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About the Common School Fund

The act of Congress admitting Oregon to the Union in 1859 granted nearly 3.4 million acres of the new state’s land "for the use of schools." The State Land Board was established to oversee these “school lands” and has been the trustee of the Common School Fund for more than 150 years.

School lands and their mineral resources, submerged and submersible lands underlying the state´s tidal and navigable waterways, unclaimed property held in trust, and the proceeds from escheated estates all contribute to the corpus of the fund.

The State Treasurer and the Oregon Investment Council invest the Common School Fund. In recent years, fund values have ranged from $600 million to nearly $1.5 billion, depending on market conditions.

In 2009, the State Land Board adopted a distribution policy that distributes 4 percent of the average balance of the preceding three years. If the average balance of the fund has increased by 11 percent or more, the distribution shall be 5 percent of the average balance of the preceding three years.

Distributions in recent years have ranged from a low of $13 million in 2004 to an expected $136.6 million in the 2015-17 biennium.

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