Survey Says…?

By Patrick Fancher

CorvallisHousingSurveyA lot of people work in Corvallis, but how many of them actually call the city their home as well? That’s what a recent housing survey being conducted by the City and its consultant ECONorthwest aims to find out in the months ahead. Housing division manager Kent Weiss says the survey is based on a current City Council goal, which states:

By the end of 2013, the council will have access to comprehensive and objective information about the demands for housing in the Corvallis Urban Growth Boundary and the causes of the current housing mix. By the end of 2014, the council will create policies, regulations, and strategies to help meet the housing needs of those who live here or wish to live here.

“Although the current process began a bit later than anticipated and the data being gathered through the survey was not in hand by the end of 2013, the project as a whole is on schedule and the council will receive and begin discussing survey findings later this summer/fall,” Weiss said.

The City is reaching out for worker responses in two ways: directly with major employers like Oregon State University, Samaritan Health, the Corvallis Clinic, the school district, and Hewlett-Packard; and through business groups such as the Downtown Corvallis Association, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Corvallis Independent Business Alliance that can leverage their contacts with smaller employers.

It’s been estimated that about two-thirds of the people who work in Corvallis commute from other areas. The goal is to understand why so many people commute into the city instead of living in it.

The City Council will gather to discuss the results once the survey is completed. But how will they address the housing situation?

“The outcomes and actions the City Council might take have not been predetermined; they will depend on the findings and implications drawn from the current survey and any other information desired by the council as they move forward,” Weiss said.

Another aspect the council must face is the varying responses among employees that work for larger companies, as opposed to workers of smaller companies. An average employee working for a larger employer likely has a larger income, thus Corvallis housing rates may be more affordable to them. Also, the outreach to larger employers is direct, while this is not the case with employees at smaller businesses, and this could mean a higher proportion of larger business employees responding.

So, if there are differences in the response rates and profiles between employees at larger and smaller businesses, then what? Those answers may be available once the survey is concluded, but there is no plan for that now.

If you’re a Corvallis business owner or employee who would like to take part in the housing survey, check out this link: