November 2022                                                                                            View as Webpage

Benton County and SOS Elections Officials remind voters to vote


The Benton County Election Department and Oregon Secretary of State have teamed up to remind the public to vote in the general election by Nov. 8.


It is easy to register to vote and get information about voting and elections at oregonvotes.gov.


“Keeping our communities engaged in elections is a top priority and our hope is to provide every eligible community member with the opportunity to vote in this election,” said Benton County Records and Elections Department Director James Morales.


The Oregon Secretary of State is also asking the public to be on the lookout for false information or disinformation and offers the following tips about how to not amplify false information:


  • Don’t repost on social media.
  • Don’t comment, this attracts more attention to the post.
  • Comment only if the post is already popular, with vetted debunking information.
  • If you must share, take a screenshot and share only through email, messenger, etc.


“With so much stuff online these days it’s hard to know where to get accurate information from a trusted source. We’re here to help by sharing official information from the Oregon Elections Division,” said Civic and Elections Education Director for the Secretary of State, Nikki Fisher.


If you see false information contact Nikki Fisher at nikki.fisher@sos.oregon.gov or 503-302-9618.


To learn more about voting information, candidates and measures, Benton County community members can review the Benton County Voters’ Pamphlet online.

Benton County Crisis Center planning and design gets underway


On Oct. 24, Senator Ron Wyden visited to talk about the importance of mental health in our community. Benton County was awarded $1 million in Congressional Directed Spending for the crisis center thanks Congressmen Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley and Peter De Fazio who will also visit the site of the crisis center, Nov. 2.


The Benton County Crisis Center will be a new facility that seeks to provide a safe and supportive space for all who enter. An expansion of Benton County Health Department’s existing crisis services, the new crisis center will offer walk-in mental health crisis services 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. Once operational, the facility will serve all ages, regardless of ability to pay, with no appointment needed. The new facility will be located at 240 NW 4th Street in downtown Corvallis.


Planning is underway, and a project construction timeline is currently being developed. Gerding Builders was selected as the contractor for this project. Demolition and preparation of the site has begun.


Watch the video or learn more about Crisis Center planning.

Pictured left to right: Senator Ron Wyden-U.S. Congress, Chief Executive Officer Doug Boysen-Samaritan Health Services, Commissioner Nancy Wyse-Benton County, Sheriff Jef Van Arsdall-Benton County, Behavioral Health Director Damien Sands-Benton County Health Department, Project Manager Ricky Garcia-Benton County Health Department

Property tax statements are available online


2022 tax statements and certified values are now available on the County Assessor’s website. Paper copies were mailed on October 25.


Payments are due by November 15, 2022. Property owners who pay in full by November 15 will receive a 3-percent discount. Alternatively, if taxpayers wish to forego the 3-percent discount, they have the option of paying one-third of the total amount due on November 15, followed by one-third payments on February 15, and May 15, 2023. 


Learn more about additional payment options.

Justice System Improvement Program updates:

County voters favor including homeless services in potential bond measure


Results of a second survey about the elements of the Justice System Improvement Program (JSIP) were presented to the Benton County Board of Commissioners at their October 18, 2022 board meeting. The survey was conducted by Oregon-based DHM Research from September 7-14. It was commissioned by the County as a follow up to the May 2022 survey and designed to gather information about a potential Benton County JSIP bond on the May 2023 ballot and to identify voter priorities for key potential elements of the bond.


Learn more about the survey results.

Submit your feedback, take the Mental Health and Community Safety Survey by Nov. 22


Benton County is seeking feedback from community members on proposed updates to the County’s justice system, aimed at improving outcomes. Community members can provide feedback by completing the survey in English or en Español.

 

Your answers will help inform County leaders of community members’ public engagement preferences, as well as priorities and concerns specific to the justice system.

 

Learn more about the Justice System Improvement Program.

Benton County floodplain administrator earns regional award


Benton County’s Senior Floodplain Administrator, Toby Lewis, received the Outstanding Individual in Floodplain Management award at the Northwest Regional Floodplain Management Association (NORFMA) conference in Sept. The NORFMA includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and British Columbia. Lewis was also recognized by the Benton County Board of Commissioners during a ceremony on Oct. 18 where Board Chair Nancy Wyse, and Commissioners Xan Augerot and Pat Malone recognized Lewis for her efforts.


Learn more about Lewis's work as a floodplain administrator.

Have you heard about the Faster Internet Oregon speed test campaign?

 

The Faster Internet Oregon speed test campaign is a statewide broadband mapping effort for Oregonians to report Internet speeds or a lack of connection at home.

