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Cartography Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about cartography


The A&T Cartography Division will reflect access (ingress/egress) easements and large utility easements such as Bonneville Power Administration on the maps.  To locate utility and other recorded easements, contact a local title insurance company.

If a property was awarded to you in a divorce decree, Cartography will need a copy of the decree if it occurred in another state or county.  If the divorce occurred in Washington County Oregon, Cartography will only need a divorce decree number for reference purposes.  The divorce document must be "final" and signed by the judge.  If the decree required a deed document to be recorded, this document should be recorded with the Washington County Recorders Office, and Cartography will automatically receive a copy and reflect the name change.

If a certified copy of the death certificate is recorded with the Washington County Recorder's office, the Cartography Division will automatically see a copy of it and update the ownership registry as applicable.

The Washington County Assessor Maps are drawn for the purpose of assisting the County Appraisal Division in the process of inventorying real property.  These maps are drawn as accurately as possible from several sources and show a lot of detail.  More and more agencies are using these maps as a "base map" to tie to other data sets.  Washington County Cartography cannot be responsible for any other uses, or additional data overlays by other jurisdictions.

A "code split" is a tax lot that is divided by multiple, yet similar taxing entities, such as cities or service districts.  For example, a portion of a tax lot may be in a city, and the remainder may be in unincorporated Washington County.  Another example would be a tax lot that has portions in two different school districts.  Because the tax rate is different on either side of that boundary, a separate tax statement will be sent to accurately represent each portion.

An "And/Or" tax code relates to properties that are in rural fire protection districts.  All rural properties with structures, and properties up to 5 acres in size, pay taxes to the Rural Fire Protection District that it is located within.  Rural properties without any structures, or with land greater than 5 acres, typically with timber, will be protected by the State of Oregon Forestry - Fire Patrol.  Basically, the land use and size of the area determines how the tax rate is applied.  So a tax lot could be in Rural Fire AND Fire Patrol.  Or, the tax lot could be all in Rural Fire OR all in Fire Patrol.

The "surveyed acreage" is everything within the boundaries of a surveyed property.  The "taxable acreage" may not include areas used by the public such as within road right-of-ways.  Some property boundaries extend into the public road right-of-way and are dedicated as such.

A "tax lot" is an area of land defined by a polygon on the assessor map.  An account number is assigned to track the ownership and tax information related to it.  A "legal lot of record" is tracked by the Planning office, who track if a parcel was created legally by deed, ordinance, and within zoning laws.  A "legal lot of record" can be a tax lot but not all tax lots are "legal lots of record."

Oregon Revised Statute 311.280(3) states that "The assessor or tax collector shall not divide an assessment under this section unless all ad valorem taxes, fees and other charges required to be placed upon the tax roll that have been certified for collection under ORS 311.110 and become a lien upon the entire parcel of property have been paid."  Between July 1 and the certification of the tax roll (in October), the taxes are owing as a lien against the property.  Since the actual taxes are not known until the tax roll is certified, an estimate of taxes is calculated for pre-payment.  That pre-payment of taxes must be paid before the boundary can be adjusted.  Contact the Cartography Division at (503)846-8871.

Most school district boundaries were formed in the early 1900's and followed the property boundaries of large farm parcels.  Today, many properties have subdivided, and as a result, one may find that homes across the street from each other may have children going to different schools. To inquire about the possibility of a school district boundary change, contact your local Education Service District.

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Your tax statement contains a breakdown of each of the districts that your property is located in, and how much you pay into each district.  Summary of Assessment & Tax Roll contains a complete listing of the taxing districts and each of their respective rates.  Additional information may be obtained by contacting our Tax Collections office at (503)846-8801.

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Contact the County Surveyor's office at 503-846-7933.  This office will review the process and answer any questions you may have.

For all inquiries regarding ownership of property please contact the Assessment & Taxation Department at 503-846-8741.

All jurisdictions in Washington County send GIS data to Metro for the Regional Land Information System. Metro packages this complete information for redistribution. For information regarding Shapefiles of other GIS data contact Metro directly at (503) 797-1742 or by visiting here.