Q. How do I create a Neighborhood Association?
A. The Community Development Department assists neighborhoods with organizing neighborhood associations, and obtaining information on City meetings and upcoming projects. The Department maintains a list of associations with contact information which may be obtained by contacting the Department. Check to see if your neighborhood has a representative. A guide on "How to Create a Neighborhood Association" is available which provides information on how to get started.
Neighborhood Associations Contact:
Q. How do I know if a building is "historic?"
A. Look for the heading "Classification" on the building's inventory form. A building will be classified: Eligible Significant, Eligible Contributing, Not Eligible Out of Period, Non-Contributing, Primary, Secondary, Historic Non-Contributing, Compatible, and Non-Compatible. On inventory forms, only those buildings listed as Eligible Significant, Eligible Contributing, Primary, or Secondary are considered historic at this time. In addition, a building may be individually designated as a Historic Local Landmark or as a National Register Historic Landmark. To verify the classification of a property, contact the Planner.
Q. What do those classifications mean?
A. Primary: Constructed during the primary period of development of that neighborhood or district and retains significant historic fabric and integrity and still reflects that historic period.
Secondary: Constructed during the secondary period of development of that neighborhood or district and retains significant historic fabric and integrity and still reflects that historic period.
Historic Non-Contributing: Constructed during the primary or secondary period of development of that neighborhood or district but does not presently retain sufficient historic fabric or integrity.
Compatible: Constructed after the secondary period of development and is compatible in style with buildings constructed during the historic periods.
Non-Compatible: Constructed after the secondary period of development and is not compatible in style with buildings constructed during the historic periods.
Please note that the historic periods of development vary from one neighborhood or district to another. A definition of those periods of development can be found in the Historic Context Statement of each neighborhood.
Q. Are there any other designations for historic buildings?
A. Yes, a building might be individually listed as a Local Landmark, National Register or National Landmark. Both National Register and National Landmark buildings start their designation process locally, but are reviewed at the State and Federal level.
Q. What is the local process for designating a building historic?
A. There are two ways to designate a building. One, a property owner applies for that designation through the City of Astoria’s Community Development Department. The application is reviewed by the City’s Historic Landmarks Commission at one of their regular meetings. The Historic Landmarks Commission bases their decision on criteria listed below.
Two, the City designates a property after completing a comprehensive neighborhood inventory. During this inventory, a historic building consultant reviews the architectural character of a building, its individual history and alterations which may have occurred to the building exterior. The consultant and members of the Historic Landmarks Commission review the building according to criteria listed below.
Property owners are then mailed completed inventory forms. At that time, they are invited to an informational meeting and a public hearing. Property owners have an opportunity to comment at both meetings. Formal designation is made following the public hearing. During this process, is the opportunity for individual property owners have the opportunity to opt-out of the historic designation. If a property owner does not “opt out” prior to the actual designation, the historic designation may not be removed at a later date.
Q. What criteria are used to establish the historic designation?
A. The criteria for determining whether or not a building is historic includes:
1. Physical Integrity.
Property is essentially as constructed on original site. Sufficient original workmanship and material remain to serve as instruction in period fabrication.
2. Architectural Significance.
Rarity of type and/or style. Property is a prime example of a stylistic or structural type, or is representative of a type once common and is among the last examples surviving in the City. Property is a prototype or significant work of an architect, builder, or engineer noted in the history of architecture and construction.
3. Historical Significance.
Property is associated with significant past events, personages, trends or values and has the capacity to evoke one or more of the dominant themes of national or local history.
4. Importance to Neighborhood.
Property’s presence contributes and provides continuity in the historical and cultural development of the area.
5. Symbolic Value. Through public notice, interest, sentiment, uniqueness or other factors, property has come to connote an ideal, institution, political entity or period.
6. Chronology. Property was developed early in the relative scale of local history or was early expression of type/style. The age of the building, structure, site, or object should be at least 50 years, unless determined to be of exceptional significance.
7. The request shall be consistent with the applicable goals and policies of the Comprehensive Plan.
Q. Do property owners have a choice whether or not their building is listed as historic?
At the conclusion of the inventory, all affected property owners are invited to attend a public hearing before the Historic Landmarks Commission. Individual property owners may object and opt out at that time. If no objections are filed with the Community Development Department, the historic designation becomes final when the Historic Landmarks Commission votes to accept the inventory as presented.
If an inventory is then processed as a “National Register Historic District”, the State will advise all affected property owners of the pending designation and call for a vote of the property owners. In this case, the majority rules and individual property owners may not “opt out” of designation.
Q. What protections or restrictions are placed on historic buildings?
A. Protections include the review of new construction adjacent to historic buildings. The Historic Landmarks Commission reviews new construction to ensure compatibility in scale, style, height, materials, architectural detail, and orientation with the adjacent historic building and neighborhood.
Restrictions are placed on the exterior alteration of historic buildings. Exterior alterations are reviewed by the Historic Landmarks Commission. Alterations include attaching decks or porches, replacing siding with different type or material, replacing windows with different materials or styles, removing historic ornamentation, changing rooflines, constructing an addition, etc. All exterior alterations are reviewed by the Historic Landmarks Commission or the Historic Preservation Officer. Interior alterations are not reviewed by the City. Certain exterior alterations that are to replace missing historic features or are to repair the structure based on historic photographs of the house may be approved administratively.
