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Benton County says funding is in place for new courthouse

Chris Lehman
The Benton County courthouse was built in 1888. File photo.

Benton County says funding is in place for construction to begin on a new courthouse in 2022.

The $40 million facility will be paid for with a combination of state and local funds.

County commissioners say they’ll decide in January whether to build it at one of three locations: Two on the edge of Corvallis or one downtown. The two outlying locations would give the county the opportunity to incorporate it into a larger justice system campus, although funds for that aren't included in the $40 million.

Nick Kurth is manager of the Justice System Improvement Program for Benton County. He says the current courthouse, which was built in 1888, is badly outdated.

For one thing, it’s not ADA accessible. Also: “There weren’t the same considerations around separation of offenders from victims," said Kurth. "So it has challenges that are very difficult and costly to surmount.”

Kurth said once commissioners choose a location, construction could begin by the end of next year with a planned opening in 2025.

The fate of the existing courthouse, an iconic landmark in downtown Corvallis, aren't entirely clear. But there are no plans at this point to demolish the structure.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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