The Corvallis area includes the cities of Corvallis and Albany, 12 miles apart in the central part of the Willamette Valley. Corvallis is the home of Oregon State University, and while the university is a strong factor in the makeup and economy of the town, it isn’t the whole story, and we’ve seen stronger college-town influence and amenities in other places. A large research facility makes Hewlett-Packard the largest private employer. Educational attainment and resources are notably strong. College sports provide entertainment, and nearby recreation in the mountains and coastal areas is excellent.
Albany is mainly working class with employers in the timber, paper, and chemical industries. Although a large area is run down and industrial, it has experienced some resurgence and has a nice historic downtown residential area. Corvallis is a “green” city in both senses; it has lush, green countryside and rigidly enforced no-growth policies. On the upside, this curbs urban sprawl and preserves the surrounding area—but it also brings a residential supply-and-demand imbalance and high home prices. Overall, the area has a true small-town flavor with access to a wide and balanced set of amenities and a fairly pleasant climate devoid of extremes.
The level Willamette Valley is mainly agricultural. Large forested hills of the Coast Range rise just to the west of Corvallis, providing a nice backdrop, with smaller rolling hills covered by oaks and grassland north of Albany. The climate, like most of the Oregon west of the Cascades, is marine with significant winter precipitation and clouds.
Summers are usually warm, dry, and pleasant, with temperatures in the 70’s or low 80’s; one annual hot spell usually raises temperatures to about 100 degrees. Summer rains are infrequent. Fall, winter, and spring are marked with sequential periods of rain but there is little snow and few freezes. Although mountains to the west block the heaviest precipitation and winds, clouds and rain can last for days.