This is an excellent video about how Oregon property taxes are assessed. It’s a very confusing system, especially for relocating buyers who are accustomed to taxes being reassessed upon the closing date of their purchase. We don’t do that here in OR but it’s a common concern from Californian buyers because taxes are reassessed there upon a home’s purchase price. The video was made by the Deschutes County Assessor’s Office, which is 3 hours away in Bend, OR, but the information applies to Portland homes as well.
It was State Measure 50 that passed in 1997 that determines a home’s tax base. This measure also capped tax increases at a maximum of 3% per year, plus any levies and bonds that are voted in during election cycles. In the last few years, Oregon voters said “yes” to almost every tax increase placed on the ballot, (libraries, schools, zoo, etc), so some people’s taxes went up by more like 10% per year, depending upon which county they live in. So while Oregonians can count on our taxes going up each year, there will not be a leap thanks to a reassessment when you purchase a home.
By the way, we have three counties that make up Portland and the surrounding outlying cities. Most of Portland is in Multnomah County. The outlying cities Southwest of Portland are mostly in Washington County. And the outlying cities to the Southeast are mostly in Clackamas County. I say “mostly” because we have pockets here and there that don’t conform to absolutes. For example, there’s an area in the city of Lake Oswego that is in Multnomah County but the bulk of Lake Oswego is in Clackamas County. There’s also a pocket in the city of Portland that is located in Washington County. These county distinctions are important because they are determinants of a home’s school district and local services. Of the three counties, Washington County is the only one that has a real estate transfer tax upon the sale of a home. Clackamas County typically has the lowest tax base of the three.
Clear as mud, right?