Tag Archives: beavercreek real estate

The Beavercreek Bulletin is back!

The local information publication Beavercreek Bulletin was on a short hiatus. We now have a new editor, and she’s welcoming feedback on our past newsletter to better serve readers. If you have a moment please take the time to complete the survey here.

The most recent newsletter is located here. This newsletter includes a run-down of the speech I gave out our most recent meeting, giving an update on the local and regional real estate market, among other interesting information. A copy of the handout I gave at the meeting is located here.

More Details on Public Roads not Maintained by County

This is part 4 of an installment series chronicling my discussions with the county regarding a neighborhood road that is not maintained. See the beginning post for more background information.

When speaking with my neighbors recently, I’ve learned that the majority of them believed that the road that we access is a “private” driveway, with all property owners dedicating an easement for access through to their home. Being in the industry, I’ve seen many maps of the area, and have seen that our road appears to me to be an actual road – not an easement, which shows differently on the plat and tax records than what an easement appears like (which usually doesn’t show at all on maps).

This morning I decided to spend some time investigating the issue. The questions I had for the county: do we live on a private road or public? And are they supposed to maintain it?

The country transportation department was very helpful and looked back at our historical records. It appears that at one time, we had simple easements. However, in 1976 there was a major subdivision, and the property owners dedicated portions of their property as public roadways. So indeed our road is public.

However, our road is not accepted into the county system and therefore not maintained. To help explain this, a little information about the county road system: there are three county road designations: county, public, and private. The county roads are solely funded by gas taxes, and they prohibit funding on anything but county accepted roads. And the county will not accept the road if it is not in certain conditions.

When I inquired about those conditions he said that the biggest is not currently having the road paved. I inquired about grade, and he said that usually isn’t as much an issue. The other major issues that they look at are width (he believes you have to be able to have two cars to be able to fit through) and adequate drainage.

The cost to bring the road up to county standards sounds as if it will be considerable. However, he did mention that once it is brought up to county standards, the county would then be responsible for sanding and plowing.

The county person on the phone told me the story of a road near us called Mint Lake, which is incredibly coincidental as I was just over there a handful of days ago looking at a potential listing. When I went down there, I was struck by how beautiful the roads were. He told me that this road was actually gravel just three years ago, but all of the property owners decided that they wanted to begin having it maintained by the county, so they paid to pave it and it is now accepted into the county maintenance system.

Without having the road up to current county conditions, the responsibility lies with each property owner that accesses the road to maintain it. There are state laws to such effect, and he thought they were located in chapter ORS 105, but after cursory view I didn’t see them and it will require more digging. However, he said even with road agreements in place and the state laws, it is traditionally still an issue to get everyone on board with paying. He said he believes the only remedy that exists would be court (in this case, likely small claims court).

Another note that I was not aware of: since it is a public road, any work done to the road by us private property owners does require permits. This includes installing culverts and running a grader. it sounds as if the cost is minimal, and he said that there would be some protection against property owners who are upset about work being done. ALSO the permit process looks at whether or not any underground utilities could be damaged.

Of note during the conversation: any new “public” road must have a written and enforced road agreement put in place.

I’ll be speaking with our neighbors to find out if they would like to pursue finding out information on bringing the road to county standards, and will update again when I find more information.

Discussion on Landslide Risk

At our local Beavercreek Hamlet meetings, a topic of discussion that comes up regularly is that of purchasing and/or building homes in landslide areas unknowingly. One of our board members is very knowledgeable and passionate on the topic. She’s particularly concerned that both Oregon City and Clackamas County are simply allowing new building to take place, even in the highest landslide risk areas, and homeowners purchasing with absolutely no knowledge that they are in a high landslide risk area. She’s spent tons of time appealing to the State of Oregon and the county to no avail.

As many of you know, there were two additional major landslides in Oregon City in just the last month. It is a more common issue than you’d think, and most often your homeowner’s insurance does not cover should a disaster occur. I’ve spoken with Jeff Seibel Choices Insurance Agency who is incredibly knowledgeable on all things insurance related, who has options for coverage for landslides. He might be a good resource if you aren’t able to get information elsewhere.

