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. 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 Real Property) and Administration (Business Operations and Support Services, and the South Slough).
Information about this agency's divisions, offices, and programs.
Mailing Address: 775 Summer St. NE, Suite 100, Salem 97301-1279