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Property taxes in Clackamas County expected to increase by 3 percent

Town Hall meetings are planned to explain the bills, which should be in the mail this week

VROMANClackamas County will collect $725.6 million in property taxes this year — an increase of 6 percent from 2014 — and most property owners will see their bills jump by about 3 percent, according to data released this week by Assessor Bob Vroman.

Vroman said some homeowners will pay more and others less, depending on where they live, whether property values grew and whether their property falls within a district that has approved new construction bonds or operating levies.

In Lake Oswego, for example, the rate levied by the city to pay for bonded debt will actually decrease slightly, leading to an average increase in property tax bills of only 1.5 percent. In the nearby West Linn-Wilsonville School District, a new bond to pay for construction, facility upgrades and technology will lead to higher bills.

But Vroman cautions that taxes are collected on a property-by-property basis, making statements about “typical” tax bills useless.

In an effort to add some clarity, the assessor and his staff have scheduled a series of Town Hall meetings throughout the county. One will be held Oct. 29 at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Ave. It is scheduled for 2-3:30 p.m.

Statements for 171,591 accounts in Clackamas County are scheduled to be mailed to property owners this week. Initial payments are due Nov. 16. Property owners can pay all at once and qualify for a 3 percent discount, or pay in three installments.

The $725.6 million in tax receipts will be distributed to K-12 schools, which get the largest share at 41.5 percent, as well as to county government, cities, fire protection districts, community colleges, urban renewal districts and other entities.

A series of statewide measures in the 1990s limit what local governments can collect in property taxes, although bond issues are exempt from the limits and voters can override the limits with local-option levies that can last up to five years.

Clackamas County’s real market value and assessed value — the latter is the amount actually subject to property taxation — are both on an upswing.

Vroman says the countywide average real market value of a home is $339,619; the median real market value — half the homes are higher and half lower — is $289,874. The average assessed value of a home is $262,514, roughly 77 percent of the real market value.

The real market value of all property countywide as of Jan. 1 was up 10.5 percent from the previous year, continuing an upward trend since 2013. However, Vroman says the $56 billion total is still $3.6 billion less than at its peak of January 2008.

Assessed value countywide was up 4.7 percent from $42.3 billion to $44.2 billion.

Vroman says property taxpayers in several districts, some only partly within Clackamas County, will see increased tax rates as a result of voter-approved bond issues or operating levies.

They are the city of Portland, 8.7 cents per $1,000 of value for a parks and recreation bond; Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, 20 cents (for a total of 45 cents) for an operating levy; Clackamas Community College, 19 cents for a bond; Colton School District, 54 cents for a bond; West Linn-Wilsonville School District, 87 cents for a bond; and Clackamas Fire District 1, 10 cents for a bond.

Bond rates for some governments will drop. In addition to the slight decrease for the City of Lake Oswego, they include the Canby, Estacada, Oregon Trail and Sherwood school districts; the City of Milwaukie, Portland Community College; and Metro.

Vroman says that because of growth in property values, the amount of taxes that will go uncollected because of compression will drop from $13.7 million to $10.3 million this year. The uncollected amount was at a peak of $20 million in 2013-14.

Compression occurs when rates authorized by voters exceed the statewide limits of $5 for schools and $10 for all other local governments, excluding bond issues not subject to the limits.

According to a research report by the Oregon Department of Revenue, school districts accounted for slightly more than half of the $212 million that went uncollected in property taxes in 2013-14 because of compression, cities about a quarter of the total and county governments about 15 percent.

According to a League of Oregon Cities report earlier this year, compression affects 90 percent of Oregon’s 197 school districts, 34 of 36 counties, and about half of its 242 cities.

Contact Peter Wong at 503- 580-0266 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..