 

The Faster Internet Oregon project will provide decision-makers with data that will:

  • Identify Oregon homes that lack high-speed Internet
  • Clarify which households don't have an Internet connection and why
  • Provide cost estimates and assess competitive viability of a variety of technical solutions for areas with identified gaps.

 

This campaign will help secure infrastructure funding across the state and ensure the funding is

equitably allocated so that everyone has access to fast affordable Internet service.

 

Please help identify Oregon's areas with the greatest need for high-speed broadband by visiting: www.FasterInternetOregon.org. It takes less than 1 minute!

Updated COVID-19 booster authorized for youth 5 to 11 years old


The Food and Drug Association and Oregon Health Authority have updated the authorization for Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 bivalent vaccines, making these vaccines available for younger children. These vaccines are bivalent, mRNA vaccines, which means they teach your immune system how to target not only the original strain of COVID-19 but also the omicron strain.


Anyone 5 years or older, with at least 2 months since completing the primary series of a COVID-19 vaccine or receiving a monovalent booster (no matter what brand received or how many boosters have been received), are now eligible to receive an updated booster dose. Check with your medical provider or local pharmacy, or visit one of our upcoming vaccination events and get up to date on your COVID-19 vaccination.

Faith & Blue Blood Drive


The Sheriff’s Office hosted a Faith & Blue Blood Drive and open house event in conjunction with Northwest Hills Community Church. The Faith & Blue National Event began in 2020 and was created to help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community by partnering with faith institutions. Their mission is to facilitate safer, stronger, more just and unified communities by directly enabling local partnerships among law enforcement professionals, residents, businesses and community groups through the connections of local faith-based organizations.


Between community members and Sheriff’s Office personnel, they collected a total of 22 units to donate to the Red Cross, 4 units beyond the Red Cross’ goal for this drive! Thank you to all who came out to visit and to those who donated.


Picture left to right: Undersheriff Rogers and Sergeant Thilberg

Benton County is hiring!


Our featured job this month is: Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHP) - Crisis Outreach Response & Engagement (CORE).


The QMHP provides recovery oriented, crisis and therapeutic case management to serve individuals in crisis. As a Crisis Mental Health Professional, you will be a member of a collaborative team whose primary duties include providing crisis services and mental health assessments onsite in the community, institutions, and the crisis center.


View other open positions


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. 

Solid Waste Process Workgroup continues to meet


The next Solid Waste Process Workgroup meeting is Thursday, November 3. All meetings are held in person at the Kalapuya Bldg. located at 4500 SW Research Way, first floor board chambers or online through Zoom.


Learn more about the Solid Waste Process Workgroup or access the online meeting


In addition to the main workgroup subcommittees began meeting last week. Learn more about the subcommittees:


The County will continue to provide updates about the workgroup through mid-Dec. 2022. The goal of the County and the workgroup is to be transparent while working with community members, key stakeholders, and other local, state, and federal partners.


Water quality: part 3 a series by Benton County Public Works

 

Water quality: litter control

 

A big problem

A 2009 study by Keep America Beautiful Inc., estimated that 51 billion pieces of litter are released on U.S. roads annually. This means that each mile of roadway in the U.S. sees 6,791 items littered every year. So while that one little piece of trash may not seem like a lot in the moment, it sure adds up to a large impact over time…nearly $11 billion dollars are spent every year cleaning up items that could have easily been disposed of properly. Photo: A Municipal storm drain full of litter. Source: EPA. 


When people litter, they often don’t think about where the item ends up, or who will have to pick it up later. This trash is usually cleaned up by environmental or road workers, volunteers, or concerned residents. In many cases, these pieces of trash and litter make their way into our rivers and streams, and ultimately the ocean. 


What’s your legacy?

Many litter-prone items are used for a very short time, but can be around for generations after we are gone. For example, a plastic bag is used for an average of 12 minutes, but can take 500-1,000 years to degrade! All isn’t well after 1,000 years however. When items like this break down, they break down into tiny pieces – known as microplastics – which ultimately end up in the food chain and the health impacts of these compounds for humans and the environment are only now being recognized. One little piece of trash may not seem like a lot, but it adds up. And besides, nobody likes a litterbug.


What can you do? 

  • Don’t litter. Always dispose of your trash properly. 
  • Use reusable or biodegradable items when possible to reduce plastic waste. 
  • Talk to your friends and family about litter prevention. 
  • Volunteer for an Adopt-A-Road program or other litter cleanup event. 
  • Make it a goal to pick up one piece of trash whenever you go for a walk, or help with a neighborhood cleanup. 

Questions?


Benton County Public Information Office

541-766-6800 | pioinfo@co.benton.or.us 

www.co.benton.or.us

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