Home Rule Charter Period: (1972 – Present)
Note: The dates contained in the parenthesis are the dates of service in office
Jeanette Simerville (1974 - 1977; 1986 – 1988)
A Seattle native, Simerville was born in 1915 and remained in Seattle until the late 1940’s when a teaching offer brought her and her husband to Oregon Agricultural College. In 1960 she took a job with the Benton County Board of Commissioner’s office as an administrative secretary and later as a Certified Public Accountant for the agency that conducted the county’s audits. Simmerville was the first woman to be elected as Benton County Commissioner in 1970 and served one term, during which the Law Enforcement Building, the current home of the Sheriff’s Office, was constructed and the first statewide land use planning measures were enacted. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Benton County Foundation for two and a partial terms beginning in 1977. In 1986 Simmerville was appointed to complete the term of office vacated by Barbara Ross’s resignation. She also worked with the Hospital Auxiliary, and an organization called “REEF” which provided support for people who suffered brain trauma. After her passing, Simerville’s family donated an oil painting of the Benton County Courthouse which now hangs in the Board of Commissioner’s Office.
Dale Schrock (1974 – 1990)
No information found.
Larry E. Calahan (1975 – 1979)
No information found.
Barbara Ross (1977 – 1985)
Ross attended the University of Texas and earned her BS in 1956 followed by a Master's of Social Work in 1966. She worked as a social security administrator, college instructor and teacher prior to her election as County Commissioner in 1977. In addition to her service as a Commissioner, Ross served as a State Representative from 1993 to 2001. She continued to work with Corvallis Independent Business Association, Corvallis Homeless Shelter Coalition, Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, and served on the board of directors of the Corvallis Neighborhood Housing Services until she relocated to Portland, Oregon in 2012.
Charline Carr (now King) (1979 – 1987)
Carr is the President of the local Arby’s restaurant franchise, as well as serving as the first mayor of Adair Village in 1976 and remains a city councilor for Adair Village.
John Dilworth (1987 – 1995)
Dilworth served as a pilot in the United States Air Force and remains a pilot with an aircraft at Corvallis Airport. He currently serves on the Corvallis Senior Services Advisory Committee. Dilworth was also a faculty member of Oregon State University from 1968-1978, and owned a tree farm from 1978 onward. He was also active in the Kiwanis Club and Boy Scouts organizations. Dilworth received both his bachelors and masters degrees from OSU.
Pam Folts (1987 – 1995)
Folts continues to serve the community as president of the Board at the Corvallis Caring Place in 2005, a member of the Oregon Government Standards and Practices Commission in 1998, the Middle-Fork Willamette Watershed council in 2001, and is currently employed as a speech instructor at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany.
Kent Daniels (1990 – 1997)
Daniels received his bachelor’s degree from Ohio State University, and retired in 2001 from Oregon State University, where he served as the Co-Director of the Office of International Research and Development. Prior to his election as commissioner, Daniels served on the Corvallis City Council from 1987-1990. He continues to be involved in the community by serving on the Majestic Theatre Board of Directors, as the Chair of the Corvallis Parks, Natural Areas, and Recreation Board, and on the Corvallis Civic Beautification and Urban Forestry Commission. (http://www.majestic.org/people.html)
Patsy Morrow-Miller (1998)
No information found.
Orville “Bob” Adams (1996 – 2000)
Adams was born on August 3, 1925 and died on November 4, 2003. During World War II he served as a Navy Seabee constructing various facilities in the Pacific. When he returned from service he earned his Bachelor’s degree from Oregon State College in 1950. He and his wife taught school in California and owned one of the first stores to sell Baskin Robbins’ ice cream. They returned to Oregon to operate a family-owned resort and teach near Reedsport in 1957. He was a board member of Southwestern Oregon College before receiving his PhD from the University of Oregon and relocating to Albany Oregon to assume a position with Linn-Benton Community College in 1968. Over the next twenty-two years he would hold various positions including dean of instruction, vice president and interim president of the institution. Outside of his teaching work Adams and his wife were partners in the Inkwell Home Store in Corvallis, served on the boards of the YMCA, Lions, Willamette Council of Campfire, and as a trustee of the Corvallis First United Presbyterian Church.
Robert “Bob” Speaker (1996 – 2000)
Speaker worked as a planner for the Benton County Community Development Department, and conducted ecological research at both OSU and Michigan State prior to being elected County Commissioner. He had also served on the Corvallis Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. Speaker received his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State and his master’s from OSU.
Linda Modrell (1999 – 2014)
Before running for elective office Modrell worked several years in the health policy field, including a team member that helped develop Oregon's Health Plan. Her health-related work included Family Health Insurance Assistance Program to help low-income working Oregonians gain access to health care; Oregon Health Plan's prioritization of health services; and research and planning for an employer health insurance mandate.
