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Sustainability group turns 10, vows to keep working amid uncertainty
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Sustainability group turns 10, vows to keep working amid uncertainty

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The Corvallis Sustainability Coalition held its annual meeting Thursday at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library. But despite the group’s 10th birthday being just days away, there was no mood of celebration in the air.

Yes, the group is planning a 10th anniversary event for either late spring or early fall, but Thursday’s meeting featured the usual nuts and bolts of the group’s community involvement, with a strain of concern in the mix based on the outcome of the November presidential election.

“What happens at the local level matters,” said facilitator Annette Mills before a standing-room-only crowd of more than 125 at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library. “We are agents of change … even when the broader political situation is filled with uncertainty.”

“We are in the midst of a great transition,” Mills said during her closing remarks. “It will be hard during this uncertain (time period), but we are not afraid of hard work. Our work is now more important than ever before.”

Tops on the list for the coalition is working with the city on its climate action plan.

“Climate action is a high priority,” Mill said, while posing the question “how does it interact with sustainability coalition action plan?”

In an effort to provide more visibility for the coalition’s programs, Mills announced that one of the group’s 12 action teams will make a presentation each month before the City Council.

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In other highlights from the meeting:

• A video was shown outlining the group’s Harvest Sunshine effort to increase the amount of solar panels on city rooftops. The coalition announced at last year’s meeting that it hopes to more than double the amount of electricity coming from solar. No results are available on year one of the project, with Sarah Spangler of the coalition’s energy team noting that information still is being gathered and numbers might be available by the end of this month.

• Spangler, who also is the point person for the city’s participation in the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Prize competition, said the energy savings event has concluded. Final data will be submitted in February, with the winners set to be announced in September.

• The 13th Eco-Film Festival will take place on the four Fridays in February at 6:30 p.m. at the Odd Fellows Hall.

• The coalition will hold its annual fair and town hall March 9 at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center at Oregon State University. New this year will be breakout sessions during the fair on topics still to be announced.

• The coalition’s waste prevention action team announced that in the past six years its recycling block captains program has grown from eight captains to 93.

• The coalition distributed water-resistant cards that include services for the homeless. Battling homelessness is one of the goals of the coalition’s housing action team.

• BA Beierle of Preservation WORKS announced that the group will be hosting Preservation Pubs, a concept that was “stolen shamelessly” from the Science Pub idea. The first preservation session will be on hops and brewing on Jan. 26 at the Old World Deli.

• Aaron Lesan of the group's education action team coined what is believed to be the first noun to describe the coalition's members, referring to them as "sustainabilians."

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


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