Routine maintenance is not reviewed. Routine maintenance includes cleaning, landscaping and minor repairs. In addition, exterior paint colors are not reviewed. Property owners are not required to paint their buildings in historic colors. However, the City will offer assistance in selecting colors if requested by the property owner.
Q. What other assistance is provided?
A. The City offers the historic building owner limited design consultation by the City’s trained staff. This consultation may include reviewing the history and stylistic characteristics of the building, suggestions on how to blend the alterations with the building’s historic character, and advice on how to navigate an application through the Historic Landmarks Commission.
Q. Are financial incentives available?
Financial incentives are available through the State and Federal Government for buildings individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places or landmarks within a National Register Historic District.
The State Historic Preservation Office offers “Special Assessment” -- a freeze on the assessed value of a building for 10 years. Applicants must prepare and commit to restoration and improvement plans of their building. All plans and alterations to both the exterior and interior must be approved by the State before work is commenced. For more information call the State Historic Preservation Office at 503-378-4168. The State Historic Preservation Office website
Periodically grants may be available from the State Historic Preservation Office through the City for exterior work.
The US Department of the Interior offers a 20% Federal tax credit for rehabilitation performed on income-producing buildings (apartments, bed & breakfast, commercial, etc.). Again, all work on both the exterior and interior must by approved before work is commenced. In this case, both the State and Federal Government review the planned restoration and renovation.
Also, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has a tax credit fund established jointly with Bank of America. Contact the National Trust for Historic Preservation for more information. The National Trust for Historic Preservation website is at savingspaces.org
Q. If my house is historic, do I have to open it to the public? Am I limited to what changes I can make to the interior?
A. There are no local requirements for open houses. If you choose to apply through the State for Special Assessment and your property is enrolled in that program (see above), you will be required to open parts of your home to the public once a year. Interior changes are reviewed by the State Historic Preservation Office only if a property is participating in the Special Assessment program. The Astoria Historic Landmarks Commission reviews the interior changes on behalf of the State only if a property is participating in the Special Assessment program.
Q. Does the Clatsop County Historical Society have anything to do with the City of Astoria’s historic building program?
No, not directly. People often confuse the historical society with the Historic Landmarks Commission. The Clatsop County Historical Society has nothing to do with the review of local landmarks -- that’s the role of the Historic Landmarks Commission.
The Clatsop County Historical Society is a non-profit organization which maintains and operates four museums including the Capt. Flavel House, Heritage Center, Film Museum, and Firefighter’s Museum. They maintain historical records on the County’s families. They also have an impressive collection of historic photographs in their archives. These photographs are invaluable for guiding restoration of Astoria’s buildings.
Please call the Heritage Center at 503-325-2203 to make an appointment to explore the archives. Or, The Clatsop County Historical Society website is located at http://www.clatsophistoricalsociety.org/
Q. What is urban renewal?
A. Urban renewal is a public financing tool available to cities and counties in Oregon. Using a mechanism called Tax Increment Financing (or TIF), urban renewal directs property taxes on growth in assessed value within an established urban renewal district toward projects that will improve conditions in that district. The driving idea behind urban renewal is that the extra investment, and the expectation of investment, in the urban renewal district generates growth that would not have occured but for that investment. This extra growth is what funds urban renewal projects, and ultimately provides additional tax revenues to the city as a whole.
Q. What qualifies an area as an urban renewal district?
A. To qualify for urban renewal, an area must be identified by a city council as blighted (which can mean, among other things, underdeveloped, underperforming, dangerous, deteriorated, or poor condition of infrastructure). Blight is fully defined in the Oregon Revised Statutes 457.
Q. What are the benefits of urban renewal?
A. Through direct investment, urban renewal can help change a blighted portion of a city into a valuable and productive contributor to the local economy. This will help a city in multiple ways. A more vibrant area will draw business, create jobs, and stimulate the local economy. Increased property values will boost local tax rolls after the urban renewal district expires. Improvements to local infrastructure, such as transportation improvements, will make the community safer and will streamline traffic flow to and from the district.
Q. How does urban renewal funding work?
A. Urban renewal is funded through Tax Increment Financing. When an urban renewal district is established, the county assessor determines the current assessed value of all property within the district, and freezes that tax base. Whatever property tax revenue local jurisdictions receive from this frozen base is the same amount they will receive on a yearly basis until the urban renewal district is terminated. As property values increase above this frozen base, all tax revenues from increases in permanent rates are directed to projects within the urban renewal district. Assessed values can increase yearly at the 3% maximum allowed amount by state statute, or by more than this if new development occurs within the district. This increase above the frozen base is also called the “increment.” When the urban renewal district expires, the frozen base also expires, and the local taxing jurisdictions resume receiving taxes on the full assessed value of the district.
