Multnomah County Property Tax Appeal Process


This information will help you decide how to appeal your property value to the Board of Property Tax Appeals (BoPTA). Your appeal must be postmarked or delivered by December 31.

  1. Deciding to appeal
  2. Submit your appeal
  3. Prepare for your hearing
  4. What to expect at the hearing
  5. Hearing decision

Use this Glossary of Value Terms to help understand your tax bill and prepare your appeal.

Deciding to appeal

Before you file an appeal, please contact our office (via live chat(link is external), phone or email) for more information about how your property value was determined. Our appraisers will help you understand your value and if it should be adjusted.

You may file appeals for the following reasons:

  • Value: You can appeal the current year’s Real Market Value (RMV), Specially Assessed Value (SAV) or Assessed Value (AV) on both real and personal property accounts. Personal property includes business property, floating property and manufactured structures.
  • Exception event: If improvements have been made to your property (for example updating or remodeling) and you believe that the amount the Assessor has increased the value of your property is too high, you may appeal the amount of the increase that is associated with the improvements (called an “exception event”).
  • Penalty: If you disagree with a penalty assessed to you for late filing of your real or personal property return, you may petition BoPTA to waive the penalty.

When considering an appeal, keep in mind:

  • A reduction in Real Market Value of your property may not result in tax savings.
  • It is your responsibility to prove that the value the Assessor has placed on your property is too high.
  • BoPTA can only hear appeals of the current tax year values. It does not have authority to consider appeals for any other tax years.

BoPTA cannot:

  • Consider hardship as a factor in establishing value
  • Set the amount of tax you owe
  • Consider a sharp increase in value in a single year to be a valid reason for appeal
  • Regard lack of normal property maintenance as a reason for appeal (however, severely deferred maintenance and structural problems are considered)
  • Consider testimony on tax rates or the fairness of the tax system.

Submit your appeal

When can I appeal?

After your current year property tax statement is available, you have until December 31 to submit your petition to The Board of Property Tax Appeals (BoPTA). BoPTA can only consider petitions for the current tax year value.

Your petition must be postmarked or delivered by December 31.

  • We use the U.S. Postal Service postmark to determine timeliness of filing. A postage meter imprint (e.g. Pitney-Bowes) is not considered a postmark.

Hearings will take place between the first Monday in February through April 15. You will be notified by mail of your hearing date and time.

Download appeal forms and petitions

Pick up forms at our office

501 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Suite 175
Portland, OR 97214
Phone: 503.988.3326

Email form request to BOPTA@multco.us(link sends e-mail)

How do I submit my appeal and what is the fee?

You must submit a separate completed petition for each account. The filing fee is $30.00 per account.

If we receive your petition without the filing fee, you have 20 days from the date of notification to submit the fee or the petition will be dismissed.

Appeals are accepted by mail or in person only. Email or fax submissions are not accepted.

By mail

Board of Property Tax Appeals
PO Box 5007
Portland, OR 97208-5007

In person

501 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Suite 175
Portland, OR  97214

How do I appeal Business Personal Property?

Business Personal Property value for the current tax year may be appealed to BoPTA. Paperwork must be postmarked no later than December 31.

Late filing penalties for business personal property may also be appealed to BoPTA separately.

The cost for each appeal is $30.

Business Personal Property Appeals forms

Personal Property Petition (468.98 KB)

Waiver of Late Filing Penalty (152.42 KB)

Prepare for your hearing

When will my hearing be scheduled?

Hearings start in mid-February and run until April 15. Hearings take place in 10 minute increments from 9 am-2 pm, Monday-Thursday at the Multnomah Building (501 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97214).

  • Notices of hearing will be mailed 5-10 days in advance of the scheduled time. You may also call or chat our Customer Service office(link is external) to find out your scheduled hearing time.
  • Hearing times cannot be rescheduled. If, after your hearing is scheduled, you find you cannot attend, you may send a qualified representative. To designate a representative, fill out and submit the Authorization to Represent form(link is external).
  • If you are in need of special assistance, please call or chat our office and we will be able to help you.

What evidence do I need?

