Rapidly increasing home prices to blame; homes outside city limits will see a 2 percent climb

TIDING PHOTO: LESLIE PUGMIRE HOLE - Property taxes in West Linn are expected to climb about 5 percent from last year as countywide home values shot up 9.4 percent on average. Typical property tax bills in West Linn will jump by about 5 percent for 2018-19, thanks to Oregon's growing economy and strong real estate market.

That's the picture painted Oct. 24 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 5 percent inside West LInn city limits, and by about 2 percent in unincorporated areas.

This year's tax bills include a dramatically smaller increase than last year, when new money measures approved by voters for a Clackamas County's emergency radio system.LITTLE

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 West Linn, 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 cities of Tualatin and Happy Valley 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 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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