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Award-winning tree

The story: The Yang madrone, which shades a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home in northwest Corvallis, was added to the Corvallis heritage tree list in 2016. The property owned by John Wolcott was originally owned by the Oregon State University food scientist Hoya Yang and his wife, Edith, a pioneering woman artist and architect, who designed the structure.

The latest: The state of Oregon has now chimed in. The Yang madrone is part of the 2018 class of Oregon Heritage Trees. The 70-foot tall tree has a maze of limbs and branches and features the classic peeling bark look of the species. Also inducted was a magnolia in Ashland and a fruit orchard at Geer Crest Farm near Silverton. Celebrations are planned this year at the sites of all three trees.

James Day

B&R Auto Wrecking

The story: A fire on July 5, 2016, gutted the main building and damaged a second structure at B&R Auto Wrecking, 3065 SE Third St. in Corvallis. The salvage yard has continued to operate at that site, but it was forced to relocate about a dozen of its 50 employees to a second B&R location in Albany.

The latest: After struggling to obtain the permits needed to rebuild the damaged structures, B&R recently entered into a memorandum of understanding with the city of Corvallis that will allow it to proceed with reconstruction. On March 13 the city issued a demolition permit for the main building, the first step in the rebuilding process.

Bennett Hall

Urban renewal

The story: The city of Corvallis is considering establishing an urban renewal district in South Corvallis. The project is planned for acreage along Highway 99W (Southeast Third Street) that used to house the Corvallis Auction Yard and the Ford-New Holland farm implement business. Ultimately, the goal is to build a development that would include a grocery store, a food business incubator facility, other small businesses, housing and space for community gatherings.

The latest: At its March 19 meeting the Corvallis City Council unanimously passed an ordinance establishing the council as the urban renewal agency for the city. At its Thursday work session councilors reached consensus (no votes are taken at work sessions) that the same acreage will be one of the leading candidates to be rezoned for high-density housing. Corvallis needs to come up with 12 more acres of high-density residential land to meet state requirements.

James Day

Energy prize competition

The story: Georgetown University offered a $5 million prize to the small- or medium-sized community that did the best job of taking energy-saving approaches that could be replicated in other towns. Corvallis participated and advanced to the semifinals by taking advantage of a combination of work by the Corvallis Environmental Center, the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, Oregon State University and the Energy Trust of Oregon. The city of Corvallis chipped in with $5,000 to support the project.

The latest: Fargo, North Dakota, won the competition. Fort Collins, Colorado, finished second, with Takoma Park, Maryland, and Bellingham, Washington, tying for third. Chula Vista, California, and Walla Walla, Washington, scored the best on reductions in energy use. Corvallis finished 29th and registered $3.6 million in savings in reduced electricity and natural gas bills.

James Day

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Special Projects Editor

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