Ever wonder how a lot that a house or condo complex sits on came about in the Portland metro area?
I was walking in Southeast Portland recently and noticed a stone marker near Lone Fir Cemetery. Curious about it, as it clearly wasn’t a headstone, I discovered that it is one of many old survey markers in the area. My thirst for history, as always, lead me on an inquisitive search for more information.
One of the cemetery boundaries used to be called Baseline Road. You may now recognize it by its current name, Southeast Stark Street. It is named for the baseline of the Willamette Meridian (see photos at end of this article), which runs east to the Idaho border and west to the Pacific Ocean. The Willamette Meridian was established in 1851 by Oregon’s first Surveyor General, John B. Preston. According to the Oregon Encyclopedia, the “Willamette Meridian was selected as the only principal meridian necessary to survey all of what is now Oregon and Washington.” This designation is the basis for all Pacific Northwest land surveys to this day.
why is this relevant to you?
If you want to modify something on your property, such as putting up a fence, it’s always a good idea to check your property’s plat to verify the legal boundaries. Sometimes a neighbor has something built beyond the boundary, and depending on conditions such as use of land or other factors, adverse possession may be enforced. Adverse possession is different from an easement. An easement is a legal allowance for access to property, such as allowing Comcast to provide cable lines up to your dwelling. If you would like to have a property properly surveyed, you should hire a Professional Land Surveyor who is licensed by the state.
SAIL – Survey and Assessor Image Locator is a place to find survey certificates for an address in Multnomah County. This ESRI map provides more detailed information on property boundaries than PortlandMaps.com.
Professional Land Surveyors’ Guide to Selecting an Oregon Land Surveyor.
To look up a license of a land surveyor, the state website advises to call their office at 503-362-2666 to get the most accurate information.