Appropriation of Water Generally

ORS 537.395
Public recapture of water power rights and properties

  • no recapture of other rights


Any certificate issued for power purposes to a person other than the United States, or the State of Oregon or any municipality thereof, shall provide that after the expiration of 50 years from the granting of the certificate or at the expiration of any federal power license, and after not less than two years’ notice in writing to the holder of the certificate, the State of Oregon, or any municipality thereof, may take over the dams, plants and other structures, and all appurtenances thereto, which have been constructed for the purpose of devoting to beneficial use the water rights specified in the certificate. The taking over shall be upon condition that before taking possession the state or municipality shall pay not to exceed the fair value of the property taken, plus such reasonable damages, if any, to valuable, serviceable and dependent property of the holder of the certificate, not taken over, as may be caused by the severance therefrom of the property taken.


The fair value of the property taken and the severance damages, if any, shall be determined by agreement between the holder of the certificate and the state or municipality, or, in case they cannot agree, by proceedings in equity instituted by the state or municipality in the circuit court of the county in which the largest portion of the property is located.


The right of the state or any municipality to take over, maintain and operate any property which has devoted to beneficial use water rights specified in the certificate, by condemnation proceedings upon payment of just compensation, is expressly reserved.


The provision for the recapture of any rights other than for power purposes, as provided in this section, contained in any certificate issued before June 14, 1939, shall be of no force and effect and may be canceled from the records wherever recorded and a new certificate issued with the recapture clause eliminated.


The owner of any certificate issued before June 14, 1939, for such rights may, upon surrendering the certificate, receive a new certificate therefor issued under and subject to the provisions of this section. [Formerly 537.290; and then 537.340]

Law Review Citations

36 EL 1125 (2006)

Chapter 537

Notes of Decisions

Water control district, in applying for water appropriation permit for hydroelectric project, was exempt from licensing provisions of ORS 543.010 to 543.620 and needed only to comply with requirements of this chapter. Steamboaters v. Winchester Water Control Dist., 69 Or App 596, 688 P2d 92 (1984), Sup Ct review denied

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Reservation to state of "all coal and other minerals" in deed of land by state as reservation of geothermal resources, (1980) Vol 41, p 298

Law Review Citations

11 EL 387 (1981); 16 EL 583, 592 (1986); 28 WLR 285 (1992)


Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021