Application, Administration and Enforcement of Wildlife Laws

ORS 496.270
Immunity from liability for damages resulting from habitat or water quality improvement project

  • exceptions


The Legislative Assembly declares that it is the policy of the State of Oregon to encourage operators, timber owners and landowners to voluntarily improve fish and wildlife habitat. In order to carry out this policy, the Legislative Assembly encourages cooperation among operators, timber owners and landowners and other volunteers.


Consistent with the limitations of ORS 105.672 (Definitions for ORS 105.672 to 105.696) to 105.696 (Duty of care or liability not created), a landowner is not liable in contract or tort for any personal injury, death or property damage that arises out of the use of the land by:


A volunteer conducting a fish and wildlife habitat improvement project; or


A participant of a state-funded or federally funded watershed or stream restoration or enhancement program.


An operator, timber owner or landowner shall not be held liable for any damages resulting from:


A fish and wildlife habitat improvement project done in cooperation and consultation with the State Department of Fish and Wildlife or the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, or conducted as part of a forest management practice in accordance with ORS 527.610 (Short title) to 527.770 (Good faith compliance with best management practices not violation of water quality standards), 527.990 (Criminal penalties) and 527.992 (Civil penalties); or


Leaving large woody debris within the waters of this state to protect, retain and recruit large woody debris for the purposes of fish habitat and water quality improvement.


The limitations to liability provided by subsections (2) and (3) of this section do not apply if the damages, injury or death was caused by willful, wanton or intentional conduct on the part of the operator, timber owner or landowner or by the gross negligence of the operator, timber owner or landowner. As used in this subsection “gross negligence” means negligence which is materially greater than the mere absence of reasonable care under the circumstances, and which is characterized by indifference to or reckless disregard of the rights of others.


The limitation on liability provided by subsection (3) of this section does not apply to claims for death or personal injuries. [1993 c.701 §2; 1997 c.207 §1; 1999 c.863 §3]
Note: 496.270 (Immunity from liability for damages resulting from habitat or water quality improvement project) was enacted into law by the Legislative Assembly but was not added to or made a part of ORS chapter 496 or any series therein by legislative action. See Preface to Oregon Revised Statutes for further explanation.
Chapter 496

Notes of Decisions

Fish and Wildlife Commission has statutory authority to provide by rule for is suance of special ceremonial hunting permits for specific tribes that are not otherwise allowed under hunting and fishing agreement between federal and state governments and that tribe. Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon v. Department of Fish and Wildlife, 244 Or App 535, 260 P3d 705 (2011)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Commission authority to restrict use of boat ramp it locates on state land, (1971) Vol 35, p 900


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021