Oregon was the first state in the United States to legalize physician-assisted suicide. In 1994, Oregon voters passed the Death with Dignity Act, which allows terminally ill patients to obtain a prescription for a lethal dose of medication to end their lives.
Benton County, Oregon, located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, has a rich and diverse history spanning thousands of years. The area originally belonged to various Native American tribes, including the Kalapuya and the Wewa. They thrived on the abundant natural resources, using the land for hunting, fishing, and gathering.

The first recorded European contact with the region occurred in the 18th century when explorers and fur traders from the Hudson's Bay Company ventured inland. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that significant settlement took place. In 1847, a group of emigrants led by Elijah Bristow arrived in what is now Benton County, establishing Oregon's first non-Native American settlement.

During this period, the Oregon Territory was expanding rapidly, attracting more settlers seeking opportunities for land and a better life. Benton County was officially established on December 23, 1847, and named in honor of Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton, known for his support of westward expansion. The county's population grew steadily, especially with the completion of the Oregon Pacific Railroad in 1880, connecting the area to the rest of the state.

Benton County has undergone significant economic and social transformation throughout its history. Agriculture, particularly timber production and farming, played a vital role in the county's development. The fertile soil and favorable climate allowed for the growth of various crops, including wheat, oats, and strawberries. In the mid-20th century, Oregon State University (formerly Oregon Agricultural College) in Corvallis became a major driving force behind the county's economy, as its research and educational programs contributed to technological innovation and industrial diversification.

Today, Benton County continues to thrive as a vibrant and dynamic community. With a focus on sustainability, the county embraces its agricultural heritage while also being a hub for technology and innovation. Home to a diverse population and renowned educational institutions, Benton County remains a place where history, nature, and progress intersect.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Benton County, Oregon.

  • 1847: The Oregon territorial government creates Benton County.
  • 1851: Philomath College, now known as Oregon State University, is established.
  • 1862: Corvallis becomes the county seat.
  • 1893: The first electric power plant in the county is built in Corvallis.
  • 1908: The William Jasper Kerr Research Center, now part of Oregon State University, is founded in Corvallis.
  • 1922: The first county library is established in Monroe.
  • 1943: Camp Adair, a World War II military training camp, is established near Corvallis.
  • 1952: The Greenberry Store, the oldest continually operating store in Oregon, is established in Philomath.
  • 2007: The Philomath Frolic and Rodeo celebrates its 60th anniversary.
  • 2011: The county commemorates its 150th anniversary with various events and activities.