Candidates and ballot measures seek approval in May election


Ashton Bisner

A photo illustration of Corvallis City Hall, photo taken on March 14.

Skand S., News Contributor

Two measures are on the ballot for Benton County voters to decide on May 16 before 8 p.m. alongside several candidates running for positions in the school district.

The first is the bond for “community safety, mental health and homelessness services facilities,” that proposes the Justice System Improvement Program. The ask for the bond from voters is to pay approximately $142 per year on residential property with a median assessed value of $258,596.


This money would go towards three major components:

  • Justice Campus comprising the construction of a correctional facility ($64.3 million), new sheriff’s office and emergency operations facility ($40.4 million)
  •  Expansion of children and family facility where therapists provide mental health treatment ($1.5 million)
  •  Construction or renovation of a navigation resource center to support people experiencing homelessness ($3 million)


An additional $800 thousand is going towards the bond issuance costs, making the total bond measure to be worth $110 million.

Democratic Congresswoman Val Hoyle, who represents the 4th district of Oregon, did not comment on the funding for the construction of the Justice Campus, but showed support for the mental health initiatives.

“I can’t speak to the specifics of how funds are divided as that’s ultimately up to the voters of Benton County and their county commissioners, but I will always advocate for federal dollars to help support mental health programs and initiatives.” Hoyle said. “I believe community, state and federal partnerships are essential to create comprehensive solutions to these issues.”

The second measure proposes renewing the five-year operating local option tax levy for the Palestine Rural Fire Protection District with residents having to pay $0.9707 per $1,000 of assessed value for five years beginning 2023-2024 for fire protection.

The filed measure mentioned that owing to the increase in cost of fire protection service, Palestine rural fire protection district is asking for the renewal.



Alongside the ballot measures, there are several candidates running for the Corvallis School District for a four year term. This election comes just after the recent walkout by teachers at Linus Pauling Middle School over concerns regarding student behavior.

While three positions are being run unopposed, one school board position has two contenders – Chris Hawkins and Steven Castellano.

Hawkins, who is a substitute teacher and a consultant for the school district, if elected, plans to dedicate time listening to staff concerns and supporting them. Alongside these, she also intends to be an advocate to parent and community concerns as well. 

Hawkins also said that her experience as an educator has helped her garner a strong coalition-building skills, which she intends to use to build partnerships with the board, staff and community, especially in the areas of student safety and equity.

“I don’t think our current board lacks anything except having a member on their team who has dedicated 37 years as an educator, 27 years in our district and has lived experiences as a teacher and support specialist in our district,” said Hawkins.

Castellano, who is a volunteer at Pathfinder Clubhouse and the Corvallis Multicultural Literacy Center, said that he aims to prioritize teacher support staff and interns to increase current test scores and graduation rates.

“I believe the current school board is lacking perspective that I bring to the table having lived and worked and went to school in multiple states and life experience my opponent and current leaders in Corvallis do not have,” said Castellano. “I will come without pride and change how we do things to support our students, teachers and schools and prioritize education as a public good of paramount importance over greed.”

Both Castellano and Hawkins said that if they lose the election, they would continue to dedicate time and serve the community and the district.

Three people, all unopposed, are also running for the position of Board of Director at the Corvallis Rural Fire Protection District.

For more information on the other candidates running for office, please visit here.

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