Benton County

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.

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.

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:

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