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Corvallis voters will consider three changes to city charter

Chris Lehman

Voters in Corvallis will consider three proposed changes to the city charter during next month’s election.



One proposal would remove gender-specific pronouns from the document. This would result in roughly 30 changes to the charter.


"Part of this is for the city to affirm that we have non-binary individuals in our city, and we want them not to be excluded by our city charter," said Corvallis City Councilor Gabe Shepherd. "And also, this brings us up to what is current legal practice and just aligning us with that."


Another proposed change would extend the amount of time the city can take to hire a city manager from six months to two years.


"When this part of the charter was written, the search process wasn't as national as it is now," said Shepherd. "With new regulations, we want to make sure that this person is the right person for our town, and that means that we'll be conducting a really wide search process, and that will take time."


Shepherd said it's hoped that two years will be more than enough time to complete the hiring process, but in many cases six months hasn't been a long enough window to complete the task.


A third proposal would change the way vacancies are filled on the Corvallis City Council. Right now, the charter requires the city to hold a special election if someone steps down from their seat before the end of their term. If voters approve, the new method would be an appointment process, and would have to be done within 60 days.


“In three of the last five years, we’ve had a vacancy for more than four months," said Shepherd. "So it’s been a problem in Corvallis that’s come up quite a few times.” 


All three proposed changed to the Corvallis charter were sent to the ballot by a unanimous vote from city council.


Elsewhere in Benton County, voters in the North Albany Rural Fire Protection District will decide whether to renew--and slightly reduce--a five-year operating tax levy.


And residents of the McDonald Forest Estates Road District will decide whether to establish a five-year local option tax for road maintenance.


The deadline to vote in next month’s election is November 2nd.


Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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