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SWCD services

New district directors

New district directors (elected and appointed)
Article XV, Section 3 of the Oregon Constitution provides that “[E]very person elected or appointed to any office under this Constitution shall, before entering on the duties thereof, take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States, and of this State, and also an oath of office.”
  • All appointed directors are to take the Oath of Office when appointed to the position by the board.
  • All newly elected directors need to take the Oath of Office at the first SWCD meeting they attend following January 1, 2011.

1. Two copies of the Oath of Office are to be signed by:

  • The elected or appointed director, and
  • The SWCD board chair, a notary public, or other authorized official such as a county commissioner who is present at the swearing in of the director.
2. One copy of the Oath of Office is retained for your records.

3. One copy of the Oath of Office is to be mailed to:

Heather Rickenbach
Oregon Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Program
635 Capitol St. NE
Salem, OR 97301

4. The newly elected or appointed director is to be sworn-in at a district board meeting. A director cannot assume the duties of the board position until the oath of office is signed and the director is sworn-in.

Note: For consistency, each SWCD should designate and authorize a person(s) to be the authorized signatory for the Oaths of Office. There is no requirement that the signatory be a notary public. The district board chair, or other official, can be designated to sign the oath.

Oath of Office form (25K doc)

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Director elections

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) Natural Resources Program is the elections filing officer for the Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) director elections. Elections for SWCD directors occur every two years. The next General Election is scheduled for November 2014.

ODA’s Natural Resources Program oversees the conservation district elections process. Candidates and districts must follow specific guidelines to advertise the elections and to have candidates’ applications processed and placed on the ballot. ODA notifies the districts and county clerks which positions are to be on the ballot for election, the procedures to follow, and deadlines needing to be met.

Candidates and districts are responsible to submit the appropriate paperwork to the local county clerk and to ODA.

Information and forms for SWCDs
SWCD instructions and information for director elections (PDF)
Sample legal notice (15K doc)
Quick Reference - Public Employee Campaign Restrictions​ (PDF)
Public Employee Campaign Restrictions​ (PDF)

Information and filing forms for candidates
Candidate packet for SWCD director elections (PDF)
Candidate "Quick Guide" on Campaign Finance Reporting in Oregon (PDF)

Other related links
Oregon Secretary of State (SOS) Elections Division
Follow the money in ORESTAR

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Director training resources

The following fact sheets where produced by the ODA SWCD Program for the Director Training in 2013:

Director Powers and Authorities (123K pdf)
District as Employer (119K pdf)
Effective Board Meetings (102K pdf)
Ethics for Public Officials (113K pdf)
Financial Management (114K pdf)
Public Meeting Law (114 K pdf)
Public Records Law (113K pdf)

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Insurance and risk management

As of July 1, 2013, the new tort liability insurance coverage for SWCDs took effect. All SWCD directors, associate directors, employees, and volunteers are provided tort liability coverage under the Oregon Self-Insurance Program. The Oregon Department of Agriculture pays the required premium to the Oregon Department of Administrative Services Risk Management for this coverage.

The following documents describe the Local Government Self-Insurance coverage and exclusions:

2013-2015 Participation agreement
(64K pdf)
2013-2015 District insurance certificate (44K pdf)
Local government self-insurance (423K pdf)
Uninsured motorist endorsement #1 (40K pdf)
Personal injury protection endorsement #2 (61K pdf)

District directors and staff should review and become familiar with these documents, and the provisions and exclusions associated with this coverage. The information will be helpful when determining what additional insurance is needed or desired at the district.
Risk managements concepts for SWCDs

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Operations reviews

Building strong districts through good business practices, risk management and partner collaboration.

The Soil and Water Conservation Commission (SWCC) has encouraged ODA to increase the level of technical assistance and risk management consultation to Oregon’s 45 Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs). In a collaborative effort that includes the Oregon Association of Conservation Districts (OACD) and the Oregon Conservation Employees Association Network (OCEAN), ODA began implementing the process of annual SWCD operational reviews in 2006. This review process will build on previous trainings and support the concepts in the Oregon Soil and Water Conservation District Guidebook.

