County offices open for business, closed to public access

Monday, March 23, 2020

At 5:00 p.m. today, Monday, March 23, 2020, Benton County will close public access to all lobbies and meeting spaces. Many County services are available online or over the phone. The service adjustments are being undertaken in accordance with guidelines from public health authorities to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These closures, while disruptive, are to remain in effect until further notice to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. 

Although there is no public access to county buildings, the following county business operations continue to serve the public as listed below. Email addresses and further information can be found on the listed websites:

Board of Commissioners Office. Business may be conducted by telephone (541-766-6800) or by email (bocinfo@co.benton.or.us). The County has taken steps to utilize current technology to make Board of Commissioner meetings available to the public without increasing the risk of exposure. County officials strongly encourage all individuals that are able to use the video link or phone number provided to listen to the meeting from home. For best results, staff has found that downloading and using the GoToMeeting app is the best way to listen to or view the meeting. Individuals are encouraged to give themselves plenty of time to download the app and join the meeting before the start time. Additionally, the Board is live streaming their teleconference-style meetings on Facebook Live. Individuals can follow and like Benton County at https://business.facebook.com/BentonCoGov.

Following the teleconference-style meetings, the video recording will be made available on the Benton County YouTube channel. Individuals are encouraged to subscribe to the Benton County YouTube channel to be notified when the Board Meetings are posted. Visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEwNH7PIM0c5u7yTnTDoSWw and click the “Subscribe” button at the top right.

Assessment. Business may be conducted electronically (https://www.co.benton.or.us/assessment/page/department-assessment), by telephone (541-766-6855) or email.

Community Development. Business may be conducted electronically (https://www.co.benton.or.us/cd), by telephone (541-766-6819) or email. Public hearings are not scheduled and will not be scheduled for the foreseeable future.

Fairgrounds. Business may be conducted electronically (https://www.co.benton.or.us/fairgrounds), by telephone (541-766-6521) or email.

Finance Services. Business may be conducted electronically (https://www.co.benton.or.us/finance), by telephone (541-766-6100) or email.

Human Resources. Business may be conducted electronically (https://www.co.benton.or.us/hr), by telephone (541-766-6081) or email.

Information Technology. Business may be conducted electronically (https://www.co.benton.or.us/it), by telephone (541-766-6881) or email. 

Juvenile Department. Business may be conducted electronically (https://www.co.benton.or.us/juvenile), by telephone (541-766-6810) or email. Additionally, the following modifications to services are in place:
• Law Enforcement citations will continue to be processed electronically and handled through standard case assignment protocols.
• Youth intake appointments may be held over the phone, through other available virtual platforms, or may be rescheduled for a later date.  
• Juvenile Court Counselors will continue to check in with youth by phone or electronically, in accordance with department COOP, HR directives and Department operational instructions.  
• The On-Call Court Counselor available 24/7, through calling the main office during normal business hours and through 911 dispatch for after-hours contact.
• Staff GoToMeetings are available when needed please contact Tami.Bowman@Co.Benton.OR.US  or call (541) 766-6072 to schedule virtual meetings.

Natural Areas and Parks. Business may be conducted electronically (https://www.co.benton.or.us/parks), by telephone (541-766-6871) or email. All Benton County Park playground equipment areas and outdoor sports courts are CLOSED and should be avoided.  Many County natural areas, parks and trails are still open at this time for walking, hiking, biking and running, activities that do not involve close contact and where 6 feet of social distancing can be achieved. Reservations for Salmonberry Campground, Alsea Guard Station and group picnic shelters are cancelled until at least May 8th.  New reservations are not being accepted at this time.  Social Gathering permits are cancelled until at least April 28th.  

Public Works. Business may be conducted electronically (https://www.co.benton.or.us/publicworks), by telephone (541-766-6821) or email. 

Records, Elections and County Clerk. Business may be conducted by mail, online, email or over the phone for many records and license related services. Please check https://www.co.benton.or.us/records call 541-766-6831 or email records@co.benton.or.us for additional information. For information regarding voter registration, elections and passport services, please visit https://www.co.benton.or.us/elections, call 541-766-6756 or email us at elections@co.benton.or.us. Appointments may be available for limited services.

The following county departments have limited access:

District Attorney. The Benton County District Attorney’s Office is restricting direct public contact to the use of email, video conferencing, and telephonic communication whenever possible. Court-based operations (e.g. court hearings, grand jury, trials) are subject to Constitutional and Statutory mandates, and are primarily managed by the State Courts. Accordingly, the Benton County District Attorney’s Office will continue to operate within the parameters set forth by the Oregon Supreme Court and the State Trial Court Administrators Office. Anyone with questions should contact the Benton County District Attorney’s Office by telephone at 541-766-6815, or submit questions through its website at https://www.co.benton.or.us/da.

Please note, the Benton County Circuit Court is a state agency and its access, calendar and limited business operations are controlled by the State of Oregon. For more information, please go to the state’s website: https://www.courts.oregon.gov/courts/benton/Pages/default.aspx

Health Department – Public Health. Most services have been modified to protect clients and staff, and many personnel have been reassigned to COVID-19 related activities. Business may also be conducted electronically, to the extent possible (https://www.co.benton.or.us/health) or by telephone. The website contains a list of contacts for the Health Department.

Health Department – Behavioral Health. Most scheduled services are being conducted by telephone/telehealth. Providers will call scheduled patients during time of appointment. Crisis services are still available in-person but individuals will be screened for symptoms and fever. Anyone presenting with symptoms and/or fever will be directed to call in and contact their primary care provider. Call 541-766-6835 for further information.

Community Health Centers. All of our clinics are currently staffed. Telephone and tele-health visits are being used at this time to meet most of our patients’ needs. Face to face visits are limited and patients should call their clinic for more information. Clinic locations are listed at https://www.bentonlinnhealthcenters.org/find-your-clinicprovider/clinic-names-hours-and-locations/. Hours for all sites are currently Monday- Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Developmental Diversity. Staff are accessible by phone or email.  Individuals may call 541-766-6847 or email BentonDD@co.benton.or.us. Staff members are also accessible email address and phone extension.

Individuals with questions regarding COVID-19 in Benton County may call 541-766-6120, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., to reach a County-staffed phone bank.