Restoration of Government Corners Program
Government Corner History
When Marion County was being settled back in the early 1800's, it was clear that some system of survey monumentation was needed to mark the limits of land ownership. In 1851 "Instructions to the Surveyor General of Oregon; Being a Manual for Field Operations" was printed.
This manual was used as the basis of all the survey work and land divisions within Marion County.
The main part of the "Public Land" surveying was done within the county in the 1850's and 1860's
and this same system is used today.
"Topographic" information on townsites, homes, farm fields, trails, roads, rivers, creeks, and, timber land was mapped along with the "Donation Land Claim" boundaries.
"Township Boundaries" and the subdivision of Townships into sections, 1/4 sections, and lots were also done at the same time. Waterways also are shown with meander lines.
All this work was done with "State of the Art" survey tools of the time and we often need to walk the same path that they did, even though we can survey with satellites today.
Why This Program Is Important To You As A Land Owner (or Renter)?
Property legal descriptions (deeds) are referenced to these corners & monuments.
Surveys by Private Surveyors can be less expensive at the time you require them.
Ensures more accurate base maps for flood plain, fire, sheriff, schools, and assessor.
Helps define property lines for you and your neighbors for farming, building and fencing.
Government Corner Types
Donation Land Corner: This is a corner that marks the boundary of lands that people had settled (and claimed) during the 1800's.
Township Corner: The corner of a 6 mile by 6 mile square area. Section Corner: The corner of a 1 mile by 1 mile square area. There are 36 sections in a township.
1/4 Corner: The corner ½ way between 2 section corners (or a township corner and section corner).
Meander Corner: This type of corner can be found along rivers and lakes.
Angle Point: This is the point of change in direction along any surveyed line.
Other Types of Corners: Several other types of corners are found in the old survey system.
Types of Monuments
The first survey monuments (for the most part) were wood stakes and witness/bearing trees (some of which can still be found). Over time, some corners have been updated with stones, iron rods, axles, iron pipes, bottles, posts, buggy parts, etc.
Today we are still updating corners with new monuments. We also set 4 reference points to each government corner, usually 5/8" X 30" iron rods with the top down 24" below ground level; these may also fall on your property.
The Marion County Surveyor's Office will notify property owners of restoration work scheduled in their areas. A door hanger with the following information will be left indicating the type of work to be done.
_____ The Marion County Surveyor's Office will be working in your area during the next several weeks. During that time, you may see our survey crews. This information is provided to help you understand the work they do (on or near) your property.
_____ One (or more) government corner is within (or on) the boundary of your property. The survey crew will need to enter your property several times to do restoration work on that corner. We are providing notice of our work per ORS 209.015 (see below). If you have any questions about the work, please call our office at (503) 588-5155.
NOTE: If we don't hear from you within the next 10 days, we will consider that we have given you notice and have permission to enter upon the property.
_____ For your information, no government corner is within your property but you may see a survey crew working close to your property. If you have any questions about the work, please call our office at (503) 588-5155.
_____ The survey crew will be starting to work in this area within the next 2 weeks (or) Date .
Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS)
ORS 209.015 Authority to enter upon land; no unnecessary damage; notice. (1) Subject to subsection (3) of this section, the county surveyor, and employees and agents of the county surveyor, may enter upon any land for the purpose of surveying or performing any work necessary to carry out existing laws and may establish permanent survey monuments.
(2) Any person exercising the right of entry granted under subsection (1) of this section shall do so with no unnecessary damage to the land entered upon.
(3) A county surveyor or any employee or agent of the county surveyor shall not enter upon or establish any permanent survey monument upon any property without first providing notice to the landowner or landowners and the occupant of the property.