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Rapidly increasing home prices to blame, although it's a much smaller increase than last year

LITTLETypical property tax bills in Lake Oswego will jump by about 4 percent for 2018-19, thanks to Oregon's growing economy and strong real estate market. But both the City of Lake Oswego and the Lake Oswego School District will levy less for bonded debt this year, moderating what would have been an even larger increase.

That's the picture painted Monday by Clackamas County Assessor Tami Little, who said real market value in the county grew by 9.4 percent for the year, continuing an upward trend that started in 2013. Tax statements were scheduled to be mailed to the county's 175,958 real and personal property owners on Oct. 19 and Oct. 22, Little said.

Property owners would usually see their taxes jump by approximately 3 percent with Oregon's allowable growth in assessed values, but rapidly increasing real market values have eliminated or reduced the savings provided by constitutionally imposed limits in many areas of the county.

The result: Typical tax bills will rise by about 4 percent inside Lake Oswego city limits, and by about 3.75 percent in unincorporated areas. The good news? The City of Lake Oswego's tax rate for bonded debt will drop by 0.0093 percent, Little said, and the rate for the LOSD will decline by 0.0241 percent.

And the better news? This year's tax bills include a dramatically smaller increase than last year, when new money measures approved by voters for a variety of projects in the Lake Oswego School District and Clackamas County's emergency radio system sent bills soaring by 10 percent in Lake Oswego and 11.5 percent in unincorporated areas.

Initial tax payments are due Nov. 15. Property owners can pay their entire bill at once and qualify for a 3 percent discount, or pay in three installments with subsequent payments due on Feb. 15 and May 15, 2019.

Outside Lake Oswego, area voters did approve five money measures that will be reflected on their tax statements this year, including the renewal of an expiring levy in the City of Portland. In the City of Tualatin and the City of West Linn, voters approved new bonded debt that will increase their tax rates. A new bond for Portland Community College and local option levees in the Molalla Rural Fire District and the City of Happy Valley boosted tax rates there, too.

Little cautioned Monday that taxes are collected on a property-by-property basis, making any talk of "typical" tax bills meaningless. But she said the average real market value of a single family home in Clackamas County is now $450,901, while the median value is $361,407. The average taxable value, which is equal to about 65 percent of a home's real market value, is $292,136.

The total 2018-19 property tax to be collected for all districts in the county is $852,388,929, an increase of 5.03 percent over last year's total. Little said the $40.8 million jump is due to taxes generated from new construction, voter approval of new and replacement money measures, the required 3 percent increase in assessed value on most existing property and a decline in the amount of taxes limited by Oregon's constitution.

Tax relief for property owners from Measure 5 dropped for a fifth straight year, Little said, driven down by rising real market values and contributing to the increase in taxes that voters will see on bills this month. She noted that those bills represent property values as of Jan. 1, 2018, and reflect the change in value from Jan. 1, 2017. The value does not reflect changes in the real estate market that have occurred after the assessment date, Little said.

Little and her staff have scheduled six town halls around the county between Oct. 29 and Nov. 8 to respond to questions about property values and tax rates. One of those sessions is scheduled from 2-3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6, at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Ave.

Contact Lake Oswego Review Editor Gary M. Stein at 503-479-2376 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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