Special Districts

Special Districts Information

Special Districts are a form of local government. They are created by their constituents to meet specific service needs for their communities. Most perform a single function such as water delivery, fire protection, wastewater or cemetery maintenance, to name a few. Some, like county service districts, provide multiple services.

Klamath County has many Special Districts and it is important you are aware that several provisions of Oregon law apply to members. While the Klamath County Board of Commissioners officially appoints members to these boards it is important to remember that Oregon law contemplates these districts conduct their affairs with no supervision from the County Commissioners. Ultimately, board members are accountable to those persons it serves. Neither the Commissioner’s office nor County Counsel can offer you any legal advice. The County Commissioners encourage each district to retain legal counsel for when legal issues arise.

It is important people familiarize themselves with the Oregon Revised Statutes that govern each particular district.

Road Districts are governed by Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 371. 

https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/ors/ors371.html

Lighting Districts are governed by Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 372.

https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/ors/ors372.html

Vector Control Districts are governed by Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 452.

https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/ors/ors452.html

Drainage Districts are governed by Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 547.

https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/ors/ors547.html

Fire / Ambulance Districts are governed by Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 478.

https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/ors/ors478.html

Irrigation Districts are governed by Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 545.

https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/bills_laws/ors/ors478.html

Additionally, we want to remind you that public meeting and public records laws apply to all special districts. You can find the latest version of the Attorney General’s Public Records and Meetings Manual here: http://www.doj.state.or.us/pdf/public_records_and_meetings_manual.pdf

Please be aware that all board members are considered public officials by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. Please review the latest version of their Guide for Public Officials regarding regulations and potential conflicts of interest here: 

http://www.doj.state.or.us/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/public_records_and_meetings_manual.pdf

The Klamath County Board of Commissioners strongly encourage all districts to become a member of the Special Districts Association of Oregon (SDAO). SDAO is a great resource, they assist Special Districts by offering education and resources Special Districts may provide cost effective & efficient public services.

https://www.sdao.com/