I plan on spending more time very in depth on this issue, but not likely for a minimum of several months as I’m trying to get to the bottom of my current investigation into seemingly abandoned county roads. 

For now, the Hamlet posted a link on their Facebook page to the State of Oregon Landslide Information Database. This may be a good resource to help you determine your risk profile, but you should still speak with other authorities.

Verifying Fire Protection District Coverage and Sufficient Driveway Access to Your Property

This is part 3 of an installment series discussing public roads not maintained by the county. Though it is in reference to maintenance of roads, two issues discussed are important to everyone living on rural properties: verifying you are located within a fire protection district, and making sure that there aren’t issues with your driveway for the fire trucks to get in should a fire occur. See this post should you be interested in reading through the whole maintenance road issue.

Did you know that not all property located within the State of Oregon is located within a fire protection district? As far as I know, the majority of property located in or near cities does fall within a fire protection district, but there are many rural areas that do not. This is something that you should always pay attention to when purchasing a new piece of real estate.

I stopped into my local Fire Department today to ask them some various questions I had been pilling up. One of them included figuring out how to tell whether or not a property is located within a fire protection district. I asked the firemen that were present how a potential buyer for a property figures out whether or not their property is protected.  I asked them if this was easy to determine on the county website and whether or not it was accurate? They recommended that buyers simply stop into the most local fire station and ask them directly.

Locally, they said that they aren’t aware of any property around here that is not located within a fire protection zone. But – and this is a big but – private timber properties, and the like, are not protected by the local fire station. The responsibility lies with the landowner. In Beavercreek, we have lots of timber property, including land publicly owned by the BLM. They said that of course if there was a fire located on BLM and the like, they would be there responding, evacuating neighbors and whatnot, and that it is likely that several jurisdictions would be involved. We didn’t get into what the process would actually look like should a fire occur, but i got the sense that the response to fire on timber property would be significantly different than on private property. Those of us living close to timber areas should probably pay close attention here.

Next I moved on to my questions about public roads not maintained by the county, and whether or not the fire department has rules regarding how the roads are maintained. The firemen there seemed unfamiliar with this issue – and said that I should place more pressure on the county to maintain our roads better. They were genuinely puzzled in learning that the county does not maintain a lot of “public” roads, and that the responsibility lies with the nearby property owners.

They said as far as they know they do not have jurisdiction in requiring any sort of road standards. But  said that they do often have trouble with access in some “private” driveways (my guess, based on their response above, is that many of these are actually public roads), and that they have to bring in the hose really long stretches in order to reach a fire because they cannot get their trucks close enough to the homes. I got the impression that they would do everything that they can, but access issues are likely to slow down the response.

They said sometimes the fire marshall will catch wind of hazardous access points, issuing notification to homeowners that there is access issues with their properties. I mentioned that our area would like to put a new road agreement in place, and that it would be wonderful if the fire marshall could give our area a look, to verify that there aren’t any access issues (especially since BLM land is directly behind my house). We’d like to know that information prior to putting a new agreement in place.

They told me to call the main telephone number for “fire prevention” on the fire department website, and that the fire marshall will have more information.  I will report back when I find out more.

Installment 4 is located here.

Notes re: County Inquiry into Public Roads not Maintained and Emergency Services

This is post #2 in an installment series discussing public residential roads not maintained by the county. See post #1 for more background info.

As part of my resolve to get more familiar with residential roads that aren’t maintained by the county, i called the Clackamas County transportation department. Essentially, I wanted to find out why it seemed as though our neighborhood road is “public” (some would even call it “county owned”) and yet it seems we receive no guidance at all in implementing maintenance.

The gentleman that I spoke to acknowledged that there are significant issues in handling the smaller residential roads and confirmed that they do not maintain our specific road. To give me background on why smaller roads aren’t maintained, he said that the county doesn’t even have enough funds to cover the roads that they do maintain, as mentioned on the transportation landing page. The expense of the smaller roads just aren’t an option.

Next I wanted to know, if they don’t maintain the roads, surely there must be some sort of code compliance, or rules that homeowners who live on these roads must follow? I learned that, at least as far as the county is concerned, there are NOT rules. I believe he alluded to the fact that rules might be different for new roads being established, but they only offer recommendations on how older roads should be maintained.

