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A new art display “Sew Happy” has recently been installed at the Benton County Fairgrounds and Event Center’s Floral Courtyard. This completed art installation is a collaborative effort between local artist Kathy Jederlinich, the Benton County Cultural Coalition, the Benton County Fair Foundation, Benton County Fair Board and the Benton County Natural Areas and Parks Department (NAPE).

Benton County Fairgrounds unveils new local art display at Floral Courtyard

A new art display “Sew Happy” has recently been installed at the Benton County Fairgrounds and Event Center’s Floral Courtyard. This completed art installation is a collaborative effort between local artist Kathy Jederlinich, the Benton County Cultural Coalition, the Benton County Fair Foundation, Benton County Fair Board and the Benton County Natural Areas and Parks Department (NAPE).

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Ken Pastega and volunteers stand for a photo next to a red sign with the words "Merry Christmas from: the Pastega family, Benton County Fairgrounds, and Greater Corvallis Rotary."

Benton County thanks Pastega family and volunteers for years of holiday lights and cheer!

Nov. 29, 2023

View photos of the Pastega Christmas Light Display.

Watch a video of the Pastega Christmas Light Display.

Benton County is bidding a heartfelt farewell to a beloved holiday tradition—the Pastega Christmas Light Display. This enchanting spectacle of twinkling lights and festive joy has been a cherished tradition since 1981.

Tomi Douglas, the Director of Benton County Natural Areas and Parks, took a moment to express gratitude for Ken Pastega and the dedicated volunteers who have tirelessly upheld this tradition. In a gesture of appreciation, Douglas presented Pastega with an honorary key to the fairgrounds, recognizing decades of effort from the Pastega family in making the holidays truly special in Benton County.

“The work that Ken and the team have done to keep this tradition alive throughout the years is amazing, and we know this won’t be the end of holiday traditions in Benton County,” Douglas said.

Douglas highlighted Benton County’s commitment to collaborating with the community to explore fresh ideas for holiday traditions at the Benton County Fairgrounds.

Ken Pastega, alongside Mike Strowbridge and Dana Strowbridge, has been at the helm of the drive-thru light display at the fairgrounds for a decade. At 77, Pastega genuinely expresses gratitude for the community’s support.

Beyond its visual charm, the Pastega Christmas Light Display has been a force for good. Always free for all, the event encourages visitors to donate canned food, resulting in an impressive 70,000 pounds or more of donations to local food pantries over the years.

“The enjoyment is seeing the kids go through and the adults saying I’ve gone through it every year,” said Pastega.

For now, the community still can revel in the magic of the Pastega Christmas Light Display at the Benton County Fairgrounds every night from 5 to 10 p.m. until December 31. It’s a final chance to bask in the warmth of this long-standing holiday tradition. 

“The Pastega Christmas Light Display has been a source of joy for the community, and we look forward to helping ensure new traditions will bring the magic of the season to Benton County for years to come,” Douglas concluded.                                         


Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

Benton County Board of Commissioners logo.

Benton County temporarily suspends Disposal Site Advisory Committee activities

Nov. 28, 2023

Today, the Benton County Board of Commissioners announced a temporary pause of Disposal Site Advisory Committee (DSAC) activities after compelling testimony by the Community Development Director warning of significant challenges with the DSAC Board meetings including actions by some board members that block any substantial progress. 

The decision to pause was made by the Board of Commissioners during their regularly scheduled meeting on November 28 so steps can be taken to overhaul the bylaws and the structure of the meetings to be constructive, transparent and inclusive of all Benton County community members.  

The Board said this decision underscores their steadfast commitment to ensuring a productive and safe committee environment, ultimately allowing DSAC to serve the Benton County community effectively.

During testimony, Benton County Community Development Department Director Darren Nichols expressed concerns that the committee has faced major obstacles preventing the Committee from fulfilling its mission which includes bullying, disinformation, threats of violence, and a lack of progress in committee work that has led to the recent resignations of five committee members.

Benton County Administrator Rachel McEneny has acknowledged these events within the committee and emphasized the importance of transparent and productive committees and public meetings. McEneny has conveyed the County’s commitment to addressing these issues during this pause. 

“The serious breakdown in the committee’s ability to communicate effectively necessitates this pause. We recognize the importance of committees and public meetings and will work diligently to ensure the committee can resume and fulfill its intended purpose as quickly as possible,” McEneny said.

During Nichols’ testimony, he also highlighted a growing list of potential partners willing to assist in addressing sustainable materials’ future in Benton County and Oregon. These partners include cities, counties, state agencies, academic and industry representatives, and community leaders committed to collaborative solutions for solid waste challenges. DSAC is tasked with implementing Oregon State law, long-range monitoring of the disposal site, providing a forum for resident comments and concerns, as well as preparing an annual written report.

