Corvallis, city (1990 pop. 44,757), seat of Benton co., NW Oreg., on the Willamette River; inc. 1857. Engineering firms contribute to the city's economy; fruit growing and sawmilling are regional activities. Corvallis is the seat of Oregon State Univ. and the headquarters for Siuslaw National Forest. Nearby are a state forest and a national wildlife refuge.
Corvallis is a city located in central western Oregon, United States. It is the county seat of Benton County and the principal city of the "Corvallis, Oregon Metropolitan Statistical Area", which encompasses all of Benton County. The population was 49,332 at the 2000 census, and was estimated at 49,807 in 2006 by the United States Census Bureau. The population was estimated at 53,900 as of 2006 by the Portland Research Center at Portland State University, however,, and the City of Corvallis official website states the city has a population of 54,890 as of July 8, 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 peak after the Virgin Mary.

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 capital of the Oregon Territory in 1855 before Salem was eventually selected as the permanent seat of state government.


Corvallis is the largest principal city of the Albany-Corvallis-Lebanon CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Corvallis metropolitan area (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.


Corvallis is located at (44.570780, -123.275998), at an elevation of 235 feet. Situated midway in the Willamette Valley, Corvallis is about 85 miles south of Portland, 30 miles south of the state capital, Salem, ten miles southwest of Albany, about ten miles west of Interstate 5 at its closest point, and 44 miles north of Eugene / Springfield. By car, the travel time is about an hour and a half from Portland, and 45 minutes to an hour from Eugene/Springfield, taking I-5. Oregon Route 99W, a secondary north-south route, also runs through Corvallis.

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.


The campus of Oregon State University, which is the major local employer, is located near the edge of the main downtown area. Another large employer is Hewlett-Packard, whose printer cartridge manufacturing and prototyping facility is located in the northeast area of town.


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

Elementary schools

Adams, Franklin (K-8), Garfield, Hoover, Jefferson, Lincoln (K-8), Mountain View, Wilson, Corvallis Montessori School (Independent)

Middle schools

Cheldelin, Linus Pauling, Ashbrook (Independent)

High schools


Notable residents

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

Points of interest




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. 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, that is, lacking hills, lending itself even moreso to sight-seeing cycling.


Rankings and recognition

  • OSU named "Safest Pac-10 Campus" (University of Southern California study, 1994.)
  • 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 Library 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.

Sister cities

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


  • Benton County, of which Corvallis makes up the majority of the population, has the lowest church attendance per capita of any county in the nation (25% attendance)

Notable works of fiction

  • In legendary film director Billy Wilder's 1944 film noir classic Double Indemnity, the character of Mr. Jackson, played by Porter Hall, is from Medford, Oregon, 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


External links

Search another word or see corvallison Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature