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Corvallis ( ) is a city located in central western Oregonmarker, United States. It is the county seat of Benton Countymarker and the principal city of the "Corvallis, Oregon Metropolitan Statistical Area", which encompasses all of Benton County. The population was estimated at 51,110 in 2008 by the United States Census Bureau,, though other research supports the estimate of nearly 55,000 used by the city itself in 2008.


Joseph C. Avery settled a land claim at the mouth of Marys River where it flows into the Willamette River in 1845. In 1849, Avery opened a store at the site, platted the land, and surveyed a town site on his land claim, naming the community Marysville.It is possible that the city was named after early settler Mary Lloyd, but now the name is thought to be derived from French fur trappers' naming of a local peakmarker after the Virgin Mary.
Downtown circa 1920
In 1853, the legislative assembly changed the city's name to Corvallis, from the Latin phrase cor vallis, meaning "heart of the valley." Corvallis was incorporated as a city on January 29, 1857. The town served briefly as the capitalmarker of the Oregon Territorymarker in 1855 before Salemmarker was eventually selected as the permanent seat of state government.


Corvallis is located at an elevation of 235 feet. Situated midway in the Willamette Valley, Corvallis is about east of Newportmarker and the Oregon Coast, south of Portlandmarker, south of the state capital, Salemmarker, southwest of Albanymarker, about west of Interstate 5 at its closest point, and north of Eugenemarker/Springfieldmarker. Oregon Route 99W, a secondary north-south route, also runs through Corvallis. Oregon Route 20 (which leads to Newportmarker) and Oregon Route 34 (which leads to Waldportmarker about 56 miles to the west) both secondary East-West routes run through Corvallis from the Oregon Coast.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.8 square miles (35.7 km²), of which, 13.6 square miles (35.2 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) of it is water. The total area is 1.23% water.


Location of the Albany-Corvallis-Lebanon CSA and its components:

Corvallis is the largest principal city of the Albany-Corvallis-Lebanon CSAmarker, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Corvallis metropolitan areamarker (Benton County) and the Albany-Lebanon micropolitan area (Linn County), which had a combined population of 181,222 at the 2000 census.

As of the census of 2000, there were 49,322 people, 19,630 households, and 9,972 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,625.6 people per square mile (1,400.2/km²). There were 20,909 housing units at an average density of 1,537.0/sq mi (593.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.03% White, 1.16% Black or African American, 0.76% Native American, 6.42% Asian, 0.29% Pacific Islander, 2.52% from other races, and 2.82% from two or more races. 5.72% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 19,630 households out of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.8% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.2% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city the population was spread out with 17.7% under the age of 18, 28.4% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 16.8% from 45 to 64, and 10.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 99.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,236, and the median income for a family was $53,208. Males had a median income of $40,770 versus $29,390 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,317. About 9.7% of families and 20.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.2% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those age 65 or over.

Green Power

According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency report on its “green power communities,” Corvallis buys more power from renewable resources than any other city in the nation. Corvallis purchases more than 100 million kilowatt-hours of green power annually, which amounts to 13 percent of the city’s total purchased electricity.


  • A 2003 study, released once every 10 years, listed Benton County (of which Corvallis makes up the majority of the population) as the least religious county per capita in the United States. Only 1 in 4 people indicated that they were affiliated with one of the 149 religious groups the study identified. The study indicated that some of the disparity, however, may be attributed to the popularity of less traditional religions (ones not included as an option in the study) in the Pacific Northwest.


The campus of Oregon State Universitymarker, which is the major local employer, is located near the edge of the main downtown area. Other major employers include: Samaritan Health Services, Agilent Technologies, AVI BioPharma, CH2M HILL, Siga Technologies, Evanite Fiber, ONAMI as well as Hewlett-Packard, whose printer cartridge manufacturing and prototyping facility is located in the northeast area of town. Because of this relative concentration of employment and the need for diversity, the city launched a website to attract creative industry to the region by branding it with the slogan "Business is Good Here".

Corvallis, Oregon was ranked #48 on the 100 best places in the USA to live and launch a business by Fortune Small Business 2008. This places Corvallis as the second best place in Oregon to launch a business. Portland, Oregonmarker (#6); Bend, Oregonmarker (#87) and Eugene, Oregonmarker (#96) are ranked on the top 100, respectively.

Arts and culture

Annual cultural events

Museums and other points of interest

Art galleries

Parks and recreation

The city has at least 47 public parks within and adjacent to the city limits. Some of them are:


Corvallis has a higher education rate per capita than any other city in the State of Oregon.

