Benton County

Chris Allen / Alien Drone

The Corvallis Boys and Girls Club has finally reached their 6 million dollar goal to put up walls on their new teen center. The walls went up Tuesday.

Oregon Dept of Transportation / Flickr.com

This week in Corvallis, several medical, law enforcement and mental health organizations are gathered for crisis intervention training.  As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports,  coordinators say it’s the first such event in Benton County.

Recorded on: May 5, 2017

Air Date: May 8, 2017

Is our current method of voting the best? Do the winners of elections reflect the popular will? Many election reform efforts have been directed at campaign finance, redistricting, voter registration and where and how to vote, with the goal of ensuring our elections are fair to all ideas, candidates and parties. Now the focus has turned to the method used to tally up votes to determine who wins.

Greg Keene / Benton County

Benton County  Commissioners this week (12/20) officially declared themselves a “sanctuary” county.

Brian Bull, National Archives, COP Paris

Election Day gripes have included, “I’m voting for the lesser of two evils” or “I’m only voting for this candidate to keep the other out of office.”  But as KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, a local ballot measure aims to fix this.  

Benton County Residents To Consider Ranked Choice Voting

Aug 9, 2016
Better Ballot Benton

This November, Benton County residents will vote on a ballot measure that would implement ranked choice voting.

KLCC's Kira Hoffelmeyer has more.

Marijuana Listening Tour Continues In Benton County

Mar 7, 2016
Rachael McDonald

Marijuana cultivation and distribution zoning laws aren't perfect in Benton County. Officials are in the middle of a listening tour in hopes of being able to craft changes that benefit businesses and residents. Recently passed legislation puts non-profit medical grow sites at odds with selling to recreational dispensaries. Benton County Assistant Planner Linsey Godwin says in addition to zoning, residents have issues with terminology.

Benton County to Limit Commercial Pot Growing Areas

Nov 4, 2015
greg346/FeaturePics.com

As the state crafts laws around legal marijuana growing, Benton County is trying to restrict where it will be grown. The Board of Commissioners Tuesday approved land use code amendments concerning commercial marijuana.

Benton County Creates Reserve Fund to Repay HP

Oct 23, 2015

Benton County’s Board of Commissioners voted this week to set up a reserve account to repay funds owed to Hewlett-Packard. The county will pay the company over one million dollars in interest from an earlier tax dispute.

www.corvallisoregon.gov

September’s National Preparedness Month has sparked renewed interest in earthquakes and other natural disasters in Oregon. Corvallis will host a readiness forum tonight (Thursday).

http://www.co.benton.or.us

People in and around Sweet Home will soon have a new health care center, due to a $1.1 million dollar federal grant.

The two-year grant comes from Affordable Care Act funds, and will be used to expand an existing clinic. Sherlyn Dahl is Director of Community Health Centers for Benton and Linn Counties. She says it’s important for residents of rural areas to be able to easily find high-quality wrap-around services:

Benton County

Benton County plans to ask voters to pay for a new, larger jail. The funding measure will be on the November ballot.

The current Benton County Jail was built in 1976. It's in downtown Corvallis, adjacent to the historic courthouse. The jail can house up to 40 inmates. Benton County Sheriff Scott Jackson says the county rents up to 40 beds from other jails and has to turn away more than 100 inmates a year. He wants voters to see for themselves that the jail needs replacing. The Sheriff is offering tours every Saturday.

Updated 12:30am Wednesday, May 20

In the May 19 special election, Lane County voters soundly rejected a proposed $35 vehicle registration fee. It failed 66% -33%.

Lane County Commission Board Chair Jay Bozieviech issued the following statement regarding the failure of the vehicle registration fee:

The battle to prohibit the cultivation of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, continues in Oregon. In the upcoming special election, Benton County voters will decide if a measure to ban GMO's is right for them. KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert spoke with people on both sides of the issue and filed this report.

On the face of it, Measure 2-89 seeks to protect local food sources by banning the cultivation of genetically modified crops anywhere in the county. The measure also promotes saving heritage seeds and a sort of “We the People” right to self-governance.

