About Us

We support City livability goals by helping to finance infrastructure improvements, and supporting the regulatory efforts of other city bureaus. We use Charter-granted authority to assess property for local improvements, system development charges, and code violations.
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Lien Foreclosure Program

The City of Portland has not foreclosed on a property with a delinquent City lien in over 30 years. City Council amended City Code Chapter 5.30, which approved new collection and foreclosure practices that include the use of foreclosure as a last resort to collect money owed to the City. The new Ordinance went into effect on March 7, 2003.

The Auditor’s Office has developed policies and procedures for the Foreclosure process. Over $6.3 million in delinquent lien payments are due to the City, mostly for code enforcement activities of the Bureau of Development Services.

Program Objectives:

  • Improve Collection Practices
  • Decrease Delinquency Rate
  • Increase revenues from uncollected liens

Program Features:

  • Increase pressure/opportunity for delinquent property owners to find a solution to their delinquency
  • Case review to assist Council understand property owner’s situation
  • Committee to evaluate and determine appropriate collection amount and schedule
  • Opportunity to appeal amount to Hearings Officer
  • Opportunity/time to resolve situation prior to foreclosure action

Program Implementation – 3 Phases:

  • Phase I – (Commercial Property and Vacant Lots)
  • Phase II – (Rental Single Family Dwelling and Duplexes)
  • Phase III – (Owner-occupied Single Family Dwelling)

We maintain the docket of City Liens, which is a public record of all liens assessed by the City. We provide long-term, low-interest financing for improvement assessments, and collect current and delinquent revenues owed to the City. For more information please contact the Auditor’s Office, Foreclosure Manager at (503) 823-2037 or Fax (503) 823-4571.

Facts About Liens

A lien represents the cost of an improvement, system development charge, fine or other assessment against your property. If the lien is not paid when assessed, it remains recorded against your property. When the lien is paid it is said that the lien is "satisfied." If you don't pay the assessed amount the City may ultimately foreclose on your property. A City lien usually has first position over all other liens. The City cannot subordinate its lien's first-priority position.

Open and Bonded Liens

Open liens have the whole amount due and payable 30 days after assessment. Bonded or contracted liens are paid in installments. While waiting for a bond sale, the lien carries a temporary interest rate called an annual interim interest rate. The current interim interest rate is 5.20%. This is much lower than open liens, which have a fixed 12% annual interest rate.

Delinquent Liens

Please telephone the Revenue Division if you are behind in paying installment payments or if you have a delinquent open lien. Their phone number is 503-823-4090. Every effort will be made to help you set up an affordable payment plan.

About Installment Payment Contracts

You may finance most improvements by signing an Installment Payment Contract. System Development Charge installment contracts are arranged at the Bureau that has the charge. Other installment contracts are obtained from the Revenue Division. When completing an installment contract, you should read the terms, check the contract for accuracy, select the desired payment option, sign the installment contract and then return it to us. All property owners of record must sign the contract. There is a financing charge for the installment contract of $40 plus .0049% of the principal amount. Call 503-823-4090 for more information.

You indicate with the payment option how you wish to pay your installments. You may select from monthly payments for five or ten years. Sewer and Water system development charges and Local Improvement District (LID) installment contracts also have monthly or semiannual payments over 20-years. The amount of the contract must be over $2,500 for the 20-year option. Select the option carefully, because the longer a person pays on the lien, while you will have lower monthly payments, the more you will pay in interest. For example: the total interest paid at 5.20% on $1,000 over five years would be approximately $138. However, the same rate applied over 20 years would be approximately $611.


The City finances installment contracts by selling bonds. The City of Portland currently has an excellent bond rating of Aa2, which means lower interest costs. These Limited Tax Improvement Bonds are sold in a municipal Bond sale once or twice a year. Once bonds are sold there will be a one time change to a new permanent interest rate. The new rate is based on the actual municipal bond interest rate set when bonds are sold. Usually the five-year payment option has a lower interest rate than the ten-year option and the ten-year option lower than the 20-year options.

Eight Types of Liens

1. Local Improvement Districts, and Sidewalk Repair

Type: Open lien – bondable

Payment: Paid in full 30 days from the assessment date or you may contract to pay over time.

Interest rate: Fixed rate of 12% per year for open liens. Bonded interim rate of 5.20% per year.

Interest free period: Yes, first 30 days interest free for full payment of initial assessment.

Installment contract: Yes, an installment contract is enclosed with the assessment notice. Sign, check the payment option, and return the installment contract to us by the due date. The interim interest of 5.20% will start. Please note that installment contracts are date sensitive and must be returned before the due date printed on the contract.

Senior Deferral: This option is no longer available. See Senior Deferral

Penalties for delinquency: Yes,

1) The delinquent open lien has a penalty of 1/4 of 1% on the principal amount if not paid after 60 days.

