Columbia County Courthouse

230 Strand Street, St. Helens, OR 97051 • Phone: (503) 397-7210 • Toll Free: (888) 397-7210

Columbia County

Sales Procedure

Sale Procedures for Surplus Real Property Owned by Columbia County, Oregon

  1. Purpose This document outlines the process for the sale of surplus real property owned by Columbia County.
  2. General Policy. It is Columbia County's policy to offer parcels of surplus real property to the general public in a fair and equitable manner.
  3. General Information.
    1. General information, plus a list of available surplus real property with tax account numbers, general descriptions, and approximate location can be obtained on Columbia County’s website – click on “County Departments”, then “County Counsel“.
    2. With the tax map identification number listed on the Surplus Property List, you can look the parcel up on a tax lot map to identify its location. Tax assessment maps are available for a nominal charge by visiting the Columbia County Assessor’s Office, Columbia County Courthouse, 230 Strand, St. Helens, OR 97051. You can also view them on the State’s website by visiting and clicking “Accept”. Once you have clicked on the map for Columbia County, click within the township/range "box" for the property you are interested in. [E.g., Tax Map ID # 7N2W04-00-00400 is tax lot 400 within Section 4 of Township 7 North, Range 2 West (T7N,R2W)]. Thorough instructions are available on this site.
  4. Sale of Surplus Property under ORS Chapter 275
    1. Columbia County held its last public auction on October 15, 2002. We are fortunate that most people in this county pay their taxes and we foreclose on very few properties.
    2. With regard to properties on the Surplus Property List which are valued at less than $15,000 and unsuited for the construction or placement of a dwelling thereon, Oregon statutes allow a private sale 15 days after publication of a Notice of Private Sale, at such price deemed reasonable by the Board of Commissioners and upon acceptance of an offer by the Board of County Commissioners.
    3. Any properties valued over $15,000 must first be placed for auction before a private sale can be considered. With respect to these properties, the County, at its discretion, can conduct an auction orally, by telephone or written bid. If you are interested in such property, a written letter of interest should be forwarded to Cynthia Zemaitis, Natural Resources Administrator, Office of County Counsel, 230 Strand, Room 318, St. Helens, Oregon 97051, and the value of scheduling an auction will be considered.
  5. Procedures.
    1. Offers.
      1. Submitting offers.
        All offers on real property must be submitted in the following manner:
        1. All offers must be submitted in writing on the form provided (see, Purchase Offer form) and delivered to Cynthia Zemaitis, Natural Resources Administrator, Office of County Counsel, Room 318, 230 Strand, St. Helens, Oregon 97051.
        2. Each written offer must be for a single parcel of real property and must be signed, dated and include complete contact information.
        3. All offers of $5,000 or less must be accompanied by a cashier's check, certified check or money order in the full amount offered for the real property, plus an additional $45 to cover recording and handling fees. (The failure to pay appropriate fees as provided herein will result in rejection of the offer).
        4. All offers of more than $5,000 must be accompanied by a cashier's check, certified check or money order for at least 10 percent of the offer on the real property. Upon acceptance of an offer over $5,000, the successful bidder must pay the balance due within 30 days of the date of acceptance.
        5. Columbia County will not consider any offer not accompanied by a cashier's check, certified check or money order in the appropriate amount.
        6. All offers submitted are binding, and money submitted will not be refunded if the offer is accepted by the Columbia County Board of Commissioners.
      2. Amount of offer.
        1. Typically, it is recommended that offers on property with a value of $1,000 or less be for the full amount of the value. The recommendation for offers on property with an assessed value between $1,001 and $4,999 is for 80 percent of the assessed value. Notwithstanding these recommendations, however, all offers submitted pursuant to the criteria set forth in this document will be considered.
    2. Rejection or Acceptance of Offers.
      1. The Columbia County Board of Commissioners reserves the right to reject any and all offers on real property.
      2. All money submitted with offers will be returned if the offer does not meet the specifications of these procedures, or the offer is not accepted by Columbia County.
      3. All offers submitted complying with these criteria will be brought before the Columbia County Board of Commissioners. The Board will act on the offers within a reasonable time.
      4. You will be notified in writing as to whether your offer has been rejected or accepted by Columbia County.
      5. If an offer which meets the criteria set forth in this document has not physically been received, or any offer is rejected by the Board of Commissioners, then the property will remain available for sale. If an offer is accepted for the real property, the real property will no longer be available for subsequent offers.
    3. Conveyance
      1. All properties sold will be conveyed through a quitclaim deed. Quitclaim deeds will be prepared within (30) thirty days after acceptance of your offer.
      2. All rights to any County, public, forest or C.C.C. roads will be reserved for the benefit of Columbia County, Oregon.
      3. Columbia County will reserve and retain all of the minerals, mineral rights, ore, metals, metallic clay, oil, gas, hydrocarbon substances and any other substances as may be determined by the Board of County Commissioners in, on or under all real properties to be sold, if any, including the use of such water from springs, creeks, lakes or wells to be drilled or dug upon the premises as may be necessary or convenient for such exploration or mining operations.
  6. Disclaimer.
    1. No title insurance is offered on property offered for sale, and the County shall not warrant or defend that titles are free of defects or encumbrances. All properties offered and sold are subject to easements, conditions and restrictions of record. No surveys are made to establish property lines. All bidders should inspect parcels prior to making an offer.
    2. All properties offered for sale will be sold AS-IS without covenants or warranties, subject to any municipal liens, and title will be transferred by quitclaim deed. While the County has made an effort to check and provide accurate legal descriptions, it does not warrant their accuracy. Buyers are advised to verify the accuracy of the legal descriptions provided.
    3. Columbia County specifically does not guarantee or warrant that any property sold can be developed or is usable for any particular purpose. All property sold is subject to all land use regulations, laws, comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, etc.
    4. To clarify the status of certain properties, such as whether a property may be buildable, the County may require a prospective purchaser to sign a Purchase & Sale Agreement before the property is conveyed.