Q. What are the steps for creating an urban renewal district?
A. An urban renewal district is created through a process that includes community input, notice to impacted taxing jurisdictions, review by a city’s urban renewal agency, planning commission and city council. The city council hearing notice must be sent to a specified group of citizens, that is typically postal patrons. Adoption of a plan must be with a non-emergency ordinance by the city council that does not go into effect for 30 days after adoption. The plan, together with an accompanying urban renewal report, identifies the goals of the urban renewal district and projects to be funded with Tax Increment Financing, describes how the district complies with statutory requirements for blight, projects tax increment revenues, and identifies a maximum amount of debt an urban renewal district can incur, among other topics. The two urban renewal districts in Astoria have both completed this process.
Q. Who administers an urban renewal district?
A. An urban renewal agency administers the urban renewal plan, and this agency is established by a city council. In Astoria, as with many other municipalities, the city council serves as the board of the Astoria urban renewal agency, called the Astoria Development Commission (ADC).
Q. Does urban renewal increase property taxes?
No, urban renewal does not increase property taxes; it simply allows for the reallocation of growth on taxes to the urban renewal agency rather than the overlapping taxing districts. Taxpayers in Astoria see urban renewal as a line item on their tax statements whether or not they own property inside of an urban renewal district, a situation that can cause some confusion. This line item does not represent an extra charge, or result in a larger tax bill than would otherwise occur; instead, it represents a division of tax dollars, collected from all properties in an amount that equals the growth on taxes inside the urban renewal district. If urban renewal was terminated in Astoria, general property taxes would not decrease; they would just be reallocated to all taxing jurisdictions.
The following chart shows a sample $100,000 house in Astoria and the permanent tax rate for the different taxing jurisdictions. The "With Urban Renewal" column shows a sample property 2012 tax bill with urban renewal, for a total bill of $1,609.78. In this example, urban renewal receives an allocation of $121.71. The last column shows what would happen if urban renewal was terminated: the tax bill would be the same, $1,609. However, the allocations to the taxing jurisdictions are adjusted to reflect the total amount being divided differently. Those allocations would be made based on the actual permanent rate of the taxing jurisdiction.
||Permanent Tax Rate
||With Urban Renewal
||Without Urban Renewal
|Astoria School District
|City of Astoria
|Clatsop County 4H
|Clatsop County Care
|Clatsop Community College
|Port of Astoria
|Sunset Empire Transportation
|NW Regional ESD
|Q. Does urban renewal have a financial effect on the taxing jurisdictions?
A. Urban renewal will have a financial effect on local taxing jurisdictions, but the impact is different for schools than for other districts. An urban renewal district, as explained in later parts of this Q&A document, does not directly affect school districts. Other taxing districts may experience fiscal impacts that limit their total revenue capacity while the urban renewal district is in place. While the urban renewal district is active, a taxing jurisdiction’s revenue from that area will be frozen, and will not increase until revenue-sharing is triggered. So, while an urban renewal district is active, taxing jurisdictions will not receive as much money as they would otherwise have received. In essence, the taxing districts forego some revenue in exchange for a greater total property tax base and revenue capacity as a result of urban renewal investments. The goal of urban renewal is to spur development that would not have occurred but for urban renewal, so when the urban renewal district expires, taxing jurisdictions can expect to receive more tax revenues than they would have had the urban renewal district never existed at all.
In 2009, the Oregon legislature passed HB 3056, which enacted what is known as "revenue sharing". Revenue sharing requires urban renewal agencies to share increment when certain thresholds are met. The thresholds are tied to the area's "maximum indebtedness", or the limit on the amount of debt that the agency can incur in an area. The revenue sharing legislation means that successful urban renewal investments begin creating returns for overlapping taxing districts in advance of an urban renewal district’s expiration. This legislation would impact Astoria if either of the urban renewal districts increased their maximum indebtedness in the future.
Q. Will urban renewal have a financial impact on the School District?
A. Urban renewal will have a negligible impact on the Astoria School District because the money it gives up to the urban renewal district is replaced by the State School Fund. School funding is based on a per-pupil funding ratio from the State School Fund. Increased development resulting from investments of TIF within the urban renewal district will benefit Astoria schools through the construction excise tax on new development which the Astoria School Board and the Astoria City Council put in place in 2011.
Water & Sewer Utility Billing
Q. When is a late fee assessed?
A. A late fee is assessed if the payment is not received within 4 days after the due date; door hangers are sent out with another fee assessed one week after the late penalty. Finally, the meter will be turned off if the account remains unpaid one week after the door hangers are hung.
Q. When will I receive my water deposit back?
A. The deposit will be credited back to your account after one year of receiving no late penalties (maintaining account in good standing as defined by Section 1.03 of the Water Resolution) or will be applied to your final bill at the time of closing the account.
Q. How do I pay my water/sewer bill?
There are several ways to pay your water/sewer bill:
- You can mail it to the City of Astoria at 1095 Duane Street, Astoria, Oregon 97103
- You can pay it online by clicking clicking on the utility link in the lower left hand corner of the City's website at https://www.astoria.or.us. You can pay by check, debit card, VISA or Master Card credit card.
- You can have a direct payment set up by your bank (please allow 7-10 business days for payment delivery to the City).
