Oregon's Property Tax System

In Oregon, property taxes help support police, fire protection, education and other public services provided by local taxing districts, such as cities, counties and schools. Oregon’s property tax system represents one of the most important sources of revenue for local governments. Washington County is one of these local governments that receives property tax revenues of approximately 18 cents out of every tax dollar. Cities and special districts receive 32 cents, 47 cents goes to education, and regional governments get 3 cents.

Oregon’s property tax system is defined by two significant constitutional limitations that were put in place by initiative petitions passed by voters in November 1990 and May 1997:

  1. In 1997, this measure established a Maximum Assessed Value (MAV) for each property that existed in 1995. The lower of the Maximum Assessed Value (MAV) or Real Market Value (RMV) determined the assessed value.
  2. In 1991, voters changed the Oregon Constitution setting an upper limit on the amount of property taxes to be collected. This limit was first applied on the 1991/92 tax bill and was designed to be phased in over a 5 year period. By 1995, permanent tax rates of $5 per $1,000 of Real Market Value (RMV) for schools and $10 per $1,000 of Real Market Value (RMV) for non-school (General Government) were established.

Currently, the amount of property taxes you pay is based on two things:

  1. the assessed value of the property; and
  2. the amount of taxes that each taxing district is authorized to raise.

The Oregon Constitution places limits on both of these factors.