Help us move to Corvallis!
May 9, 2011 5:42 PM   Subscribe

Me and my partner are moving to Corvallis, Oregon this September and really need some help with some questions we have!

My husband is starting a graduate program at Oregon State this September.

1. Several people he met when he visited Corvallis told him that the best thing to do was to get an apartment over the summer and start renting it before we moved up since "all of the good places fill up by the time school starts." We simply cannot afford to do this AND pay rent for where we live now. Can anybody else confirm this? We are going to be looking for a 1-2 bedroom place near campus if possible for less than $800 a month. Is it likely to be impossible to find a place like this come September?

2. Since we cannot afford to make a trip up to Corvallis before we move there, we are going to just find a place on Craiglist and just go with it without actually seeing it. Is it easy to get scammed this way? How do we stop ourselves from getting scammed?

3. Is Budget a good company to rent a moving truck from? We've heard terrible things about Uhaul.

Any other advice you have for us about moving to Corvallis would be great! Thanks!
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation around Corvallis, OR (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Not being a student, I can't tell you about #1, but as for #2, memail me the address of the apartment you are thinking of renting, and I can drive by and gather impressions for you. I'm sure they wouldn't let me inside, but I can tell you about the neighborhood. Also stay away from any place with a red door.
posted by Knowyournuts at 5:52 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Can someone in the program he got into help him with looking? It would really help to have an advocate in the area.

Also, has he talked to the grad school administrators to see if they help with housing. If not, they may keep a list of rentals. I have found in smaller towns that people don't necessarily use craigslist as much. This may or may not be true in corvallis.

Also, if you are moving for school then you may be able to write the move off on taxes, you may want to look into this.
posted by TheBones at 5:53 PM on May 9, 2011

Congrats on the move, this is a great area! We moved here last September, and it was really remarkable the way all the available places were rented by the time we were ready to rent one. We actually live in Junction City - midway between because I work in Corvallis and he works in Eugene.

We also rented sight-unseen. Because we weren't able to see the place, we chose a place with higher rent then we would have preferred; in our case it's a free standing place instead of a townhouse/apartment situation. It turned out that our chosen house was being rented out by a large property management company, so the risk of scam was low. Ours deals with the Eugene area only, but perhaps you can call around the Corvallis area? Larger companies with many properties might also know when a place is opening up. is a great way to look for rentals.

U-Haul is the pits.. their reservation system is totally wacky and you may or may not even get what you wanted to rent. I once rented a budget truck with no issues, but I do prefer ABF for my most recent moves. I'll be using them in the future, also.
posted by WowLookStars at 5:54 PM on May 9, 2011

Yeah, definitely avoid any of the "red door" properties in Corvallis. Notorious local slum-lord, Kip Schoning, rents under Bula enterprises. Yeah, stuff in Corvallis that's near campus fills up early. Would it be possible for you to move earlier than September?

I think Craigslist is pretty active in Corvallis, though I haven't ever looked at the rental section.

You can always move up here and stay in a cheap hotel or even camp while you look, if you really don't want to buy someplace without seeing it first.

It'd definitely be worth it to check out reviews of specific complexes, either online or through some helpful contact you make in the grad school.

Good luck! Corvallis is a fabulous town! :)
posted by purenitrous at 6:17 PM on May 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've heard good reviews of rental trucks from Penske, but I've used and been very happy with ABF (containers and trucks) for all of my recent long-haul moves.
posted by janell at 7:34 PM on May 9, 2011

I would second the ABF option for moving. I've used it for a move down to LA, and it made the whole process a lot easier. If you haven't heard of it before, they drop off one or two pod type shipping containers that you pack yourself (you usually have a few days to fill it up) then they will come by, pick it up, and within a week or so, it will arrive at the destination city ready for you to unload it.

They can also store it for you, so instead of trying to unload the moving truck as soon as you get to Corvallis, you can instead drive up with a car full of the bare essentials and take a week or two to look for an apartment. And even if you do end up with an apartment signed for before you arrive, you know it would be a lot easier to back out of it and move somewhere else because you would just have to repack your car and get ABF to ship your container of stuff to your final living location.
posted by mrzarquon at 7:40 PM on May 9, 2011

Friend of mine recently had an awful experience with a Budget truck rented in Portland -- it broke down on the rural freeway in the night, and their customer service was extremely slow at getting them towed and the truck replaced (among other issues, there was no GPS in the truck, and the company had to locate it by asking them where they were, which is tough when the answer is "in a field").

I'm sure every company slips up from time to time and it's not fair to judge them by one horror story, but if someone's asking about Budget, this one is at the top of my mind right now. It sucked and I am glad to hear ABF is a viable alternative.

Welcome to Oregon!
posted by thesmallmachine at 8:10 PM on May 9, 2011

We moved to Corvallis last summer (from Portland), and we definitely had trouble finding a place. We started looking at the beginning of August and did end up getting a decent apartment, but it's a ways from campus (up a big hill), the rent is high, and we couldn't move in until mid-October (so I had to couch-surf for the first three weeks of fall term). We got super-lucky getting this place and only got it because someone else bailed, so I would definitely recommend looking as soon as you possibly can, or moving earlier than you normally would. Craigslist is OK for rentals, but call around to complexes too because a lot of apartments don't seem to be advertised (ours wasn't). Craigslist seems to be terrible for jobs too, for the record.

FWIW, I also volunteer to drive by a few places and see if it looks iffy, get a couple pictures, etc (I grew up here and could probably tell you off the top of my head).
posted by dialetheia at 8:57 PM on May 9, 2011

Contact someone from the program he got in to. Perhaps another student in his group, who's willing to contact the landlord and go see the apt, take some pics...
posted by WizKid at 9:04 AM on May 10, 2011

Contact someone in the program he is joining and ask them to send out an email to their friends or a department listserv asking about housing options.

You will have a difficult time finding a place that you like and that you can afford, that's just how it is. The first year you live here, you may not like your place; just get ready for that. Alternatively, you could find a place in Albany where the prices will be lower but the commute will take time and cost money. I wouldn't suggest Albany for a grad student (lack of grad student community...) but it will work for your first year if you have to.

Don't rent any houses owned buy Bula! Don't rent a house with a red door! We're not joking.

Contact Pinon Property Management for leads. I've never worked with them but they seem to have a corner on the rental market for college kids. Likewise, there is Sterling Management too.

Graduate students here at OSU (those that work for the school...) are unionized. You may want to contact CGE to see if they have any leads or can put you in contact with anyone.

FYI, the bus lines are free in the city. This isn't the case if you're coming from Albany or Philomath, just for in town. So if you're close to a bus route, that might be nice.
posted by pwb503 at 12:30 PM on May 20, 2011

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