- You can have an automatic online payment taken out of your checking account or from a credit card account (VISA, Master Card). Payment is taken on or about the 12th of the month payment is due.
- You can have an automatic payment taken out of your checking/savings account by/on the 8th of the month payment is due by completing an EZ Pay Program Form.
- You can drop off a check or money order (no cash please) in the drop box located outside City Hall on Duane Street.
- You can pay inside City Hall on the 3rd floor with cash, check, credit card or money order.
Q. How do I close out my account?
A. You can contact the Water/Sewer Department at (503) 338-5172 for assistance. Please note that you will be asked to provide identifying information to ensure you are the account holder. A forwarding address will be requested at that time.
Q. Can I change my payment date?
A. No. Billing and reading cycles are fixed and do not allow for us to change the due date of a bill. An exception to this would be if there was delay in processing the billings the due date would be adjusted.
Q. Can I have my renter pay the water/sewer bill?
A. Yes. However, it is important for the property owner to know that if a tenant does not pay their water/sewer bill, the bill and all associated fees will become the responsibility of the property owner.
Q. How do I read my meter?
A. Simply open the cover to the meter box and read the numbers on the dial. Note that the meter is read to the nearest 100 gallons.
Q. Can I view my bill online?
A. Yes. Simply go the the City's website at http://www.astoria.or.us/ and click on the link in the lower left hand corner and follow the simple steps for setting up an online account and you will be able to see your bill online. You can also pay your bill online by using the same process.
Q. What are the water/sewer office hours?
A. We are open from 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday excluding holidays. Account information can be accessed 24 hours a day by signing up at the City's website at http://www.astoria.or.us. Simply click on the utility link in the lower left hand corner and follow the simple steps for setting up and online account and you will be able to see your bill online.
Q. How do I check for a leak?
A. Turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and water operable appliances. Locate the water meter and remove lid from meter box and find the small triangle on the face of the meter and observe for about 5 minutes. If the meter dial gauge (red triangle of daisy wheel) is moving, there is possibly a leak.
Q. What if I received an unusually large bill?
A. There is a possibility of a leak, misread or defective meter. Your options are to perform a self-test for a leak (as described above) or to request that the city reread the meter. You need to notify the water/sewer department immediately so that if there is a leak it can be dealt with promptly.
Q. What information do I need to open an account?
A. If you are the property owner, you will need to fill out an application for service and provide proof of property ownership or authority to conduct business on behalf of the property owner. This can be a property tax statement, escrow closing papers or other documents showing transfer of title or legal authority to the applicant. If you are a renter, you will need to fill out an application for service and have the application signed by either the property owner or their designated agency and complete the application process.
Q. Do I need to open an account in person?
A. Yes. City policy and FTC requires that a reasonable effort is made to ensure the identity of the individual opening the account. The best way to accomplish this is to have you apply in person with photo ID.
Q. Can I designate someone else to handle my account?
A. Yes. This can be accomplished filling out a Property Owner Transfer of Water/Sewer Authority form (LINK). This is commonly used when the property is to be managed by a property management company or by an individual other then the person living in the home. It is important to note however, that the designated person will be the one who receives any notices from the City regarding past due bills or shut offs.
Q. What if I cannot pay my bill by the due date?
A. You must contact the City's water/sewer department at (503) 338-5172 to make payment arrangements. The bill must be paid in full before the next billing is generated. Tenants must receive written permission from the homeowner/landlord to extend the due date beyond the turn off date.
Q. What is the surcharge on my bill?
A. This charge is on all water/sewer accounts. These funds are collected to upgrade the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) system City-wide. It is a State and Federal mandate that the system be upgraded to resolve the issue of sewer overflow into the river. The City will need to continue to collect these fees for several more years as the project continues.
Q. Burning in the City of Astoria - When and what can I burn?
A. In the City of Astoria, you are only allowed to burn in a burn barrel with a permit from dawn to dusk. To burn in a burn barrel, you will need to have a quarter inch mesh screen on the top of the burn barrel. Yard debris, natural vegetation, untreated wood are some of the items you may burn in a barrel. Attend constantly when burning with a garden hose or extinguisher and a hand shovel. There is no open burning or burning of piles allowed within the City of Astoria. If you need a burn barrel permit, contact the Astoria Fire Department 503-325-2345, ext. 2521, Monday - Friday, 9am-4pm to schedule a time to get a permit. The cost for the first two years is $50, which requires an inspection from the fire department. A renewal permit fee is $35 for two years. For more information, please view our burn barrel diagram.
Q. How do I obtain a copy of a fire report?
A. To request a copy of a fire report you will need to click on the Public Records Request Form Public Record Request
to print out a copy of the form. Once you complete the form, you will need to scan the document and email the form to firstname.lastname@example.org
, fax (503-325-2346), or mail the form to: Astoria Fire Department, 555 30th Street, Astoria, Oregon 97103. There is a $10 fee for a fire report and the fee will need to be received before the report will be mailed.
