Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Rural land use -- Oregon, Farms -- Oregon, Zoning -- Oregon


Based on the research completed to date regarding the various components of the Oregon farmland preservation program, one question begs to be asked: "Is there still a need for the Special Assessment Program within Oregon's current land use planning system?"

This paper is an attempt to assess the role of the Special Assessment Program in the context of the overall land use planning system in Oregon. It is my contention that the Special Assessment Program no longer plays a meaningful role in the movement to preserve land in the rural areas of the state. Also, it may actually have perverse effects on the market for land in Oregon's urban areas. I believe that the state's much-heralded farmland protection program can continue to be effective at preserving land without the tax incentive component. Finally, I believe that the citizens of Oregon would be made better off by ending the program.

The paper will begin with a brief discussion of farmland loss and the various programs used to prevent that loss. Next, there will be a review of the history and legislative intent behind both the Special Assessment Program and the statewide land use planning system. This will be followed by a demonstration of how both the Assessment Program and the planning system interact. Finally, based on the analysis of their effectiveness together and apart, I will recommend that the state government should phase out the Special Assessment Program.


David Brooks was enrolled in the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning Program at Portland State University at the time of writing. This paper was written to satisfy a requirement of that program.

Catalog Number DP99-1.

Persistent Identifier