Mental health prevention in county schools, introducing Commissioner Augerot, and county facility improvements are the top stories in the latest issue of News from Benton County.

Volume 9, Issue 1

Levy spearheads funding mental health prevention in county schools

Following approval of the 2012 operating levy renewal , the Health Department spearheaded a partnership with Trillium Family Services and Benton County School Districts to utilize levy funds to staff mental health prevention activities and a counselor in every school.

"Without the collaboration between the school districts, non-profit social services partners and mental health prevention service providers, our community would be a several steps back because we wouldn't be as effective in keeping these kids as safe and supported," said Chiharu Blatt, Valley Community Services Manager with Trillium Family Service.

Introducing Commissioner Xan Augerot

At the height of the Cold War, Commissioner Xan Augerot spent her sophomore year in high school living in the U.S.S.R without her family, attending school and working full-time as nanny.

"It wasn't scary. It was just a different system. That year was hugely formative in how I see the world in shades of gray, not black and white," reflected Commissioner Augerot.

Born in New Mexico and raised in Washington, at one point Augerot spoke English, Romanian, Bulgarian and Russian. As the daughter of a linguist and an elementary school teacher, Augerot spent most of her youth bouncing between Seattle and Eastern Europe.

Three county facilities to receive upgrade

Last fall the Benton County Board of Commissioners approved a proposal to begin the remodel process on three county facilities: 
  • Public Service Building on 27th Street; 
  • Avery Building on Avery Avenue; 
  • and, the Sunset Building on Research Way. 
All remodel projects will be completed using internal funds, a federal Health Resources and Services Administration grant, and long-term financing over the next three years. 

"Get Outdoors Day" receives excellence award

At the annual Oregon State University Extension Association (OSUEA) conference, the Benton County Health Department's School Health Navigation team received OSUEA's Search for Excellence award for "Get Outdoors Day." 

Get Outdoors Day is a one-day learning event held each spring at Peavy Arboretum, north of Corvallis. This free, family-friendly event encourages recreating outdoors in a nearby forest and to learn new healthy lifestyle skills in a safe, welcoming atmosphere.
Get Outdoors Day has been held every spring since 2013.  The next Get Outdoors Day is scheduled for Saturday, Jun. 3, 2017.

Benton County marks 4th year of tobacco-free properties

January 2017 marks the four year anniversary of Benton County's tobacco-free facilities and grounds policy. This policy prohibits smoking, vaping or other tobacco use indoors or outdoors on Benton County property. The policy seeks to promote the long-term health and safety of county employees and the public by promoting a tobacco-free environment.

Benton County has been in the forefront of tobacco control policy adoption and helped pave the way for current state laws prohibiting smoking in almost all Oregon workplaces and prohibiting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.
Commissioner Schuster receives First Citizen Award

Benton County commission chair and longtime community volunteer Anne Schuster received the First Citizen Award for leadership and performance for work above and beyond her profession at the 69th annual Celebrate Corvallis event. The First Citizen Award honors individuals between the ages of 42 and 65 that participated in a broad scope of activities centered in the Corvallis area for more than three years.
Former Commissioner Dixon honored at Celebrate Corvallis

Former Benton County Commissioner Jay Dixon received the Jim and Ruth Howland award for special achievement at the 69th annual Celebrate Corvallis event. The Howland award, named for Jim Howland, one of the founders of CH2M Hill and his wife, Ruth.
County shop maintains 42 fleets

If you're a government agency that owns vehicles, chances are the Benton County shop worked on those vehicles at some point. 

The very first fleet management collaboration began with the Alsea School District in the early 90s.

Now the Benton County shop manages the fleets for the Albany, Corvallis, Tangent and Lebanon Fire Departments, and many others.

Benton County Sheriff's Office and U.S. Forest Service collaborate for safer forests

If you commit a crime on forest land in Benton County, there is more than one law enforcement agency that can come down on you. 

Forest Deputy Schermerhorn with the Benton County Sheriff's Office (BCSO) and Captain Greg Moore with the United States Forest Service (USFS) can tell you all about the host of regulations, statutes and ordinances that can be enforced.

In a lot of places, this could end up as a turf war. In the Willamette Valley, collaboration across law enforcement agencies is key. 

OSU, Benton County collaborate on Alcohol Responsibility Program

Oregon State University and Benton County were selected by the Responsible Retailing Forum as one of six town-gown communities to pilot an Alcohol Responsibility Program that promotes the responsible sale, service, and consumption of alcohol. 

"The Alcohol Responsibility Program is another step in the effort of Corvallis and Oregon State University to address issues of under-age drinking and alcohol abuse in our community," said Jonathan Stoll, director of Corvallis Community Relations at OSU.

County prepares biennium budget

County staff is working diligently to prepare the 2017-2019 biennium budget. 

Department directors met with the Chief Operating Office and county Budget Manager beginning the first week in February. The Proposed Budget will be reviewed by the Budget Committee in April and May before being forward to the Board of Commissioners for final approval and adoption in June.

2040 Thriving Communities initial comment phase ends March 6

More than 3,000 people provided over 8,200 comments since the initial comment phase began in late July 2017. 

County residents are encouraged to submit comments online at by Mon., March 6, 2017, when the initial comment phase will conclude.