View the printed testimony or watch the testimony from Nichols and the Board’s response, and forward it to 37 minutes and 8 seconds.

Learn more about the Benton County Disposal Site Advisory Committee (DSAC).

DSAC is required in statute by Oregon law.


Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

Military Appreciation Month gathering and proclamation in Benton County

November 9, 2023

Watch the video – YouTube

View the photos – Flickr

Benton County has a long history of supporting its military Veterans. The tradition continues as the Board of Commissioners signed a proclamation recognizing Nov. 11 as Veterans Day and declaring November as Military Appreciation Month throughout Benton County. Commissioners Pat Malone, Xan Augerot, and Nancy Wyse personally thanked each of the Veterans in attendance at a gathering prior to the board’s Nov. 7 meeting at the Kalapuya Building.

“This is a great reminder of how important our service members and their families are to this community,” said Malone.

During the meeting, two local veterans, Retired Sgt. Major and Purple Heart Recipient Vinnie Jacques who served in the Oregon Army National Guard and Benton County Veteran Service Officer Mark Lapinskas, discussed how grateful they are for the resources provided to Benton County veterans.

“I am thankful to the community for how gracious so many people were to welcome our unit home on our return. Numerous individuals and organizations provided care and support,” said Jacques. “Veterans need a hand up, not a handout. They need resources,” he said, specifically mentioning his appreciation for the County’s backing of the Veterans Service Office.

Jacques credits the support received from the community for the success his unit’s Veterans have obtained. “From a small community, we have accomplished great things and continue to serve the region. This includes producing two doctors, four Oregon State Troopers, numerous police officers, four Sgt. Majors and several colonels.”

A resident of North Albany, Jacques served with the Oregon National Guard’s 2nd Battalion – 162nd Infantry Regiment based in Springfield. In the early 2000s, the battalion was deployed overseas and participated in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Desert Shield, and the Iraq War. For their heroic actions in the Battle Of Falluja, Jacques and his unit received a Presidential Citation. During the deployment, the unit sustained four killed and 25 recipients of the Purple Heart. Jacques was severely wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device.

After his recovery, Jacques became dedicated to serving his fellow National Guards personnel. He helped create the Oregon National Guard Veterans Transition Assistance Program, which works to ease veterans with their transition back to civilian life.

During the meeting, Jacques presented the County commissioners with the book, The Devil’s Sandbox, detailing the 2nd Battalion – 162nd Infantry Regiment’s call-up in the summer of 2003 to their return home in the spring of 2005. The book also provides an intimate look at the reality of National Guardsmen at war.

Lapinskas reminds Veterans and their families that the Veterans Service Office is here to ensure that you receive all the benefits you are eligible to receive. This includes assistance with submitting claims for compensation, pension, survivor’s benefits, and Veterans Affairs healthcare. The office is located at 1121 NW Ninth Street in Corvallis. Appointments may be made calling 541-368-7100 or emailing veterans@ocwcog.org.

Lapinskas praised the County’s Veterans. “You are an asset to the community,” he said, adding he also recognizes the support families of Veterans provide.

Benton County Sheriff Jef Van Arsdall acknowledged the contributions Veterans make to Benton County, pointing out that numerous County employees, including sheriff’s deputies, served in the military. “I am fortunate that we have a lot of folks in my division who are Veterans who have been in the grease and came out the other side. All I can say is, ‘Thank you.’”


Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

Benton County teams up with local partners to offer free fentanyl info sessions in Monroe

November 3, 2023

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Benton County Health Department, in partnership with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Casa Latinos Unidos, and the South Benton Food Pantry will hold two information sessions in Monroe as part of a campaign to help raise community awareness about the powerful synthetic opioid, fentanyl. 

The County has seen increased calls to 911, emergency room visits, and even death because of recent increases in supply and use of fentanyl in Benton County. The Fentanyl Aware campaign, modeled after Lane County’s, is aimed at counteracting these negative effects by empowering the community with knowledge, tools, and resources.

“We began our campaign with the Sheriff’s Office last May and held an information session in English in Corvallis,” said Rocío Muñoz, Interim Healthy Communities Division Manager for the Benton County Health Department. “We’re excited to partner with Casa Latinos Unidos and South Benton Food Pantry to be able to offer sessions in both English and Spanish to our rural communities.”

Both sessions will be held at Heritage Hall’s new community space, called Kepi Nak-Nak Commons at 648 Orchard Street in Monroe.

  • Spanish session: Wednesday, November 15, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
  • English session: Friday, November 17, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Community members are invited to attend the information sessions, which will include information on local data and overdose statistics, tips for parents, connections to resources, free naloxone and other overdose prevention tools.

