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Oregon / Washington

Survey Inquiries, Protest and Appeals Procedures

Surveying near Coquille, Oregon

The following guidelines are to inform you as to what action you may take should you have questions concerning current land surveys being performed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Cadastral Survey Section. The BLM Cadastral Survey Section has the legal authority, responsibility, and expertise to respond to all inquiries concerning the Public Land Survey System (PLSS). Should you have a question concerning an ongoing official survey, please contact the following BLM Office.

    Oregon State Office
    Mary Hartel, OR-957
    P.O. Box 2965
    Portland, OR 97208

We prefer the opportunity to respond to and resolve potential survey problems before they escalate into an official protest. This action does not infringe on your rights to file a protest at a later date.

A protest is any objection raised by any person to any action proposed to be taken in any proceedings before the Bureau (43 CFR 4.450-2). Should we be unable to resolve those problems brought to our attention, you, the Protestant, will be advised of the following administrative procedures that should be followed:

  1. Formal protests are required to be made in writing to the State Director (OR-910), Bureau of Land Management, P.O. Box 2965, Portland, OR 97208.
  2. The Protestant shall state the legal description of the area covered by the protested survey.
  3. The protest must contain a statement in clear and concise language of the facts constituting the grounds for the protest.
  4. The protest should contain the history of any land surveys and ownership entitlement as far as is known by the objector.
  5. If known, the names and addresses of the adjoining land owners affected by the protest should be included.
  6. The protest should be supported by documentary evidence. Diagrams are encouraged.

We follow a policy which requires the acknowledged receipt of a protest within 10 working days. In the reply, we will:

  1. Explain what our intentions are or what immediate actions will be taken (i.e., research records, make field investigation, submit to the office section during review process, etc.).
  2. State when a further reply can be expected.
  3. If appropriate, state the procedures that will be followed.

The protest is either affirmed or denied by the State Director, and a written explanation is provided to the protester. If the protest is denied, the Protestant is advised of the Appeals Procedure.

An appeal is an objection raised to any final decision of the Bureau by a person adversely affected by the decision (43 CFR 4.410 (a)). The administrative process involved in an appeal is as follows:

  1. An appeal must be filed within 30 days from the date of service of the protest denial letter. The Notice of Appeal is filed with the same BLM office with which the protest was made.
  2. BLM will transmit the appeal and related case file to the Interior Board of Land Appeals, U.S. Department of the Interior.
  3. The Appellant is also required to serve a copy of the Notice of Appeal on an appropriate Interior Solicitor as stated in 43 CFR 4.413.
  4. There must be strict compliance with the regulations contained in Subpart E of 43 CFR 4.40 et. seq. (October 1, 1986), and the Appellant will have the burden of proving that an error was committed in the BLM survey.

The above provides the administrative process by which affected parties can challenge BLM resurveys they think infringe on their interests. Because of the length of time involved in the administrative process and the legal complexities that are often present in land survey problems, it is important that the BLM Cadastral Survey be able to have the opportunity to resolve potential protest early.