Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber used an interesting icebreaker Jan. 22 at the second meeting of the Imagine Corvallis Action Board, a new panel charged with implementing the city’s vision project.

Traber suggested that committee members tell a story about something meaningful that happened to them during the holiday season.

So, the board members took turns relating their experiences. Most of them involved trips and/or family visits. They included trips to Maui (two members), a trip to Sunriver, a trip to Universal Studios, a trip to Montana and a quick trip to San Francisco to see a musical. One member indicated the family’s normal holiday itinerary includes a trip to the Midwest, but the relatives came west this year, eliminating the challenge of weather delays in the Salt Lake City or Denver airports.

Other members entertained out-of-town company. One member drove to Arizona to get some sun. One person worked on a “downsizing” project that involved moving to a smaller house. A recent arrival went to Portland for a theater matinee on Christmas Eve and enjoyed the “white Christmas” that ensued. Others offered more low-key experiences.

What’s wrong with this picture? Well, I find it interesting that a big chunk of the board had more high-end holiday experiences than many of the folks in town.

Should this matter? Should having enough income to afford Maui in December disqualify someone from serving on such a board? No, but it gives me a bit of a pause.

The city spent a lot of time and resources on its vision process, hosting three community workshops and an open house and ultimately approving the vision statement in November of 2016. Drafting the vision statement and action plan was one of the six City Council goals for the 2015-16 term.

The board consists of the mayor; entrepreneurs Skip Rung and Rena Chen; councilors Hyatt Lytle of Ward 3 (voting) and Penny York of Ward 1 (nonvoting liaison); Oregon State University School of Arts & Communication Director Lee Ann Garrison; community volunteers La Verne Keith and Jacque Schreck; Benton County Administrator Joe Kerby; Corvallis School District Superintendent Ryan Noss; Ed Junkins, associate dean and pediatrics professor at the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest (and Corvallis School Board member); Cindee Lolik, general manager of the First Alternative Co-op; Gordon Zimmerman, president and CEO of Citizens Bank; and Doug Boysen, president and CEO of Samaritan Health Services.

Lots of solid folks there with laudatory credentials. And many of them come into contact with a wide range of Corvallis — and Benton County — residents in the course of their work lives. But there are a wide range of folks in Corvallis that need to be part of the discussion about the city’s future. Including 25,000 OSU students. I hope that this new board can find a way to reach as many residents as possible and make them part of the conversation.

Contact reporter James Day at or 541-758-9542. Follow at or