A little less than a year after it started work, the Corvallis Economic Development Commission is ready to recommend a strategy to the City Council.

The nine-member panel voted unanimously on Monday to approve the plan prepared by a commission task force and present it at the council’s noon meeting next Tuesday.

The 12-page document begins with a stark assessment of the local economy, citing stagnant job growth, a lack of economic diversity and a steep decline in the manufacturing sector. These factors, the report notes, contribute to a shrinking tax base and declining K-12 school enrollment, threatening government services and public education.

On the other hand, the city’s high-tech sector and the presence of Oregon State University create the potential for research-based businesses.

“Corvallis may be the most innovative city in America ... but economically at least we’re not seeing that reality show up in the metrics,” task force chairman Skip Rung told the commission.

“We’re barking up the right tree, but we need to keep barking.”

The strategy endorsed by the commission is built around four “big ideas”:

 • Provide financial assistance to growing companies through tools such as urban renewal districts and economic development loans.

 • Give local startups “unprecedented advantages” by harnessing OSU resources such as research infrastructure, business incubator services and assistance with purchasing and human resources.

 • Provide an adequate supply of properly zoned and serviced land and maintain a timely and predictable development review process.

 • Recognize economic development as a core government service by establishing an adequately funded city-county economic development office with clear ownership and leadership by the city.

Contact Bennett Hall at 541-758-9529 or bennett.hall@gazettetimes.com.

 

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Special Projects Editor

Special Projects Editor, Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald

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