Oregon County Surveyor’s duties are outlined in Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) §209.070. A county surveyor office files and maintains survey and plat records, oversees the public land corner restoration program, and assists the public with survey-related questions. Please Note: County surveyors’ offices do not provide or offer private land surveying services to the public or private citizens.

OACES Surveyor’s Division

Links to County Survey Records On-Line

Archival Issue Explanation

Chapter Description
12 Civil Proceedings
88 Liens
92 Subdivisions & Partitions
93 Conveyancing & Recording – Oregon Coordinate System
94 Planned Unit Development
96 Line and Partition Fences
97 Cemeteries
100 Condominiums
105 Real Property Rights
191 Unites States Surveys
192 Public Records
202 County Boundaries (see 202.110)C
203 Public Land Corner Fund
204 County Officers
209 County Surveyors
221 Incorporation of Cities
227 City Planning & Zoning
249 Elections
266 Park & Recreation Districts (see 266.380)
271 City Street Vacations
273 State Lands
274 Submersible and Submerged Lands
368 County Roads
371 Road Creation Obligations
376 Way of Necessity
403 911 Emergency Communication Systems (see 403.350)
478 Rural Fire Protection Districts (see 478.225)
549 Drainage & Flood Control (see 549.330 thru 549.350)
672 Engineers and Surveyors – Licensing
711 Mobile Home Parks
757 Utility Regulation

Oregon Administrative Rules
Section 820, OSBEELS

Specific Case Law Citations
5 OR 65 (1853) Goodman v. Myrick: Lines run on the ground by Government surveyors control: courses and distances yield to marked lines and corners.
27 OR 315 (1895) Robinson v. Laurer: Government survey field notes yield to actual corner monuments located on the ground.
41 OR 117 (1902) Trotter v. Stayton: Evidence of original street, lot and block lines control over expressed city council desire to correct mis-alignments or other errors on town plat.
42 OR 239 (1902) Trinwith v. Smith: Lost Government survey corners: restoration methods, evidence discussion.
42 OR 602 (1903) Egan v. Finney: Fence as boundary, prevails over line established by Co. Surveyor
52 OR 173 (1908) Sommer v. Compton: Plaintiffs contested to the testimony of private surveyor, on the ground that the county surveyor could not be disputed. Court held that it was equally competent for any other surveyor to testify to facts within his knowledge, even though the result of a survey, leaving to the consideration of the jury the accuracy of such evidence and it’s preponderance. The lower court erred in excluding the testimony of the private surveyor. (page 177)
54 OR 30 (1909) Bernheim v. Talbot: Division of Donation Land Claim into halves.
56 OR 117 (1910) Talbot v. Smith: Evidence; description construction; Estoppel; Adverse Possession.
60 OR 111 (1911) Bayne v. Brown: Fence construction; Abandonment; Adverse Possession, including tacking, proof requirements, tenancy.
61 OR 293 (1912) Whitcomb v. Town of Milwaukie: location of a centerline of a street (previously a county road) held to have been the true north line of a D.L.C., rather than another line fixed by subsequent survey.
67 OR 19 (1913) Crandall v. Mary: Boundary evidence; location of corners; artificial monuments; acquiescence.
89 OR 557 (1918) Bernitt v. City of Marshfield: Town plat ambiguities; fences & improvements show long time occupancy; subsequent survey ordered by city does not change vested interests.
92 OR 352 (1919) Ogilvie v. Stackland: boundary by mutual agreement held over subsequent survey; issues of warranted area quantities addressed.
93 OR 326 (1919) Robertson v. Martin: Clear and cogent testimony of mistake in Government survey notes; the term “more or less” acreage in deed not to be held against grantor on finding of less area.
99 OR 525 (1921) Hickey v. Daniel: despite a 19° discrepancy in bearings of a U.S. Lot line, a line between found original monuments controls.
186 OR 160 (1949) Buell et ux v. Mathes et ux: “It is established at common law that where land described by metes and bounds abuts upon a highway or where a highway is mentioned as a boundary or where lots are sold with reference to a plat which shows a highway as boundary, a presumption arises that the grantee takes fee to the center of the highway if the grantor owned it. (see page 185) “the reason for the general rule raising a presumption of title to the center line of a highway is based upon the view that the seller would have no object in retaining a narrow strip of land which is subject to the rights of others and which would be of no value to him when separated from adjoining property. (ibid. p. 186)
193 OR 385 (1951) Longview Fibre Co. v. Johnston: Lost corner establishment; true line; county surveyors survey; boundary line exact location not determined
266 OR 272 (1973) Where both deeds received by adjoining landowners from common grantor made reference to particular survey commissioned and conducted by common grantor for sole purpose of establishing boundary for each tract they were planning to sell and the corner stakes set up by the surveyor were conspicuous and known to all parties, lots were purchased in reliance upon boundaries established by such survey and boundaries would not be relocated on basis of subsequent survey which claimed that prior surveyor had erroneously located a center of section.
281 OR 65 (1978) Nelson v. Vandemarr: Adjoining lots, always conveyed by lot/block descriptions, must be in conformity with the plat; Adverse possession / burden of proof / prima facie evidence / hostile and exclusive use.

