General Opinion Graphic

“Corvallis is a small town...” begins the story on page 7 of the Nov. 19, 2018 issue. I beg to differ. Corvallis is a small CITY, not small town. I know the difference, having grown up in one. My “hometown” had around 3,000 people; it was the county seat, and was considered the “big, small town” surrounded by truly small towns of a few hundred residents.

Allowing for wiggle room in the perception of folks who come from a range of city sizes, there are distinct characteristics, most of which involve two areas of observation:anonymity and scale, and complexity. Walk the main streets of any small town, and people will look you in the eye as you pass by, nod or say a “hello” and perhaps stop for a longer conversation. Not true here in Corvallis. I’m continually amazed, during my walks in Willamette Park, how many people I encounter (ones I don’t know personally) who do not even look at me or recognize my existence. I always say “hello” to them, which stuns and knocks them out their state of isolation, their “bubble” of non recognition, as they finally utter a reply. They most likely came here from a much larger metropolitan area, and have been conditioned, by the overpopulation pressure surrounding them, to essentially ignore individuals.

Scale & Complexity reveals itself via a long list of conditions. As Corvallis has grown, so have the number of stoplights, boards and commissions, rules and regulations, traffic congestion, neighborhood destruction/transformation, etc. all established to“manage” our collective affairs. And because we passed the 50,000 mark, (plus OSU’s exorbitant growth) big box stores and out-of-town/state development interests play a more significant part in our economy, much to the detriment of local businesses and community preferences. Bottom line: Corvallis has long passed the “small town” marker. Call it what you will, or a “small city” but PLEASE don’t confuse it with the genuine item.

M. Boyd Wilcox

OSU class of 1966

Be the first to add to the discussion

Welcome to the discussion.

Commenting Policy Orange Media Network acknowledges every individual’s right to free speech as protected by the First Amendment, and celebrates the open and honest exchange of ideas. While the goal of the comment section is to further community conversation and engagement on the various topics covered by Orange Media Network, we strive to foster a civil and respectful discourse for all participants. All user comments are manually reviewed by staff members before they appear live on the website. Our full policy is available here: