The Corvallis community is pooling its money together to light up downtown in a different way this holiday season.
“It’s really dark at night and it’s been dark times because of COVID,” said Downtown Corvallis Association Executive Director Jennifer Moreland. “We’re just trying to brighten everyone’s life.”
Moreland, with the help of community donors, has arranged for Christmas lights to be wrapped around as many trunks of trees lining downtown streets as possible beginning this weekend.
“We typically don’t have Christmas lights on trees in downtown Corvallis,” she said. “We were trying to create some kind of atmosphere to brighten everyone’s spirits because of this.”
Through mailed checks to the DCA office and her “Light Up Downtown Corvallis!” GoFundMe campaign, Moreland has helped raise nearly $1,800 to go toward solar-powered white twinkling lights strung on copper wire.
“We want people to remember our downtown and how important it is, now more than ever, to shop small and support local businesses,” Moreland said. “We’re hoping that if we light up downtown, we’ll attract people in a socially distanced way to come out and rediscover their downtown and all the small businesses that exist in downtown.”
Moreland and her husband, Julius, began wrapping trees on Madison Avenue Friday afternoon. Starting Saturday, Rotary Club of Greater Corvallis volunteers will lend extra hands to the effort.
Madison Avenue is taken care of funding-wise, Moreland said, but she wants to raise enough money to also light up the downtown blocks from Van Buren Avenue to Western Boulevard between First and Fifth streets. Her hope is to raise enough money for 24,000 feet of lights, and she said an estimated $200 per city block will accomplish that goal.
Moreland consulted with city forester Jennifer Killean about wrapping the trees to ensure their preservation. The Corvallis Public Works Department is also set to install its annual snowflake lights next week, according to city spokesman Patrick Rollens.
“I think it’s great that the Downtown Corvallis Association is going to be installing some lights downtown,” he said in an email to the Gazette-Times. “Between the snowflake lights and the illuminated trees, we should have a pretty festive downtown district this holiday season!”
Individuals or organizations who’d like to sponsor a block are asked to reach out to the DCA. Those interested in making smaller donations for the Christmas lights can visit gf.me/u/y7jyss online or mail a check to the Downtown Corvallis Association at 460 SW Madison Ave. Suite 9, Corvallis, OR, 97333.
Nia Tariq can be reached at 541-812-6091. Follow her on Twitter @NiaTariq.