Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are some differences between a LID, Co-Op and a Right-of-Way Permit?

Three basic differences are:


  • LID: Everyone who benefits pays for improvements, even if they oppose them.
  • Co-Op: Only those people who volunteer pay for improvements.
  • Right-of-Way Permit: Property owners work with and pay a private contractor.The County requires a deposit for the inspection work and a security bond guaranteeing the work.


  • LID: A formal process involving the Board of Commissioners (BOC), who decides whether the LID is created.
  • Co-Op:A semi-formal process involving County staff and some property owners.
  • Right-of-Way Permit: Property owners who hire and pay a contractor to perform the work to County's specifications and permit conditions.


  • LID:The County or a contractor hired by the County.
  • Co-Op:The County or a contractor hired by the County.
  • Right-of-Way Permit: Private contractors hired by property owners.

Q.  What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of LIDs, Co-Ops and Right-of-Way Permits?

LID advantages:

  • All benefiting property owners contribute to the cost of the LID.
  • Payment can be made over a 10-year period.

LID disadvantages:

  • It's a long process, including five BOC meetings.
  • Timing: The process must be completed by December for the work to be completed in spring/summer.
  • Neighbors opposing the improvements will be obligated to pay for them.

Co-Op advantages:

  • Because the process involves only a few (or just one) property owner(s), it is simpler and less time consuming.
  • If agreed on by March, improvements can usually be made the following spring/summer.

Co-Op disadvantages:

  • The estimated costs are collected before work begins.

Right-of-Way Permit advantages:

  • Property owners decide who performs the work.
  • Property owners control the schedule.

Right-of-Way Permit disadvantages:

  • Property owners manage the project.
  • The project may alienate neighbors who are not in favor of the work.
  • County will not warrantee the work.

Q. Does the County campaign for privately funded road improvements?

No, the County does not advocate for gravel road upgrades or any other privately funded improvements. County staff attends LID neighborhood meetings to share information at the request of property owners.

Q. Why does Washington County not pay for upgrading gravel roads?

The County does not have the funds to pave and maintain the more than 250 miles of gravel roads within its jurisdiction.

The County's Transportation Plan prioritizes road maintenance funding, with major roads as the highest priority and local roads as the lowest. Even minor improvements to major roads are higher priority than general maintenance of local roads. The County's annual Road Maintenance Program is based on the BOC-adopted Road Maintenance Priority policy.

Q. Can any road be upgraded through the LID or Co-Op processes?

No. When inquiries are made about road upgrades, County staff checks metrics, such as nominal road width and topography to determine minimum requirements are met. Public Dedicated (Local Access) Roads are not eligible for the LID or Co-Op options.

Q. What are the minimum requirements for a road to be upgraded from gravel to a hard surface?

In general, the finished roadway will be 20 feet wide: 18 feet of paved surface, plus 1-foot wide gravel shoulders on both sides. The road base will be at least 6 inches thick and pavement will be at least 3 inches thick. Depending on nearby land uses, the rock or asphalt may need to be increased to accommodate the potential commercial truck traffic.  

Q. What type of hard surface treatment is used on gravel roads?

Washington County uses a hot mix asphalt treatment. Current costs (2018) are about $12.50 per square yard (about $163,000 per mile). The cost for preparing the road for the surface (vegetation clearing, drainage improvements and road base stabilization) varies, but ranges between 100% and 300% of the surfacing cost.

Q. If a gravel road is upgraded, will the speeds increase? If so, will speed limit signs be installed?

Speeds may increase once a road is upgraded to a hard surface. In most instances, these roads are Rural Local roads, which are generally subject to Oregon's Basic Speed Rule. Property owners are encouraged to contact the Washington County Sheriff's Office and file a Traffic Complaint if they believe motorists are violating the Basic Speed Rule. In many cases, the Sheriff's Office will respond with targeted patrols.

Q. Are there other options for improving a gravel road?

Property owners can submit road service requests for gravel road maintenance, such as grading, or to report road hazards, such as potholes, by email or by calling 503-846 ROAD (7623). Dust abatement is another option.

Q. What is dust abatement?

Dust abatement is a relatively low-cost treatment, applied by a contractor after obtaining a County Dust Control Permit. Dust abatement effectiveness is diminished by rain and excessive traffic.

Learn more

Gravel roads


Co-Op Agreement

Right-of-Way permits