Here is a look at updates of stories we have been working on:

Public Works director

The story: Mary Steckel, who has been Public Works director for the city of Corvallis since 2011, announced her intention to retire from the post earlier this year. The city brought in a pool of three finalists April 23 for a meet and greet at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library. After interviewing the candidates City Manager Mark Shepard chose not to make an offer to any of the finalists, and the city re-advertised for the position. Steckel, meanwhile, said she would remain in the position through Sept. 30 if necessary.

The latest: Shepard said the city went back out for another recruitment, with the result that no candidates were selected to come in for interviews. So Shepard went back to Steckel and asked her to reconsider her retirement and remain in the post. She said yes. “I am grateful Mary was willing to reconsider her retirement and continue to lead the Corvallis Public Works Department, Shepard said. “In addition to being the right leader for Public Works, Mary is a valuable member of my senior management team who I did not want to lose.”

Construction update

The story: The city of Corvallis has approved developers’ plans for a pair of hotels, one off of Northwest Circle Boulevard near the Home Depot store and the second just east of Ninth Street behind the Shari’s restaurant. The Circle project was approved in 2016, with the Ninth Street proposal OK’d in 2014. In addition, the city has approved a Bonaventure senior living facility for the Timberhill area.

The latest: Representatives who worked with Bonavenuture on their project say they should break ground next spring. Before that can happen the work to extend Northwest Kings Boulevard and Shooting Star Drive into the building site must occur. Kevin Russell, the development services division manager for the city, says the city is reviewing the building permit application for the Circle hotel property. There is no active application for the planned hotel near Shari’s, Russell said.

Street mural project

The story: Neighbors in South Corvallis received approval from the Community Involvement and Diversity Advisory Board and the City Council for a $600 neighborhood empowerment grant to pay for a street intersection art project near Lilly Park.

The latest: Now that the money is in hand Living Southtown still must get approval from other city groups to move forward with the street painting work itself, which will take place at the intersection of Southeast Bethel Street and Lilly Avenue. The Public Works Department has OK’d it and the public art and arts and culture groups said yes on July 11 and July 17, respectively. In addition, the City Council gave its blessing during its July 15 meeting. The city is expediting the approval process to make sure the project, which will be spearheaded by South Corvallis artist and teacher Diana Rose, is completed in time for the Aug. 18 Open Streets event in South Corvallis.


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James Day