Government: Transitional Housing to Replace Short Term Rentals, Business Registry Plan Update, New Elementary Principal Hired

Back in 2020, we reported that programs aiding downtown entrepreneurs had skipped minority owned businesses, as well as those located in North Corvallis. But four years later, some change may be afoot, though it may prove a little wanting. 

When we originally reported on the matter, then Corvallis Chamber of Commerce president Simon Date responded by advocating for a business permit program. The idea being to cull contact data for all area businesses, which would in turn mean that information about local government programs that support businesses would be shared equally among everyone that may benefit. 

Other municipalities have similar permit requirements, which can sometimes mean fees, but they don’t have to. 

Fast forward: The Corvallis Benton County Economic Development Office is now looking to create a local business registry; sans permit or license requirement. The current plan is to get information through fire inspection and assessment records, which may not be up to date. So, Economic Development will work to get them updated, and will also look to build an online information hub where business owners can seek information about programs and such. 

And now, we’ll editorialize: Not every business is fire inspected or on the assessor’s roles – businesses come in more shapes and sizes than that. But most businesses do register with the state, which at the very least allows them to claim their name and use it for business in Oregon, and it is an actual state requirement. 

Is there a framework for the state to gather and make information available for municipal economic development offices in a way that’s useful? Maybe not now, but it seems like that would be easy to fix. Having the state do this has to be better than all of Oregon’s municipalities sifting through fire inspection and assessor data like what our fair burgh is about to do. 

City Purchases Short Stay Vacation Units for Transitional Housing 

The City Council has approved the $2,132,160 purchase of a building at 620 NW Van Buren for transitional housing – the folks that will eventually live there, even if somewhat short-term, will have access to case management that includes support services like housing navigation. 

Currently, the two-story building has seven short-term rentals on its second floor, and three business tenants on the first floor. Once the business tenants have moved, the bottom floor will be converted to single bedroom units. 

The City says the tenants have been notified about the purchase and that they may be eligible for financial support under the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act. 

Costs: The City will use $1.9 million in ARPA funds and another $1 million in Oregon Department of Administrative Services dollars to purchase and rehabilitate the property, and to set up a reserve for maintenance. 

Ongoing program costs: The County will initially lease the second floor from the City and run the programs. Once the first floor is rehabilitated after the business tenants vacate, it is anticipated the County will lease that too. 

The lease rate will be 95% of fair market rental value, and the City has agreed to pay for utilities.  

New Principal for Letitia Carson Elementary School  

Amy Sampson has been hired as the principal at Letitia Carson Elementary School. She will fill the vacancy when Leigh Santy, the current principal, transitions to her role as the early literacy coach for the Corvallis School District starting July 1, 2024.  

Sampson has been the MTSS instructional coach at Letitia Carson for the past year. Before that, she was the dean of students at Letitia Carson and a teacher at Bessie Coleman. She has worked in education for 23 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education from Point Loma Nazarene University, completed her teaching credential programs at California State University Stanislaus and Fullerton, and holds a Master of Education in Administration from Southern Oregon University.  

“Amy has been an exceptional asset to Letitia Carson, demonstrating strong leadership and a collaborative spirit in every role she has undertaken,” said Superintendent Ryan Noss. “Amy’s proven dedication and commitment to student success has been consistently praised by her colleagues, making her the ideal choice for this new leadership role.” 

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