Loerts selected as the new Information Technology Director
Adam Loerts began serving as the new director of Information Technology on October 5, 2020.

Loerts has served Benton County since 2006, most recently serving as the deputy director of Information Technology. Hired as a senior network engineer, Loerts acted in capacity for the roles of department chief information officer and deputy chief information officer from April 2012 to February 2013, and was formally promoted to deputy director of Information Technology in February 2013.

Prior to his service with Benton County, Loerts worked as both a network administrator at the State of Oregon Legislature and as a system administrator in the private sector. Loerts began his career in information technology serving for 7 years as a local area network / wireless area network administrator in the United States Navy.

Benton County placed on Governor Brown's COVID-19 watch list

On Friday, October 2, 2020 the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released data that demonstrates Benton County is not currently meeting the sporadic case rate threshold.

Per OHA, counties are placed on the watch list when there is:
  • A sporadic case rate of ≥ 50 per 100,000 in the last two weeks and the county has >5 sporadic cases in the last two weeks. 
  • For the period 9/13/2020 - 9/26/2020, Benton County experienced a sporadic case rate of 58.3/100,000. 

The sporadic case rate represents the rate of cases that do not have a clear epidemiological link to other outbreaks or and therefore indicate the virus is spreading uncontained in a community. This is also referred to as “community spread.”

Placement on the Governor’s watch list is not a punitive measure and does not move the County out of Phase 2. When a county is placed on the watch list, OHA Public Health Division increases communication with the county to determine if technical assistance and/or other resources are needed to assist in the response to COVID-19. OHA will be providing additional staff to assist Benton County with case investigation and contact tracing, as well as remote assistance with entering lab tests into the communicable disease database.

Benton County winds down wildfire response efforts

Emergency response efforts were reduced on on September 25, 2020. Efforts included distributing timely and accurate information on wildfires and emergency response, providing both human and animal evacuee support, and establishing and implementing a volunteer and donations management plan. Several notable successes of these efforts include:

  • Over 250 hours of service were provided by a total of 46 volunteers. Several sites were staffed by repeat volunteers over multiple days, and all shifts were filled within 24 hours.
  • An average of 30 meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner were served.
  • At peak, a total of 89 guests were signed into clean air shelters. Several clean air shelters with COVID-19 prevention precautions were set up to support evacuees, and over 100 beds were provided. In collaboration with local churches, clean air shelters were temporarily opened to provide support for those experiencing homelessness.
  • Masks were distributed to agricultural workers to protect them from smoke inhalation while working outdoors.

The Benton County Fairgrounds provided an evacuation site to house 181 animals including 91 horses, 26 pigs, 27 cows, 2 sheep, 20 goats, and 15 rabbits. Fifty-six 4-H kids representing 10 clubs worked with Rodeo Committee members to clean, feed, water the animals, and walk the horses, and Oregon State University provided veterinarians to monitor animals daily.

Benton County would like to thank those in our community who provided donations for evacuees and those affected by wildfires in Oregon. Due to an overwhelming amount of donated supplies, Benton County donated additional supplies locally to aid those in our community, in addition to providing supplies to the statewide distribution center.

Daily COVID-19 videos

Since March, the Joint Information Center has produced over 144 daily videos—and 32 of them in Spanish—to provide timely COVID-19 and wildfire information updates to our community.

Visit youtube.com/bentoncountygov and subscribe today!
Board revises emergency declaration, further urges limits on outdoor social get-togethers

On September 8, 2020, the Benton County Board of Commissioners voted (3-0) to reaffirm and revise the emergency declaration that is currently in place through October 31, 2020.

Commissioners encouraged Benton County community members to closely follow Governor Brown’s mandates, and went further by urging community members to limit outdoor social get-togethers to 10 people or less. The governor’s social get-together mandate currently limits indoor social get-togethers to 10 people, but does not impose limits on outdoor get-togethers. 

99 Express transit service resumes

The 99 Express returned to service in mid-September and will remain fareless through the end of 2020.

The 99 Express service follows a new route and schedule, adding new stops in Adair Village and Corvallis. It operates five days-a-week with four daily runs between Corvallis and Adair Village.

pioinfo@co.benton.or.us   //  541-766-6800 //  www.co.benton.or.us
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