Q. How do I get fingerprinted?
The Clatsop County Jail provides fingerprinting services. No appointment is necessary. The jail is located at 636 Duane Street in Astoria. For hours and a fee schedule, please contact the jail at 503-325-8641, or visit their website
Q. The police department impounded my vehicle. How do I get my vehicle back?
A. A person named on the registration must come to the police department Mondays through Fridays, excluding holidays, between 9 am and 4 pm. That person must have a valid driver’s license, proof of current insurance and pay a $100 administrative fee in cash or check. The owner will be given a receipt from the police department, which must be taken to the tow company. The owner is required to pay the towing and storage fee to the tow company and the vehicle will be released. This information is also provided in the paperwork that was given to the driver at the time the vehicle was impounded.
Q. How do I obtain a copy of a police report?
Requests for copies of police reports and other public records held by the police department must be submitted in writing to the police records unit. Simply complete the Records Request
form online, mail it or bring it to the police department for approval. The records unit is open Monday through Friday, excluding holidays from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Once the request is received, the record will be made available in a reasonable time or you will be told why it cannot be released. Normally, pending criminal case records and some juvenile records will not be released as a public record. You will be charged a fee for the record that must be paid prior to releasing the record. For more information contact the records unit at (503) 338-6433.
Q. How do I obtain a copy of a criminal history?
The Astoria Police Department cannot provide information about your criminal history or another person’s criminal history. A complete criminal history may be obtained through the Oregon State Police, #13 Portway Street. 503-325-5515. You can also visit the Public Records Unit on the State of Oregon website
Q. What is the difference between a restraining order and a stalking order and how do I obtain one?
A. A restraining order is issued by the State Circuit Court if you have been a victim of domestic abuse from an intimate partner, spouse, former spouse, parent of your minor child or relative related by blood. Applications for restraining orders can be obtained at the Clatsop County Courthouse, 749 Commercial Street, Astoria.
A criminal stalking order may be issued by a police officer if you are being followed, harassed, threatened or menaced repeatedly by an individual you can identify. Call 503-325-4411 for an officer to discuss criminal stalking orders. Civil stalking orders are issued by the Clatsop County Circuit Court for the same problems as a criminal stalking order. Visit the Clatsop County Court at 749 Commercial Street, Astoria, for information about civil stalking orders.
In most cases, restraining orders and stalking orders involve more complex matters. Additional information about both these legal processes can be obtained from the Women’s Resource Center, 503-325-3426.
Q. Do you offer a citizen ride along program?
Yes. The Astoria Police Department offers citizens the opportunity to observe police officers at work. Citizens requesting a ride along must complete an application to Ride Along
and return it to the police department. A background check will be completed and you will be contacted to arrange your ride along.
Q. What is the process for obtaining a Taxi drivers license?
A. Pick up a taxi drivers license application at the police department, complete the form and submit it along with a $50 cash non-refundable fee to the front office. A background check will be completed and upon approval, you will be notified to contact the Records Division to make an appointment for your taxi license to be printed.
Q. What do I do if I get a parking ticket?
A. Parking tickets may be paid at the Finance Department of City Hall, 1095 Duane Street, Astoria. 503-325-5821. If you wish to dispute a parking ticket you have received, you will need to contact Municipal at 503-325-3939 to arrange a court date to speak to the Judge.
Q. How do I get back property that was seized by the police?
A. During a police investigation, officers may find it necessary to seize certain property items in your possession. If your property was seized, you must wait for an adjudication or court order authorizing the release of your property before you may claim it at the police department. If you have questions regarding the release of your property, please call 503-338-6411 x13.
Q. What should I do if my property has been stolen?
A. If you are the victim of a burglary or other crime and your property was stolen, call 503-325-4411 to report the crime. If the items stolen include serial numbers, please provide that information to the officer and it will be entered into the Law Enforcement Data System, where all Law Enforcement Agencies can trace the serial number back to the owner if it is recovered in their jurisdiction. The Police Department will also put the stolen item in our "Hot Sheet" which is sent each month to businesses in the local area that deal in used goods.
It is important to record serial numbers and other identifying information for valuable property, since most of the retrieval systems require an identifying number. Making a record also simplifies getting stolen property back to the owner. For property that does not have a serial number, an engraver is available for loan at the Police Department.
Q. How does the Police Department's Lost & Found procedure work?
Lost property: If you have lost property within the city limits of Astoria, you may call 503-325-4411, the non-emergency police number, to report the loss of your property. A log entry will be made and a description of the lost property will be entered in the record. It is very helpful in the recovery of your property if you have retained a record of the serial number of the product. The Astoria Police Department sends a monthly Hot Sheet of stolen and lost property to local businesses that deal in second hand goods and your lost property is included.
If you have lost property and think we may have your property, call (503) 338-6411 x13 during business hours to describe your property in as much detail as possible.
Found Property: People frequently turn in property to the police department that they have found. If the owner does not claim the property within 90 days of being turned in, the department will send the property to GovDeals.com
for auction, with the proceeds being deposited in the City general fund.
If the value of the property is more than $250 and you want to keep it, Oregon law 98.005 requires that you give notice to the County Clerk within 10 days of the finding and advertise your finding in a local newspaper once a week for two weeks within 20 days. If no one claims the property within three months, you may keep it.
