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The Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments plans to establish a regional committee to assist with the 2020 Census.

The committee, which will consist of a combination of representatives from Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties, will be charged with increasing the accuracy of the count in the region.

“It is important that our region takes this census seriously, as it determines how much money will flow to our region from the federal government over the next 10 years,” said Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber, a Cascades West Council of Governments board member. “This funding is critical for our region’s population who rely on public transportation, schools, hospitals, senior care and much more. Every citizen needs to be counted.”

Traber might serve on the committee, although Benton County’s representatives have not been decided yet, said Fred Abousleman, executive director of the Council of Governments. Abousleman said that his staff and members and other organizations are collaborating to select the committee members. No decision has yet been made on how many individuals will serve on the committee.

The timetable for the committee calls for it to begin meeting in September. Here is a look at other key dates:

By December 2019: Establish the committee, set goals and create a work plan.

January-February 2020: Build awareness of the 2020 Census within the community.

March-May 2020: Continue implementing the work plan and encouraging census response.

April-July: Monitor response rates and adjust messaging to encourage populations with low response rates to complete the census.

August-September: Evaluate the success of the process, determine lessons learned and best practices.

The three counties are paying for the committee, with the U.S. Census Bureau supporting the work with staff, data and materials, Abousleman said.

The Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments carries out a variety of local state and federal programs on behalf of member governments in Benton, Linn and Lincoln counties.

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Contact reporter James Day at jim.day@gazettetimes.com or 541-758-9542. Follow at Twitter.com/jameshday or gazettetimes.com/blogs/jim-day.

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