Marion County Board of Commissioners
Statement of Policy
RE: ORS 368.026 Withdrawal of county road status; notice; hearing.
Statement of Policy:
The Marion County Board of Commissioners has instructed the Marion County Department of Public Works to continually review those roads within Marion County which have been designated as county roads and for which the county is charged with maintenance. Because of limited resources to provide the required maintenance, it is in the public interest and shall hereby be declared to be the policy of the Marion County Board of Commissioners to withdraw from the county road system any road which is not of benefit to the general public of Marion County or is burdensome to maintain or is not needed as a part of the county road system.
In determining whether to withdraw a county road from the system, the Board of Commissioners at a public meeting held for that purpose shall consider various factors, including but not limited to the following, to wit:
Number of residences served by the road.
Amount of traffic using the road.
Whether the road is a stub or dead-end road as opposed to one which carries through traffic.
Cost of maintaining the road.
Practical difficulties encountered in maintaining the road.
The purpose of the Marion County Road System is to provide a network of roads to benefit the general public. Emphasis should be prioritized to include:
1. Major arterials.
2. Minor arterials.
3. Collector roads.
4. Local service roads.
A further road classification could be made for those short dead-end roads that serve only one to four homes. In a strict sense, these roads are merely along driveways and do not serve the general public. ORS 368.026 allows the county to withdraw such roads from the county road system. This transfers the responsibility for maintaining the road from the County Operations Department to the property owners abutting the road. Residents can usually continue to have maintenance service provided by the county by requesting a private work order, thereby contracting with the Department of Public Works to provide maintenance (grading, ditching, etc.) at the price it costs the county to provide the service. This removes the public burden of maintaining a seldom used road to the detriment of those roads in use generally by the motoring public.
This procedure is not an abandonment or vacation of the road. Under abandonment or vacation procedures, the road property would revert in ownership to the property owners. Under withdrawal procedure, the road continues in being as a road of public easement, which means that the road will still exist as a road in public use. The only change would be in the county's responsibility for maintaining this road.
It should be noted that funds for the maintenance of county roads do not come from property taxes. The funds for road maintenance are provided by the State of Oregon out of Gasoline Tax Receipts and Forest Receipts. Because of the limitations inherent in these revenues, county road maintenance funds and the levels at which they are provided are outside the control of the county.
The procedure to be followed in the withdrawal process is set out by state statute. A public hearing must be held on the withdrawal request. This public hearing may be initiated by abutting residents or by the Board of Commissioners on the advice of the Department of Public Works. This hearing must by preceded by notification to all property owners maintaining a residence in the vicinity of the road in question and who require the road for access. This notification must be by certified mail and sent at least 30 days prior to the hearing.
On the day set for the public hearing, the Board shall consider first any report made upon the road in question by the Department of Public Works. This report will include any statements of fact concerning the road, and any other facts pertinent to the case.
Any petition or resolution presented by property owners maintaining a residence served by the road in question will then be heard, along with any arguments favoring such withdrawal. Subsequent to these petitions, resolutions or arguments in favor of the withdrawal, any petition, resolution or argument objecting or opposing the withdrawal will be heard. Individuals may appear and give testimony, and may be represented by counsel at these hearings.
Action After Hearing:
The Board of Commissioners will, generally, take the case under advisement. A decision will be subsequently made and announced in accordance with the Oregon Open Meeting Law. If the Board finds that, in its judgment, the road or any portion thereof is burdensome to maintain, it not needed as a part of the county road system but should continue to be a public road, it may withdraw said road from the county road system.
Approved in Board Session 12/8/76.