Generally, to be successful in your appeal, you must provide evidence of the market value of your property on January 1 of the assessment year. A strong case requires careful preparation. Remember, it is your responsibility to prove that the Assessor’s value is too high.

The only evidence BoPTA can consider is what you provide with your current appeal.  Evidence from previous appeals will not be considered. You may send your evidence with your petition, or bring it at the time of the hearing.

Here are some examples of evidence BoPTA may consider:

  • Documentation of an arm’s-length (openly-marketed) sale of your property that occurred close to January 1 of the assessment year.
  • A fee appraisal dated close to January 1 of the assessment year which reflects the property’s value.
  • Proof that the property has been listed for sale on the open market for a reasonable period of time at a price below the real market value on the tax roll.
  • A comparison of properties similar to yours in location, size and quality that have sold close to January 1 of the assessment year. If there are differences between properties, the differences must be accounted for in the comparison of values.
  • Cost of new construction that occurred close to January 1 of the assessment year and was performed by a professional contractor.
  • Cost to repair your property. You must provide written estimates of the cost of the repairs.
  • For commercial property, documentation of income and expense information or a comparable sales analysis.

If you wish to submit comparable sales as evidence, an example of a Comparable Sales Grid is available.

Any evidence you provide to BoPTA will not be returned to you.  If you wish to keep the original documents, you may submit copies to the Board.

What to expect at the hearing

A typical residential hearing is limited to a total of 10 minutes. All hearings in which a petitioner (or representative) is present are recorded. Most recordings are available for review upon request. During this 10 minutes you will:

  • Introduce yourself and identify your property. The BoPTA Chair will announce the current value and your requested value, and will confirm the size, location and type of property under appeal.
  • You will then make a statement supporting your requested value.
  • Describe each piece of evidence you present. BoPTA members may ask questions during your presentation.

You must make your statement, present your evidence, and allow for questions within the 10 minute period. Remember that BoPTA is concerned with property values for the current assessment year, not large increases over last year’s value or increases in tax amounts.

The process is informal. You should expect to be treated with courtesy. The Chair must, however, adhere to the time schedule and you will be asked to cooperate in this regard.

Who is on the Board of Property Tax Appeals (BoPTA)?

BoPTA members are private citizens appointed by the Multnomah County Board of County Commissioners. They are not professional appraisers, but have training, experience and knowledge in property valuation.

BoPTA members are not part of the Assessor’s Office. BoPTA members are not part of the Assessor’s Office and they play no role in setting any of the values on your property.

BoPTA may be thought of as a panel which decides the value of your property based on the evidence you present.

Hearing decision

When can I expect a decision?

BoPTA hears all the day’s testimony before making any decisions. The decision-making process is typically between 2-4 pm. You are welcome to observe this process, however you will be unable to comment or offer any further testimony.

BoPTA’s decisions are not available by telephone.

Whether you are present for the decision-making process or not, a written Board order will be mailed to you or your representative within 8-10 business days after the hearing.

What if I disagree with the BoPTA’s decision?

Information and instructions on appealing BoPTA’s decision to the Oregon Tax Court will be included with the written decision.  For more information, visit the Oregon Tax Court’s website(link is external).

Advertisements

LANDMARKS COMMISSION APPROVES WASHINGTON HIGH DESIGNATION


Linus Pauling in 1954

Linus Pauling in 1954 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Portland Historic Landmarks Commission voted to approve the landmark designation of Washington High School on January 14, 2013. This designation is the first step in Venerable’s ultimate goal of rehabilitating the 1923 brick building. Landmark designation brings with it local incentives for historic preservation, in addition to further regulation including historic design review and restrictions against demolition.

The designation document makes a strong case for Washington High School local significance, as the property helps tell the story of Portland’s changing education system during the first half of the 20th century.  This period was marked by the need for expanded school facilities; growing concerns around health and safety, with a particular focus on fire prevention; and school designs that offered optimal learning environments as espoused by education experts at the time.

