Benton County, Oregon
|Benton County, Oregon|
Benton County Courthouse in Corvallis
Location in the U.S. state of Oregon
Oregon's location in the U.S.
|Founded||December 23, 1847|
|• Total||679 sq mi (1,759 km2)|
|• Land||676 sq mi (1,751 km2)|
|• Water||2.7 sq mi (7 km2), 0.4%|
|• Density||127/sq mi (49/km²)|
|Congressional districts||4th, 5th|
|Time zone||Pacific: UTC-8/-7|
Benton County is a county in 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 American control over the Oregon Country.
Benton County was created on December 23, 1847 by an act of the Provisional Government of Oregon. The county was named after Democratic Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, an advocate of the doctrine of Manifest Destiny and the belief that the American government should control the whole of the Oregon Country. At the time of its formation the county included all the country west of the Willamette River, south of Polk County and running all the way to the California border in the south and the Pacific Ocean in the west.
The county was created out of lands originally inhabited by the Klickitat, who rented it from the Kalapuyas for use as hunting grounds. All aboriginal claims to land within Benton County were ceded in the Treaty of Dayton in 1855. 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. The city briefly was the capital of Oregon. In 1862 Corvallis became the site of the Oregon State Agricultural College, known today as Oregon State University.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 679 square miles (1,760 km2), of which 676 square miles (1,750 km2) is land and 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2) (0.4%) is water. It is the fourth-smallest county in Oregon by land area and third-smallest by total area.
National protected areas
|U.S. Decennial Census
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).
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 85,579 people, 34,317 households, and 19,256 families residing in the county. The population density was 126.6 inhabitants per square mile (48.9/km2). There were 36,245 housing units at an average density of 53.6 per square mile (20.7/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 87.1% white, 5.2% Asian, 0.9% black or African American, 0.7% American Indian, 0.2% Pacific islander, 2.3% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 6.4% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 22.6% were German, 16.1% were English, 13.5% were Irish, and 3.6% were American.
Of the 34,317 households, 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.3% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 43.9% were non-families, and 28.2% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.87. The median age was 32.1 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $48,012 and the median income for a family was $71,763. Males had a median income of $50,282 versus $35,387 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,177. About 7.7% of families and 19.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.6% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.
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 Anne Schuster, 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.
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.
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- 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.
|Lincoln County||Linn County|