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News Releases
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Benton County Calls for Public Participation in Advisory Boards and Committees (Photo) - 02/12/24

Benton County is looking for qualified individuals to contribute to the community’s growth and development by serving on various advisory boards and committees. The public is encouraged to apply for vacancies in several crucial areas, fostering civic engagement and collaboration.

The following advisory boards and committees are currently seeking dedicated individuals to fill key roles:

  • Courthouse Preservation – 1 Position
  • Disposal Site – 4 Positions
  • Environment & Natural Resources – 4 Positions
  • Fair Board – 1 Position
  • Food Service – 1 Position
  • Mental Health, Addictions, and Developmental Disabilities – 4 Positions

Participation in these advisory bodies provides a unique opportunity for community members to actively contribute to decision-making processes that shape policies and initiatives affecting Benton County. Each vacancy represents a chance for individuals to lend their expertise, perspectives, and insights toward the enhancement of our community.

To be eligible, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Residency: Individuals must reside or own property within Benton County.
  • Expertise: A demonstrated interest, knowledge, or experience relevant to the specific advisory board or committee.
  • Commitment: A commitment to attend regular meetings and actively engage in the decision-making process.

Interested candidates are invited to submit their applications or learn more about advisory boards, commissions, committees, or the application process, by contacting Teresa Larson at 541-766-6890, teresa.larson@bentoncountyor.gov. Application forms can be obtained from the Benton County website

Benton County values diversity and encourages individuals from all backgrounds to apply. The County believes that a broad range of perspectives enhances the effectiveness of advisory boards and committees in addressing the diverse needs of the community.

This recruitment initiative aligns with Benton County’s commitment to transparency, community involvement, and informed decision-making. By participating in advisory roles, residents play an integral role in shaping the policies that directly impact our community’s well-being and future.

Descriptions of Advisory Boards/Commissions/Committees

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Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate based on disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

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Benton County Commissioners Commemorate Black History Month (Photo) - 02/07/24

The Benton County Commissioners acknowledged the significance of Black History Month Feb. 6 at the Kalapuya Building in Corvallis with a proclamation honoring the occasion. First Vice President of the Linn Benton The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Christopher Hughbanks, read the proclamation that recognized the invaluable contributions of African Americans throughout history.

“Black History Month provides a unique opportunity to celebrate and honor the invaluable contributions, achievements, resilience, and cultural heritage of African Americans, who have played a vital role in shaping the history and identity of the United States,” said Hughbanks while reading the proclamation.

The Linn Benton NAACP, serving as a local extension of the national organization, aligns its mission with the broader objectives of the NAACP. With a focus on promoting equality in political, educational, social, and economic spheres, the organization has been a driving force for change in the mid-Willamette Valley for over half a century. 

In 2024, Black History Month highlights the rich and varied contributions of African Americans to music, literature, the visual arts, and all aspects of contemporary culture.

“Benton County is committed to fostering an environment that values diversity, equity, and inclusion, and recognizes the importance of promoting awareness and understanding of Black history,” said Hughbanks.

The commissioners echoed this sentiment, affirming Benton County's commitment to cultivating an environment that values diversity, equity, and inclusion.  As part of their commemoration of Black History Month, the Benton County Board of Commissioners urges residents to engage in learning, celebration, and reflection on the achievements and contributions of African Americans. 

For a list of upcoming events celebrating Black History Month visit the NAACP Linn Benton Branch website

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PHOTO CAPTION

First Vice President of the Linn Benton The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Christopher Hughbanks, reads a proclamation for Black History Month Feb. 6 at the Kalapuya Building in Corvallis. The Benton County Commissioners recognized the invaluable contributions of African Americans throughout history with a proclamation.

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Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate based on disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

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Demonstration Scheduled for Benton County's New Website (Photo) - 02/06/24

Benton County recently launched its newly redesigned website, a user-centric platform aimed at providing residents, businesses, and visitors with a more intuitive and efficient online experience. A demonstration of the new site is scheduled for the public and Benton County employees.

