Road Vacations

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Road Vacations
August 2016 
You may request the Wasco County Court to vacate a county or public road by submitting the attached Petition. Also attached for your reference are the Oregon Revised Statutes pertaining to public road vacations (ORS 368.326 to 368.426). Please note ORS 368.341(1)(c) refers to the need for your petition and ORS 368.341(3) details the items that must be included.

To complete your petition, fill out the first page of the blank Petition with the appropriate information. Each petitioner must complete a copy of the second page and have the signature(s) notarized.

Once completed, your Petition must be filed with the Wasco County Public Works Director. There is a $500.00 fee to process the petition.

Upon the filing of the Petition, the County Court will proceed with your request in the manner outlined by state law.

Please draw your attention to ORS 368.351. This allows the County Court to make a determination about a vacation without a public hearing if both of the following conditions are met:

a. The county road official (Director of Public Works) files with the Court a report that the petitioned road vacation is in the public interest; and

b. The filed petition contained signatures of 100% of the abutting property owners. ORS 368.336 specifies that a person owning property that abuts either side of the road is an abutting property owner.

I want to highlight estimated time frames for various phases of a road vacation under optimum conditions:

a. Initial Road Dept research (after receipt of Petition): 1 week

b. Send out Preliminary Report to agencies and utilities for their feedback: 4 weeks

c. Development and submission of final Report to County Court: 1 week

d. If required (for contested road vacations or less than 100% of the abutting property owners sign the petition), Notification of Public Hearing: 5 weeks

e. Scheduling and meeting of the County Court to consider the vacation: 2 weeks

In summary, under optimum conditions, anticipate the vacation process taking approximately two months to complete. I have seen few public hearing road vacation procedures that end in a decision in less than two months.

Several additional comments include:

a. The steps required in the above time frames are necessary to ensure proper road vacation procedures are followed. If you have a tight timeline (such as a home improvement loan) and decide to initiate a petition to vacate, be aware that timely resolution of the petition to meet your desired time schedule cannot be guaranteed.

b. The Petition form indicates the requirement for obtaining signatures from abutting property owners. With the exception of where the petitioned road intersects another public road, some party owns the land. This includes public agencies which might own land. It is your responsibility, not Public Works, to identify and obtain signatures from property owners that you are required to list on the petition.

c. The road vacation process only removes the county's interest in the road, less any existing easements. It does not guarantee that the land under the road right of way will vest to any specific property owners.

d. A review of your petition paperwork for thoroughness may eliminate potential problems, time delays, or misunderstandings in the process.