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Oregon’s School Lands: Asset Management Plan

Frozen lake surrounded by high desert with some snow.School lands have supported public education in Oregon since statehood, when Congress provided sections 16 and 36 of every township “for use of schools.” Today, the Oregon Department of State Lands manages Oregon's 681,000 acres of school lands to generate revenue for the Common School Fund. DSL is updating the asset management plan that guides state stewardship of school lands to create a new framework for strategic initiatives and day-to-day management in the coming decade. 

Why does the plan need to be updated?

This 10-year plan is the key policy document for managing and evaluating Oregon’s school lands – and much has changed since the last update in 2012. DSL is seeking to achieve the best and most effective mix of revenue-generating opportunities using sound natural resource management and conservation principles while considering:

  • Current land management science and best practices from across the country.
  • Lessons learned from the past decade of managing Oregon's school lands. See the Real Estate Asset Management Plan: Achievements Report (2012 - 2021).
  • Economic and environmental factors.
  • DSL’s overall strategic direction.
  • Community needs, as well as new and innovative ideas from stakeholders and the public that offer additional benefits for Oregonians. 
The metrics that demonstrate how successful DSL is in meeting plan goals will also be re-examined.

DSL staff, particularly a Real Property Program working group, are leading the plan update:
  • ​Summer 2022: Project team evaluated a decade of best practices and lessons learned. Presented the Real Estate Asset Management Plan: Achievements Report (2012 - 21) to the Land Board. 
  • November 2022 - April 2023: Early input from stakeholders and industry research. 
  • April - December 2023: Draft plan development.
  • Spring 2024: Draft plan available for feedback from the community. 
  • Spring 2024: Revisions of the draft plan. 
  • June 2024: Plan presented to the State Land Board for review and potential approval.​​​​
DSL hopes to incorporate new ideas for how school lands can continue to generate revenue for education while also contributing additional public benefit. This could be: 
  • Renewable energy projects in solar, wind, geothermal and others, as well as carbon sequestration projects. 
  • Supporting community needs and local economies through land use planning of school lands within urban growth boundaries, and leasing and use of school lands. 
  • Demonstration projects for wildfire risk reduction, invasive species management, or other climate resilience efforts. 
  • Partnering with local organizations to support projects in habitat improvements, enhanced recreational opportunities, and more.​ ​
In the summer of 2022, the project team reviewed the previous plan's strategies, objectives, and achievements from the past decade, as well as lessons learned​. The previous plan focused on: 
  • A​ppreciation and performance. ​
  • Increasing school land revenue and value.
  • Developing​ tools for consistent, accountable management of lands. 

In pursuit of those strategies and objectives, the project team identified ​five lessons learned that will be considered in the development of the new plan:

  • ​​Better performance measures are needed. 
  • Sale of low-performing lands has little potential to produce significant revenue. 
  • Undertaking land use planning has great potential to produce significant revenue. 
  • Management of occupied buildings is unlikely to be a good fit for the portfolio. ​​
  • External factors can significantly affect the Department’s ability to maximize land potential and appreciation (for example, wildfires). 

Learn more in the Real Estate Asset Management Plan Achievements Report: 2012-2021​.​​​

Ways to Engage

The draft of the proposed plan will be available in March 2024 for an open comment period, stay tuned! In the meantime: