Sale of surplus, county owned real property is governed by Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS chapter 275 ) and county policies. Counties in Oregon acquire fee title to tax foreclosed properties and do not sell tax liens or tax lien certificates.
The first step in disposing of surplus real property is to offer it at a public sale (auction). Wallowa County generally holds one such sale annually. Beginning approximately one month prior to the sale date, notice of the sale will be published once per week for four weeks in the legal ad section of the Wallowa County Chieftain newspaper. The notice will include a list of the properties being offered and the terms and conditions of the sale. The sale notice should also be posted on the Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office webpage. There is no set time of year when a sale occurs and sales may not be held every year.
Most properties acquired by Wallowa County through tax foreclosure are unimproved (bare land without buildings, wells, septic systems or other improvements to the property). Many of the parcels are small or irregularly shaped with little use or value except to an adjoining owner.
Wallowa County properties are sold on an “as is, where is, with all faults” basis. Property is conveyed with a Quitclaim Deed. No warranties or guarantees are made concerning the condition of title (liens and/or encumbrances may still be on title), the ability to use a property for any particular purpose, the ability to develop a property pursuant to state and local land use law, location of boundary lines, environmental condition or any other matter concerning a property. It is the buyer’s responsibility to thoroughly investigate a property prior to purchasing it (obtaining a title report is highly recommended).
Properties that do not sell at a public auction can then be sold at private sale. Most properties that remain in inventory are either small strips of land which may be of value only to an adjoining owner, parcels which cannot be developed due to land use regulations, parcels which do not have legal access to them or parcels which may have environmental/hazardous waste issues. Click here to view a list of properties in inventory. Please note that some of the properties may have already been sold or are not available as the county may wish to retain them for public purposes (park land, right of way).
Offers for property available for private sale must be submitted on a county form. Offers are then forwarded to the Wallowa County Board of Commissioners (the elected, governing body for Wallowa County) for acceptance or rejection (only the Commissioners can legally accept or reject offers). The process generally takes 2 – 4 weeks.
Please contact the Wallowa County Board of Commissioners for more information.