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County Charter and Code

Overview of key documents governing the county structure.

Washington County Charter

In 1962, the voters adopted a "home rule" Charter for Washington County. Home rule means that the voters may establish the basic form and structure of county government rather than use the structure provided by state statutes. Numerous separate amendments to the Charter have been approved over the years.

Read the Charter (PDF 73.41 KB)

Rules of Procedure

The Washington County Board of Commissioners follows these meeting procedures in accordance with the County Charter.

Washington County Code

Washington County promulgates ordinances as a legislative function. An ordinance is the equivalent of a statute for the County, passed by the Board of Commissioners and governing matters not already covered by federal or state law.

Read the County Code

Community Development Code

The Community Development Code is comprised of the standards that regulate specific aspects of development and the development process in unincorporated Washington County. The purpose of this Code is to implement the Washington County Comprehensive Plan through the adoption and coordination of planning and development regulations which provide for the health, safety and general welfare of the communities in Washington County.

Read the Community Development Code

Strategic Plan

The Washington County Board of Commissioners adopted a Strategic Plan Update in 2024, after receiving input from staff, key advisory groups and members of the public. The updated 20-page document includes modernized language for the organization’s vision and mission statements, guiding principles, fundamental approaches to services and department-by-department goals. Washington County’s Strategic Plan Update 2024-2028, which was last updated by the Board in the 1990s, now aligns the organization around a unifying vision called “One Washington County.”

As a political subdivision of the State of Oregon, Washington County government conducts legislative, executive and some quasi-judicial functions on behalf of its residents. The authority for these functions is derived from Oregon law and the County policies found in the Washington County Charter, code and resolutions.