Below is an excerpt from the landmark nomination, explaining the building’s historical significance and the ways in which Washington High School’s design and construction embodies the priorities, values, and challenges of its time:

The construction of Washington High School began in 1923 after a fire destroyed much of the 1906 Washington High School in the year prior.  The new building fully utilized “fireproof” construction techniques of the time.  It is a significant example of a building constructed with a structural system entirely of concrete including slabs, columns, and beams.  The exterior was faced with red brick and the walls were constructed of plaster-cement-finished clay masonry.  There is very little wood in the building.  Even the stairs and flooring are concrete.

The new Washington High School was constructed amidst an established campus of buildings that included the original Hawthorne School (1897-1900, demolished), Manual Training Building (1908, demolished), Gymnasium (1911, demolished) and a Boiler Building (1912, extant).  Construction was completed and Washington High School opened its doors to students in 1924.

The Washington High School campus was and still is a prominent feature in the Buckman neighborhood.  Buckman is a dense early-20th-Century streetcar suburb that grew significantly in response to the building of bridges over the Willamette River, the development of streetcar lines that connected to downtown Portland, and the population explosion that occurred as a result of the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition.  Buckman was home to a rapidly growing middle class in Portland, which included families with school-age children.

The 1906 Washington High School was an immediate response to Buckman’s changing demographics.  The 1924 Washington High School continued the tradition of a landmark building at the corner of SE Stark and Morrison after the former school burned, further expanding capacity while incorporating design principles idealized at the time.  Namely, it was organized around a central auditorium and had many specialized spaces included a library, science labs, music room, and cafeteria.  In addition, Washington High School also maintains one of the most substantial compositions of Classical Revival detailing on Portland’s eastside, as evidenced in the symmetry of windows and vertical elements, Classical details and reliefs in terra cotta, and a monumental entrance vestibule.  It is interesting to note that the classical symmetry of the exterior maintains such primacy that stairwell landings occur in the middle of window openings.  The inspirational quality of the Classical Revival design is further enhanced by six quotes featured on the building exterior in glazed terra cotta panels.

The building’s large twelve-over-one wood windows are not only a key feature of the architect’s Classical composition, but the windows are clustered in groups of three or four to optimize the amount of daylight that could enter each classroom space.  “Breeze shields” are found in the classrooms, which could be placed in front of an open window, forcing the airflow in an upward direction rather than horizontally across a desk.

Washington High School’s significance as a Classical Revival high school is not only a reflection of the ideals of educational facility design during this period, but reflects the expertise of its architects Luther Lee Dougan and Chester A. Houghtaling.  While the first Washington High School featured Romanesque design influences, Houghtaling & Dougan pursued the more monumental Classical Revival style for the building’s replacement—a style they had executed previously in Portland with much success.

Portland Public Schools hired Houghtaling & Dougan because they were without a district architect during the time period of 1920 to 1924.  Floyd A. Naramore had recently resigned in 1919 to work as Seattle’s school architect.  He was originally hired in 1912 when the District recognized the need for in-house expertise to deal with the design of fireproof masonry buildings.  In the aftermath of Naramore’s departure, Portland Public Schools had to briefly rely on outside architects to design and manage much of the new construction, including Washington High School.   The firm Houghtaling & Dougan was considered to be a versatile team and they designed many different types of buildings ranging from industrial warehouses to schools to major civic buildings such as the Elks Temple.

In 1978, Washington High School merged with Monroe High School—an all-girls polytechnic sister school to Benson Polytechnic High School—and the school then became known as Washington-Monroe High School.  Not long after, the school experienced declining enrollment and closed its doors in 1981.  Two years later the facility was reopened as the Children’s Service Center.  This multipurpose facility served multiple tenants that included a day care center, a vocational program for Native American youth and the district’s continuing education center for at-risk pregnant girls. The Children’s Service Center closed in the 1990s and the building has been largely vacant since that time.

Notable alumni of Washington High School include Steven G. Bradbury, attorney, United State Department of Justice; Bill Naito, longtime Portland businessman and civic leader; and Linus Pauling, two-time Nobel Prize winner.  Pauling was awarded his diploma in 1962, 45 years after leaving Washington High School prior to graduating in order to attend Oregon State University.

Contact Venerable: 503-224-2446