  • What: Benton County website demonstration
  • When: February 13, 2024, 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
  • Where: In person at 4500 Research Way, Corvallis, Ore., 97330 

RSVP by emailing pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

The redesigned website, accessible at [www.BentonCountyOr.gov], is a significant upgrade that reflects the County’s commitment to innovation and accessibility. With a fresh, modern look and enhanced functionalities, the new site offers improved navigation, making it easier for users to find information, access services, and engage with the County online.

“Streamlined menus and a user-friendly interface on the new website ensure a seamless browsing experience, allowing users to quickly locate the information they need,” said John Larsen, Benton County Information Technology Deputy Director.

The website is designed to be fully responsive, providing optimal viewing and interaction across a wide range of devices, including smartphones and tablets.

“This upgrade will provide enhanced features to help users find relevant information efficiently, saving time and improving overall user satisfaction,” said Benton County Public Information Officer Cory Grogan. “Community members will also be able to stay informed with the latest news, announcements, and updates from Benton County.”

The new website supports a commitment to transparency, accessibility, and user satisfaction.

“Benton County is committed to keeping pace with technological advancements and meeting the evolving needs of our community,” added Larsen. 

To celebrate the website's launch, Benton County will be hosting a virtual and in-person website tour on Feb. 13, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the Kalapuya Building, 4500 Research Way, Corvallis. Residents, local businesses, Benton County employees, and community partners are invited to join.

The Benton County website team encourages community engagement through feedback forms, surveys, and social media connections and is dedicated to listening and responding to the needs of residents, valuing their input. Share your feedback by emailing pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

 

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO STORY

PHOTO CAPTIONS:

Benton County employees who supported the website project were recognized by the Benton County Commissioners at the Board of Commissioners Meeting Feb. 6 at the Kalapuya Building in Corvallis, Ore. From left to right: JonnaVe Stokes, Board of Commissioners Office; Jennifer Ficek, Public Works; Jon Stratton, Information Technology; Samantha Bailey, Health Department; and Katalin Pusztavari, Sheriff’s Office.

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Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate based on disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

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Historic Courthouse Committee Seeks Input from Public (Photo) - 02/05/24

Benton County is exploring options for the future of the historic courthouse. In operation since 1889, the building no longer meets court or county needs. Construction of a new courthouse and District Attorney's office is planned for completion in 2026.

A Historic Courthouse Advisory Committee has been exploring ideas to make a recommendation to the Benton County Board of Commissioners this spring. The public is invited to provide input to the committee through February 15, 2024 in a community comment form available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/hcac_feedback and at all county offices.

More opportunities to participate will follow as the project progresses. Project costs and a final decision about courthouse reuse will be made in the future, following additional county planning and public input activities.

For more information about the Historic Courthouse Advisory Committee’s work, visit https://bit.ly/BentonCoGov-BCHCAC.

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Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate based on disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

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A white livestock guardian dog gazes at three black and white piglets.
A white livestock guardian dog gazes at three black and white piglets.
Benton County awards non-lethal wildlife deterrent grants (Photo) - 01/31/24

Benton County’s Agricultural and Wildlife Protection Program (AWPP) has awarded over $22,000 in non-lethal wildlife deterrent grants to Benton County farmers. 

Farms of any size in Benton County can apply for up to $5,000 to purchase non-lethal deterrents to protect livestock and crops from wild predators and beaver. Applications are open annually October through November and are reviewed by an award committee comprised of Benton County staff, representatives from the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, OSU Extension, Chintimini Wildlife Center, and an at-large citizen member.   

“We had a record number of outstanding applications this year and were able to fund several very high-quality proposals this grant round. Besides our annual grant cycle, we do have funds available year-round for residents dealing with impacts from beavers,” said Sheanna Steingass, AWPP Coordinator. Emergency funding is available for non-lethal deterrents such as pond levelers, tree fencing, or other devices to prevent damage without trapping or removing beaver from their habitat.