At this point in the conversation, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the concept that there are no code compliance or enforcement rules regarding our residential roads. As I had mentioned in my previous installment, multiple homeowners in our little area of Beavercreek will tell you that the roads used to be so bad that their cars would get stuck in the mud and they would have to get someone to tow them out. In my mind, I’m thinking that if it gets that bad again, how are emergency services going to be able to access our area?

I pointed this question to the gentleman on the phone, and he said that if the county became aware that our roads were in that poor of condition, they would simply send a letter notifying all property owners that the county would cease servicing our area completely.

This an alarming concept to me. Just a few short years ago, we were dangerously close to an incredibly damaging wildfire in Estacada and the Mount Hood National Forest. Considering that there are 600 acres of just timber property behind our little neighborhood, of which several portions are only accessible from our little road, we’re at considerable wildfire risk. Police and ambulance services are obviously a concern as well.

So, the county doesn’t enforce. But, there are two services that the county does provide to offer “help” to those that are struggling with this issue. They offer mediation, which could help homeowners come to terms with each other about road dues, and a service called a Local Improvement District.

Local Improvement District (or LID) is funded by the public. A majority of homeowners would need to gather enough petition signatures to show the county that we have an area of significant concern. The county would then put together proposals for the project, to be approved or denied by the homeowners. If it is approved, the county would then proceed with the project, and the homeowners would be levied on each of their properties for the fees. Homeowners would have 10 years to pay the county back. But, the local homeowners are still responsible for maintenance of the road once it is brought up to current standards.

The person I spoke with on the phone was not the main guy to discuss LIDs with. But, he did tell me that an LID is lengthy and that the county doesn’t handle small projects. One of their current larger projects is worth around one million dollars, with the smaller end being $150,000. He said that this is because when the county decides to take on a project, they will do everything right: fix all grading issues, redirect all drainage issues, make sure the underlayment is correct, and put on a hefty amount of rock.

I’m thinking it is unlikely that our area will opt to go the LID route. The grade of our road is very steep, and would likely be too expensive to change. The grade is another issue I personally have struggled with: several years ago I got in a major bike crash because I couldn’t get the bike to stop going down the steep hill. I hit one of our major potholes, throwing me into the air and giving me a grade 3 shoulder separation that I’m still struggling with. In addition, during our most recent snowstorm where Beavercreek fared the worst weather, I had two instances where I needed to drive out of our neighborhood. The first time, I reached the top of our hill and started sliding backward, nearly flipping over the embankment. It was a miracle I made it out of that one. The second time as I was coming down the hills, I could not get my brakes to engage. Had anyone or anything been coming my direction, there is no way I could have stopped. In case you are wondering, yes, I do have a newer AWD Subaru.

I’ve considered, since that time, putting studs on my car during the winter. If emergency services are unable to get down here, or conversely out of here with a person in an ambulance during an ice event, it seems that it wouldn’t be wise to not have them on my car every winter. But, it is well-documented that studs tear up the roads. So it seems that putting studs on would further confound the problem of not having enough money to maintain the roads that the county does maintain.

Regardless, I’m still curious about the LID process. I put a call to the person who manages them last week to find out more details. In addition, I’m curious as to what the fire department and county sheriff and state police have to say about the situation. Do they have rules that differ from the county transportation department? Stay tuned.

Installment #3 is located here.

On Public Roads Not Maintained by the County

This is the beginning of an installment series about issues relating to maintenance of smaller roads that are public but not maintained in Clackamas County. From speaking with multiple property owners in the area, I’ve learned that the issue is pervasive and many people are at a loss as to how to handle funding and maintaining their roads.  Since this is such a big issue in our area, I thought i would share my experiences in case it helps anyone else resolve some of their issues as well.

I live in rural Clackamas county in a little “Hamlet” called Beavercreek. Our small “neighborhood” consists of smaller acreage parcels (as small as 2.5) up to 30 acres, along with a few properties that are solely tree farms and consist of roughly 100 acres. We access our property via a gravel/dirt road, and for the 9 years that I’ve been living here it seems that almost everyone is confused about how the road maintenance is implemented. At one time, even I was confused!

