Benton County

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:

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.

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