If you need more information, please contact the evidence custodian at 503-338-6411 x13 during business hours.
Q. Where is Astoria Public Works Located?
A. Public Works Operations (Shops), 550 30th St. Astoria, OR 97103, 503-325-3524 Public Works Administration & Engineering, City Hall, 1095 Duane St., Astoria, OR 97103 Administration: 503-338-5177 Engineering: 503-338-5173
Q. What are the hours of operation?
A. Public Works Operations (Shops): Monday through Friday 8:00 am – 4:30 pm.
Public Works Administration and Engineering, City Hall: Monday through Friday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Q. Who do you call before you dig?
A. If you plan to dig, contact the Oregon Utility Notification Center (OUNC) toll free at (800) 332-2344 or 811. This is an invaluable free service to prevent accidents related to buried utility lines and facilities. The OUNC notifies member utilities operating in the proposed excavation area to locate and mark their underground facilities.
Q. Why are there paint marks on my street?
A. These paint marks are indicators of underground utilities located by Oregon Utility Notification Center (OUNC). For more information, see the attached OUNC Standards Manual.
Q. How do I report a street light that is out/flickering?
Streetlights provide a valuable service to the community by supplying light for both motorists and pedestrians. The benefits of this important resource are best achieved when every streetlight is operating properly. Pacific Power, however, is unable to manually check each streetlight and thus it depends on the assistance of customers to help identify streetlights in need of repair. If you notice a streetlight outage, please contact Pacific Power at:
1. 1-877-508-5088; or
2. You may also report online at the Pacific Power website.
When reporting a streetlight outage, it is important to provide the following information:
2. Nearest cross street; and
3. Pole number (on pole)
Thanks to the assistance of citizens, Pacific Power will be able to find and repair streetlights in a timely manner, and in turn, making our community safer and brighter.
Q. Who do I call about Dead Animal Pick-up
A. City of Astoria crews will pick up dead animals within the City limits, as soon as possible, when they are found in a City right-of-way or on City property. Most dead animal calls received on Saturday or Sunday will be picked up when the regular shift begins on Monday. However, if the animal poses a traffic hazard, City crews will remove and dispose of the animal from the area.
During business hours, call the Public Works Operations Division at 503--325-3524; after business hours, call Dispatch at 503--325-4411.
For dead animals on state highways, please contact ODOT at 503-325-7222.
Q. Can I remove a tree in the right-of-way in front of my house? Do I need a permit?
A. Removal of trees located in the right-of-way must be approved by the City prior to removal. The Engineering Division coordinates the requests with a professional arborist to determine if the removal of the tree is the best action to take. This work does require a permit and must be performed by a contractor bonded to work in the City right-of-way. If a property owner is removing a tree on their private property, a permit is not required as long as the tree remains on private property during the course of its removal. For more information, contact the Engineering Division at 503-338-5173.
Q. How do I find my property lines? Who do I talk to about a property line dispute?
A. Approximate property lines can be found on the City GIS Maps section of our website. Additional information regarding property boundary may be available at the Clatsop County Surveyor’s office located at 1100 Olney Ave., Astoria, Oregon.
The only way to find out the exact location of property lines is to have a property survey done. Property line disputes between neighbors are a civil matter in which the City is not involved. Property owners need to contact a private attorney to resolve disputes.
Q. What is a street vacation? How do I get a street vacation?
A. A street vacation is when an unused or unneeded street, alley or other public right-of-way becomes private property. The adjoining property owners can file a petition with Public Works Administration to consider vacating a street. After reviewing the request, a recommendation is submitted to the City Council for approval. For more information, call Public Works Administration at 503-338-5173.
Q. What can I safely flush down my toilet?
A. Even if they're small; even if the package says "flushable," some everyday items can cause messy and expensive problems for your plumbing and our sewer treatment facilities.
Products that might seem safe to flush down the toilet, such as personal care wipes, dental floss and paper towels, don't dissolve quickly – or don't dissolve at all – in water. If a scrap of undissolved material gets caught on a nick, bend or bump within a pipe, it can trigger a growth of buildup that could cause a sewer backup in your home or neighborhood.
Sewer agencies, environmentalists and consumer advocates are working with manufacturers to correct product labeling. In the meantime, please make sure to dispose of personal care products, cleaning supplies and other household waste properly: in the trash can, in the recycling bin or at your local household hazardous waste disposal site.
Please see additional information in the following brochure prepared by the City: “Think Before You Flush”
Sewage backups onto private property can result when an interruption of the wastewater conveyance system occurs. Such overflows have the potential of creating a health hazard and causing significant damage to property and contents.
Upon notice of an overflow situation, the City of Astoria will immediately respond to the scene, evaluate the situation and take the necessary steps to eliminate the cause of the sewage overflow in the public wastewater collection facility.
The City is typically responsible for sewage backups in the public line unless the blockage is associated with a violation of the City’s sanitary sewer ordinance by a private party. Wastewater customers are responsible for backups in their private sewer line.
Wastewater maintenance crews inspect and TV all new sewer lines after they are constructed. The crews are also responsible for maintenance and repair of the sewer lines and manholes. A major component of maintenance of the sewer lines is cleaning.