I believe that I was confused because I don’t recall seeing our Road Agreement when we purchased the property. I recall being told we just pay into a fund every year, and for some reason I thought we had a Homeowner’s Association, and that it was collected in an escrow account (meaning, I wouldn’t have cut a check myself). Then, six years after I purchased the property, I got a bill for the last six years, which was a bit of a shocker. I had never seen a bill before! Since that time, I’ve attempted to investigate whether or not I saw the Road Agreement when I bought the property. The title company that closed the transaction was unable to find it, and the title company I regularly choose for my current transactions was also unable to locate it. When I physically went down to the county, they pulled up the Road Agreement right away, and were baffled as to why it wouldn’t have come up.

In addition, when the home across the road from me was sold, I contacted both agents involved in the transaction to make them aware of the agreement. Neither of them had even heard of it before. Speaking with those who bought it afterward, it seems that they still did not see the Road Agreement even after I notified both agents via email that an agreement exists. Another of my neighbors who bought recently swears that she also never got a copy of the road agreement. I know her well, and know that she would have reviewed the document carefully had it come across her. It is very clear to me now that something isn’t happening correctly, at least in our area, on the title end of the transaction when people are purchasing.

At any rate, our road is degrading to a point that there is hardly any rock in certain areas. There are ditches, ruts, potholes galore. One of my neighbors recently obtained a home equity line of credit on her home, and said that the appraiser who came out gave her a hard time about the condition of the road. And, word on the street is that the road condition has gotten so bad in the past that people would literally get stuck in the mud, and had to be towed out. Needless to say, the value of our real estate is in jeopardy.

The last time our gravel road had any significant rock put in place was about 7 years ago. I was surprised to learn just recently that it wasn’t our neighborhood that put the rock down – but the Bureau of Land Management when they logged one of the timber properties in our area. Had the BLM not put down significant rock, I’m afraid our road would be in extremely bad condition today.

At this point you’re likely asking yourselves why we have not put down more gravel. Sadly, it isn’t so simple. Evidently, it is very hard to find contractors who will work on what is considered a “small” area for a reasonable fee. The contractors that they’ve found in the past were local friends, who offered the work at a discounted rate. Our most recent person has passed away. Further complicating matters, we have a significant amount of homeowners who are unable or unwilling to pay their share of the road dues, which, up until recently, were only $100/year.

The lowest of the most recent bids is about 1/4 higher than the money that our little community has in the bank from receiving the minimal road dues over the years. And this is after at least 10 years of saving what road dues that we could. We may have enough to have the road rocked and graded soon, but there is nowhere near enough money coming in to cover the road maintenance that should be done on an annual basis.

We recently (finally!) had a road meeting in which a large percentage of homeowners could attend. It was decided that something needs to be done about the homeowners who have not paid, and unanimously decided that our road dues need to increase significantly.

Now that we’ve decided what needs to be done with at least those who were present in agreement, someone has to step up to the plate about enforcing road dues.

Our tasks are: figure out how to collect on past dues, and how to implement stronger methods of getting road dues paid in the future as we are wondering if our most current road agreement (recorded in 1970’s) is sufficient.

Some of the methods we will need to look into: small claims court, a simple lien on properties, forming a Local Improvement District, implementing a Special District, or retroactively forming a Homeowner’s Association.

My next post in the installment regarding inquiries to the county is located here.

Beavercreek, Oregon Real Estate Market Highlights

Just a quick update on Beavercreek, Oregon real estate market highlights for the past year (as of 2/21/2017):

Sold prices for residential homes and bare land ranged from $140k-$930k.

-68 properties sold within last year, compared with 21 that did not sell.

-Average days on the market was relatively short:
-17 properties stayed on the market less than one week prior to going pending.
-13 were on the market from 7-14 days before going pending.
-12 properties were on the market between 14 and 30 days before going pending.
-13 properties were on the market from 30-60 days before going pending.
-8 properties were on the market from 60-100 days before going pending.
-Lastly, 17 properties were on the market over 100 days prior to going pending.
-Minimum market time: zero(!) days on market, up to 575 days.

Clearly the Beavercreek real estate market is still very strong!