Assessment of Property for Taxation

ORS 308.515
Department to make annual assessment of designated utilities and companies


The Department of Revenue shall make an annual assessment of any property that has a situs in this state and that, except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, is used or held for future use by any company in performing or maintaining any of the following businesses or services or in selling any of the following commodities, whether in domestic or interstate commerce or in any combination of domestic and interstate commerce, and whether mutually or for hire, sale or consumption by other persons:


Railroad transportation;


Railroad switching and terminal;


Electric rail transportation;


Private railcar transportation;


Air transportation;


Water transportation upon inland water of the State of Oregon;


Air or railway express;












Toll bridge; or


Private railcars of all companies not otherwise listed in this subsection, if the private railcars are rented, leased or used in railroad transportation for hire.


The assessment described in subsection (1) of this section shall be made on an assessment roll that is prepared by the division of the department charged with property tax administration.


There may not be assessed under subsection (1) of this section:


Any property used by or for water transportation companies whose watercraft ply exclusively on the high seas, or between the high seas and inland water ports or terminals, or any combination thereof.


Any property used by or for water transportation companies exclusively for hire by other persons for booming and rafting, dredging, log or marine salvage, ship berthing, maintenance, sludge removal, cleaning or repair, marine or water-based construction, or guide service.


Any property used by or for interstate ferries or by or for water transportation companies as ferries operating directly across interstate rivers.


Any property of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.


Any aircraft that is required to be registered under ORS 837.040 (Persons required to register aircraft) for all or any part of the calendar year and that is not used to provide scheduled passenger service.


Any corporation included within subsection (1) of this section, to the extent that it actively engages in any business or service not described therein or not incidental to any business or service or sale of a commodity described therein, may not to that extent be deemed a corporation whose properties are assessed under ORS 308.505 (Definitions for ORS 308.505 to 308.674) to 308.674 (Exemption equal to difference between real market value of company’s centrally assessable property and 130 percent of cost of company’s centrally assessable real and tangible personal property).


The department shall assess property owned, leased or occupied by a legal entity not yet engaged in a business, service or sale of a commodity that is described in subsection (1) of this section if the property is intended for operation or use in the business, service or sale of the commodity. [Amended by 1955 c.735 §1; 1957 c.711 §3; 1959 c.109 §1; 1965 c.175 §1; 1973 c.102 §2; 1973 c.402 §8; 1981 c.623 §4; 1983 c.600 §1; 1987 c.601 §1; 1995 c.256 §1; 1997 c.154 §33; 1997 c.656 §2; 1999 c.223 §1; 2005 c.94 §53; 2009 c.128 §5; 2012 c.103 §1]

Notes of Decisions

The water system in a planned unit development was properly assessed by the Department of Revenue as having value for which taxes should have been assessed. Brooks Resources v. Dept. of Rev., 276 Or 1177, 538 P2d 312 (1976)

Where uncompleted plans and specifications for nuclear and coal-fired generating plants of public utility were in ownership and control of out-of-state engineering firm preparing them, though plaintiff had unliquidated claim for damages if plans were not delivered, the claim did not have situs in state and was not used for plaintiff's business as of assessment date. Portland Gen. Elec. Co. v. Dept. of Rev., 7 OTR 33 (1977)

Where parties offered income and stock and debt approach to value in dispute over ad valorem taxes for five years, court rejected plaintiff's use of 5-year average of net railway operating income as estimate of net cash flow and found defendant's stock and debt approach more reliable but reduced defendant's value to account for nonrail assets. Southern Pacific Trans. Co. v. Dept. of Rev., 11 OTR 138 (1989)

Where Tax Court determined utility's true cash value for purpose of ad valorem tax assessment and incorrectly applied cost approach to valuation, value increased. PP&L v. Dept. of Rev., 308 Or 49, 775 P2d 303 (1989)

In determining value of small hydroelectric plant, reasonable basis of comparisons and analysis is actual rather than projected production. Falls Creek H.P. Ltd. Partnership v. Dept. of Rev., 12 OTR 55 (1991)

Where primary use of facility was generating electricity for sale to power companies, fact that first priority of facility was supplying steam to adjacent commonly owned lumber mill did not make central assessment of facility as utility property improper. D.R. Johnson Lumber Co. v. Dept. of Rev., 12 OTR 429 (1993), aff'd318 Or 330, 866 P2d 1227 (1994)

Where tour boat was restricted to operating in nonocean waters, payment of Ocean Charter Vessel License fee did not exempt vessel from assessment as water transportation property. Swashbuckler, Inc. v. Dept. of Rev., 12 OTR 476 (1993)

Assessment of railroad cars while exempting certain classes of non-railroad property did not violate federal law prohibiting discriminatory taxation of railroads. Dept. of Rev. of Oregon v. ACF Industries, Inc., 510 U.S. 332, 114 S Ct 843, 127 L Ed 2d 165 (1994)

To be user of property taxpayer must have some degree of control, but not necessarily absolute control, over property at issue. Pacificorp Power Marketing v. Dept. of Revenue, 340 Or 204, 131 P3d 725 (2006)

This section and ORS 308.510 do not prevent application of inventory tax exemption under ORS 307.400 to inventory of centrally assessed companies. Northwest Natural Gas Co. v. Dept. of Revenue, 19 OTR 367 (2007), aff'd 347 Or 536, 226 P3d 28 (2010)

Internet services and cable television services that facilitate transmission of electronically coded information between computers or computer-like devices are "data transmission services" as used in ORS 308.505. Comcast Corporation v. Dept. of Revenue, 356 Or 282, 337 P3d 768 (2014)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Ad valorem property taxation on maritime cargo containers, (1979) Vol 39, p 494

Law Review Citations

26 WLR 711, 734 (1990)

§§ 308.505 to 308.665

Notes of Decisions

The water system in a planned unit development was properly assessed by the Department of Revenue as having value for which taxes should have been assessed. Brooks Resources v. Dept. of Rev., 276 Or 1177, 538 P2d 312 (1976)

In valuing a railroad, the weight to be given each approach customarily used (cost, stock and debt, and income) and the variation among appraisers in the minutiae of their methods, if in dispute, are left to the court to consider. Burlington Northern v. Dept. of Rev., 8 OTR 19 (1979), as modified by 291 Or 729, 635 P2d 347 (1981)

Land infested with tansy ragwort and therefore not used to obtain a profit was properly disqualified for special assessment at true cash value for farm use. Shepherd v. Dept. of Rev., 8 OTR 122 (1979)

While it is allowable to use only one approach in valuing property, whether in any given assessment one approach should be used exclusive of the others or is preferable to another or to combination of approaches is question of fact to be determined by the court. Pacific Power and Light Co. v. Dept. of Rev., 286 Or 529, 596 P2d 912 (1979)

Central assessment statutes create exception to public property tax exemption outlined in ORS 307.090. Pacificorp Power Marketing v. Dept. of Revenue, 340 Or 204, 131 P3d 725 (2006)

Law Review Citations

26 WLR 714 (1990)

Chapter 308

Notes of Decisions

Programs administered by Department of Revenue that allow preferential assessment for farm and forestland are not "programs affecting land use" and are not subject to requirement of statewide goal and local comprehensive plan compliance under ORS 197.180. Springer v. LCDC, 111 Or App 262, 826 P2d 54 (1992), Sup Ct review denied

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Application of Article XI, section 11b of Oregon Constitution to this chapter, (1990) Vol 46, p 388

Law Review Citations

5 EL 516 (1975)


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021