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Sofa wars about to begin again
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Sofa wars about to begin again

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For the second consecutive year, people in positions of great power are planning to use any means necessary to prevent the Couch Patrol from finding abandoned couches.

They call it “The Great Sofa Challenge,” and it works like this: Republic Services, the city of Corvallis, property managers and landlords and Oregon State University are hoping to sweep the streets clean around the June 16 commencement … and leave nothing for the Couch Patrol to find.

Aside No. 1: The Couch Patrol is a Gazette-Times quasi-investigative team that is in its sixth year of combing the near-campus neighborhoods and attempting to quantify the sizable detritus spawned by students moving out of the thousands of rental units they occupy. End aside.

In recent years the trend has been clear: Fewer and fewer couches are being found, which means either the efforts of the four groups noted above are bearing fruit or someone wants the Couch Patrol to go back to writing City Council stories.

Republic, the city and the landlords plan to have extra personnel on the streets starting Monday, June 18, as they target the two key move-out dates of the OSU calendar, June 15 and July 1. (Those are the two most common dates when leases expire.)

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City of Corvallis housing and neighborhood coordinator Tracy Oulman will be posting door hangers with resource tips and guidelines on units that feature abandoned couches or other debris.

OSU, meanwhile, will be staging “The Great Move-Out” for the second consecutive year. The event runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 15 in the parking lot of Grace Lutheran Church, 435 NW 21st St. with volunteers collecting mattresses, furniture, household wares and more. All donated items will go to local nonprofits and reuse. Last year it was a two-day event and organizers collected nearly 40 “loads,” with 77 percent of the loads including furniture.

“The Great Sofa Challenge” for 2018 was announced at Tuesday’s session of the Rental Property Managers Group, which has been meeting since 2013 and offering training and workshops to Corvallis-area landlords.

The property managers group also talked about the sometimes sticky issue of security deposits, with expert advice from Rance Shaw, a local attorney who works with the group, and Noah Chamberlain of Access the Law, which contracts for legal services with the Associated Students of Oregon State University.

Key issues raised in the freewheeling discussion included the importance of before-and-after walk-throughs with photos, deadlines for the return of a deposit, tips on what to charge for cleaning units and how to deal with items tenants leave behind.

Aside No. 2: The Couch Patrol is coming! And the photos do not lie. We will say no more. End asides.

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


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