Corvallis: A Sustainable City?

One of the popular buzzwords flying about these days is "sustainability". In other words, let us create a way of living that can last for the long term with minimal impact on the environment and one another. Corvallis is certainly no exception when it comes to using this word. And yet, from my perspective, the term sustainable, when applied to Corvallis, is used more to imply you're part of the "cool" lefty crowd than it is about true sustainability.

Corvallis is one of the most expensive cities in the state in which to live, with low wage paying jobs and grossly inflated housing prices. Today alone, I saw an ad to rent a townhouse in the CoHo Ecovillage, all for a whopping $1250/month (which, according to the individual who wrote the ad, is a bargain considering the home, pardon me, the townhome, is for sale for only $285,000). I also saw an ad to work for the Corvallis Environmental Center, another organization very much into the "sustainability" movement. The wage? $10/hour.

Both of the entities behind these ads promote "sustainability". And yet, it's basic common sense that $1250/month for rent, $285,000 for the cost of a townhome and $10/hour for employment ARE NOT SUSTAINABLE. These folks need to expand their vision and think long and hard about their concept of "sustainability" because, despite all of the hype, they're missing the boat.

Our local Co-Op, another local entity into the "sustainability" movement, when being questioned by folks in the community via their monthly newspaper, The Thymes, often uses the term "providing a living wage" when referring to their employees. Well given the majority of their advertised positions start between minimum wage and $9/hour, they cannot use that term truthfully.

The folks in the sustainability movement need to expand their viewpoint, turn the mirror on themselves and get real. I realize most are well-intentioned, but having good intentions whilst wearing blinders does not produce positive, lasting results. They need to embrace the concept of money. They need to address the affordability factor. For if even just part of the movement is exclusive, then it cannot be considered sustainable.

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