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Privately Funded Gravel Road Improvements

Learn about how you can improve gravel roads through private funding.

Cooperative Agreement | Local Improvement District | Private Contractor

We do not have the funds to pave the gravel roads within our jurisdiction. Paving of gravel roads is privately funded by property owners. Contact us to begin the process because there are steps and procedures that need to be followed.

Property owners can fund paving projects that we complete through Cooperative Agreements (Co-ops) or Local Improvement Districts (LIDs). You can also hire private contractor and apply for a Right-of-Way Permit. This is the only option if you live on a Local Access Road, commonly referred to as a Public Dedicated Road.

Cooperative Agreement

A Co-op is usually created when only a few property owners have interest in improving the road. Depending on the size of the project, we may be able to help with certain construction activities. We can’t pay for the project, nor can we pay a contractor to do the work.

When creating a Co-op, just one property owner acts as the point of contact with us. Once contacted, we see what work we would have to do and prepare cost estimates.

Co-op members need to deposit the full estimated cost before construction begins. We will issue a refund if the construction costs less than expected. If it costs more than expected, we will send an invoice for the remaining balance to the point of contact.

We also recommend property owners form a Maintenance Local Improvement District (MLID) so we can develop an ongoing maintenance strategy. That way, revenue for road maintenance is collected annually. MLID money can only be used for road maintenance.

Local Improvement District

Local Improvement Districts (LIDs) require all benefitting property owners along the road to pay for the one-time road improvement.

The Washington County Board of Commissioners votes to create an LID through this process:

1. Neighborhood Meeting

You can work with us to arrange a neighborhood meeting. We mail invitations to all the property owners who would be in the LID.

During the meeting, we explain the work needed, give a cost estimate and present other funding options. Then you and your neighbors can decide if you want to move forward. If you don’t move forward, the road can’t be considered for an LID for another five years.

2. Petition

You will circulate a petition in your neighborhood. We will create a required information sheet with details about the proposed improvements. At least 51% of affected property owners need to sign the petition to move forward. Only one person from each property is allowed to sign. Even if a person owns several properties, they can only sign once.

3. District Formation

If you get enough signatures, the Board will hold a public hearing. We also present the Board with a feasibility report showing details on the improvements.

We will also develop per parcel cost estimates. Usually, the Board assigns cost shares based on the benefits to each parcel. If you benefit more, you will pay more than others. People who own multiple properties pay a share for each property.

After the hearing, the Board votes on the creation of the LID. This process needs to be finished by December if you want paving to be done the following summer.

4. Construction

Construction usually happens over two or more weeks in July or August. We guarantee the work for one year. After that, we maintain the road based on our Road Maintenance Priority Matrix.

5. Payment

After construction, we will ask the Board to decide on assessments for each parcel. Invoices are then sent to each property owner.

All property owners need to pay their share, even if they oppose the LID. The assessment becomes a lien on the property. If you sell the property before you pay off the lien it will transfer. You can pay in full or with a 10-year payment plan.

6. Ongoing Maintenance

We recommend you form a Maintenance Local Improvement District (MLID) for continued road maintenance. MLIDs collect revenue from property owners annually. MLID money can only be spent on road maintenance. We develop a long-term maintenance plan and determine rates for each property.

Private Contractor

Private contractors can work on projects that meet our requirements if they get a Right-of-Way Permit. This is the only option to improve Public Dedicated or Local Access Roads.

Permits include specifications, general conditions and other requirements. We encourage you to contact us for requirements before you get a quote from a contractor.

We are not involved with contracts between property owners and contractors. However, we do need contractors to provide proof of insurance, a one-year warranty on all work and a cash or surety bond. The bond is based on our estimate of the full amount of the work. Once the contractor addresses issues and the warranty period ends, we will release the bond.

Our inspectors check in before, during and after construction. We require a deposit for inspections before issuing a permit.



  • LID: Everyone who benefits pays for improvements, even if they oppose them.
  • Co-op: Only people who volunteer pay for improvements.
  • Private contractor: Property owners hire and pay for their own private contractor. We need a deposit for the inspection work and a bond guaranteeing the work.


  • LID: A formal process involving the Board, which approves or denies the LID.
  • Co-op: A semi-formal process involving us and some property owners.
  • Private contractor: Contractors perform the work to our requirements and permit conditions.


  • LID: Construction work is done or hired by us.
  • Co-op: Construction work is done by us.
  • Private contractor: Construction work is done by contractors hired by property owners.

LID advantages:

  • All benefiting property owners pay for the LID.
  • Payment can be made over a 10-year period.

LID disadvantages:

  • It's a long process, including five BOC meetings.
  • The process must be completed by December for the work to be completed in spring or summer.
  • Neighbors opposing the improvements still must pay for them.
  • The project may alienate neighbors who oppose the work.

Co-op advantages:

  • It is simpler because it only involves one or more property owners.
  • If agreed on by March, improvements can usually be made the spring or summer of the same year.

Co-op disadvantages:

  • The estimated costs are collected before work begins.
  • The individual costs are usually higher since fewer people are paying for the work.

Private contractor advantages:

  • Property owners decide who performs the work.
  • Property owners control the schedule.

Private contractor disadvantages

  • Property owners manage the project.
  • The project may alienate neighbors who are not in favor of the work.
  • We will not warranty the work.

We do not promote gravel road upgrades or any other privately funded improvements. Our staff attends LID neighborhood meetings to share information if property owners ask.

We do not have the funds to pave and maintain our more than 250 miles of gravel roads.

Our Transportation Plan prioritizes road maintenance funding. Major roads are the highest priority and local roads are the lowest. Even small improvements to major roads are higher priority than general maintenance of local roads. Our Road Maintenance Program shows our current priorities.

No. When people ask about road upgrades our staff checks minimum requirements, like road width and geography. Public Dedicated or Local Access Roads are not eligible for the LID or Co-op options.

The finished road will usually be 20 feet wide. There is 18 feet of paved surface, and one-foot-wide gravel shoulders on both sides. The road base will be at least six inches thick and pavement will be at least three inches thick. The rock or asphalt may need to be increased for commercial truck traffic.

We use a hot mix asphalt treatment.

Speeds may increase once a road is upgraded to a hard surface. These roads are usually subject to Oregon's Basic Speed Rule. You can contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office and file a Traffic Complaint if you believe motorists are violating the Basic Speed Rule.

Property owners can submit road service requests for gravel road maintenance.

Dust abatement is a fairly low-cost treatment applied by a contractor. You must fill out a Dust Control Agreement annually. Rain and lots of traffic make dust abatement less effective