Preservation of the Courthouse

Drawing of Benton County Courthouse

The National Register of Historic Places (The Register)

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

The Benton County Courthouse is listed in The Register.

Good Friends, Different Missions

Oregon State Historical Society

The Oregon Historical Society serves as the state’s collective memory, gathering and preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, films, manuscripts, books, and oral histories.

Benton County Historical Society

The Benton County Historical Society operates the museum and preserves collections including photographs, historical documents, textiles, clothing, domestic arts, farm implements, scientific instruments, personal possessions, and the College of Philomath building.

Which preservation organization functions where?

Level Government Private

National Park Service; Advisory  Council on Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation
State Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) Restore Oregon
Local City of Corvallis Historic Resources Commission (HRC) PreservationWORKS
  Benton County Historic Resources Commission (HRC) PreservationWORKS; Alliand for Recreation and Natural Areas









What are the federal or state restrictions, rules, regulations for historic property owners?

From the federal perspective, a property owner can do whatever they want with their property as long as there are no federal funds attached to the property or involved in the project.

Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 358.653 obligates all political subdivisions of the state – including counties – to consult with the SHPO to avoid inadvertent impacts to historic properties for which they are responsible.  Impacts are usually the result of construction projects, but may also include the transfer of properties out of public ownership. If federal funds are involved, then ORS 358.653 is superseded by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

What local regulations apply?

In the City of Corvallis, locally Designated Historic Resources are governed by Chapter 2.9 of the Land Development Code and administered in a quasi-judicial process by the City of Corvallis HRC.  The Benton County Courthouse is a locally Designated Historic Resource. Changes to the building’s exterior would require a historic preservation permit from the City.

What about the Benton County HRC?

While the County HRC would be very interested in plans for the Courthouse, the Courthouse is within the City’s jurisdiction.  A similar example is the Knotts-Owens farmstead.  While the City owns the resource, the property is outside the city limits and the County HRC would be the appropriate review body.