Benton County is a county located in the state of Oregon, in the populous Willamette Valley area. The county is one of Oregon's smaller by area, at 679 sq miles, but has a fairly large population, with around 85,000 residents. The largest city and county seat is Corvallis.

Like most counties in Oregon, or across the Western States, the county's history follows a pretty straightforward pattern. The area's (European) settlement was based on people exploiting natural resources, in this case farming and timber, and establishing a city on a waterway, in this case the Willamette as a point of shipping those resources. Gradually, government, services and industry became more important. In the case of Benton County, this was speeded up by the fact that a large land grant university was established there, which as a source of economic development and community involvement made the switch away from a natural resources economy somewhat easier. Benton County contrasts with the neighboring Linn County, and not only when viewing statistics. Linn County, which was much more dependent on the timber industry than Benton County, is noticeably different in its culture and atmosphere.

Much of what I am saying about Benton County is based on the city of Corvallis, which makes up much of the county. Within the county, there is probably some urban/rural divide, but that is also perhaps fading away. Outside of Corvallis, the county is mostly small farms and a few small towns, with the western half of the county being the mountains and small river valleys full of small towns and covered bridges. The eastern half of the county, outside of Corvallis, is mostly small farms.

Benton County is also one of Oregon's most liberal counties, right behind Multnomah County. The liberal politics (and culture) of Benton County would be, at least stereotypically, a little different than those of Multnomah County, being more "hippy", rather than the Portland areas "hipster" culture. Quite apart from the politics, the overall culture in Benton County seems very wholesome, whether it is in Corvallis or in one of the small communities in the hills. I will actually make the entirely non-scientific judgement that Benton County is by far Oregon's most wholesome county.

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