Street lights are more complicated than you might expect. How you get one installed and who pays for it depends on where it is and why it’s being installed. Here, in brief, are some details.
Ideally we’d like to see all of the major roads in the urban areas of the county well lit at night. But since many of our roads were built years ago when there was less traffic and the county was a remote suburb, we still have many miles of roadway without illumination. New street lights are installed on major roads when:
- The road is reconstructed as part of a voter-approved levy
- An adjacent land parcel is developed and the developer is required to provide illumination
- A demonstrated safety problem that can be corrected by lighting is identified
Developers usually install street lights on neighborhood streets when new subdivisions are built. Today nearly all new neighborhoods include street lights, but in years past many did not.
Neighborhood street lights are paid for by local property owners as a special assessment on their property tax bill. The amount each household pays depends on the number of poles and lights installed, the style of equipment selected, and the number of properties included in the service area. Property owners in neighborhoods without street lights do not pay the assessment.
Portland General Electric (PGE) under contract to Washington County maintains most street lights. If a street light needs repair, contact our office at 503-846-7626; in most instances it will be repaired within 10 days.
Adding new street lights to existing neighborhoods is possible but not easy. Thinking about requesting street lights in your neighborhood? Contact the street lighting experts at 503-846-7626 for some free advice.