County Sets Public Hearings to Discuss Proposed Vehicle Registration Fee

The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners is holding two public hearings in February on a proposed ordinance to establish a countywide vehicle registration fee (VRF) of $30 per vehicle per year (technically, $60 every two years when you renew your vehicle registration).

The hearings will be held Thursday, Feb. 7, at 10 a.m. and Thursday, Feb. 21, at 6 p.m. in the Public Services Building, 2051 Kaen Road, Oregon City. The Board hearing room is located on the fourth floor. The public is welcome to attend to present comments of up to three minutes and/or to submit written comments.

Those who would like to attend, but cannot may submit written comments or testimony by mail or drop-off by addressing them to Ellen Rogalin, Development Services Building, 150 Beavercreek Road, Oregon City, OR 97045 or by email to ellenrog@clackamas.us. Written comments must be received no later than Feb. 21.

The proposed VRF would apply to cars, pick-up trucks, vans and other passenger vehicles registered in Clackamas County. The fee for motorcycles would be $15 per year per vehicle. Since Oregonians pay vehicle registration fees two years at a time, that is a potential increase of $60 every two years for most motorists and $30 every two years for motorcyclists. 

Vehicles exempt from the fee include snow mobiles and Class 1 all-terrain vehicles, fixed-load vehicles, antique vehicles, vehicles registered to disabled veterans, farm vehicles, travel trailers, campers and motor homes, school buses, government-owned and law enforcement vehicles, and heavy trucks.

Commissioners are considering the ordinance following years of analysis and discussions with the community, businesses and cities in the county. 

“Clackamas County is the only one of the three Portland area counties without a source of local funds for road projects,” said Clackamas County Chair Jim Bernard. “That means our options for meeting local needs for safety improvements, congestion relief and maintenance of local roads are severely limited,” he said.

In accordance with state law, 40 percent of the VRF revenue would go to cities in the county, based on population. Of the remaining 60 percent, which normally would all go to the county, 10 percent will be paid into a strategic investment fund for the county and cities to fund multi-jurisdictional projects.

According to Assistant Director for Transportation Mike Bezner, the county will use its funds to relieve congestion, maintain local roads and implement safety improvements.

“We already have a long list of needed projects in our Transportation System Plan that was created with extensive public input,” he said. “Between that list, our urgent need to maintain local neighborhood roads, and to make needed safety improvements, the additional VRF revenue will enable us to provide transportation improvements on roads throughout our county,” he said. 

More information about the proposed VRF is available online at www.clackamas.us/transportation/vrf.

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