Road vacation is the legal process of undoing a road creation. The vacated road ceases to be a public road where the public has the right to travel. There are many possible reasons for this action to be taken and some examples include vacating an unimproved road to clear land titles or to add land to a lot so that it conforms with zoning requirements, or to obtain control over a section of land so it can be managed more directly such as installing gates or fencing. A minimum of 60% of the property owners with land abutting the section to be vacated must agree with the action. Additionally, it is critical that the vacation does not eliminate legal access to any property. Road vacations also return land not actually being used as a road to the tax rolls.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who vacates a road?
Roads under Jackson County jurisdiction can only be vacated by order of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. The process may be started by the county or by petition and payment of a filing fee by one or more owners of the property abutting the road. The county considers all properly prepared petitions to vacate a road. Roads under multiple jurisdictions may require action by each governing body.
What are the steps in vacating a road?
Once a valid petition requesting the vacation has been received and the filing fee paid, the county road official prepares a written report on whether the vacation would be in the public interest. Once the report is received, a time and place for a hearing is established and notice is given of the hearing. New or controversial information may be presented to the Board before or during the hearing. More details on road vacation procedures are found in Oregon Revised Statutes 368.326 to 368.366. Ultimately it is the Board of Commissioners who will approve or deny the vacation of a public road.
What are the filing fees to be paid?
There is a non-refundable fee of $1,210 to begin the process of vacating a road. Additionally, if the vacation action is approved by the Board there is a recording fee in the amount of $123 and the possibility of a Surveyor fee of $414 if the vacation action is affecting platted land.
Does a road vacation require a public hearing?
Generally, yes. The exception is when a petition for vacation indicates the approval of 100% of the property owners owning land abutting the road proposed to be vacated.
When does a vacation take effect?
Upon recording with the County Clerk when the Board order becomes final. This will generally be 60 days after the Board votes on the vacation, unless the ordinance includes an emergency clause, which would specify a shorter time.
Who gets the vacated property?
The vacated property usually reverts to the abutting owners up to the center of the road. However, depending on how the road is owned or how the vacation is requested, title to the land may go separately from abutting ownerships. The Board could also order a different reversion of the property based on information brought forth at the public hearing or in the petition.
Who do I see for more information about a road vacation?
Contact us regarding any road within county jurisdiction. For roads within city limits, contact the city’s administrative office. Information about road vacation on state highways can be obtained by contacting the Oregon Department of Transportation at (541) 774-6299.