Department of State Lands

Present Duties

State Lands Building
The State Lands Building in Salem houses the central offices of the Department of State Lands. (Oregon State Archives Photo)
The Department of State Lands (DSL) is the administrative arm of the State Land Board, Oregon’s oldest board. Established by the Oregon Constitution, the State Land Board has been composed of the governor (chair), secretary of state and state treasurer throughout its history.

At statehood in 1859, the federal government granted Oregon about 3.4 million acres of land for financing public education. The State Land Board oversees these state-owned “school lands” which now total only about a fifth of the original acreage. Land types include range and agricultural land, commercial land, forest land and mineral and energy resources. Revenues from these lands are dedicated to the Common School Fund, a trust fund for kindergarten through grade 12 public schools. Distributions from the fund’s earnings are sent twice a year to the state’s 197 school districts. The State Land Board and the department also are charged with protecting public rights to use state-owned waterways for navigation, fishing, commerce and recreation.

Over time, the Oregon Legislature assigned various additional responsibilities to the agency, including administering the state’s unclaimed property program (1957); protecting state wetlands and waterways (1967: removal-fill law; 1989: wetland conservation law); and serving as the state partner for the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (1974). The department also administers the estates of people who die without a will and without known heirs.

DSL employs just over 100 people and is headquartered in Salem in a building that is an asset of the Common School Fund. The Eastern Region Office is located in Bend, and the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve is headquartered in Charleston on the south coast. In addition to the Director’s Office and State Land Board, agency program areas operate under two divisions: Operations (Aquatic Resource Management and Common School Fund Property) and Administration (Business Operations and Support Services, and the South Slough).

Agency Website

Agency Subdivisions

Information about this agency's divisions, offices, programs, etc.

Contact Information

Mailing Address: 775 Summer St. NE, Suite 100, Salem 97301-1279
Telephone: 503-986-5200
Fax: 503-378-4844
General Email: dsl@dsl.state.or.us
Contact: James T. Paul, Director
Administrative Rules Coordinator Email: Sabrina L. Foward 
Records Officer Email: Melissa Pelton​
Staff Directory from Oregon.gov
Location Map: by Google Maps

Legal and Legislative Information

Statutory Authority: ORS Chapter 273
Budget Analysis - by Legislative Fiscal Office
Audit Reports - select agency from menu

Records, Publications and General Information

Agency History - a detailed history of the agency
Records Retention Schedule - a list of the public records kept at the agency

State Archives Holdings from This Agency