Surveyor's Comments

Items of interest

December 30, 2011

Greetings,

As another year ends I look back and see that we haven't had any dramatic changes in our development review workload.  We are holding even or slightly increasing in the number of submittals to our office.  In the last few months it seems that subdivision plats are beginning to reappear, at least in the cities.  Partitions continue to dominate our work load in the unincorporated areas.
 
There has been much discussion in the last few months about what is suitable archival media for Plats and Records of Surveys.  Now we are hearing from photo mylar vendors that the process may come to an end because of the hazardous nature of the chemicals involved.  With that in mind I have evaluated how we handle the public records presented to us for safe keeping and have determined that I no longer require the durability provided by mylar.  Records filed in my office are imaged and should receive little or no handling after that.  The digital image becomes the working copy.
 
Beginning January 1, 2012 we will accept permanent ink on acid free bond paper as the final product for Records of Survey.  The mylar materials you were submitting before are still acceptable but additionally, contingent on our testing of your paper for strength and acid content, you have the option of sending in paper for filing.  When you submit your two paper copies of a Record of Survey for review we will test the paper and include the result as part of your redlines.
 
The option of submitting paper as a final document is limited to Records of Survey at this time.  After we see how this is received by our customers and we gain experience handling and storing paper originals I intend to consider extending this practice to Plats.  I anticipate this to be a savings for those of you that were plotting on mylar or using a printing service to produce photo mylars.
 
Another change being implemented on January 1, 2012 is the adjustment of the deposit required when submitting Partition Plats.  The deposit will be $2200 plus the filing fee and addressing fees.  The filing fee remains at $400 and the addressing fee remains at $80 per parcel.  A three parcel partition within our addressing jurisdiction will require a total deposit of $2840.  This information is on our web site but you can always call our office if you're uncertain when calculating the amount of the deposit.  This is not a change in the fee.  Our fee has been at actual cost for many years.
 
The previous deposit amount was established several years ago.  There have been several cost of living increases and other factors that have driven our cost up since the deposit amount was set.  Partitions have become more complex in the urban infill areas and Measure 37/49 plats didn't even exist at that time.  Those of you that have been submitting partitions are aware that you or your clients usually have to submit a final payment at the end of the process.  Sometimes this second payment is significant and unexpected by customers that didn't truly understand that the first payment was a deposit; the fee is actual cost.  By setting the deposit at a more realistic amount most of you will not be required to make a large second deposit and many folks will be receiving a modest refund when the Plat records.  Plats are not sent to recording until all fees are paid so this will mitigate the chances of a plat being held up at the end of the review process.
 
At this time I don't expect any changes to our fee schedule in the coming year.  As these economic times have continued to play out we have adjusted staffing levels and implemented cost saving measures such as moving into a smaller office space.  My hope is that there is sufficient activity in the coming year to sustain the remaining staff in our current configuration.
 
If you have questions or comments I have included my contact information below.
 
I wish you and yours the best in the coming year.
Jim Elam
 
James H. Elam, PLS, CWRE
Washington County Surveyor
155 N. First Ave. Suite 350-15
Hillsboro, OR 97124
(503) 846-3405
 

Items of interest

October 20, 2011

Greetings,

I am forwarding the message below, from the Development Review Section of the Washington County Surveyor's Office.  I explained this situation more fully in my email of September 16, 2011.  It appears that the information may have been obscured by the volume of other issues addressed at that time.  We are continuing to receive a number of incomplete submittals.  The good news part of this is that we are receiving submittals.

Jim Elam

James H. Elam, PLS, CWRE
Washington County Surveyor
155 N. First Ave. Suite 350-15
Hillsboro, OR 97124
(503) 846-3405

------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Linda Rigutto
Sent: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 4:41 PM
To: Jim Elam
Subject: record of survey submittal - two paper copies are REQUIRED

When submitting a record of survey to the Washington County Surveyor's Office for review, TWO PAPER COPIES ARE REQUIRED. If we receive only one paper copy, we will recycle that copy, call the submitting surveyor and ask them to send us two copies.

Items of interest

September 16, 2011

Like many other public, and private, organizations we have experienced a downsizing of our staff.  This change in size precipitated our moving the office, as I announced in my June 27, 2011 e-mail.

The Development Review staff is now settled in their new location in Suite 350, of the Public Services Building (PSB).  My primary workstation is located there as well.  Our new address is in my contact information at the end of this e-mail.  Phone numbers for staff in the PSB have not changed. 

The Public Land Corner staff has relocated to the Walnut Street Center (WSC) next to the Road Fund employees on the second floor of that building. 