The objective of this process is to minimize risk and potential liability to directors, employees, boards and ODA while helping districts improve accountability and comply with laws and rules. Operational reviews will provide training, mentoring and consultation to expand district capacity and improve operations. The process will also identify future training needs, provide tools for improved performance, and recognize exceptional district accomplishments. The findings will guide future program enhancement recommendations.

Throughout the review cycle, ODA is committed to providing necessary follow-up with districts, making applicable tools and templates more readily available, and sharing successful district models.

Among the tools available online to help districts prepare are self-assessment worksheets. The elements selected as initial focal points for this annual process are:

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Registered Office / Agent

Registered office and registered agent

ORS 198.340 requires conservation districts to designate a registered office and a registered agent:

ORS 198.340 Designation of registered office and agent
(1) A special district shall designate a registered office and a registered agent. The registered agent shall be an agent of the district upon whom any process, notice or demand required or permitted by law to be served upon the district may be served. A registered agent shall be an individual resident of this state whose address is identical with the registered office of the district. The registered office may be, but need not be, the same as the place of business of the special district.
(2) The district may change its registered office or change its registered agent, or both, upon filing in the office of the Secretary of State and county clerk of each county in which located a statement setting forth:
a) The name of the district.

b) If the address of its registered office is changed, the address to which the registered office is to be changed.

c) If its registered agent is changed, the name of its successor registered agent.

d) That the address of its registered office and the address of the business office of its registered agent, as changed, will be identical.

e) That such change was authorized by resolution duly adopted by the district board.
(3) The statement shall be subscribed and sworn to by the secretary, financial officer or chairperson of the district board.
A copy of the registered office and agent information should be filed with the Secretary of State, county clerk, and to ODA, Natural Resources Program.

Oregon Secretary of State
Archives Division
800 Summer St.
Salem, OR 97310
Oregon Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Program
635 Capitol St. NE
Salem, OR 97301

Registered Office and Registered Agent form (11K pdf)
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SWCD taxing authority

Oregon Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) have statutory authority to levy taxes with approval of local voters. As of January 2013, 12 SWCDs in Oregon have received voter approval to assess local property taxes in the form of permanent tax rates. SWCDs with permanent tax rates established under Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) 568.806-568.808, may levy taxes annually up to their established limits, provided the SWCD develops, adopts and approves their budget according to Oregon Local Budget Law requirements. SWCDs may also seek voter approval to assess property tax under ORS 568.803 for repayment of principal and interest of General Obligation Bonds (for capital construction).

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) provides information to SWCDs regarding steps, planning considerations, and legal requirements relating to local tax measure elections. Information is also available through the Oregon Department of Revenue, Special Districts Association of Oregon, and the Oregon Secretary of State office.

Information and tools:

Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS):

568.803 General Obligation Bonds (32K pdf)
568.805 Special Assessments (32K pdf)
568.806 Ad Valorem Tax (36K pdf)
568.807 Electors Authorizing Taxation (36K pdf)
568.808 Filing Legal Description/Map (36K pdf)

SWCD ballot measures (SEL803 forms) submitted to county clerks:
Benton SWCD (68K pdf)
Polk SWCD (68K pdf)
Clackamas County SWCD (68K pdf) Sherman County SWCD (68K pdf)
East Multnomah SWCD (68K pdf) Wasco County SWCD (64K pdf)
Jackson SWCD (68K pdf) West Multnomah SWCD (68K pdf)
Marion SWCD (68K pdf)
Yamhill SWCD (68K pdf)


Tax Election Ballot Measures for SWCDs from the Oregon Department of Revenue (267K doc)
Tax Election Ballot Measures from the Oregon Department of Revenue (196K pdf)
Permanent Tax Rate Limits - Considerations for Measure Elections from the 2007 Oregon Association of Conservation Districts Annual Meeting (64K ppt)
Guide for Public Officials from the Oregon Government Ethics Commission (204K doc)
OACD 2012 Tax Authority Session Notes from the Oregon Department of Agriculture (74K pdf)

Additional links:
Oregon Department of Revenue (ODR)
ODR Local Budget Law
ODR Publications
Special Districts Association of Oregon (SDAO)
Oregon Secretary of State
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