2) The bonded lien, after 30 days, will accrue late interest against the unpaid-billed principal. After 60 days, a penalty of 5% will accrue on the past due installment.

2. Nuisance Abatement, Code Hearings, and Demolition

Type: Open lien – Non-Bondable

Payment: Paid in full 30 days from the assessment date

Interest rate: Fixed rate of 12% per year

Interest free period: Yes, first 30 days interest free for full payments made after assessment.

Installment contract: No, Special Payment Plans may be arranged with a Customer Accounts Specialist, 503-823-4090. These Special Payment Plans prevent late penalties. Failing to make payments on Special Payment Plans may cause them to be canceled.

Penalties for delinquency: Yes, 60 days from the assessment date penalties of 1/4 of 1% will be charged against the principal amount.

3. Code Enforcement Fees

Type: Open Revolving lien - this is assessed a charge each month until the code violation is repaired.

Payment: The charge is to be paid in full each month.

Interest rate: Fixed rate of 12 % per year, charged on outstanding principal balance.

Interest free period: Yes, only if charges are paid in full by the due date each month.

Installment contract: No. However, when the code violation is corrected and passes inspection, a special payment plan may be arranged to pay any unpaid balance. Failing to make payments on Special Payment Plans may cause them to be canceled and the billing of penalties.

Penalties for delinquency: Yes, 60 days from the assessment date penalties of 1/4 of 1% will be charged against the principal amount.

Inspections: When the code violation has been corrected and inspected, the account will bill one more Code Enforcement Fee except in the following cases: Accounts that have payment due on the 18th of the month must have the inspection take place by the 1st Wednesday of the month. Accounts that have payment due on the 1st of the month must have the inspection take place by the 20th of the preceding month.

4. System Development Charges

Type: Bondable. 

Payment: Due approximately 20 days from the billing date of each installment.

Interest rate: 5.20% interim interest rate. A permanent interest rate will be set when bonds are sold and are based on the bond market rate at the time of sale.

Interest free period: None. Interest begins at time of assessment.

Installment contract: Yes, an installment contract may be entered into to pay for System Development Charges a (SDCs) when you obtain a building or connection permit. The Installment Contract has a finance fee of $40 plus .0049% of the SDC. The property owner has a selection of payment options as follows:

  • Monthly payments over 5 years and 10 years.
  • Monthly and semiannual payments over 20 years (must have SDC of more than $2,500 to qualify for this option)

Senior Deferral: This option is no longer available. See Senior Deferral

Penalties for delinquency: Yes, after 60 days a penalty of 5% will accrue on the past due installment.

5. Six, Nine, and Twelve Month Deferral of System Development Charges (Effective 7/1/2010)

Type: Open, Non Bondable. Deferral term is dependant on total construction permit amount.

Payment: $50 nonrefundable fee. Payment in full is due 180, 270 or 360 days from issuance of a building permit.

Interest rate: Interest during the deferral period is set at the City's interim financing rate. The current interim rate is 5.20%. Full payment of the deferred amount and accrued interest is due on or before the end of the deferral period.

Installment contract: No. Property owner forfeits entering into a bondable installment contract upon signing a deferral contract.

Penalties for delinquency: From the date of assessment, 5.20% fixed annual interest will accrue against the principal amount. If payment is not received by the end of the deferral period, interest will be changed to the City's delinquent lien rate currently set at 12%. In addition, monthly penalties of 1/4 of 1% of the principal amount will be added for each delinquent billing.

6. Sewer Safety Net

Type: Open, Non-bondable - Residential property owners with a financial hardship, and who qualify, may receive a five year or longer "Safety Net Deferral" of payment of their sewer SDC charges. The property must be located within the city limits, and the property must be owner occupied.

Payment: Deferred until the property changes ownership or the property owner no longer qualifies. If deferral has ended, the original applicant may repay the balance over time up to 20 years depending on the balance owed. If property is transferred or the original applicant does not reside at the residence, the total amount is due in full.

Interest rate: 5% fixed annual interest is charged against the principal amount. The interest is paid at the time the principal amount is paid. Payment of the interest and principal may be contracted for monthly payments. The interest rate for monthly payments continues at 5%.

7. Sewer SDC Large Lot Deferral

Type: Open – during the Mid County Sewer Program financial assistance was given to property owners. Property owners could defer payment on a portion of their sewer charges for property with large lots. This assistance is no longer offered; however, some property owners still have these deferred charges against their property.

Payment: In full when property changes ownership, or the property owner who initiated the large lot deferral chooses to pay. A new owner may not assume the large lot deferral.

