|On Saturday, July 28th, Corvallistidbits stopped by the Corvallis Public Library to meet with Corvallis City Councilor Biff Traber, Ward 8, at the Government Comment Corner. I was not surprised to see several other Citizens of Corvallis waiting as well.|
The first gentleman to speak with Councilman Traber did not identify himself but was not reluctant to share his thoughts with Councilman Traber. This resident opened the conversation with Traber saying he was "PO'd"! He went on to explain that he was annoyed that the City Council had previously passed the sustainability fees without bringing the idea to the voters of Corvallis first. He then spoke of the recent single use plastic bag ban and shared various thoughts on why that was also a bad idea. This gentleman also stated that the single use plastic bag ban ought to have been brought to the voters this November to let them decide if it was in fact a good idea.
This voter/citizen left Councilman Traber with the following thought. He made it clear that Corvallis City Council should "Stop trying to solve all of the problems in the world and concentrate on the issues dealing with Corvallis!"
The next two individuals to speak with Councilman Traber were residents of the Skyline Area of Corvallis off Walnut near Martin Luther King Park. Their issue was a safety concern. While waiting to see Councilman Traber they chatted with me for a few minutes. Ange and Hersh Crawford presented a small map to me showing the location of their residence and the fact that they did not have City Water. They were also concerned about the recent closing of Fire Station #5. Ange Crawford spoke of the fact that she was advised by a Corvallis Fire Department representative that the response time to her neighborhood was about 9 minutes, not enough to save any residence in that area from total destruction should there be a fire.
The issue the Crawford's brought to Councilman Traber certainly warrants further review. Councilman Traber stated he would continue to pursue options to reopen Fire Station #5.
I then had an opportunity speak with Traber. We discussed the matters that the previous citizens brought to him. Traber stated that the Council was elected by the people and as representative Government would thereby make decisions that in their judgment would make a difference. Traber went on to say that is why there are elections. Voters have the chance to replace Councilors if they so decide.
I did ask Councilman Traber why there had been several weeks without a city official being present at any Government Comment Corner at the Corvallis Library?. His response was that he had scheduled this current session some months ago. Traber further commented that it was the sense of the Council that voters were not so interested.
We then had a conversation on matters from City Budget, to jobs, to lack of affordable housing, to Council sticking to core issues for Corvallis. I did query Traber on a idea that was being "hoisted up the flagpole" to ascertain any headwinds against and that is to consider a proposal, by Collaboration Corvallis, to expand the area of dense zoning to all of Corvallis. Effectively having the potential for a five bedroom townhouse to be built say for example in Witham Oaks or Timberhill or off Country Club Rd.?
I also spoke to Traber regarding the Collaboration Corvallis effort and the fact that nothing substantive has yet been communicated from the group. Traber did not have a specific response but stated that there would in fact be some "Low hanging fruit" that could be accomplished. Traber spoke about parking changes and potential changes to Land Use Codes.
Government Comment Corner sessions are in fact useful. They are useful to the average citizen to share thoughts and ideas and they are useful to Corvallis elected officials to hear from the voter about reality!