Surveyor's FAQs

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Will the County survey my property?

No, the County Surveyor's Office does not survey privately-owned property. You can Click Here to find resources on how to select an Oregon Land Surveyor.

Can I get GPS coordinates to locate my property lines?

The Columbia County WebMaps is georeferenced and will display both State Plane coordinates and latitude & longitude positions. Both are extremely helpful when searching for property corners, but should not be used to determine boundaries. It is your responsibility to be aware of the accuracy of the equipment and the source of the data used.

What if I disagree with my neighbor’s survey?

Surveyors work with the best information available. They utilize recorded survey and deed data together with physical evidence on the ground. With this information, Oregon Revised Statutes and other laws concerning land surveying, the surveyor comes to a conclusion. Any land survey is only as good as the information from which the conclusions are drawn. Surveyors put their professional reputation and license on the line every time they determine a boundary location. It is in a surveyor's interest to observe the survey laws and to make the most accurate boundary determination possible. They have no reason to deliberately locate a boundary line incorrectly. Occasionally, however, a surveyor can overlook an important piece of evidence that might change the boundary opinion in question. If you believe this to be the case, then it is your option to discuss the evidence in question directly with the surveyor.

It is insufficient to disagree with a boundary line determined by a licensed surveyor without any legal evidence. You must show legal evidence in order to refute a surveyor's findings. If after discussing the problem with the surveyor you still feel it has not been resolved to your satisfaction, there are other avenues that may be pursued. You can hire a land surveyor of your own choice to perform a separate boundary survey. The second surveyor may find a sufficiently different result or have a different boundary opinion.

When a situation disclosing a conflict in a property boundary occurs, you must then decide what solution options you are willing to consider. Often, you may have to weigh the value of the land in question or the value of proving a point against the potential cost of what it might take to acquire written title. If you have not already done so at this point, you should contact an attorney for advice.

The first solution if a conflict has occurred is to try to have the surveyors meet and mediate resolution. Other methods for solving a boundary problem also involve the cooperation of both parties in the dispute. A property line agreement or adjustment survey may be performed, with applicable deed recordings and survey map filings. A description may be written on the property or on a portion of the property, and recorded as an easement for a specific purpose to a specific party. Alternatively, you may choose to allow present ownership conditions to continue as is. If you choose to maintain the status quo, you may run the risk of being subjected in the future to acquiescence or adverse possession activity, either in your favor or contrary to your interests. The last choice for a solution is having the case heard before a court of law. The court process is often the most expensive, but may be the only solution if the problem cannot be resolved by other means.

A person generally has occasion to employ a Land Surveyor once or twice in a lifetime; since such employment is so infrequent, the average person is not aware of the ideal steps to be followed in selecting a land surveyor. To help in making such a selection, the answers to a few common questions are noted below (as FAQ). Surveys are required by law if you plan to partition or subdivide your property or to adjust your property lines. A survey is also desirable and advisable before purchasing real estate and is frequently recommended by legal counsel or by mortgage loan companies. Remember, using services of a Land Surveyor now could cost much less in time, worry and money than the cost of moving a fence, building or defending a lawsuit at a later date.

How many copies do I submit for review?

The Surveyor's Office only requires 1 paper copy for review. However, if you are working with the Planning Department they may also require additional copies. It is the responsibility of the surveyor or client to submit additional copies to other agencies.

What size media is required for review submittal?

The Surveyor's Office only accepts 18" x 24" media.

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(503) 397-2322
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230 Strand St.
Columbia County Courthouse Annex
St. Helens,

Monday - Friday
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