Apartments offer smaller space, cost

The 7th Street Station apartment complex is located south of OSU’s campus and is one of many housing options. According to Jon Stoll, apartments offer students affordable housing options.

Office of Student Life works to improve student, community relations.

Off-campus housing is an option for Oregon State University students who decide to not live in residence halls after their first year. One option for students who choose to live off of campus are apartments.

Jon Stoll is the head of the Corvallis Community Relations department in the Office of Student Life. The department has been working for four years to connect and improve student and community relations. 

“It serves two purposes. One, to serve as a liaison to the Corvallis community and then secondly to help educate students about their rights and responsibilities,” Stoll said. “So the liaison piece, working primarily with property managers, subsidy council members, neighborhood associations mainly to receive insight, input.”

Moving from location to location is difficult and can cause stress on interpersonal relationships Stoll said. 

“So one of the largest challenges or transitions is students oftentimes have friends or acquaintances and they decide, ‘Alright, we’re great friends, we’re gonna move in together and have a great time,’” Stoll said. “And the reality of being around somebody 24/7, not necessarily having conversations and planning about house rules or chores, what happens if my significant other is spending the night all the time and that can create some friction. So I think one of the major conflicts or challenges that I hear from property managers is communication and conflict resolution.”

Stoll said the increased range of opportunities for students living off campus can require more attention and thought. 

“It just requires more communication, more interpersonal conversations, conflict resolution. And a lot of that I think is handled when you’re in the residence halls,” Stoll said. “I think that oftentimes it’s about freedom, when oftentimes with increased freedom comes increased responsibility.”

One such off-campus apartment opportunity is the Oak Vale Apartments, located on Witham Hill.

“It’s a family-owned company and before that it was student housing. The buildings have been around for a long time,” Celeste Doering, Oak Vale assistant manager, said.

Oak Vale is one of many complexes in Corvallis where students and families can interact in community settings, Doering said. 

“I really think its a pretty good mix. We have lots of families, lots of students,” Doering said. “It’s probably better for more serious students because it is a mix of students and families. But we really get a lot of everything.”

Options closer to campus include The GEM. The GEM is maintained by the

College Housing Northwest.

College Housing Northwest is a nonprofit organization founded in 1969 by students to support students in the areas of housing, academic success and personal development. 

Much like Oak Vale Apartments, The GEM is student affiliated housing, according to J.D. Chancellor, site manager for The GEM. Living in an apartment complex can provide unexpected benefits for tenants, Chancellor added. 

“I imagine there’s amenities oftentimes in apartments that you wouldn’t get living in a house,” Stoll said. “Some might have a common area that you can take advantage of.”

Additionally, conducting repairs could be easier in apartments, according to Shealyn Wippert, leasing agent at The GEM. 

“The benefit of apartment living is the convenience of being able to ask for help,” Wippert said in an email. “If your sink breaks, you can submit a maintenance request and a trained professional will ensure the problem is fixed.”

Doering said group activities such as tutoring and studying can be facilitated on-site.

“We do a lot of grouping activities. If you need a tutor or if you have students who are in the same classes, they can work together,” Doering said. “And it’s al here at Oak Vale. You don’t have to go far from home. When we are done renovating you will be able to rent out the clubhouse area, and students can tutor together there too, which is helpful.” 

Stoll said students living in the lower class income bracket or who live in poverty, finding an off-campus apartment in Corvallis can be difficult.

“I don’t have the numbers or the data, but I have reason to believe that students explore housing outside of Corvallis, in Lebanon, Albany, Philomath, simply because of the fact that it is cheaper,” Stoll said. “So trying to weigh that balance of distance of travel with the cost of living in Corvallis. I know that it’s something the city of Corvallis is exploring.”

Inflation of living costs may be due to the university and could be spreading as more people move to the area, Doering said.

“Corvallis is very expensive because of the college,” Doering said. “Even Albany is going up in price now.”

Stoll said the Human Services Resource Center is centered on exploring resources for low-income students. The HSRC is currently aiming to add more staff members.

“Hopefully with those additional resources they’ll have the capacity to help identify additional resources for students around food insecurity and housing insecurity,” Stoll said. “The reality is that affordable housing is definitely a challenge in Corvallis.”

Overall, apartment affordability in Corvallis could be cheaper than the housing

market, Stoll said. 

“Apartments I would imagine are more affordable, generally speaking,” Stoll said. “A two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment I would expect to be cheaper than a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house. Most cases I would expect that to be smaller in terms of square footage.”

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