Public schools in the city are administered by the Corvallis School District. Corvallis is also the home of Oregon State Universitymarker, and the Benton Center campus for Linn-Benton Community Collegemarker.


  • Corvallis Gazette-Timesmarker, daily newspaper
  • The Alchemist, an alternative weekly focusing on art, music, and entertainment from reader contributions for content




Long-distance bus service is provided by both Amtrak and Greyhound. They both stop at the Greyhound station in downtown Corvallis (station ID: CVI.)

Local bus service is provided by Corvallis Transit System (CTS). The system runs a total of eight daytime routes Monday through Saturday, covering most of the city and converging at a Downtown Transit Center. Additional commuter routes also run in the early morning and late afternoon on weekdays, and mid-morning and mid-afternoon on Saturdays. When Oregon State University is in session CTS also runs the "Beaver Bus," a set of late-night routes running Thursday through Saturday.

Two other short-distance inter-city buses — the Linn-Benton Loop (to Albany), and the Philomath Connection, also stop at the Downtown Transit Center.


Designated a "Bike-Friendly City," Corvallis has many miles of bike paths, trails, and roadside bicycle lanes. The bulk of the city is also very flat lending itself even moreso to sight-seeing cycling. Many miles of mountain bike trails, ranging from easy to very technical, abound in the outskirts of the city, with the highest concentration present in the Oregon State University research forest (MacDonald and Dunn forests).





The city's water system contains two water treatment plants, nine processed water reservoirs, one raw water reservoir, and some of pipe. The system can process up to about 19 million gallons of water per day.

The Rock Creek treatment plant processes water from sources in the Rock Creek Municipal Watershed near Marys Peakmarker. The three sources are surface streams which are all tributaries of the Marys River. Rock Creek has a processing capacity of 7 million gallons of water per day (gpd), though operational characteristics of the , pipeline to the city limits capacity to half that. The Rock Creek Plant output remains steady year round at about 3 million gpd.

The H.D. Taylor treatment plant obtains water from the Willamette River, and has been expanded at least four times since it was first constructed in 1949. Its output varies seasonally according to demand, producing from 2 to 16 million gallons per day, though it has a capacity of 21 million gpd.

The total reservoir capacity is 21 million gallons, though measures to voluntarily reduce water usage begin when reservoir levels fall below 90% of capacity, and become mandatory at 80% or below. As part of its ongoing water conservation program, the water department jointly publishes a guide to water-efficient garden plants.

Notable residents

This list excludes persons whose only connection to Corvallis is attendance or employment at Oregon State University.

Rankings and recognition

Corvallis-Benton County Public Library

  • OSU named "Safest Pac-10 Campus" (University of Southern Californiamarker study, 1994.) OSU Chronological History: 1990-1999 URL accessed May 31, 2006.
  • Corvallis named "One of the 13 best towns to be a vegetarian" (Vegan Magazine study, 1995.)
  • An article in Parade magazine rated Corvallis as "One of the 10 best cities in which to live" (1996).
  • Corvallis School District named one of the top public school systems in the country (Offspring Magazine, 2000.)
  • Corvallis-Benton County Public Librarymarker named one of top ten libraries in the country based on population size (Hennen's American Public Library Ratings study, 2002.)
  • Corvallis ranked fourth in nation for the highest number of patents issued by city (USA Today, 2002.)
  • Corvallis ranked 7th out of about 500 U.S. cities for best places to do business (BizDemographics, 2002.)
  • The Bicycle Transportation Alliance ranked Corvallis as Oregon's most bicycle-friendly city (2002).
  • The Orange County Register picked Corvallis' Oregon State University as the "Best Pac-10 Campus" (2002).
  • The National Arbor Day Foundation awarded Corvallis a Tree City USA Award in 2002. They also awarded Corvallis the Tree City USA Growth Award in 2003.
  • Bike USA listed Corvallis as the 9th most bicycle-friendly city in the nation.
  • The League of American Bicyclists gave Corvallis a gold "Bicycle-Friendly Community" designation in May 2003, one of only four such cities in the nation as of 2006.
  • Frommer's Travel Guides, Cities Ranked & Rated ranks Corvallis as the 10th best city of any size in the United States and Canada.
  • The February 2004 issue of the Harvard Business Review ranks Corvallis as the 15th most creative city in the nation.
  • Bike at Work listed Corvallis as the 9th best city in the nation "As a car free community" (2005).
  • Men's Journal ranked Corvallis as "The 8th best place in the nation to live" in 2003. In April 2005, they moved Corvallis up one place to 7th.
  • Expansion Management selected Corvallis as a "Five-Star Knowledge Worker Metro", the highest rating achievable (2005).
  • A survey by the National Science Foundation found Corvallis ranks second in the nation for the number of scientists as a percentage of total employment (12.7 percent) as of 2006.
  • Corvallis was the first city on the West Coast and only the third city in the nation to receive the "Green Power Community" designation by the EPA (2006).
  • In 2006, the Morgan Quitno Awards ranked Corvallis as the 20th safest city (of 344) in the 13th Annual America's Safest (and Most Dangerous) Cities publication for metropolitan areas of its size.
  • In a 2007 report, Farmer's Insurance Group ranked Corvallis as the "most secure" small city in America, based on (as reported by Insurance Journal magazine) crime statistics, extreme weather, risk of natural disasters, environmental hazards, terrorism threats, air quality, life expectancy and job loss numbers.
  • On February 18, 2008, Corvallis was named the fifth smartest city in America by Forbes Online Magazine.
  • A September 2008 report revealed that Benton County, of which Corvallis makes up the majority of the population, is ranked 5th for longest life expectancy at birth of all counties in the United States, at 80.93 years.
  • In 2009, CHS Won $20,000 in sustainability contest "America's Most Eco-Friendly School". CHS wins $20,000 in sustainability contest. Corvallis School District, 29 June 2009. Web. 7 Nov. 2009 />.

