Our County Through Time: Robert L. Benson

Robert L Benson 2Our Research Library at Portland Community College Rock Creek Campus is named after Robert L. Benson of Washington County. Robert L. Benson was born in Portland on May 12, 1915 to Fred and Ethel (Moses) Benson. He attended grade school in Oregon City and at Rock Creek and graduated from Beaverton High School in 1933. During World War II he served in the Oregon National Guard and was discharged in 1945. After the war he returned to the Portland area and entered Vanport College. He lived on the family farm and was a historian and mapmaker for 40 years.

Mr. Benson edited the “Centennial History of Washington County”, published in connection with Oregon’s Centennial in 1959. He also edited the volume “Pioneer Landmarks”, published in 1966.

He was an active member of the Washington County Historical Society and wrote extensively for the society’s series of anthologies of historical articles, “Land of Tuality”, and for other publications, including the Argus and the Aloha Breeze. He received the historical society’s distinguished service award in 1983.

Mr. Benson was also an active member of Tualatin Valley Heritage Inc., a member of the Oregon Geographic Names Board and made maps for Washington County Fire District 1 as well as for commercial use. He was a student of Indian culture and language and made numerous school presentations on those subjects. His knowledge was a valuable resource, which he shared with anyone researching Washington County.

At the time of his death, Mr. Benson was working on a project of mapping donation land claims with churches, schools, and other historical features. His maps and commentary on the land claims in the Aloha area were published in a series in the Aloha Breeze in 1980.

Robert L. Benson died on May 24, 1985 at St. Joseph Hospital in Vancouver, Washington and is buried at Phillips Cemetery northeast of West Union near his beloved father, mother, and sister Carolyn.

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