Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Old Stomping Grounds

In the last couple of months my husband has been receiving Outside magazine. It is a bit of a mystery as to why. He doesn’t recall subscribing to it and he has no idea who would have subscribed for him. So, if you are the one who did … thank you! Anyway, I was looking at the cover and something caught my eye: Where to Live Now – The 20 Best Towns in America. Upon glancing at the list, I noticed my hometown of Corvallis, Oregon was among other well known cities like Oakland, Seattle, Sacramento, and New Orleans. Seeing this prompted me to actually open the magazine.

There were 20 cities listed as progressive candidates of civic reinvention and fresh ideas; whatever that means! Not every town has a large spotlight on it. In fact Corvallis has a small feature whereas Washington D.C. and Louisville, Kentucky have more detailed stories. But growing up in what I always considered to be a small and unknown town, I was quite pleased to see anything about it in a national magazine.

Make the Switch
Corvallis, Oregon (POP. 49,800)

Corvallis is far from the undiscovered jewel it once was – it’s within 90 minutes of world-class skiing, the Oregon coast, and blue-ribbon salmon fishing – bun in recent years the city has picked up verve from a new promenade on the Willamette River and a steady transition to renewable energy. In 2006, Corvallis became the second U.S, city (after Moab) to be name an EPA Green Power Community. Thanks in part to Pacific Power’s Blue Sky Program, 15 percent of power users – from the city government to businesses to residences – are participating in the purchase of renewables like wind and geothermal power. The green push began in 1997 as a part of the town’s 20/20 Vision Statement, a blueprint guiding all aspects of the town’s growth until 2020. The new riverfront park, completed in 2002 as a part of the vision statement, has helped attract more than a dozen new cafés, restaurants, and spas, proving that being far sighted isn’t so bad after all. -R.K.

Wow, I had no idea that my hometown was so environmentally conscious! Though I have always known this forest and farmland surrounded town to be a place where people ride their bikes to work, where Birkinstocks are commonplace, and where agricultural advances have been made – Corvallis is home to Oregon State University – I never realized how "green" it was especially when I lived there.

To me, Corvallis is the place where I grew up. Where there has never been very good shopping or terribly interesting places to eat. A place where I felt safe, if not a little bored. And a place where I love to visit; so I can see my family, look for a used book at the Book Bin, and be jealous of all of the beautiful produce at the Farmer’s Market (if you saw the market where I live now, believe me you would understand my envy). Even though I have moved on from my childhood home, I will always be proud that I was raised in the Heart of the Valley. GO BEAVS!

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