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Corvallis rejects appeal on building facade

Corvallis rejects appeal on building facade

  • Updated

Corvallis has tentatively rejected an appeal by a property owner who wants to change the materials used in the façade of the Rennie-Smith Building on Southwest Madison Avenue.

The Corvallis Historic Resources Commission denied the application at its Dec. 8 meeting. The property owner wants to change the façade from glass title to plaster.

The City Council upheld the denial on a unanimous vote at Tuesday’s three-hour remote meeting.

The building, which is listed on the local historic register, was built in 1922, but there is no record regarding what the façade looked like then. The Historic Resources Commission noted that the glass tile approach is “extremely rare” and that it was worth preserving.

Councilors agreed with the HRC, while also noting that the property owner did not provide enough evidence to reverse the decision of the commission.

Councilors will consider formal findings in the appeal at its Feb. 1 session.

In other council highlights:

SOP: Councilors unanimously passed the city’s updated strategic operational plan (SOP), which is designed to guide city work efforts and budgeting through 2025. Two amendments were discussed. A motion to tweak language on city renewable energy usage goals — and not limit it to Blue Sky energy from Pacific Power — passed unanimously. Considerable discussion was held on ideas on streetlight standards, but no vote was taken after councilors agreed that the city would have time to discuss the options before the June 2024 deadline in the SOP. 

Camping: Councilors had a brief discussion of the homeless camping situation, noting the changes in the Pioneer Park RV camp as well as updates on the managed camping site taking shape near the men’s shelter. At its Feb. 1 meeting the councilor will look at possibly expanding tent camping in city parks.

Transit fee: City residents will be getting a reduction in their monthly transit operations fee. The fee is tied to gasoline prices, and with prices down, the fee will be reduced from the $3.13 per month for single-family residential customers to $2.75. The change takes effect Feb. 1.

Vaccinations: City Manager Mark Shepard noted that the city-county emergency operations center has reopened to work on coronavirus vaccinations. The city, county, Oregon State University and Samaritan Health Services have scheduled three days of clinics starting Tuesday at Reser Stadium for individuals in the phase 1A category. See for more information.

MLK Day: Mayor Biff Traber opened the meeting by apologizing for “dropping the ball” on city commemorations of Monday’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Traber noted that one of the key functions of the city’s King Legacy Advisory Board is to organize events associated with the holiday and King’s life. The board has not met in recent months because of the pandemic. Traber read quotes from King at two different junctures of the meeting.

Pacific Power grant: The city has accepted a $60,000 grant that will be spent assisting low-income residents in purchasing electric bicycles and gear. The program likely will offer $1,000 instant rebates/subsidies for bike purchases as well as for safety equipment and training. The program will be administered by the Corvallis-Benton County Economic Development Office.

Public works director: Shepard also announced that he will interview Jeff Blaine for the open Corvallis position. Blaine, who currently serves as director of public works, community development and engineering for the city of Albany, will be interviewed Feb. 9.

Contact reporter James Day at or 541-812-6116. Follow at or

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