To learn more and follow the campaign, visit bit.ly/BentonCoGov-FentanylAware


Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.


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El Condado de Benton colabora con organizaciones locales para ofrecer sesiones informativas gratis en Monroe sobre la droga llamada fentanilo

El Departamento de Salud del Condado de Benton, en asociación con la Oficina del Sheriff del Condado de Benton, Casa Latinos Unidos y South Benton Food Pantry llevarán a cabo dos sesiones informativas en Monroe como parte de una campaña para ayudar a crear conciencia en la comunidad sobre la poderosa droga sintética, el fentanilo.

El condado ha visto un aumento de llamadas al 911, visitas a la sala de emergencias e incluso muertes debido a los recientes aumentos en la distribución y el uso de fentanilo en el Condado de Benton. La campaña para crear conciencia sobre el fentanilo, inspirada en la del Condado de Lane, tiene como objetivo contrarrestar estos efectos negativos empoderando a la comunidad con conocimientos, herramientas y recursos.

“Comenzamos nuestra campaña con la Oficina del Sheriff en mayo de este añoy llevamos a cabo una sesión informativa en inglés en Corvallis”, dijo Rocío Muñoz, Gerente interina del Programa de Comunidades Saludables del Depto. de Salud del Condado de Benton. “Estamos emocionados de asociarnos con Casa Latinos Unidos y South Benton Food Pantry para poder ofrecer sesiones tanto en inglés como en español a nuestras comunidades rurales”.

Ambas sesiones se llevarán a cabo en el Edificio Heritage Hall en su nuevo espacio comunitario llamado Kepi Nak-Nak Commons en 648 Orchard Street en la comunidad de Monroe.

  • Sesión en español: miércoles 15 de noviembre, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
  • Sesión en inglés: viernes 17 de noviembre, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Se invita a todos los miembros de la comunidad a asistir a las sesiones informativas, que incluirán información sobre datos locales y estadísticas de sobredosis, consejos para padres, conexiones a recursos, naloxona gratuita y otras herramientas de prevención de sobredosis.

Para obtener más información y seguir la campaña, visite bit.ly/BentonCoGov-Fentanilo.


El Condado de Benton es un empleador que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades y acción afirmativa y no discrimina por motivos de discapacidad en la admisión o el acceso a nuestros programas, servicios, actividades, contratación y prácticas de empleo. Este documento está disponible en formatos e idiomas alternativos a pedido. Comuníquese con Cory Grogan al 541-745-4468 o pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

Stay informed in Benton County

November 1, 2023

Being well-informed is essential, and knowing how to access accurate and timely information from your local government is important. Here’s how to do that in Benton County:

Sign up for FlashAlert

  • FlashAlert is a tool that offers you immediate access to critical information, including Benton County media releases.
  • flashalert.net/id/BentonCoGov

Follow us on social media

Stay connected on social media using the handle @BentonCoGov

Sign up for E-news

Publication and other information

Beyone the E-newsletter, Benton County offers a range of other publications and updates tailored to your interests and needs. For more information reach out to pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.


Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

[TEXT] Don't let COVID and flu get you down this winter. The newest vaccine is now available. Get your COVID and flu vaccines today. Visit vaccines.gov. [IMAGE] A BIPOC woman, little girl, father and son display pink and yellow bandaids on their forearms.

Newest COVID-19 vaccine available in Benton County for insured and uninsured

October 31, 2023

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COVID-19 vaccines have received an update this respiratory season and Benton County Health Department recommends everyone ages 6 months or older receive the updated vaccine.

The newest vaccines were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this September, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) moved quickly to recommend the updated vaccines.

According to the CDC, the newest vaccines (made by Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax) were created to more closely target currently circulating strains of coronavirus. These vaccines significantly reduce the risk of developing severe COVID-19 complications and hospitalization, ultimately protecting against avoidable severe illness or death. 

The newest COVID-19 vaccines are effective at saving and protecting lives and health system dollars, while also reducing strains on healthcare resources and the workforce. Vaccination is especially important as we head into the winter, a common time when COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases circulate in high volume across the country.

Shipments of the newest vaccines have continued to arrive at local pharmacies and healthcare providers, though the commercialization of the vaccines has resulted in some shipping delays so supplies may still be limited in some locations. To find a vaccine near you, ask your health care provider, local pharmacies, visit vaccines.gov, or call 211.

Since the federal public health emergency ended in May 2023, the COVID-19 vaccine is no longer provided at no-cost, however, most people can still get a COVID-19 vaccine for free. 

For people with health insurance, most plans will cover COVID-19 vaccines at no cost, although you may need to use an approved, in-network pharmacy or healthcare facility. Check with your insurance provider if you have questions.

