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.

Show All Answers

1. Why does the City charge utilities for using rights-of-way?
2. Is it common for cities to charge these fees?
3. How much does the City charge for using rights-of-way?
4. Does the City charge only private utilities or are publicly-owned utilities charged as well?
5. How is this fairer to ratepayers?
6. How does this affect me?
7. This is labeled a "tax" on my bill. Oregon City is calling it a "fee." So which is it?
8. How does the City spend the money collected from these fees?
9. I heard that Oregon City is being sued over this policy. Why?
10. Who may I contact to get additional information about this program?