August 2018
Volume 10, Issue 3
County Fairgrounds initiates master planning process, considers transient lodging tax
Last month the Fairgrounds kicked off an economic and master planning process with a series of work sessions led by ECONorthwest. The public engagement, economic analysis and master planning process is scheduled for completion by the end of the calendar year.

Simultaneous to this substantial strategic planning initiative, the Fairgrounds hopes to implement a transient lodging tax (TLT) and improve their financial outlook.

A transient lodging tax applies to lodging facility users with stays less than 30 days. This tax does not directly affect County residents since tourists and visitors primarily stay in hotels and other lodging facilities within the County.

Introducing Gary Stockhoff, Public Works Director
Gary Stockhoff joined Benton County in June as the new Public Works Director. A native Oregonion, originally from Klamath Falls and raised in Roseburg, Gary has worked worked in state and local government in Oregon, Nevada and California.

In his first 90 days as the Public Works Director for Benton County, he says his return to a smaller community in Oregon feels like he’s coming home.

Corvallis woman achieves weight loss with help from her care team
Ruth Van Order reached a tipping point during the winter of 2017. A growing list of weight-related health problems was mounting, becoming almost unbearable. Van Order took a nutrition class offered through the Community Health Centers of Benton and Linn Counties. That’s when she met Terry Deeds, RN, a care coordinator who helps patients manage their conditions, including diabetes.

Sheriff’s Office recognizes distinguished service at annual event
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office recently held its annual Awards Event to recognize members for their meritorious service.
“All of our deputies and civilian employees do an exceptional job for Benton County residents,” stated Sheriff Scott Jackson, “It’s difficult to single out any one individual so we host an annual event to recognize all of our employees and call out a few specific honors.” 

Kerby works to operationalize 2040 Community Core Values
The County began the 2040 Thriving Communities Initiative in 2016 with a charge from the Board of Commissioners to determine our communities’ vision for the future. In April, Joe Kerby, Benton County Administrator, convened a new working group called the 2040 Implementation Steering Committee (ISC).

Criminal Justice Assessment enters final phase
The fourth and final phase begins this month. Based on the data collected over the three earlier phases, CGL, consulting project director, will synthesize three solutions with varied components for a criminal justice system that better serves the public and inmates.

Free Linn Benton Salmon Watch Trainings available
Linn Benton Salmon Watch invites you to attend a free training specially designed to prepare volunteers for field trips.

Imagine sharing the wonder of salmon migration with children as they witness the final stage of salmon’s epic journey for the first time. Visualize the look on a student’s face as an osprey swoops down and snatches a fish from the river before their very eyes. You’ll learn how to teach watershed topics and get ready to work with kids outside. 

Nominations sought for 2018 environmental awards
Benton County presents two awards annually, an individual award and an organizational award. Nominees will have demonstrated a commitment to environmental stewardship that went beyond compliance with regulatory requirements.

County Employee Wellness Program receives 2018 Cigna Well-being Award
This year Cigna Health Insurance awarded the Well-being Award to Benton County and the Port of Portland for exceptional efforts and resources spent on well-being initiatives for employees.

Kudos to the Benton County Benefits and Wellness Committee and Benefits Administrator Jesus Jara for their successful efforts at greatly increasing participation in the Ignite Wellness program and improving the health of our employees!
County recruitment videos earn national recognition
Careers in Government recently highlighted Benton County following the announcement that three videos recently produced as part of a video recruitment and engagement strategy earned national recognition at the 39th annual Telly Awards and the 24th annual Communicator Awards.

The Benton County Sheriff's Office "Patrol Deputies" recruitment video won the 2018 Bronze Telly Award for Non-Broadcast, General Recruitment. The Benton County "Living In" recruitment video won the Communicator Award of Excellence for Online Video, and the Benton County Natural Areas and Parks recruitment video won the Communicator Award of Distinction for Online Video.

Benton County worked with HireStory, a full service recruitment video production firm, to produce 19 videos that included more than 100 employees between January and June 2017. As of August 2018, these videos have received more than 4,900 views with over 55 hours watched on the County’s YouTube channel.
District Attorney's Office awarded grant to improve services for crime victims
The Benton County District Attorney’s Office was awarded $34,066 from the Victims of Crime Act Support Services and Training Grant (VOCA-SST). The VOCA-SST Grant provides funding for several different areas relating to crime victimization including training and emergency services.

The grant award will be used for various projects. One of the larger projects includes the development and implementation of a multimedia lending library, which focuses on resources and materials addressing crime victimization, trauma, and recovery. The materials will be available for crime victims to check out or may be used in the District Attorney’s Office utilizing technology also purchased under this grant.

County Continues to See Successes in Addressing Youth Tobacco Use
The legal age for purchasing tobacco products (e.g. cigarettes, chew, e-cigarettes) in the State of Oregon was raised to 21 in January of this year, up from 18 years old. These changes mean that retailers and certified smoke shops can no longer sell tobacco products, inhalant delivery systems, or tobacco delivery systems to people younger than 21.

In order to monitor compliance with the law, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) engaged in State wide compliance checks in the first six months of 2018. In our county the past year violation rate was 6.7 percent, with only one retailer failing the State’s compliance check.

New collaboration expands access to HIV and STI prevention resources
Benton County is pleased to announce a new collaboration with Linn County, Lincoln County, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, and regional medical providers, to expand access to rapid HIV testing, referral, and other sexually transmitted infections (STI) prevention resources in the region.

With funding through a new 5-year grant from the Oregon Health Authority, the regional End HIV Partnership has hired three new HIV/STI harm reduction outreach specialists to reach out to individuals at high risk for HIV/STI infection and link them to HIV/STI prevention, testing, and treatment services across the three-county area.

North Albany Natural Area trail: County and City of Albany collaborative project
In 2016, the County initiated a master planning process for North Albany Park and the recently donated 10 acre natural area and 3 acre wetlands. The first phase of the improvements is constructing a natural surface path within the natural area to connect neighborhoods and provide additional access points to the existing North Albany Park.

Benton County Natural Areas and Parks and the City of Albany Parks and Recreation are partnering to complete construction of the natural area loop trail system by the end of September 2018.    //  541-766-6800 //