Corvallis Business: Welcome Corazón, Corvallis Tourism, Landlords vs. AC, Keeping Young Pros Local

Welcome to Nick Cheatham and his new restaurant – Corazón. There were some struggles finding the right location, but Cheatham found a spot already equipped with a kitchen between Clothes Tree and American Dream Pizza at 208 SW 2nd St.  

Corazón, which should be opening in the next few weeks, will feature wine and tapas. 

Come Back Inside: The program that allowed restaurant patrons to sit outside while they dine will be ending… for a while.   

By Oct. 31, all of the areas which restaurants have been able to move into on the sidewalk or street in front of their establishments will need to be removed. Part of this is that it gets too cold to eat outside by Halloween. The other part of this is to leave sidewalks and parking spots open for holiday shoppers.  

Some of your favorite places may have already moved back indoors – the Brass Monkey over on SW 1st St. for one. But when the warm weather returns, there’s still a hope that those tables in the fresh air will return. The plan is to have this seating from May to November depending on how the decision making goes in the Economic Development Office.  

Corvallis Tourism: Visit Corvallis recorded their highest numbers for June since the Marriott Courtyard opened. Additionally, profits were up in the months leading up to May. This allowed the city hotels to break the $3 million mark in profits earned for the first time.   

While summer months are historically slower in terms of tourism in Corvallis, between Oregon22 in Eugene and the Ironman games in Salem, July is looking strong. The Oregon Senior Games and the 550 participants already signed up should also help boost the overall hotel revenue in August as we move toward Oregon State University bringing students back to the area.  

Real Estate: Things are continuing to normalize in local real estate – fewer offers on each home and less aggressive pricing. The second increase in Federal Interest Rates in as many months will slow things even more, bringing the market back to what would be considered normal to our area. 

Add to this, the “work at home” initiative so many companies pushed to protect workers from the pandemic while keeping them productive has shown a large swath of the population that it’s possible to be productive from a home office. Therefore, several families are looking to live where they want and virtually commute. 

What does this mean for you?  

If you’re planning on buying a house and have not gotten pre-approved for your loan, then you can expect to pay more for the money you’re borrowing – although the same can be said for anything else bought with credit at this point. But if they can work from home, then the option to live where you want may free you from one restriction – where you’re looking.  

If you have been planning to sell your home, the chance to get that “once in a lifetime big payoff” might have passed. Sellers who have priced their houses too aggressively are having to reduce prices.  

Some interesting homes have recently hit the market of late. Several people have come forward to speak to RE/MAX Real Estate agent Samantha Alley about larger homes with Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) which could be used as rental units.   

“I have two of them where you can shut one door and the upstairs becomes a rental with a kitchen,” Alley said. “These are really unique, multigenerational living [buildings].” 

Normally the homeowner had to live in the house in order to rent out a part of it, and those units were limited to zones of the city closest to the university. New ordinances are allowing more ADUs to be built further from OSU. You may see some small structures being built around town that will be rental property in the near future.  

Simon Date of the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce said that according to American Title in the latest Greeters session, Benton County has finalized 1,260 home titles so far this year. A lot of house sales for our small metropolis.  

Landlords in the Age of Climate Change: Not all landlords like the idea of a window AC sticking out the side of their properties, but the available options have shifted.   

In the 2022 legislative session, Oregon lawmakers passed the Emergency Heat Relief Bill – SB 1536 – which says that “housing providers may not prohibit or restrict residents from installing or using a portable cooling device (including window units) of the renters choosing.”  

One aspect of this bill is that it requires new construction to include cooling of some sort. However many local homes are older, so here’s the breakdown of what the new rules say. The cooling units cannot violate building codes or the device manufacturer’s safety guidelines. Additionally, the device cannot damage the residence or require amperage that is incompatible with the power service of the residence, and must be removed between Oct. 1 and April 30. You can see the rest of the rules here.  

In Historic buildings, many landlords may prefer to have handy-people install window units. That protects the building owner from liability for damage to the building or for injuries caused in installation.  

There’s a program called the Oregon Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) that was designed to help with heating and – more importantly these summer days – cooling costs. To be eligible, your renter has to live in Oregon, need assistance, and have an annual household income below 60% of the state median income. Anyone receiving other government benefits – SNAP, SSI, TANF – is automatically eligible.   

You can check this out at the Home Energy Assistance website.  

To Insure or Not to Insure: Oregon businesses are not currently required to offer health insurance to their employees. If a business does offer it, they are required to pay for at least 50% of the monthly payment. And for some employees, that remaining 50% they have to pay is too high of a cost, leading them to forgo employer insurance in favor of state insurance. 

While the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) is a great thing for those who are unemployed or underemployed – covering more than a million people – it’s not actually free insurance. The state of Oregon pays for the services covered by OHP.   

Therefore, the state has decided to try and recoup some of that cost by charging each employer an “assessment” if their employees decide to use OHP. The current proposal would have large employers pay 50 cents per hour, per employee working eight hours or more in a week. That would add up to $20 per week for each full time employee choosing to use OHP.  

If this rule change is approved, it’s estimated it would generate $500 million in revenue for the state. The bill – House Bill 2269 – was still in committee on adjournment of the last legislative session.   

How to Hold Onto Younger Employees: As children, it was common to simply walk up to another kid and ask to be friends. This all gets more difficult as we grow up.  

Trying to find a door into a community as an adult can be difficult. It’s hard if you don’t have kids or a built-in group of people. And too often, businesses will lose good employees because they have no social life outside of work.  

Here are a few opportunities through the Chamber of Commerce that you, as an employer, can encourage employees new to the area to do:   

  1. Corvallis Young Pros – established in 2007 as a place where professionals could connect with others they might not have otherwise met. 
  2. Greeters – every Tuesday morning from 8:30 to 9:30, the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce members meet up at a local business to network.  
  3. Leadership Corvallis – this group focused on creating a dynamic and empowered local community is still looking for more members for its current cohort. This is a great way to learn about how business is conducted in town as well as meeting others who you can make lifelong friendships with. Scholarships are available. 
  4. Sports – during the summer, the Corvallis Knights play baseball, and the Chamber has events encouraging people to attend and meet one another.  

  Chamber Events: Coming this week from the Chamber of Commerce…    

Tuesday, Aug. 2, 8:30-9:30 a.m., Greeters. Become a Chamber member to receive the email with the place each week.  

Wednesday, Aug. 3, 5:00-6:00 p.m., Chamber Web Page Webinar. Each member of the Chamber of Commerce is given a free web page. These webinars are meant to help you make the most of this opportunity. Follow this link to find out more.  

Saturday, Aug. 6, 7:15-10:30 p.m., Corvallis Knights game. Join other business people from the area and watch a little baseball with our amazing team. More information here 

By Sally K Lehman 

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