Benton County is one of the 36 counties in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2020 census, the population was 95,184. 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 is designated as the Corvallis, OR Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Portland–Vancouver–Salem, OR–WA Combined Statistical Area. It is in the Willamette Valley.
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.
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