Benton County


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’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.

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).

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.

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.