Benton County prides itself on its public health programs. It’s been ranked the healthiest in Oregon four of the past six years. Now it’s fallen behind Washington and Hood River Counties. Benton County Health Spokesman Charlie Fautin says an increase in premature deaths before age 75 cost them the top spot:

Fautin: “We’ll need to go back into our death records and take a closer look at what’s behind that during that period, it wasn’t a statistic we were really aware of before this.”

Thursday was the filing deadline for four Eugene 4J school board positions. The final list shows Alicia Hays unopposed, Jim Torrey with two opponents, and Mary Walston with one challenger. The seat being vacated by Craig Smith has three candidates.

Oregon has no statewide ballot measures this spring. Lane County residents will vote on a motor vehicle registration fee. Benton County will weigh in on an ordinance addressing genetically modified foods.

Ballots will be mailed May 1st in Lane County for the May 19th special election.

www.merkley.senate.gov

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley will host town hall meetings in Benton, Linn, and Lane counties this weekend. The Senator visits each of Oregon's 36 counties every year, inviting residents to talk about their concerns and suggest ideas to bring to Congress. Merkley will also update residents on his work in Washington, D.C. He will visit Corvallis, Halsey, and Eugene on Saturday, March 14th. 

Details are on Merkley's website, here.

Pathway Would Connect Two Largest Cities In Benton County

Jan 26, 2015
http://www.co.benton.or.us/index.php

Benton County is looking to connect its two largest cities, Corvallis and Albany, with a pedestrian bike path. The County has been approved to receive $2 million dollars from a state grant for the project.

Benton County is still in the planning stages to connect Independence Road in Albany to an already completed section in Corvallis. Commissioners are in the process of reviewing a conditional use permit application for the path. Benton County Spokesman Rick Osborn says in addition to linking the two cities, the pathway would create a safety corridor.

Benton County Children Diagnosed With Pertussis

Dec 3, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

Children ages 10 to 14 have been diagnosed with Pertussis in Philomath, Monroe and Corvallis. Making sure children and adults are vaccinated against whooping cough is an important preventative measure.

Benton County Public Information Officer Rick Osborn says Pertussis cases are serious and can be fatal in infants.

@FOX12Oregon via twitter

10:25 AM UPDATE:

Firefighters have the fire 70% contained at 3:00 a.m., and the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) used a bulldozer to fully contain the fire by 5:00 a.m.

Corvallis Gazette-Times

Benton County is unsure how to manage an 18 mile railroad corridor it purchased late last year. The County is seeking public comment on the best use of land that extends from Monroe to just south of Corvallis.

This weekend is the last chance for backyard and open burning in many places in Oregon. Lane, Linn, Benton and Marion Counties have all declared June 15 as the last day.

Neil Miller is with the Oregon Department of Forestry. He says early this year, they considered starting the burn ban sooner than usual. But spring rains relieved their concerns about fire danger:

Benton County

Last fall, Benton County commissioners OK-ed the purchase of about 18 miles of the defunct Bailey Branch rail line.  Now they're looking to the community for ideas on how to use the land.

The Bailey Branch runs south of Corvallis to the town of Monroe, and includes a spur that goes to the community of Dawson.  Benton County Spokesman Rick Osborn says the purchase was about maintaining the right-of-way for future rail usage.

Osborn: "It's really difficult to restore right-of-way for a section that long, but it's a lot easier if you've already got it."

New rankings say the healthiest people in Oregon live in Benton County. The annual report is from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It measures factors such as education, income, tobacco use and quality of life.

Charlie Fautin is the Deputy Director of the Benton County Health Department. He says it's great to rank first in the state, but there are plenty of people in Benton County who are not doing as well as they could.

Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives

Benton County has opened the barns at its Fairgrounds to animals in need of refuge from high water conditions.

Osborn: "We don’t know that it will get any worse, but we don't know that it won't."

Those words from Benton County Spokesman Rick Osborn about the potential for high water over the next few days.  Osborn says melting snow and rain have caused some pastures in the county to flood and at least one barn collapsed under the recent snow.

Project Homeless Connect

In an effort to attract more people, the Benton County Project Resource Connect has dropped the word "homeless" from the name of their event.
 

Nationwide, homeless connect events are held as a one-stop shop for people needing assistance accessing services. Benton County Project Coordinator Johanna Peerenboom says they've dropped the word "homeless" from the title of their event.