Benton County announces service disruptions; City of Philomath joins County emergency declaration

Friday, March 20, 2020

Effective yesterday, the Records and Elections Department services will be available by appointment only. Information is available at:

Additionally, the Sheriff's Office announced numerous service disruptions. Completed information is available at

Today the Community Health Centers of Benton and Linn Counties announced that to keep patients, staff, and the public safe, starting Friday, March 20, they are closing lobbies and asking all patients to call before visiting. Phone numbers and locations for clinics are available at

Yesterday evening, Thursday, March 20, 2020, the City of Philomath Council voted to adopt an emergency declaration. As part of that declaration, Philomath requested emergency operational aid for public health and economic needs from the county, State of Oregon and federal government.
Because the City of Philomath’s declaration requested Benton County assistance, the City will be able to access state and federal resources if the emergency response exceeds local capacity. 

"Under Benton County’s General Code, chapter 32 authorizes the County to declare an emergency. Specifically, BCC 32.010 authorizes the County to declare that a local state of emergency exists within the unincorporated areas of Benton County. That same chapter allows the County to extend the emergency declaration into cities if assistance is requested by such incorporated jurisdiction,” according to Vance Croney, Benton County Counsel.

Cities have the authority to declare emergencies, but many of the smaller cities do not have personnel or resources to respond to an emergency and therefore may ask for county assistance within the city limits.

“Aiding a city that requests Benton County’s help during an emergency is something the county is prepared to do. Although we do not have limitless resources or personnel, we are always ready, willing and able to help the cities and residents of the cities within the county to the best of our ability,” said Croney.

The Benton County declaration went into effect at 12:00 p.m. on March 17 and will remain active through midnight June 30, 2020. The declaration can be continued through extension or terminated at an earlier date as needed. With the declaration, Benton County can access state and federal resources if the emergency response exceeds local capacity. Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued a statewide emergency declaration on March 8, 2020.

The most up-to-date Benton County, Oregon COVID-19 information is available online at