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May 31, 2023
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Status or Types of Public Roads

county roadA public road is a road that everyone has a right to use and which is a matter of legal record. State highways and city streets are types of public roads. Jackson County has three distinct types of public roads within its jurisdiction. The degree of county responsibility depends on the status of the road and applicable state and county law.

County Road
A county road must have been accepted into the county road system. The county's jurisdiction covers the entire right-of-way. Because the road has been accepted into the system, Jackson County Roads is responsible for maintaining it, setting standards and specifications for road work, processing permits for driveways or other road approaches, utility installations, and any other work within the right-of-way.

Local Access Road
A local access road is a public road that has not been accepted into the county road system or any other road system. A local access road has been dedicated to the public, but it has not been accepted as part of the publicly-maintained road system. The county still has jurisdiction within the rights-of-way of local access roads, but local landowners have the responsibility for maintenance.

Dedicated Way
A type of local access road with a formal agreement for maintenance, as spelled out in the county's Land Development Ordinance, is a dedicated way.

Other types of roads serving property in Jackson County include federal forest roads and private roads. Contact the appropriate agency (BLM or Forest Service) or the private landowner(s) for information about these roads which may or may not be open for travel or use by the general public.

Finally, other jurisdictions manage public roadways in our area including local cities as well as the Oregon Department of Transportation. Please contact the appropriate jurisdiction for questions about roadways they manage.


What is the status of the road I live on?
Call Roads at (541) 774-8184 for road status information. Usually we can tell you from our road maintenance records if a road is a county road, state highway, city street, local access road or private road. However, it is difficult to give a definite answer for many unimproved roads without further research.

I live on a county road within a city. Why isn't my street a city street?
When land is annexed to a city, the jurisdiction for many government services becomes the city's. However, roads and streets are an exception. County roads do not automatically become city streets upon annexation. The city must formally accept the street as part of its system. To have your road converted to a city street you should contact your city’s administrative office.

I own property with an unimproved road through it. Can I obtain title to this unused strip of land?
Yes. This must be done by having the county formally vacate the road as part of the county road system (or as a public road if it is a local access road). To vacate a road the County Board of Commissioners must find that there is no public need for the given right-of-way and that no one's access to property would be cut off due to the road vacation. Please see our webpage on vacation for more information.

I live on a "Local Access Road" that the county does not maintain although it is a public road. Can my road become a county road?
If a local access road can be improved to county standards for right-of-way width, base course, width of roadway surface, and so on, it can be accepted as a county road and be maintained by the county.  See our Local Improvement District page for more information.

I am considering buying property on a "dedicated way". What does that mean?
As on any other local access road it means that you and your neighbors are responsible to maintain the road. On dedicated ways this is done through a formal agreement. The county is not responsible for regular maintenance of the road.

What difference does road status make?
The primary difference is in who is responsible to maintain the road: state, county, city or local property owners. The status also affects who must be contacted about permits for action in the right-of-way. A public road exists to allow the public to travel so gates or other blockages are only permitted under extraordinary circumstances.

I’m still confused. Who can answer my questions?
For information about county roads, local access roads, and dedicated ways, please call us at (541) 774-8184. For information about federal forest roads, you should contact the appropriate federal agency and for information about any road within city limits, please call your city’s administrative office.  For state highways please contact the Oregon Department of Transportation at (541) 774-6299.