Property tax relief bill for victims of wildfire clears Senate 

From Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod and Rep. Jami Cate

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon Senate passed legislation Tuesday that would allow counties to give property tax relief to families whose homes, businesses, and/or properties were damaged or destroyed by wildfire.

“My community needs additional help to rebuild after last year’s fires,” said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod (R-Lyons), chief sponsor of the legislation. “This bill has been one of my main priorities this session. It’s going to go a long way in helping my district rebuild.”

The Beachie Creek and Lionshead Wildfires swept through the Santiam Canyon over Labor Day 2020 causing unprecedented damage throughout the communities. Losses in the Santiam Canyon are significant which includes more than 700 homes, 85 businesses, and city infrastructure.

“Many did not have the insurance coverage to completely rebuild their homes and businesses,” said Representative Jami Cate (R-Lebanon), also a sponsor of the bill. “Making them pay tax on property that was rendered useless is an additional burden on those already struggling to recover. This bill is just another tool for counties to help their residents get back on their feet.”

Senate Bill 464 would apply to tax year 2020-2021 and include counties in the Governor’s 2020 emergency wildfire declarations.

SB 464 passed the Senate on a 28-1 vote and will now go to the House for consideration.