The AWPP grant program is in its sixth year. This year’s grantees are located throughout the County and include a variety of non-lethal deterrent projects including livestock guardian animals, new and updated fencing, and animal housing.   

The next round of grant applications will be open October 1, with awards announced the first week of January 2025. Learn more about the AWPP.

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Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

Commissioner Pat Malone presents a plaque to Senator Sara Gelser Blouin in appreciation of her funding support for the Oak Creek evacuation route. Commissioner Malone thanks the community and partners for their efforts in support of the Oak Creek evacuation route.
Commissioner Pat Malone presents a plaque to Senator Sara Gelser Blouin in appreciation of her funding support for the Oak Creek evacuation route. Commissioner Malone thanks the community and partners for their efforts in support of the Oak Creek evacuation route.
Evacuation Collaboration Improves Safety in Oak Creek Valley (Photo) - 01/30/24

The Benton County Commissioners hosted a recognition and tour for a new wildfire evacuation route in the Oak Creek Valley at the Kalapuya Building in Corvallis on Jan. 24 to thank partners and highlight a successful collaboration that could save lives.

The inspired partnership has addressed a critical public safety concern in the Oak Creek area of northwest Corvallis. Oak Creek, surrounded by dense woodlands, faces a heightened risk of wildfires. Compounding the danger was the fact that its 1,300 residents and visitors relied on a solitary entrance and exit point, Oak Creek Drive, leaving them vulnerable in the event of a wildfire. 

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Bryan Lee, Benton County Emergency Manager, said he and others were concerned for the safety of Oak Creek residents. That concern led to a successful and important collaboration that was spearheaded by residents of the Oak Creek area.

Part of the motivation for action has stemmed from recent examples like the devastating Camp Fire in northern California's city of Paradise in 2018. Concerned Oak Creek residents approached the County, seeking a solution to avoid a similar catastrophe. In response, the Benton County Commissioners, along with public works and emergency management teamed up with other key partners including the Corvallis Rural Fire Protection District, Oregon Department of Forestry, Oregon State University (OSU), City of Corvallis, and the Benton County Community Foundation.

Over the past two years, a comprehensive solution was developed, culminating in the completion of the Oak Creek Evacuation Route. County Commissioner Pat Malone emphasized that persistence and strong partnerships made the project possible.

The collaboration included Oregon State University to establish a limited-use service road through their Sheep Center property. The new route connects NW Oak Creek Drive with NW Ponderosa Avenue, providing an alternative exit path for residents in the event of a mass evacuation. The gravel road is accessible to regular-sized vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. 

Acknowledging the grassroots nature of the initiative, Commissioner Xan Augerot expressed gratitude to Oak Creek residents for their commitment to fire preparedness while Commissioner Nancy Nancy Wyse emphasized the significance of collaborative partnerships in achieving successes like the Oak Creek Evacuation Route.

State Senator Sara Gelser Blouin was also recognized before the tour for her instrumental role in ensuring the completion of the project to secure funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for the Oak Creek project. Moreover, Oregon State University Senior Vice President of Administration Paul Odenthal highlighted the University's success in contributing to community welfare while preserving the integrity of research at the Sheep Center. 

The Benton County Community Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of people in Benton County, also played a pivotal role in facilitating private contributions to the project. Benton Community Foundation President and CEO Chris Quaka said that because of community members and leaders in Benton County, Oak Creek is now a safer place to live.

Encouraging future community-driven initiatives, Benton County emphasizes the importance of citizen engagement in shaping public safety measures. Gelser Blouin urged continued communication, highlighting that citizen letters are catalysts for meaningful change.

The success of this collaborative effort stands as a testament to the positive impact achievable through community-driven initiatives and partnerships. Thanks to dedicated citizens and local civic-minded partners, a critical public safety need that may save lives has been addressed in the Oak Creek Valley.