Q. Who is responsible for repair of the sewer line?
A. Property owners are responsible for their side sewer (the sewer that runs from the street or alley to the house), while the City is responsible for the main line sewer that runs down the center of the street or alley. A permit is required in order to do work on a side sewer. Property owners can perform their own work on any part of the sewer line that is on their property, but the portion located in the City right-of-way must be repaired by a contractor who is bonded to work in the right-of-way. For more information on repairing a side sewer or to obtain a permit to work on one, contact the Engineering Dept. at 503-338-5173.
Q. What should I do if sewer backs up on or at my property?
If there is significant volume or continuous flow of sewage, contact the City of Astoria’s Operations Division at 503- 325-3524 (regular business hours), or Dispatch 503- 325-4411 (evenings, holidays or weekends). Typically, if only a small volume of flow occurs or the source is from an upper level of the structure the problem is probably a private plumbing issue. You should contact a licensed plumbing professional for assistance.
Upon notification of sewage backup, the City of Astoria will take the following actions:
- Immediately respond to the scene and investigate the situation.
- Provide information to the affected customer on the responsibility for removal of blockage and/or repair of the pipe.
Q. When will the City respond to my call?
A. City personnel are on call 24 hours a day. They will respond as soon as possible to the scene and evaluate the situation. Appropriate steps will be taken to mitigate the sewage blockage/overflow of the Public Wastewater System. The property owner will be notified if the cause of the blockage or overflow is located on a private line.
Q. What is a private sewer lateral?
A. A private sewer lateral is the section of underground pipe that connects the sewage system in a house or building (the wastewater plumbing) to the City owned and maintained sanitary sewer collection system (sewer system) in streets, alleys, or easements. As the name implies, the private sewer lateral is a pipe that is owned and maintained by the private property owner. The private sewer lateral is the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain and repair, just as the roof on a house is the homeowner's responsibility to maintain and repair.
Q. What causes sewage backups?
Interruption of the wastewater conveyance system or overflow can be caused by many things, including the following:
- Damage to public sanitary sewer lines by private parties or their contractors.
- Damage to a public sanitary sewer line by public entities or their contractors.
- Power or mechanical failures at public sewage pump or lift station.
- Blockages of a public sanitary sewer line due to debris (rocks, sticks, lumber, toys, roots, etc.).
- Settlement or movement of earth below a public sanitary sewer line that causes the line to collapse or separate.
- Inflow and Infiltration (I&I) caused by significant rainfall events resulting in flows greater than the capacity of the public sanitary sewer line.
- Damage to the privately owned segment of the wastewater conveyance system by any of the above causes.
Q. What can I do to avoid sewage backups?
A. Install a backwater valve on the private building sewer to prevent the back flow of sewage from the public line. Maintain and inspect the backwater valve as recommended by manufacturer.
Maintain insurance coverage to cover damage caused by sewage back flow incidents.
Q. Who do I contact for street issues? How do I report a pothole?
A. Some streets within Astoria are maintained by the City of Astoria, some streets are maintained by ODOT and some are privately maintained. You may contact the Public Works Engineering Division if you are unsure.
Public Works Engineering Division: 503- 338-5173
Astoria ODOT: 503- 325-7222
Q. How does the City of Astoria choose which roads to pave?
A. Public Works will look for certain conditions on the road surface before deciding what to do and when to do it. Loss of aggregate, certain types of cracking and other signs of stress are good indicators of what’s going on beneath the pavement, as well as the surface condition. We use computer software (Pavement Management System) that considers each road’s condition, prior maintenance history, and traffic loads to help us evaluate the most cost-effective treatment.
Additional considerations are available funding and other projects in the area that might impact the road. We typically have a larger paving project every two years but do smaller repairs each year as needed. Staff prepares a list of streets to pave and City Council approves the list prior to construction.
Street overlays are necessary to rehabilitate the street surface and are generally used on arterial and collector streets to extend the design life an additional 12 - 15 years. Street projects are prioritized by the Engineering Division and coordinated with local utility companies.
Q. Why do the road crews always have to do their work during the busiest part of the day?
A. Crews often schedule their work so that they miss the morning rush hour commute and the evening commute home, and attempt to do their work between those times. However, some utilities such as water, telephone or gas services must be repaired as soon as possible to provide immediate services to the public. Therefore, those unplanned repairs take place immediately.
Q. Do I need a permit to work in the right-of-way?
A. Yes. Depending on what you want to do, you will probably need to obtain a Right of Way Permit or a Utility Permit. Examples of work that typically require a permit are adding a driveway, repairing a water line or any other utility connections or repair. You may also need a permit if you are doing work that blocks the road or limits access to adjacent properties. Check with us before you start work.
Questions? Call the Public Works Engineering Division at 503- 338-5173.
Q. Who is responsible for repairing my sidewalk?
A. Sidewalk repairs are completed by street maintenance employees on City-owned sidewalks to prevent tripping hazards. Property owners are responsible for the maintenance and repairs of adjacent sidewalks and curbs. A permit is required. There are very few sidewalks that are owned by the City. The vast majority are owned and maintained by the adjacent property owners. For permit application information, contact the Public Works Engineering Division at 503- 338-5173.