The contact information for the Public Land Corner Section is as follows:  

George Wiser, Survey Supervisor

1400 SW Walnut Street, MS 17

Hillsboro OR 97123

(503) 846-7891  

The contact information for the Road Fund Section is unchanged at:  

Scott Young, Survey Supervisor

1400 SW Walnut Street, MS 17

Hillsboro OR 97123

(503) 846-7933

  • County Surveyor's Office Development Review Business Hours beginning October 3, 2011
    When the Development Review staff moved to Suite 350 at the PSB they began sharing the reception area with the Building Services and Current Planning sections of the Department of Land Use and Transportation.  Due to staffing issues and budget constraints the department has decided to shorten the customer reception area hours at the PSB.  This does not affect the WSC hours of operation.

    Beginning October 3, 2011 the County Surveyor's Office Development Review Section's customer reception area hours at PSB will be from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Thursday.  We will be closed all day Friday.  On Fridays the staff will continue to be available by phone on their direct lines but the main phone line, (503) 846-8723, will be answered by a messaging machine announcing the new business hours and requesting that customers call back during those hours.

  • Record of Survey submittals
    This is related to all record of survey submittals.  In the past we required three paper copies.  We are now requiring only two paper copies.  Our web site has been revised to reflect this change.  In the past we occasionally accepted submittals that did not include the correct number of copies.  Due to our change in location our large format copier is no longer conveniently available.  We have reduced the required number of copies but we will no longer accept incomplete submittals.

  • Property Line Adjustment (PLA) Record of Survey
    We occasionally receive a submittal that includes legal descriptions and deeds; these are not required unless the survey is for a plat boundary.  We review a survey for a property line adjustment the same as any other, non-plat boundary, survey.  Other jurisdictions do require such supporting documents for a PLA survey, but you can save yourself that time and effort since we do not review it.  This does make it especially important that you, or your client, follow through with all the requirements to perfect the adjustment of the line because no one at Washington County is shepherding the overall process.

  • Mapping Scale
    The Tri-County drafting standards, as presented on our web sites, state at item number 6:  

    "Standard engineering scales of 1 inch = 10, 20, 30. 40, 50, 60, or 100 feet shall be used.  1 inch = 200 feet may be used with specific approval of the county surveyor having jurisdiction.  The choice of scale, from the list above, is subject to the need to be able to clearly depict the information on the map."  

    I am making reference to this section of the standards in order to emphasize that using 1 inch = 200 feet, or larger, is subject to prior approval.  I recognize that different, larger scales, are sometimes appropriate for some maps but we have received maps that ended up being an amalgamation of detail drawings when the information could have been clearly depicted in a more cohesive manner if drawn at a standard scale as referenced above.  You may save yourself time in redrafting a project by discussing it with us ahead of time if you are planning to use 1 inch = 200 feet or larger.

  • Summary
    I am planning to meet with the other County Surveyors in the tri-county area to revise and update our drafting standards.  These standards are available on Washington, Multnomah, and Clackamas County Surveyors Offices' web sites.  Item number three is an example of the need for updating.  That item states that "A survey/plat map shall be oriented with the 24 inch dimension being the width...".  While that remains true in Clackamas County, here at Washington County we recognize that there may be times when using a portrait view is preferable.
 

Items of interest

June 27, 2011

The last few years have been challenging and many folks have changed location and/or professional affiliations.  It is likely that there are people that would like to get this information but will not get this e-mail.  Please share this information with others in your office and with those colleagues that you know have new e-mail addresses.

Our fee schedule has been unchanged since July of 2006.  Beginning July 1, 2011, the survey filing fee will be $400.  This will affect the calculation of our review deposits.  The fee schedule on our web site will be updated this week.

During this last five years our costs have continued to rise; we have been able to mitigate that to a certain extent by reducing staff and reevaluating how we allocate the resources we have left.  Our Development Review staff has been reduced to the point that further reductions would not leave us with the ability to provide an acceptable level of service.
 
One of the measures we are taking to reduce cost is moving to a smaller more appropriately sized office.  Currently our Development Review staff shares office space with the Public Land Corner (PLC) staff in Suite 200 of the Public Services Building (PSB).  The Development Review staff is scheduled to move to Suite 350 of the PSB in the latter part of July.  The Development Review staff will share the reception area of Suite 350 with Land Development Services and Building Services.
 
The PLC staff is scheduled to move to the county building at the Walnut Street Center (WSC) in August.  The Road Fund Section of our office has been at the WSC since about 2000 when the building was constructed.
 
I will continue to supervise the PLC, Road Fund, and Development Review staff.  My primary work station will be located at the PSB.
 
When the move actually occurs, I will send out an e-mail announcement providing full contact information for the Washington County Surveyor's Office.
 
Thank you for your attention,
Jim Elam