Inverse Condemnation Under Oregon Law: The Basics

This post explores some of the basic concepts of “inverse condemnation” under Oregon law.

What is “inverse condemnation”?

Inverse condemnation occurs when the government takes property interests without invoking its eminent domain power and paying the owners or holders of such interests just compensation.  Examples of inverse condemnation include, but are not limited to, when:

  • The government or the “natural consequences of its actions” physically occupy or invade property, such as in the case of water diverted by the government flooding property.
  • Governmental activity substantially interferes with the use and enjoyment of property, such as in the case of noise or vibrations caused by low-flying aircraft.
  • Governmental regulations deprive property of all economically beneficial use.
  • The government conditions approval of a land use application on the property owner “agreeing” to dedicate certain property or property interests to the government.
  • The government fails to identify and compensate holders of all affected property interests when the government affirmatively condemns property using its eminent domain power, such as in the case of deed restrictions.

Who brings a claim for inverse condemnation?

The affected property owner or interest holder brings the claim against the government.

What is the statute of limitations for an inverse condemnation claim?

The statue of limitations—the deadline for filing a lawsuit—for an inverse condemnation claim is six (6) years from the date of the taking.  ORS 12.080(3).  It should be noted, however, that inverse condemnation claims can be brought in conjunction with other claims which may carry shorter statutes of limitations.  Failure to file a lawsuit in a timely manner may forever bar you from bringing a claim.

Am I entitled to fees and costs if I prevail on an inverse condemnation claim?

Yes, a property owner or interest holder who prevails on an inverse condemnation claim is entitled to court-determined attorney fees and costs.  ORS 20.085.

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