Q. Who maintains traffic signals?
A. The maintenance of traffic signals on the State Highways are the responsibility of the Oregon Department of Transportation's (ODOT) which can be reached at 503-325-7222.
Q. Who installs traffic signs?
A. Signs are installed and maintained by the City and State depending on their location. If they are on a City street, contact Public Works Operations at 503- 325-3524 for repairs and replacements of street signs. If they are on a State Highway, contact ODOT’s Astoria Office at 503- 325-7222.
Q. How can I tell if my house is hooked up to the storm drain?
A. The City will investigate the storm drain systems and can dye test if necessary. You may also be able to determine if your house is connected. If you have curbs with holes in them at the street level, dump water into your gutters on a dry day, then watch in the street for the water to flow out onto the curb/street. However, if your house is lower than the street you will probably need to ask us for assistance.
Q. Where does all this water go?
A. After flowing through drainage swales and storm pipes, this water ends up in the Columbia River or Young’s Bay and then out to the Pacific Ocean. There are new manhole covers labeling the designation of storm water with the cover stating “ASTORIA STORM WATER”.
Q. Who is responsible for cleaning the catch basins in the street in front of my home/office?
A. The City cleans catch basins on an as-needed basis. If a catch basin is full or is not draining after a rain event, it may have been covered with leaves or road debris that needs to be removed from the grate. If, as a customer, you can rake the material off the catch basin into the street it would be greatly appreciated. If the catch basin is not blocked and is not draining, please call the Public Works Operations Division at 503- 325-3524 and we will have a crew respond as soon as possible.
Q. What else should I know about catch basins?
Here are some key tips to keep in mind:
- Keep leaves and grass clippings out of streets, gutters, storm drains, ditches, ponds and creeks.
- Remove leaf accumulation from catch inlets to avoid local flooding.
- Report flooding to the Public Works Operations Division at 503- 325-3524.
- Do not dispose of yard waste/debris into water quality facilities, detention ponds, swales (low lying or depressed wet stretches of land), streets, or anything conveying water.
Q. How can I tell if I have any water leaks?
Undetected leaks can be costly. If you think you may have a water leak, your water meter is your best detective to help you find it:
- Turn off all faucets and water-using appliances, such as the dish and clothes washers.
- Locate your water meter and lift the cover for the meter dial.
- Note the position of the sweep hand, or use a marker on the lens cover.
- Wait 20-30 minutes and check the sweep hand location again. If the sweep hand has moved, you probably have a leak somewhere in your system.
- Most meters have a red "telltale" indicator. If you see it moving when all water is off, you probably have a leak.
Q. How do I look for leaks?
Here are a few ways to see if you have a leak:
- Drop a little food coloring into the tank. Wait about 10 minutes without flushing. If color appears in the bowl, you have a leak.
- Check for moist spots around and under the house plumbing and around outdoor plumbing.
- Replace worn washers in faucets and shower heads. A little drip wastes many gallons each day.
- Drips not only drive you nuts, but will never go away unless you fix it. Even a small drip can waste as much as 170 gallons of water each day, or 5,000 gallons per month.
- A licensed plumbing professional may be needed for more complicated leaks.
If you suspect a leak between your water main and your house, call Public Works Operations at 503- 325-3524.
Q. How do I locate my water meter and is it accessible?
A. Your water meter should be located in front of your house, inside a concrete or plastic meter box that is set flush to the ground.
Look for the meter behind the sidewalk at a side lot line near the street. If your home is on a corner lot, it could be either on the front or side street.
Sometimes, meter boxes are not easily visible due to landscaping and other obstructions. The City needs unrestricted access to the meter for reading, maintenance and customer service. Clear and unobstructed access to the water meter and the shut off valves may also be a benefit to you in the event of a plumbing emergency when you may need to shut off the water in a hurry to prevent damages.
If you need help finding your water meter, call the Public Works Operations Division at 503- 325-3524.
Q. How do I read my water meter?
A. Reading your meter is like reading the odometer of a car: Read the numbers from left to right that appear under the words "Gallons" The first digit on the right represents one gallon. The second from the right represents 10 gallons. The third from the right (usually a different color) represents 100 gallons. One revolution of the meter sweep-hand (the arm that goes around in a circle) equals one gallon.
Q. How do I shut off my water?
Know where your water shut off valve is located before you have an emergency. There should be a valve near the house. Look in the following places:
- In the crawl space or basement, where the water line enters the home.
- In the garage where the water line enters the wall or ceiling, near the water heater or laundry hookup.
- Outside near the foundation, often protected by a concrete ring or clay pipe.
- Your water meter is located in a concrete box in the ground, generally in front of your house and near the side property line. It’s important to keep the box free of plants and roots that can obstruct or hide the meter or damage the service line.
- You might want to have a shutoff valve installed if you can’t locate one.
If you have an emergency and need help shutting off your water at the meter or locating your water meter, please call the Public Works Operations Division at 503- 325-3524.