Here are updates on stories we have been tracking:
The story: In November 2014 the Corvallis City Council voted to take over operations of the Majestic Theatre, which had run into budget challenges while being operated by a nonprofit board. Majestic operations are under the umbrella of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
The latest: The Majestic continues to report improved financially strength in its quarterly reports to the city and theater operators have been lobbying the City Council to make permanent the relationship with Parks and Recreation. Majestic backers have testified at three recent council meetings. The Majestic situation was tentatively scheduled to be reviewed by the council in both December and January, but City Manager Mark Shepard told councilors at their Jan. 2 meeting that he has withdrawn the agenda item for now because of concerns about potential costs. The issue remains on the council's three-month calendar on the list of items "pending to be scheduled."
The story: The Pastega family has sponsored a free Christmas light display in Corvallis every year since 1981, first at the Pepsi bottling plant owned by the family and since 2013 at the Benton County Fairgrounds.
The latest: Beginning in 2016, visitors to the drive-through holiday light display were asked to donate canned goods for area food banks. The 2017 display collected 7,043 pounds of food for local families in need.
The story: In 2008, the Meyer Memorial Trust launched the Willamette River Initiative, a 10-year effort to support large-scale restoration projects in the Willamette River floodplain. The nonprofit joined forces with the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to create the Willamette Special Investment Partnership (now known as the Willamette Focused Investment Partnership) to fund the work. In 2010, the Bonneville Power Administration came onboard, bringing still more funding to the table.
The latest: Team Willamette, a coalition of nonprofits and government agencies involved in restoration work through the Willamette River Initiative, has been named a finalist for the Arbor Day Foundation's Healthy Headwaters Award. In the past seven years, the group has planted 3.9 million trees and shrubs to improve water quality in the Willamette Basin. The award winner will be announced prior to Arbor Day on April 27.
Transit operations fee
The story: The city of Corvallis imposes a transit operations fee. The fee is paid as part of residential city services bills, which also includes water, stormwater, wastewater, street maintenance and urban forestry. The transit operations fee, which is tied to gas prices in Oregon, is reviewed annually with a minimum charge of $2.75 for single-family residences.
The latest: The fee will remain at $2.75 for the third consecutive year after city officials announced this year's feed update at the Jan. 16 City Council meeting.The average price of a gallon was $2.73 in 2017 in Oregon. The fee, which was imposed in 2011, hit a peak of $3.80 in 2013. The fee raised approximately $925,000 in the 2016-17 fiscal year, $175,000 less than last year. The flat revenue stream, said Mary Steckel, Public Works director, means that there is no capacity to add new routes and/or service hours in the next fiscal year. The city expects to see an increase in revenue for transit services as a result of state legislation passed last year, but Steckel said she does not anticipate the new funds to materialize until next year.