2015 ORS § 496.340¹
Payments to counties in lieu of taxes

(1) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, whenever real property owned by the State Fish and Wildlife Commission is exempt from taxation on January 1 of any year by reason of its ownership by the state, the commission shall pay to the county in which the property is situated an amount equal to the ad valorem taxes that would have been charged against the property if it had been assessed to a taxable owner as of January 1 of such year as provided in subsection (2) of this section. The county assessor shall determine the value of such property and shall notify the commission of the determination of the county assessor. Upon request of the commission, the Department of Revenue shall review the determination of value and shall redetermine the value if it concludes the value initially determined was substantially incorrect.

(2)(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) or (c) of this subsection, the value of the property shall be computed at its assessed value under ORS 308A.107 (Value for farm use) or for forestland use, whichever is applicable.

(b) Paragraph (a) of this subsection shall not apply to any property upon which open field burning takes place. If open field burning takes place on any property described in this section, the property shall be valued at its highest and best use rather than the values authorized in paragraph (a) of this subsection on the January 1 following the date of the open field burning. If in the next year, the open field burning is discontinued, paragraph (a) of this subsection shall apply the next January 1 and each year thereafter as long as no open field burning occurs.

(c) Paragraph (a) of this subsection shall not apply to any property acquired by the commission after September 9, 1971, if such property was valued under farm use or forestland use special assessment provisions, at the time the property was acquired by the commission. However, no payments in lieu of taxes made to a county pursuant to this section prior to January 1, 1974, shall be refunded to the commission.

(3) This section does not apply to real property used for bird farms, fish hatcheries, office quarters, fishing access sites or impoundments, capital improvements or real property acquired pursuant to the Act of May 19, 1948 (62 Stat. 240), Public Law 80-537.

(4) The amount prescribed in subsection (1) of this section shall be determined annually by the assessor of the county in which the property is situated and certified by the assessor to the county court or the board of county commissioners. A notice of the determination, signed by the county judge or the chairperson of the board of county commissioners, shall be mailed to the principal office of the commission not later than October 15. The notice shall contain a statement of the value of the property and a complete explanation of the method used in computing the amount claimed pursuant to subsection (1) of this section. Not later than November 15, the commission shall pay each amount, less a discount equivalent to that which is provided in ORS 311.505 (Due dates). Payment shall be made to the county treasurer, who shall distribute the payment to the taxing districts of the county in accordance with the schedule of percentages computed under ORS 311.390 (Tax and interest distribution percentage schedule).

(5) Notwithstanding any other provision of the wildlife laws, the commission shall make the payments to counties required by this section annually from the moneys in the State Wildlife Fund established by ORS 496.300 (State Wildlife Fund). [Amended by 1955 c.729 §1; 1971 c.356 §1; 1971 c.474 §1; 1973 c.723 §16; 1991 c.459 §420; 1997 c.541 §441; 1999 c.314 §73; 2005 c.755 §46]

Note: Sections 1 to 4, chapter 712, Oregon Laws 2015, provide:

Sec. 1. Legislative intent. It is the intent of the Legislative Assembly that the task force established under section 2 of this 2015 Act develop recommendations for legislation that will carry out the following purposes:

(1) Strengthen the State Department of Fish and Wildlifes ability to carry out conservation and related outdoor recreation and education programs that benefit the nonhunting and nonangling members of the public whose values and pursuits are connected to healthy native fish and wildlife and healthy fish and wildlife habitat;

(2) Maintain and enhance hunting and angling opportunities, improve public access and habitat conservation programs related to hunting and angling, and improve public education about the recreational, economic and conservation benefits of hunting and angling, including within urban and underserved communities, through employing hunting and angling license fee funds and associated federal funds in a manner that is fair and equitable to the fee payers;

(3) Ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that future fee increases, new fees or other new revenue streams for the funding of the department are developed and implemented in a manner that ensures that individual beneficiaries of the departments services equitably contribute to the revenues of the department based on the services they receive; and

(4) Prioritize actions and allocation of resources that provide for the long-term sustainability of the department and its ability to achieve its mission. [2015 c.712 §1]

Sec. 2. Task Force on Funding for Fish, Wildlife and Related Outdoor Recreation and Education. (1)(a) The Task Force on Funding for Fish, Wildlife and Related Outdoor Recreation and Education is established, consisting of not fewer than 16 or more than 22 members appointed as follows:

(A) The President of the Senate shall appoint two nonvoting members from among members of the Senate.

(B) The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint two nonvoting members from among members of the House of Representatives.

(C) The State Fish and Wildlife Commission shall appoint one nonvoting member from among the members of the commission.

(D) The Governor shall appoint not fewer than 11 or more than 17 members. All members of the task force appointed by the Governor shall have a general knowledge, understanding and interest in fish, wildlife and fish and wildlife habitat-related natural resource issues. In making appointments, the Governor shall endeavor, to the extent the Governor deems practicable, to ensure that each of the following are represented on the task force:

(i) The outdoor recreation business community;

(ii) Conservation interests;

(iii) Hunting interests;

(iv) Angling interests;

(v) Outdoor recreation interests other than hunting and fishing;

(vi) Members of the general public interested in the health of Oregons fish, wildlife and fish and wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation and who represent members of Oregons diverse communities that may be underserved or underrepresented by the State Department of Fish and Wildlifes current operations;

(vii) The travel and tourism industry;

(viii) Counties and tribal governments;

(ix) The outdoor education community;

(x) The sport fishing industry; and

(xi) The commercial fishing industry.

