Find Sustainable Living in Corvallis Oregon

Justin Soares shares the latest on the new wave of sustainable living in Corvallis, Oregon.

| October/November 2002

Find out more about sustainable living in Corvallis, Oregon.

If you want to escape "sagebrush subdivisions, coastal condomania and the ravenous rampages of suburbia," as former Oregon Governor Tom McCall so eloquently described urban sprawl in 1973, consider trying sustainable living in Corvallis, Oregon.

Nearly 30 years ago the State of Oregon established the Land Conservation Development Commission to help preserve farmland and forests around the cities, and to establish urban growth boundaries to stymie sprawl. This progressive planning program has been a smash success, and Corvallis is a prime example.

Bordered to the west by the green hills of the Oregon Coast Range, and to the east by the banks of the Willamette River, nestled beneath Oregon white oaks and towering Douglas firs, and serenaded by the ethereal song of the Swainson's thrush, the cozy city of Corvallis remains true to its Latin namesake: heart of the valley.

The Community of Corvallis is best described as close-knit and progressive. Weathering the long winter months of minnow-breath rain seems to strengthen the feeling of community in this town of 50,000, making it feel more like a village of 500. A cornucopia of sustainability exists in this quaint town: A thriving organic farming community, stable downtown commerce, a state-of-the-art landfill and recycling facility, and a growing alternative transportation movement are surrounded by verdant open-space. But don't expect to establish your hermitage on these green acres. They've largely been set aside as commons for all to enjoy. Instead, you can be a country mouse in the city, and practice urban homesteading. With its environmental ethic, city living in Corvallis makes for easy living.

The downtown district, reminiscent of cozy New England village centers, is a haven for local businesses and an important component in keeping the community connected. On any given day, you'll find both rural and urban dwellers gathering together at the many coffee shops, bookstores and restaurants of downtown Corvallis. Grass Roots bookstore, a local cornerstone, just celebrated three decades of business. The Beanery, a coffee house, is another popular spot where folks gather for their jolt of java (misty winter days support a brisk business), hear musicians or watch the local belly dancing troupe perform.

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