Notable works of fiction

  • In Billy Wilder's 1944 film noir Double Indemnity, the character of Mr. Jackson, played by Porter Hall, is from Medford, Oregonmarker, but mentions Corvallis in this line to Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray): "It's the name! There's a family of Neffs in Corvallis!" Walter Neff replies, "No relation", to which Mr. Jackson says, "Let me see, this man's an automobile dealer in Corvallis. A very reputable man too I'm told."
  • Corvallis plays a major role in The Postman, in which it is depicted as the center of rebuilding civilization in post-apocalyptic Oregon, due to the university, logistics, and favorable wind patterns, which render it capable of surviving nuclear war.
  • Corvallis plays a major role in S. M. Stirling's "Emberverse" series. It's one of the few cities to come through the Change with many survivors, and with some sort of governing infrastructure remaining from the old world. The town's name is used in the title of the third book, A Meeting at Corvallis
  • Corvallis was the inspiration for "Cascadia" in the Bernard Malamud novel, A New Life
  • In Adrian Tomine's graphic novel Shortcomings, Ben Tanaka, who struggles with his Asian-American identity, is from Corvallis, Oregon.

Sister cities

Corvallis has two sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:


  1. Corning, Howard M. Dictionary of Oregon History. Binfords & Mort Publishing, 1956.
  2. Corvallis Gazette Times: Archived Articles
  4. METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  5. MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  6. COMBINED STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENT CORE BASED STATISTICAL AREAS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  8. [1]
  9. [2]
  10. [3]
  11. [4]
  12. [5]
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  14. [7]
  15. [8]
  16. [9]
  17. [10]
  18. [11]
  19. [12]
  20. [13]
  21. [14]
  22. The Alchemist
  23. Hennen's American Public Library Ratings URL accessed Oct. 30, 2006.
  24. About Corvallis URL accessed May 11, 2006.
  25. City of Corvallis wins Tree City USA Growth Award in 2003 URL accessed May 12, 2006.
  26. League Names Corvallis a Bicycle-Friendly Community URL accessed May 11, 2006.
  27. What The Media Has to Say About Corvallis! URL accessed May 11, 2006.
  28. 2005 Five-Star Knowledge Worker Metros URL accessed May 12, 2006.
  29. Corvallis Second In Nation in Percentage of Scientists URL accessed May 11, 2006.
  30. Corvallis named 'green power community' URL accessed May 11, 2006; (Pacific Power article) URL accessed September 13, 2006.
  31. City Crime Rankings by Population Group URL accessed October 30, 2006.
  32. 'Most Secure Places to Live' Are In Ore., Calif. and Wash
  33. Corvallis ranked among smartest cities in nation | Local News | | News for Oregon and SW Washington
  34. Double Indemnity (1944) script
  35. Corvallis Sister Cities Association

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