Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Will my name by kept confidential if I submit a complaint?
Answer: Wasco County may hold your personal information confidential unless disclosure is required by law to be released (see ORS 192.502(4) and ORS 40.275, Rule 510). Please note that in the event of a hearing, the County may be required by law to disclose complainant’s information. Complainants bear the burden to know the law governing disclosure of public records. You may submit a complaint form without your information, but anything you provide following that is not protected without the signed form.
Question: How many abandoned, unregistered, or disabled vehicles are allowed?
Answer: In agriculture and forest zones, up to three abandoned, unregistered, or disabled vehicle may be kept outside uncovered. It is limited to one in non-resource zones such as residential and forest-farm zones.
Question: How do I submit a complaint?
Answer: You have three options: (1) visit the office and complete a form at the counter, (2) print a form from our website and mail or email it in, or (3) complete the online complaint form located here: complaint submission form.
Question: How long does Wasco County give people to come into compliance?
Answer: It depends on what the violation is. Serious health hazards will require immediate attention. Other solid waste violations usually will be granted anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months or more to clean up depending on the severity and impact on the surrounding area. Land use violations (e.g. illegal dwellings, structures) can take several months due to the involved nature of attempting to permit or remove a structure.
Question: What is solid waste?
Answer: As defined in the Wasco County Code Compliance and Nuisance Abatement Ordinance:
“Solid Waste – Includes all putrescible and nonputrescible wastes, whether in solid or semi-solid form, including but not limited to: garbage, trash, rubbish, refuse, ashes, paper, cardboard; commercial and industrial wastes; demolition and construction wastes; manure, vegetable or animal solid or semi-solid wastes including yard debris, dead animals; medical and infectious waste as defined in ORS 459.386 and OAR 340-93-030 (42) and (52); all wastes capable of being recycled that are commingled with other wastes; and, incidental Household Hazardous Waste or Small Quantity Generator Hazardous waste as defined under 40 CFR 261.5. The term “Solid Waste” shall not include Hazardous Waste as defined in ORS 466.005 or any of the following:
a. Materials used for fertilizer or for other productive purposes on land in the growing and harvesting of crops or the raising of fowl or animals;
b. Septic tank and cesspool pumping or chemical toilet waste;
c. Reusable beverage containers as defined in ORS 459A.725; and
d. Source separated principal recyclable materials as defined in ORS Chapter 459 and the Rules promulgated thereunder, which have been purchased or exchanged for fair market value.”
Question: What are the consequences of NOT complying with the County regulations?
Answer: Depending on the violation the consequence will include some or all of the following:
- Development restriction on the property;
- The violation recorded on the property deed of record;
- Fines that range from $280 a day to $2,000 a day, per violation, depending on the severity of the violation;
- Liens filed against your property; and
- County enforced abatement (clean up) at a cost charged to the owner.
Question: Can I build a structure less than 200 sq ft without any approval or permits?
Answer: No; this is a common misconception. If your structure is outside the National Scenic Area, is less than 10’ high and less than 200 sq ft., you may not need a building permit from Mid-Columbia Building codes, however, you will still need to call the Wasco County Planning Department to find out the property development standards for your property, and if your property’s zoning allows accessory structures.
Inside the National Scenic Area, all structures over 60 sq ft. or 10’ high require a review. Even if it is less than this, it is wise to call the Planning Office to find out other possible limitations on structures for your property.
Question: Can I live in an RV on my property?
Answer: Recreational and temporary use of an RV on your property is allowed for up to 60 days over a 12 month period. During this time, it may not be hooked up to sewer, water, or electric services unless it can be proven to the Code Compliance Officer that the hook-ups would be temporary and to accommodate temporary overnight visitors on a property that already contains these services to accommodate an existing dwelling.
If you would like to live in your RV permanently, it will require a land use permit for a new permanent dwelling on your property. Please consult with staff to submit an application.
Question: Can I leave an RV on my land that doesn’t have a dwelling to “camp out”?
Answer: You can occupy your RV for up to 60 days in a 12 month period for recreation purposes, including camping and hunting. If you are not occupying the RV, you can park it for up to 30 days in a 6 month period. If it is not occupied, it must be removed after 30 days.
Question: What about relatives and friends staying in an RV on my property that has a dwelling?
Answer: Your RV may be occupied by friends and family visiting on a temporary basis for up to 60 days in any 12 month period. The RV may only be hooked up to sewer, water, and electricity if you can demonstrate to the Code Compliance Officer that the use is truly temporary in nature and for the purpose of accommodating visitors.
Question: Where do I go for Building Code regulations?
Answer: for building code regulations (structural, electrical, plumbing, etc.) contact Mid-Columbia Building Code Services (http://mccog.com/building-codes/) 541-298-4461
Question: What about yurts or tents; are they regulated by the County?
Answer: Similar to RVs, temporary use of non-structural tents may be occupied for up to 60 days in a 12 month period. Tents and campers are only allowed to remain in a dedicated campground for up to 30 days in a 6 month period. Structural development, including yurts and permanent use of campers and tents must be permitted; please coordinate with staff.
Question: Who do I call about septic issues?
Answer: Contact the North Central Public Health District’s Environmental Health Department (http://ncphd.org/records-licensing/environmental-health-food/septic-systems/)at 541-506-2622
Question: How do I get rid of my junk car?
Answer: look in our “resources” link on this website. (need to remove Mel’s Sanitation from list)
Question: Who do I call about animal nuisances?
Answer: Contact the Wasco County Sherriff’s office for any animal control needs. Office 541-296-5189
Question: I live in an incorporated city (The Dalles, Dufur, Maupin, Mosier, Antelope, or Shaniko) do the nuisance codes apply here?
Answer: No, the Wasco County nuisance ordinance does not apply inside the incorporated city limits of each city. Areas outside of the city limits however, including areas in the urban growth boundaries, are subject to compliance.