In reaching its determinations the
Department will be guided by the following:
Change in classification of property from
state to county assessment or vice versa is made necessary by changes in use of
the property. Under the statute, ORS 308.515, the controlling factor
determining assessment responsibility is the use, present or intended, of the
property. In accordance the Department will classify:
(A) Those properties being used in utility
service as subject to the assessment jurisdiction of the Department.
(B) Those properties which are acquired or
held for subsequent use in utility service but assigned to and used by another
in a non-utility use as subject to assessment jurisdiction of the county
(C) Those properties
which are acquired for use in utility service but not yet placed into such
service and where no other use is being made of the property as subject to
assessment by the county assessor or the Department of Revenue as may be
determined by the department.
Those properties no longer being used in utility service and not being held for
future use in utility service as subject to the assessment jurisdiction of the
county assessor. The status of a property as of January 1 shall be the
determining fact in its classification for that assessment year.
In the case of railroad
properties, the law (ORS
has moved the classification a step away from use by stating "a rail
transportation company shall be deemed the user of property situated within its
station ground reservations or rights of way notwithstanding the fact that such
property may be leased, rented or otherwise assigned by it for the use or
benefit of another." Thus in the case of railroad property the determining fact
is whether or not a property is "within its station ground reservations or
rights of way." In making that determination the following definitions shall
(A) Railroad Right of Way: The land
owned or used by a rail transportation company as the site for its railroad.
The term "railroad" includes rails, ties, ballast, tunnels, trestles, bridges,
cuts, fills, drainage systems, signal systems, communication systems, power
systems, equipment and employee service buildings and structures, and all other
facilities needed in the business of rail transportation except station
facilities. The dimensions of the right-of-way will vary depending on
requirements imposed by function and terrain and no fixed size limits can be
(B) Railroad Station Ground
Reservation: A parcel of land, usually contiguous to a railroad right-of-way,
acquired for and used as a station site.
(C) Station Site: All land area reasonably
necessary to provide for the transition from and to rail transportation of
people and property is logically classifiable as station ground reservation.
The Department will
determine whether a particular parcel is includable within one of the
definitions on the basis of the following rules:
(A) If the land is owned by a railroad and is
being used or is held for use as a station site or as right-of-way as defined
above, it shall be classified as station ground reservation or right-of-way.
(B) If the land is owned by a
railroad but is leased to another for use as a station site it shall be
classified as station ground reservation. Examples would include: leases to
freight forwarding, express, and trucking companies for use in assembling small
shipments for movement by rail; leases to grain buying and warehousing
companies who buy small quantities to accumulate into bulk rail shipments; and
leases to companies in the reverse activity of receiving bulk shipments by rail
and selling in small quantity.
Land owned by a railroad and not included in items (A) or (B) shall be
classified as not being station ground reservation or right-of-way. Examples
would include: Leases to retail sales organizations as store or parking lot
sites; leases to farmers for agricultural uses (this would not include
agricultural permits or casual, transitory or informal agricultural uses along
rights-of-way); leases to manufacturing concerns as factory sites. In marginal
cases, the Department will make its decision based on the primary use being
made of the land.