Cliff Bentz is a third generation Oregonian, raised on his family’s cattle ranches in Harney County. He attended Whitehorse Ranch and Pine Creek Grade Schools. At age 14, he was sent to live with an aunt and uncle so that he could attend Regis High School (a Catholic parochial school) near Salem, Oregon. While at Regis he lettered in basketball and track, served as ASB president and as a delegate to Boy’s State. Following graduation from high school, he attended and graduated cum laude from Eastern Oregon State College. While in college, he served as ASB president, as a student member of various student activity committees, and was a member of the honors program. Following college, he attended and graduated with a juris doctorate from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland. He joined the Yturri, O’Kief, Rose and Burnham law firm in Ontario in 1977 and became a partner four years later. He continues to practice part-time specializing in ranch reorganizations and water law. He is a member of the Oregon and Idaho Bar Associations.
While practicing law in Ontario, Cliff Bentz also served eight years as a member and then chair of the Oregon Water Resources Commission, as a director and chair of the Ontario 8C public school board, as a board member and vice-chair of Project Dove, a domestic violence prevention organization, as a member and chair of the St. Peter Catholic grade school board, as a member of the Eastern Oregon Foundation Board, and as a member of the Oregon Historical Society Board. He also participated for over twenty years as a member of the Blessed Sacrament Parish folk mass group.
In 1987, Cliff Bentz married Dr. Lindsay Norman, a veterinarian. Lindsay practices small animal medicine in Ontario. They have two children, Allison Bentz Klebenow and Scott Bentz.
In January of 2008, Cliff Bentz was appointed to the House District 60 seat and later that year was elected to his first of five two year terms as Oregon State Representative. He resigned from the House in 2018 when appointed to take Senator Ferrioli’s Oregon Senate District 30 seat. While in the House, he served on the Revenue, Transportation, Energy and Environment, Legislative Counsel, and joint tax credits committees, and as a member and chair of the Legislative Council on River governance, the Oregon Hunger Task Force, and other committees and work groups. While in the Senate, he served on the Finance and Revenue, Judiciary, Energy, and tax credits committees among others. He resigned from the Oregon Senate effective January 2nd, 2020, to campaign full time for the Oregon Congressional District 2 seat now held by Congressman Greg Walden.