Prior to her work in health care, Modrell was a long-term employee of Oregon State University, working her way from secretary to become OSU Extension Service's business services manager and then the College of Agricultural Science's director of the administrative computing system. At OSU, Modrell earned a Master of Business Administration (minor in community health and gerontology) and a Bachelor of Science in accounting (minor in behavioral science).
Active in the community, Modrell was awarded the Philomath Samaritan Award in 2002 and in 2005 was named Distinguished Alumna of Linn-Benton Community College, where she earned an associate of arts degree. Also in 2005, Modrell delivered a paper at Oxford University in England regarding the same sex marriage issue in Oregon.
At Benton County, Modrell's areas of major focus include water, transportation (Oregon Freight Plan Steering Committee), health and governance issues - especially the transfer of service responsibility and funding from the state to the county levels and the attendant policy and program issues (Government Effectiveness and Efficiency Taskforce). In addition, Modrell has served in many roles with the Association of Oregon Counties, currently as past president for that organization. Modrell has served on the Governor’s Comprehensive Revenue Restructuring Taskforce and the Metropolitan Planning Organization Greenhouse Gas Emissions Taskforce.
Jay Dixon (2000 – 2016)
Prior to being an elected official, Jay led a highly successful career in banking that culminated in the senior vice president position at Ford Motor Company’s First Nationwide Bank in San Francisco.
Jay and his family moved to Corvallis, Oregon and established Corvallis Hardware in 1992. Jay was elected to the Corvallis 509J School Board in 1999, and in November 2000 Jay Dixon was elected Benton County commissioner.
Jay championed multiple issues as commissioner, and had a particular focus on the youth of Benton County. Dixon’s longtime history of serving Oregon’s children and families began in 1999 when he chaired the first successful local option school levy campaign in Oregon, “Corvallis Kids Count!”
Dixon has chaired the Cascades West Council of Governments, the Willamette Criminal Justice Council, the City of Corvallis Budget Commission and is a past president of the Corvallis Area Chamber of Commerce.
Active in community affairs, Jay has held leadership positions in a number of government, education, industry and civic organizations. He is a published author, has taught and lectured at several colleges, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco and is a graduate of the University of Oregon’s Pacific Program.
At the 69th annual Celebrate Corvallis event, Jay was awarded the Jim and Ruth Howland award for special achievement. Jay left office in 2016 and continues impacting the local community through his work as vice-chair of Oregon’s Youth Development Council, president of the ABC House Board of Directors, and other local and regional boards.
Anne Schuster (2015 - 2019)
An effective community leader championing education, the environment and effective mental health strategies, among other priorities, Anne Schuster was elected to the Board of Commissioners in November 2014 and took office in January 2015.
Beginning her career as a research plant scientist, after the birth of her children Schuster turned her attention to volunteer efforts locally and statewide. Her focus was directed toward education and sustainability, merging the two when possible. She focused on tackling several community issues from homelessness to working with Benton County Mental Health and the Sheriff’s Office on collaboration to address how we deal with mental health issues as they impact interactions with law enforcement.
She co-founded the Youth Mental Health Coalition, along with Dr. Caroline Fisher. Commissioner Schuster was involved locally on the Cascades West Council of Governments Board, the Homeless Oversight Committee and Rotary. Regionally, Commissioner Schuster was active on the Workforce Investment Board, working to create job training opportunities that benefit local businesses as well as employees and job seekers to create a workforce necessary to support a thriving 21st-Century economy. Complementing those efforts, she was working toward and Education Workforce Pipeline in Benton County involving local educational institutions and business leaders.
With a constant focus on learning and a strong desire to hear and incorporate diverse community voices to solve complex problems, she also brought a rural perspective to the job. Commissioner Schuster was interested in succession of family farms as some operators reach retirement age while balancing that development with an eye toward a healthy future with fresh local foods and combating climate change locally.
To promote safety in rural areas of Benton County, Commissioner Schuster worked to address the lack of fire department services in the Greenberry Gap area, an area without fire coverage located between properties covered by Monroe, Philomath and Corvallis fire departments. She believes that emergency preparedness for a potential Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and other natural disasters is paramount.
Commissioner Schuster is a longtime community leader, and served in numerous roles before being elected to the county’s highest elected office. Locally, on the Corvallis School Board, she reached the position of Chair. Regionally and statewide, Schuster held positions on the Oregon School Board Association, Benton County Solid Waste Advisory Committee, Oregon Green Schools and the Sustainable Oregon Schools Initiative.
As a program host and on the board of Leadership Corvallis, she experienced the ins and outs of Corvallis and Benton County and said she felt fortunate to become familiar with the community’s up-and-coming community leaders. While participating in the Local Benton Advisory Committee for the InterCommunity Health Network Coordinated Care Organization has acquainted her with the new local health system.
She holds a doctoral degree from the University of Nebraska in plant molecular biology.
In her spare time she gardens 5 acres, growing much of her own food and her watercolor art reflects her property and the Willamette Valley.