PHOTO: Hewlett-Packard's plans to build a handheld computer research lab and calculator manufacturing plant in Corvallis is described in a newspaper article by John Atkins, "H-P executive predicts 700 new jobs," Gazette-Times Aug. 8, 1974, p. 2. (See previous posts Don't Cali-fornicate Oregon and HP annexation history (6/14/12) and Apple demolishes old HP site in Silicon Valley to build 'spaceship' headquarters (3/17/16))
The local newspaper story by reporter James Day, "Corvallis annexation policies discussed," Corvallis Gazette-Times, Oct. 10, 2017, p. A3 gazettetimes.com posted Oct. 9, 2017 as "Economic development board backs annexations review", prompted me to write the following letter to the editor on the history of annexation laws in Corvallis, which is the small college town where the main campus of Oregon State University is located:
Some of the proposed changes to the requirement all annexations to Corvallis be approved by voters could reestablish the problems that made taxpayers angry enough to demand it in 1976.
After World War II, Corvallis quickly doubled in size and real estate developers were allowed to profit greatly, while sticking taxpayers with the bill for inadequate public services, such as sewer, water and streets.
It all came to a head in 1975 when Hewlett-Packard built a research lab and manufacturing plant in Corvallis, ironically just a few years before growth stalled out during President Reagan's administration due to high interest rates and declining enrollment at OSU after the Baby Boom Generation graduated.
The recent doubling in OSU enrollment has again led to growth problems in Corvallis, such as the lack of affordable houses, but voters should be wary that enrollment could drop again in the future, and the problems associated with unoccupied dwellings are even worse.
(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis faces growth issues," Gazette-Times, Oct. 17, 2017, p. A8 gazettetimes.com posted online as "Corvallis faces issues with growth" also see Link to previous Thomas Kraemer GT Letters)
Over four decades ago, I recall my OSU graduate school thesis advisor, who had lived in Corvallis since the 1940's, complaining about the problems with growth in Corvallis after World War II, and how other citizens actively supported the 1976 annexation law that required all new annexations be approved by voters. In fact, an old boys club of real estate investors were stymied by the new law and they were forced to pay for the costs of growth instead of the public. Even though the City of Corvallis has doubled in population over the last 40 years, developers have been forced to plan their new subdivisions to be compatible with the the city's growth plan. This has led to a much nicer city. The decline in OSU enrollment at OSU in the 1980's led to unoccupied dwellings. I saw how absentee landlords would often leave them to rot or attract sketchy tenants who probably raised the crime rate in sleepy Corvallis. Adding to these problems was a downsizing of Hewlett-Packard before personal computers and inkjet printers sales took off in the late 1980's.