Oregon City's "rights-of-way" (ROW) are sections of land set aside for public benefit. These sections include streets and sidewalks as well as land set aside for water pipes, electricity lines, and other utility infrastructure.
Our City's rights-of-way are our most valuable asset and include all the property and improvements on 144 miles of Oregon City streets. Oregon City coordinates right-of-way use among public and private users so that we can efficiently manage this large and complex resource.
On November 6, 2013, The Oregon City Commission adopted Ordinance 13-1014 (PDF) requiring all utilities to have a contractual agreement or a license to use the City's rights-of-way.
The goal of this ordinance continues to be accurately identifying all right-of-way users and ensuring fair, market-rate compensation for the use of our most valuable asset.
Available on this page are the right-of-way ordinance (PDF) and the current fee resolution (PDF). Also included are the Right-of-Way Utility Registration Application (PDF) and the Right-of-Way Usage License Application (PDF). The Public Works Department manages the ordinance through its Right-of-Way Program.
Contact the Right-of-Way Program at 971-204-4601 for more information or if you are a utility provider in the city limits of Oregon City for registration information.
- Why does the City charge utilities for using rights-of-way?
The rights-of-way are owned by the City. The responsibility to fund improvements and service for our rights-of-way ultimately rests with the taxpayers. In order to ensure a fair distribution of these costs, the City charges utility customers and others that use the right-of-way rather than passing the costs directly to taxpayers. For example, in September, 2014, Oregon City staff responded to a leak at Clackamas County's Tri-City Wastewater Treatment Plant (OregonLive article). The fee paid by the County helped to cover the City's cost for response.
Utilities are charged a user fee (like a rent) when they use City-owned lands in Oregon City. These fees help the City repair and maintain your public rights-of-way and other spaces. Utilities can pass these costs along to ratepayers. Under this policy, the fee is collected from all users of the rights-of-way, including service districts and utilities. This means that the burden is shared by all users and not just Oregon City taxpayers.
- Is it common for cities to charge these fees?
Yes. Most cities in Oregon have some kind of right-of-way management policy and charge fees for its use. The League of Oregon Cities has provided model right-of-way ordinances for cities to use and the Oregon City ordinance is based on that model. Many other local governments in the area such as West Linn, Gladstone, and Clackamas County charge right-of-way fees to users.
- How much does the City charge for using rights-of-way?
The amount varies based on the kind of utility and how much facilities they use in the right-of-way.