Oregon Conservation Easement Assessment Project: A white paper on conservation easements as a land use tool in Oregon

In a unique partnership between local, state and national organizations, five groups have come together to produce a white paper that examines conservation easements as a land use tool in Oregon. The paper, the first of its kind for Oregon,
specifically looks at more ways conservation easements can protect special lands in the state.

The five partner organizations, the Land Trust Alliance, the Coalition of Oregon Land TrustsEast Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Clackamas SWCD and Friends of Family Farmers, share a common interest in providing landowners with tools to protect Oregon’s unique natural and cultural resources including water quality, habitat, open space and productive farm, forest and ranch lands. Conservation easements are voluntary agreements between willing landowners and a qualified “holder” to conserve resources on private lands. With nearly 500 easements protecting over 150,000 acres, Oregon ranks 40th nationally in the number of easements and 36th in the number of acres protected by easements.
Through extensive research and interviews with over 20 professionals and land use specialists, the white paper:

  • Provides a comprehensive overview of the current use of easements in Oregon;
  • Reviews other state and national funding programs for easements;
  • Provides an overview of current funding mechanisms and financial incentives in Oregon; and
  • Strategizes potential opportunities to increase the use of easements in alignment with Oregon’s land use laws.