Selected Oregon Appeals Court Decisions:
4 OrApp 237 (1970) Port of Newport v. Haydon: Condemnation action; property boundaries and dimensions may be proved by every type of evidence generally admissible to establish any fact.
30 OrApp 889 (1977) Voelz v. Board of Engineering Examiners: gross negligence definition.
37 OrApp 889 (1978) Voelz v. Board of Engineering Examiners: ordinary negligence versus gross negligence defined; Board authority to formulate, prosecute and adjudicate charges affirmed.
129 P.3d 257 (2006) Dykes v. Arnold, Center of Section set by County Surveyor in 1899 assumes same status as if originally set by GLO.

Selected Oregon Attorney General Decisions:
(see Oregon Miscellaneous Data for additional Opinions with summaries)
20 AttyGenOp 447 (1941) Co. Surveyor as custodian of various records.
23 AttyGenOp 137 (1941) Where corners are established or re-established by survey made by private surveyors or engineers, complete notes of such survey shall be filed with the county surveyor.
23 AttyGenOp 204 (1941) Deputy County Surveyor; authority; compensation
23 AttyGenOp 447 (1941) County surveyor as custodian of road records.
23 AttyGenOp 511 (1948) County Surveyor can reject offered plats not in compliance with statutes.
26 AttyGenOp 140 (1953) Timber cruisers attempting to establish boundaries in laying off timber cutting lines may subject themselves to provisions of land surveyors registration law.
29 AttyGenOp 165 (1959) Filing of maps; failure may result in revocation of license.
29 AttyGenOp 344 (1960) Filing of maps; receipt of funds when ordered by court to perform survey.
30 AttyGenOp 183 (1961) A County Surveyor may not approve the plat of a subdivision he has prepared.
31 AttyGenOp 6 (1962) A Deputy County Surveyor may not approve survey of a subd. made by the County Surveyor in his private capacity.
31 AttyGenOp 249 (1963) A county may require the filing of subdivision of plats for partitioning of less than the number of parcels specified in ORS 92.010.
31 AttyGenOp 385 (1964) In order to establish permanent corners and boundaries under ORS 209.160 and 209.170, affected persons must be given notice by the county surveyor.
34 AttyGenOp 409 (1969) Condominium ownership plan does not fall under ORS 92.
34 AttyGenOp 846 (1969) Private road establishments within subdivisions are legal.
36 AttyGenOp 89 (1972) City limits annexations; legal descriptions; fee collection for plat checking for compliance with ORS 92.100(2) to City Engineer or City Surveyor not legal.
39 AttyGenOp 467 (1979) Conditional granting of zone change by city legal given certain conditions; condition to pay appraised value of vacated property between city or county and petitioner of street vacation held legal.
41 AttyGenOp 48 (1979) County may require the County Surveyor to account for all fees received by the county surveyor received in his or her official capacity.
41 AttyGenOp 181 (1980) Licensed land surveyor not required to be physically present when field crew is engaged in the practice of land surveying as defined in statutes.

Corpus Juris cites
32 C.J.S. 639 Public land office records, patents and grants, and surveys and maps are ordinarily admissible as evidence of their contents.

County Road Rights-of-way

  • First, the applicable statute: ORS 93.310 states, “Rules for construing description of real property. The following are the rules for construing the descriptive part of a conveyance of real property, when the construction is doubtful, and there are no other sufficient circumstances to determine it: (4) When a road or stream of water not navigable is the boundary, the rights of the grantor to the middle of the road, or the thread of the stream, are included in the conveyance, except where the road or bed of the stream is held under another title.”
  • Court holdings: Knott v. Jefferson Ferry Co. (1881), said, “It is held that the presumption of intent to convey to the center is not overcome although the land is described by metes and bounds, and the distances stated do not extend to the center of the highway.” 9 OR 530. In Banks v. Ogden, the court said, “When the boundary line is simply by an object, whether natural or artificial, the name of which is used in ordinary speech, as defining a boundary and not as describing title in fee, and which does not in its description or nature include earth as far down as the grantor owns, and yet has width as in the case of a way, a river, a ditch, a wall, a fence, a tree, or a stake or stones, then the center of the thing so running over or standing on the land is the boundary of the lot granted”. 17 L. Ed. 818. “In this state the rule is that where land has been dedicated or appropriated for a public street, the fee in that street remains in the original owner subject only to the public easement.”* And, “The fee passes to the purchasers of abutting lots in accordance with the intent of the grantors.”** (emphasis added) *Huddleston v. City of Eugene, 34 OR 343 **McQuaid v. Portland & V. Ry., 18 OR 237
  • Some exceptions: (1) Ownership in fee of adjoining parcel by the governmental entity, (2) Territorial roads and (3) certain State Highways requiring access limitations, but these are extremely rare cases.