County Charter & Code
As a political subdivision of the State of Oregon, Washington County government conducts legislative, executive and some quasi-judicial functions on behalf of its citizens. The authority for these functions is derived from Oregon law and the County policies found in the Washington County Charter, code and resolutions.
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, the most recent being in 2014.
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.
The Board of Commissioners adopted the County 2000 Plan in 1986. The original Plan identified the County's fundamental approaches to its service delivery roles, principles and priorities, and was designed to be a blueprint for the development and implementation of County policies, programs, and operations. The Plan was updated in 1990 and 1993. These updates substantively reinforced the original document with refinements based on emerging issues and service priorities. The Board of Commissioners recently began a process of updating the strategic plan once again, a process that has resulted in a revised document called County 2020.
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 citizens of Washington County.