Interest rate: 5% fixed annual interest is charged against the principal amount while deferred. The accrued interest is payable when the principal amount is paid.

8. Private Plumbing Loan Program

Type: Lien, non-Bondable: property owners who are required to connect to an available sewer may apply for a loan to connect their property to the sewer. When the loan is approved, they may hire the agreed upon plumber to do the plumbing. The contract is submitted to the the Bureau of Environmental Services and the plumber is paid. The cost for processing the loan is $90.

Payment: monthly payments for 5 years, or monthly payments for 10 years for loans in excess of $2,500.

Interest rate: Currently 6.10% fixed annual interest.

Installment contracts: This installment contract may not be converted to a bondable contract.
Penalties for delinquency: After 60 days, 5% is charged against the unpaid-billed installment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did the Revenue Division send me an Assessment Notice?

We assessed your property and sent you an assessment notice at the request of another City Bureau. Various Bureaus request us to bill property owners for improvements, charges, and fees. To find out about the reason for the assessment, you may telephone the Bureau. The Bureau will need a case, invoice, or account number to identify your case. This is found on the Notice that was sent to you. Our office can help you with questions about financing and making payment arrangements. To contact the other Bureaus, see "Other Telephone Numbers" and "Links" at this web site.

How can I find out about violations against a property?

The Bureau that has information about violations against property within Portland’s City limits is the Bureau of Development Services (BDS). For Housing, Code Compliance, Nuisance or Demolition, telephone 503-823-2633.

How can I find out if there are liens against a property?

You can find out about liens on a property by telephoning a Customer Accounts Specialist in the Revenue Division at 503-823-4090.

Must liens be paid off when property is sold?

Liens are against property not property owners, and the lien goes with the property at sale. The new owner becomes responsible for payment. However, mortgage companies usually require that the liens are paid from proceeds of the sale. If ownership changes without payment of the lien, the new owner assumes the lien. In most cases the new owner may assume the payment arrangement of the former owner. In a few cases the full amount of the lien is due. Please telephone a Customer Accounts Specialist in the Revenue Division to find out aboutpaid offn in question at 503-823-4090.

Does a title company report show everything against a property?

Title reports show liens against property, but may or may not show potential liens. Potential or pending liens are actions that the City may take in the future, i.e., sidewalk repair, nuisance abatement, potential LID, Private Plumbing Loan, SDC, and etc. The initiating Bureau can be asked about these. When selling property, the owner should disclose this information, but may not always do so.

A City lien is in the way of my getting financing. Will the City let the financial institution’s lien take priority over the City’s lien?

The City’s liens are first priority liens by Oregon Law. We cannot, nor are we allowed to subordinate our liens to any other liens. Please refer to Oregon Revised Statutes 223.230 (3). See ORS 223 under links on this web page.

How do I get another Installment Contract?

For another system development charge contract, telephone the Bureau that you owe the charge to. They can send you a new contract. However, contact us for LID and Sidewalk Repair installment contracts. Telephone 503-823-4090.

We mail installment contracts with LID and Sidewalk Repair Assessment Notices. The contract expires after 30 days. This is the "due date" on the contract. After this date, please telephone the number above for a new contract.

I owe too much money in overdue payments. What can I do?

We can work out a payment arrangement that will allow you to become current on past due payments over a period of time. We will talk over with you the amount of payment and length of time needed to pay off the debt. A "Special Payment Plan" will be sent to you. Regular payments on the plan are needed to keep it in force.

Tax Information

The Multnomah County Tax Assessor administers property taxes. The City Auditor does not collect assessments through your property taxes. Nor do we collect property taxes. Questions regarding taxes should be directed to one of the following agencies.

Multnomah County Division of Assessment & Taxation
Information: 503-988-3326

State of Oregon, Department of Revenue
Taxpayer Questions: 503-378-4988 or
Within Oregon: 1-800-356-4222

Internal Revenue Service
Federal Tax Information: 1-800-829-1040

Links and Other Telephone Numbers

City Charter and City Code

City Information:503-823-4000

Bureau of Environmental Services
Developmental Assistance: 503-823-7740
Mandatory Sewer Connection Program: 503-823-4114

Oregon Revised Statutes

Bureau of Development Services

Housing Code Violation Information: 503-823-2633
Code Compliance: 503-823-2633
Nuisance Abatement, Demolition: 503-823-2633
Permits: 503-823-7363

Office of Transportation
Parking Enforcement Division: 503-823-7309 (Abandoned Autos)
System Development Charges: 503-823-5416
Sidewalk Repair Section: 503-823-1711

Portland Water Bureau

System Development Charges: 503-823-7368

Parks & Recreation
System Development Charge: 503-823-510

Portland Development Commission: 503-823-3400

City of Portland Utilities Customer Services: 503-823-7770