Benton County, Oregon
|Benton County, Oregon|
Location in the state of Oregon
Oregon's location in the U.S.
|• Total||679 sq mi (1,759 km2)|
|• Land||676 sq mi (1,751 km2)|
|• Water||3 sq mi (8 km2), 0.37%|
|• Density||126/sq mi (48.8/km²)|
|Congressional districts||4th, 5th|
|Time zone||Pacific: UTC-8/-7|
Benton County is a county located in the Willamette Valley region of the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 census, the population was 85,579. Its county seat is Corvallis. The county was named after Thomas Hart Benton, a U.S. senator who advocated U.S. control over the Oregon Country.
Benton County was created from Polk County by an act of the Provisional Government of Oregon in 1847. The county was created out of an area originally inhabited by the Klickitat, who rented it from the Kalapuyas for use as hunting grounds. All Indian claims to land within Benton County were ceded in the Treaty of Dayton in 1855.
At that time, the boundaries began at the intersection of Polk County and the Willamette River, extended south as far as the California border and as far west as the Pacific Ocean. Later, portions of Benton County were taken to form Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Lane and Lincoln Counties, leaving Benton County in its present form.
The city of Marysville, later renamed Corvallis, was made the county seat in 1851. In 1862 Corvallis became the site of the Oregon State Agricultural College, known today as Oregon State University.
- Polk County, Oregon - (north)
- Lincoln County, Oregon - (west)
- Linn County, Oregon - (east)
- Lane County, Oregon - (south)
|Lincoln County||Linn County|
National protected areas
As of the census of 2000, there were 78,153 people, 30,145 households, and 18,237 families residing in the county. The population density was 116 people per square mile (45/km²). There were 31,980 housing units at an average density of 47 per square mile (18/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 89.16% White, 0.84% Black or African American, 0.79% Native American, 4.49% Asian, 0.24% Pacific Islander, 1.92% from other races, and 2.56% from two or more races. 4.66% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 18.2% were of German, 11.6% English, 8.9% Irish and 7.0% American ancestry. 91.1% spoke English, 4.1% Spanish and 1.0% Chinese as their first language.
There were 30,145 households out of which 28.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.40% were married couples living together, 7.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.50% were non-families. 26.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the county, the population was spread out with 21.30% under the age of 18, 20.20% from 18 to 24, 26.70% from 25 to 44, 21.40% from 45 to 64, and 10.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 99.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $41,897, and the median income for a family was $56,319. Males had a median income of $42,018 versus $29,795 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,868. About 6.80% of families and 14.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.60% of those under age 18 and 4.90% of those age 65 or over.
Benton County has the lowest church attendance per capita of any county in the nation (25% attendance).
Along with Oregon State University, agriculture, lumber, wood products, and some printing technology research and development form the economic base of the county. A substantial portion of the nation's research in forestry, agriculture, engineering, education and the sciences takes place at OSU.
Since 1972, Benton County has been an Oregon "Home Rule" County, meaning that the citizens have full control over the county charter, rather than using a standard constitution issued by the state. The voters have chosen to eliminate the traditional elected county offices of Assessor, Treasurer, Surveyor, Justice of the Peace, and Clerk. Currently, they only elect three County Commissioners and a Sheriff.
The three current Benton County Commissioners are Chair Annabelle Jaramillo, Vice Chair Linda Modrell, and Jay Dixon. They are all members of the Democratic Party and have served since 2001, 1999, and 2001; respectively. Jaramillo and Dixon's current terms expire in January 2017, while Modrell's is up in January 2015. Linda Modrell has not yet announced if she will seek reelection in the November 2014 General Election. Local Democrat Quintin Kreth is the only candidate to have filed for the seat thus far.
The current Benton County Sheriff is Scott Jackson. He was appointed to the office as of July 1, 2013 to fill the remainder of the term of retiring sheriff Diana Simpson, the first elected female sheriff in Oregon. He faces reelection in the November 2014 General Election.
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- H.O. Lang (ed.), History of the Willamette Valley: Being a Description of the Valley and its Resources, with an Account of its Discovery and Settlement by White Men, and its Subsequent History; Together with Personal Reminiscences of its Early Pioneers. Portland: Himes and Lang, 1885.
- Benton County, Oregon, Illustrated: Published under Direction of the Benton County Citizens' League. n.c.: Benton County Citizens' League, 1904. —Copies in collections at OSU and UO libraries.
- Portrait and Biographical Record of the Willamette Valley, Oregon, Containing Original Sketches of Many Well Known Citizens of the Past and Present. Chicago: Chapman Publishing Co., 1903.