Organization and Government of Cities

ORS 221.040
Hearing on petition to incorporate

  • order fixing date of election on approved petition


When a petition for incorporation described in ORS 221.031 (Petition to incorporate) is signed by 20 percent or, in a county with a population over 300,000, by 10 percent, of the electors registered in the area proposed to be incorporated, the petition shall be filed with the county court of the county in which the proposed petition was filed under ORS 221.031 (Petition to incorporate). A petition shall not be accepted for filing unless all the signatures on the petition were obtained within the six-month period immediately following the date on which the petitions were filed under ORS 221.031 (Petition to incorporate). Upon the filing of the petition, the county court shall fix the time and place for the hearing of such petition and shall give notice thereof by publication once each week for two successive weeks in a newspaper published in the county where the petition is filed and of general circulation within the boundaries, and by posting the notice for the same period of time in three public places in the area proposed to be incorporated. The notice shall state the time and place of the hearing, describe the boundaries set forth in the petition and state the purpose of the petition. If any portion of the proposed incorporation of a city lies within another county or counties, then the notice shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in each of the counties and in the same time and manner.


At the time and place fixed for the hearing, or at any time and place at which the hearing may be continued or postponed, any person interested may appear and present oral or written objections to the granting of the petition, the forming of the proposed incorporated city or the estimated rate of taxation set forth in the petition. The court may alter the boundaries as set forth in the petition to include all territory which may be benefited by being included within the boundaries of the proposed incorporated city, but shall not modify boundaries so as to exclude any land which would be benefited by the formation of the proposed city. No land shall be included in the proposed city which will not, in the judgment of the court, be benefited. If the court determines that any land has been improperly omitted from the proposed city and the owner has not appeared at the hearing, it shall continue the hearing and shall order notice given to the nonappearing owner requiring the owner to appear before it and show cause, if any the owner has, why the owner’s land should not be included in the proposed city. The notice shall be given by publication and posting in the same manner as the original notice for hearing and for the same period. For the purposes of this subsection, “owner” means the legal owner of record except that if there is a vendee under a duly recorded contract, the vendee shall be deemed to be the owner.


Upon the final hearing of the petition, the court, if it approves the petition as originally presented or in an altered form, shall provide by order for the holding of an election relating to the incorporation of the proposed city. The order calling the election shall fix the date of the election on the date of the next primary election or general election that is not sooner than the 90th day after the date of the order. The order shall contain:


A description of the exterior boundaries of the proposed city as determined by the court. The description shall be a metes and bounds or legal description prepared by the county surveyor or county assessor. The description prepared under this paragraph shall accurately describe the exterior boundaries of the proposed city as indicated on the map filed under ORS 221.031 (Petition to incorporate) (3) unless those boundaries were altered by the county court, in which case the description shall accurately describe the boundaries as altered;


A provision requiring the county official in charge of elections to include on the ballot for the election a description of the boundaries of the proposed city using streets and other generally recognized features and a statement of the proposed permanent rate limit for operating taxes included in the petition for incorporation of the proposed city as required by ORS 221.031 (Petition to incorporate), which statement shall comply with the requirements of ORS 250.035 (Form of ballot titles for state and local measures); and


The date on which the election will be held in the proposed city. [Amended by 1953 c.593 §3; 1979 c.316 §9; 1981 c.890 §7; 1983 c.83 §18; 1983 c.350 §17; 1989 c.92 §30; 1995 c.712 §90; 1997 c.541 §353; 1999 c.21 §3; 2007 c.669 §5]

Notes of Decisions

In determining the boundaries of a city the county commissioners should exercise an independent legislative judgment under the guidelines of this section. Millersburg Dev. Corp. v. Mullen, 14 Or App 614, 514 P2d 367 (1973), Sup Ct review denied

County act of fixing date for incorporation election under this section is final decision for purposes of land use review procedure. 1000 Friends of Oregon v. Wasco County Court, 299 Or 344, 703 P2d 207 (1985)


Last accessed
Mar. 11, 2023