(b) The State Fish and Wildlife Director, or the directors designee, shall serve ex officio as a nonvoting member of the task force.

(2) The task force shall:

(a) Identify and recommend potential alternative, sustainable funding sources for the State Department of Fish and Wildlife that are consistent with the intent and purposes set forth in section 1 of this 2015 Act and that may include:

(A) The taxation of the sale of recreational outdoor equipment, clothing or related goods;

(B) Contributions from businesses, organizations and individuals to support the protection and conservation of native nongame wildlife and nongame wildlife habitat;

(C) Fees for services provided by the department to other agencies, organizations or interests;

(D) Fees levied on activities and uses of natural resources that provide commercial benefits and impact fish, wildlife or fish or wildlife habitat;

(E) Endowments, trust funds or other instruments capable of providing stable funding in perpetuity; or

(F) Other funding models, mechanisms or partnerships.

(b) Develop recommendations on whether adjustments are necessary to ensure that relevant department program areas are funded in accordance with the intent and purposes set forth in section 1 of this 2015 Act, while taking into consideration for each relevant program:

(A) The public services provided through the program;

(B) The funding necessary for the program to provide optimal benefits; and

(C) The sources of funding for the program.

(c) Identify and recommend opportunities for the department to better achieve its mission and conservation program objectives through leveraging, coordinating and budgeting funds from alternative sources and existing sources including, but not limited to, federal funds, licenses and permits, lottery funds and mitigation funds.

(3) In carrying out its duties under subsection (2) of this section, the task force shall:

(a) Solicit, collect and consider testimony and recommendations from a wide variety of stakeholders;

(b) Ensure that any recommendations made by the task force comply with the departments mission, the Oregon Constitution and federal law;

(c) Identify, procure and consider any research, surveys and other information that the task force deems necessary for developing informed recommendations;

(d) Consider the practicality of proposed options, including, but not limited to, the logistics of implementation and administration; and

(e) Identify and develop strategies for informing and educating the public about:

(A) The long-term funding needs of the department;

(B) The benefits of providing stable, alternative funding for the management and conservation of fish, wildlife and fish and wildlife habitat; and

(C) The net economic benefits to Oregons economy of fishing, hunting and other wildlife-related recreation and habitat improvement and protection efforts.

(4) The task force may:

(a) Accept comments and exhibits from public and private sources, examine department records and take other actions reasonable for carrying out the work of the task force; and

(b) Make recommendations on other issues that may impact the departments funding or ability to achieve its mission, including but not limited to the recruitment and retention of hunters and anglers, promotion of the departments programs, predation, and habitat improvement.

(5) A majority of the voting members of the task force constitutes a quorum for the transaction of business.

(6) Official action by the task force, including adoption of the report and recommendations described in subsection (11) of this section, requires the approval of a majority of the voting members of the task force.

(7) The task force shall elect one of its members to serve as chairperson.

(8) If there is a vacancy for any cause, the appointing authority shall make an appointment to become immediately effective.

(9) The task force shall meet at times and places specified by the call of the chairperson or of a majority of the voting members of the task force.

(10) The task force may adopt procedures necessary for the operation of the task force.

(11) The task force shall submit a report in the manner provided by ORS 192.245 (Form of report to legislature), and may include recommendations for legislation, to the interim committees of the Legislative Assembly related to the environment and natural resources no later than September 15, 2016.

(12) The Legislative Administration Committee shall provide staff support to the task force.

(13) The Legislative Administration Committee may accept, on behalf of the task force, contributions of moneys and assistance from the United States Government or its agencies or from any other source, public or private, and agree to conditions placed on the moneys not inconsistent with the duties of the task force. All moneys received by the Legislative Administration Committee under this subsection shall be deposited into the Fish, Wildlife and Related Outdoor Recreation and Education Fund established under section 3 of this 2015 Act to be used for the purposes of carrying out the duties of the task force.

(14) Members of the task force who are not members of the Legislative Assembly are not entitled to compensation, but may be reimbursed for actual and necessary travel and other expenses incurred by them in the performance of their official duties in the manner and amounts provided for in ORS 292.495 (Compensation and expenses of members of state boards and commissions). Claims for expenses incurred in performing functions of the task force shall be paid out of funds appropriated to the Legislative Administration Committee for purposes of the task force under this section.

(15) All agencies of state government, as defined in ORS 174.111 (State government defined), are directed to assist the task force in the performance of its duties and, to the extent permitted by laws relating to confidentiality, to furnish such information and advice as the members of the task force consider necessary to perform their duties. [2015 c.712 §2]

Sec. 3. Fish, Wildlife and Related Outdoor Recreation and Education Fund. The Fish, Wildlife and Related Outdoor Recreation and Education Fund is established in the State Treasury, separate and distinct from the General Fund. Interest earned by the Fish, Wildlife and Related Outdoor Recreation and Education Fund shall be credited to the fund. All moneys in the Fish, Wildlife and Related Outdoor Recreation and Education Fund are continuously appropriated to the Legislative Administration Committee for the purposes of carrying out the duties of the task force established under section 2 of this 2015 Act. [2015 c.712 §3]

Sec. 4. Repeal. (1) Sections 1 to 3 of this 2015 Act are repealed on December 31, 2016.

(2) Any moneys remaining in the Fish, Wildlife and Related Outdoor Recreation and Education Fund on December 31, 2016, that are unexpended, unobligated and not subject to any conditions shall revert to the General Fund. [2015 c.712 §4]