People who don’t have health insurance, or who have health plans that do not cover the cost of COVID-19 vaccines, may receive a no-cost vaccine through the CDC’s new Bridge Access Program. Providers will ask patients whether they have health insurance at the point of care to determine eligibility. Visit vaccines.gov to find a provider that offers no-cost COVID-19 vaccines through the Bridge Access Program.  

Benton County Health Department also provides vaccines at no cost to eligible children and some adults through the Bridge Access Program and the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. Call 541-766-6835 to check availability. 

Benton County Public Health continues to coordinate focused outreach efforts with community partners to offer COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations to Benton County residents who are uninsured.


Benton County is an Equal Opportunity-Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission or access to our programs, services, activities, hiring and employment practices. This document is available in alternative formats and languages upon request. Please contact Cory Grogan at 541-745-4468 or pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

La vacuna más nueva contra el COVID-19 disponible en el Condado de Benton para asegurados y no asegurados

Las vacunas contra el COVID-19 han recibido una actualización en esta temporada de enfermedades respiratorias y el Departamento de Salud del Condado de Benton recomienda que todas las personas de 6 meses o más reciban la vacuna actualizada.

Las vacunas más nuevas fueron aprobadas por la Administración de Alimentos y Medicamentos (FDA) en septiembre y los Centros para el Control de Enfermedades (CDC) actuaron rápidamente para recomendar las vacunas actualizadas.

Según los CDC, las vacunas más nuevas (fabricadas por Pfizer, Moderna y Novavax) se crearon para atacar más de cerca las variantes de coronavirus que circulan actualmente. Estas vacunas reducen significativamente el riesgo de desarrollar complicaciones graves y hospitalización por COVID-19 y por último, protegen contra enfermedades graves que se pueden evitar o la muerte.

Las vacunas más nuevas contra la COVID-19 son eficaces para salvar y proteger vidas y ahorrar dinero del sistema de salud, al mismo tiempo que reducen la presión sobre los recursos y los trabajadores de la salud pública. La vacunación es especialmente importante a medida que nos acercamos al invierno, una época común en la que el COVID-19 y otras enfermedades respiratorias circulan en gran volumen por todo el país.

Los envíos de las vacunas más nuevas han seguido llegando a las farmacias y proveedores de atención médica locales, aunque la comercialización de las vacunas ha provocado algunos retrasos en el envío, por lo que los suministros aún pueden ser limitados en algunos lugares. Para encontrar una vacuna cerca de usted, consulte a su proveedor de atención médica, a las farmacias locales, visite vacunas.gov o llame al 211.

Desde que terminó la emergencia federal de salud pública en mayo de 2023, la vacuna contra el COVID-19 ya no se proporciona sin costo; sin embargo, la mayoría de las personas aún pueden recibirla de forma gratuita.

Para las personas con seguro médico, la mayoría de los planes cubrirán las vacunas contra el COVID-19 sin costo, aunque es posible que deban utilizar una farmacia o centro de atención médica aprobado dentro de la red. Consulte con su proveedor de seguros si tiene preguntas.

Las personas que no tienen seguro médico, o que tienen planes médicos que no cubren el costo de las vacunas contra el COVID-19, pueden recibir una vacuna sin costo a través del nuevo Programa Puente de Acceso de los CDC. Los proveedores preguntarán a los pacientes si tienen seguro médico para determinar si califican. Visite vacunas.gov para encontrar un proveedor que ofrezca vacunas contra el COVID-19 sin costo a través del Programa Puente de Acceso.

El Departamento de Salud del Condado de Benton también proporciona vacunas sin costo a niños que califiquen y a algunos adultos a través del Programa Puente de Acceso y el programa Vacunas para Niños (información sólo en inglés). Llame al 541-766-6835 para consultar disponibilidad.

El Departamento de Salud del Condado de Benton continúa coordinando con socios comunitarios esfuerzos enfocados en ampliar la atención para ofrecer vacunas contra el COVID-19 y la influenza a los habitantes del Condado de Benton que no tienen seguro.


El Condado de Benton es un empleador que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades y acción afirmativa y no discrimina por motivos de discapacidad en la admisión o el acceso a nuestros programas, servicios, actividades, contratación y prácticas de empleo. Este documento está disponible en formatos e idiomas alternativos a pedido. Comuníquese con Cory Grogan al 541-745-4468 o pioinfo@bentoncountyor.gov.

Nov. 5 is Mushroom Day at Beazell Memorial Forest and Education Center

Join Benton County Natural Areas & Parks, Corvallis Parks & Recreation, Corvallis Environmental Center, Oregon State University Dept. of Botany & Plant Pathology, and The Mushroomery for an introductory exploration of Pacific Northwest mushrooms where participants can learn to identify different mushrooms in a natural setting. 

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