RAPID/BulkTransmission/Oregon/Land Access

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Oregon Bulk Transmission Land Access(3-OR)

In addition to obtaining a Site Certificate from the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) for a high-voltage transmission line, developers must obtain a lease and, any required easements to access state lands, including any necessary permits to encroach on existing state Rights-of-Way (ROWs).

State Right of Way Process

For access roads, trails, ditches, field gathering or transmission lines across state land, developers may submit an Application for an easement on trust and non-trust land with the ODSL. [1]

Encroachment Permits

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) issues permits for encroachments on state highway right of ways. [2] Encroachments include the building of new approaches, the installation, maintenance, and operation of utility facilities such as pipe lines, pole lines, buried cable, and conduits, and other activities that may affect the right of way. Depending on the type of encroachment, developers may submit an Application to Occupy or Perform Operations Upon a State Highway or an Application for State Highway Approach. The ODOT will only issue either type of permit in accordance with OAR 734-051-3040(8)

Local Process
When an applicant files a preliminary application for site certification with the EFSC, the applicant must decide whether to seek local land use approval or have the determination made by the EFSC (which includes compliance with statewide planning goals).[3] Applicants choosing to seek approval from local governments must follow local procedures and comply with all local land use ordinances. Under state law, Oregon counties and cities are required to have a comprehensive land use plan and implementing regulations. Local review and permitting of a transmission line project will vary depending on the local government entity affected. Additional requirements and permits may be needed for construction of an electric transmission line that will also vary by county and municipality. Some or all of the following elements may be necessary as they relate to land access:

  • Above and below ground utility permit
  • Road access permit
  • Road maintenance agreement
  • ROW permits

If a proposed transmission line is to be located in an Exclusive Farm Use Zone (EFU) or a forest zone, then the applicant would be subject to standards set forth in O.R.S. 215 and Land Conservation and Development Commission’s administrative rule on agricultural land (O.A.R. Chapter 660, Division 33)[4] and forest lands (O.A.R. Chapter 660, Division 6). The EFSC will issue a site certificate for a project only if the proposed facility has received local land use approval under the acknowledged comprehensive plan and land use regulations of the affected local government.[5]

If the applicant requests a land use determination by the EFSC, then the EFSC must find that the proposed facility is in compliance with all applicable local jurisdictional standards. The EFSC will request the local official to identify any “applicable substantive criteria” of local land use ordinance and comprehensive plans that should be considered when making a land use determination.[6]

More Information

Determine Which State and Federal Permits Apply

Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.

Permitting at a Glance

Oregon Federal

State Land Right of Way Agency: Oregon Department of State Lands
State Land Right of Way Process: A developer must obtain an easement to access state lands by submitting an application to the Oregon Department of State Lands.
State Highway Right of Way Agency: Oregon Department of Transportation
State Highway Right of Way Process: Depending on the type of encroachment on a state highway right of way, a developer may submit an Application to Occupy or Perform Operations Upon a State Highway or an Application for State Highway Approach.
Eminent Domain: Oregon Community Power has explicit statutory eminent domain power to acquire new property, not within the service territory of another utility for the purpose of carrying out electric utility operations. Or. Rev. Stat. § 757.890. Any public utility may enter upon lands and condemn lands not exceeding 100 feet in width for transmission lines. Electric corporations also generally have the right to enter any land to conduct surveys. Or. Rev. Stat. §772.210.

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List of Reference Sources

  1. O.A.R. 141-122 - Rules for Granting Easements on Trust and Non-Trust Land (2000).
  2. O.A.R. 734-051 - Highway Approaches, Access Control, Spacing Standards and Medians (2011). 1050(3)(b)
  3. O.R.S. 469 (2014). 504(4)
  4. Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development - Farmland Protection Program [Internet]. Salem, Oregon. State of Oregon. [cited 2014/09/29]. Available from: http://www.oregon.gov/LCD/Pages/farmprotprog.aspx
  5. O.R.S. 469 (2014). 504(A)
  6. O.R.S. 469 (2014). 504(5)