors, audience members and participants, and Cloud & Kelly’s for providing and contributing to a shared platform where dreams can grow.
To support The Advocate, as we struggle to survive, and aim to create our dream Corvallis, please visit http://www.corvallisadvocate.