We are endorsing a yes vote on ballot Measure 2-121, as we believe the South Corvallis Urban Renewal Plan is both bold and well-considered.
We like that it’s had over twenty years of contemplation from Corvallisites living in the neighborhood, and we are fans of the $8.5 million dollars to be leveraged towards housing that will hopefully be affordable. For the record, we would like to see the safety improvements promised. We have an intimate connection to the dangers, as we continue to sorely miss Eric Austin, our former copy editor who was killed near the South Co-op in June of 2018. Eric died in a bicycle versus motor vehicle collision — despite the city, county, and state understanding beforehand the inherent danger of that specific roadway.
While this proposal is widely supported and without any organized opposition, some have expressed concern that a South Corvallis Urban Renewal District could gentrify the area, making one small bastion of lower Corvallis rents less affordable. Proponents admit this could happen, but argue that gentrification is already happening in the area and that this measure is at least a solid bet towards building more affordable housing.
Ultimately, we accept that the district’s envisioned governance makes this measure a fair bet. Unlike many URDs, this measure makes City Councilors responsible for governing this 30-year funding regime. Those Councilors, in turn, answer to voters every two years. Let’s just hope the Corvallis electorate remains an informed body politic for the duration. We do anticipate some area property owners could get a bit NIMBY-delic once they start seeing their home values increase, so councilors will need encouragement to stay the course.
Lastly, as is always the case when discussing South Corvallis development, conversations of supermarkets arise. Ward 3 Councilor Hyatt Lytle reveals that the Dollar General and the First Alternative Co-op have each expressed interest in the auction yard site. Lytle also points out that even when there’s enough residents to sustain a supermarket there, the auction yard site won’t pencil out for developers without some prep work, and the URD allots dollars to make that happen.
Our Editorial Board includes: Editor-in-Chief Stevie Beisswanger, Associate Editor Johnny Beaver, Associate Editor Jay Sharpe, and Publisher Steven Schultz