State Highways and State Highway Fund

ORS 366.290
Adding to or removing roads from state highway system

  • responsibility for construction and maintenance


The Department of Transportation may select, locate, establish, designate, improve and maintain out of the highway fund a system of state highways, and for that purpose may, by mutual agreement with several counties, select county roads or public roads. By an appropriate order entered in its records the department may designate and adopt such roads as state highways. Thereafter the construction, improvement, maintenance and repair of such roads shall be under the jurisdiction of the department.


In the selection of highways or roads to be included in the state highway system the department shall give consideration to and shall select such county roads or public roads as will contribute to and best promote the completion of an adequate system of state highways.


(a) With the written agreement of the county in which a particular highway or part thereof is located, the department may, when in its opinion the interests of highway users will be best served, eliminate from the state highway system any road, highway, road segment or highway segment. The road, highway or segment becomes a county road or highway, and the construction, repair, maintenance or improvement, and jurisdiction over the road or highway will be exclusively under the county in which the road or highway is located.


In addition to the funds provided under ORS 366.762 (Appropriation from highway fund for counties) to the county, the department may annually provide funds out of the State Highway Fund to address the additional costs to the county for the construction, repair, maintenance or improvement of the road or highway over which the county accepts jurisdiction.


The agreement between the department and the county accepting jurisdiction must contain provisions to ensure that freight movement on the highway will not be restricted beyond the limits set in the agreement, unless the Oregon Transportation Commission, in consultation with the freight industry and the county, concludes that the restriction is necessary for the safety of the highway users. Nothing in this section prevents a county from taking emergency action to protect safety or place weight restrictions on a structure that is failing or otherwise damaged.


The construction, maintenance and repair of state highways shall be carried on at the sole expense of the state or at the expense of the state and the county by mutual agreement between the department and the county in which any particular state highway is located. [Amended by 1953 c.252 §2; 1979 c.223 §1; 2011 c.330 §24]

Notes of Decisions

Exclusive authority over adopted and designated highway system under this section and grant of general supervision and control under ORS 366.205 are indicative of legislative intent to impose duty upon state to make highway travel reasonably safe to general public; "improvement, maintenance, repair and operation" are mandated functions and state has no discretion to engage in "non-decisions" regarding duties delineated by these mandated functions. Little v. Wimmer, 303 Or 580, 739 P2d 564 (1987)

Closing portion of state road does not "eliminate" road from state highway system. Klamath County v. Department of Transportation, 201 Or App 10, 116 P3d 924 (2005)

Chapter 366

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Use and distribution of State Highway Fund, (1975) Vol 37, p 599


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021