The following is a general guideline. Enforcement cases vary greatly, necessitating some flexibility in how Code Enforcement processes complaints. A different sequence of steps may be followed, for example, for cases involving a significant threat to public health and safety or if the property has been the subject of recent enforcement. Contact Code Enforcement if you have questions regarding the process and/or a specific complaint.
Please note Marion County Code Enforcement does not handle complaints regarding property or situations inside any city. You will need to contact the applicable city where the property is located to file a complaint.
STEP 1: Receiving the Complaint
Complaints received by Code Enforcement are given a case number and assigned to one of the Enforcement Officers or other County personnel for investigation.
STEP 2: Assessing the Situation
Enforcement staff will determine the appropriate timeline for investigating the complaint based on type of alleged violation, priority ranking of the violation(s) and current caseload.
STEP 3: Research
At the beginning of each investigation, the following is established:
Jurisdiction - the property must be land over which the county has enforcement jurisdiction.
Zoning of the subject property is determined, when applicable.
Permit Status - status of land use, building, or engineering permits for the subject property.
Property Ownership - owners, contract purchasers, lessees, lien-holders, and other persons with a recorded legal interest in the subject property are identified.
Other Potential Responsible Persons - others potentially responsible for the alleged code violation(s) are identified such as tenants, construction or landscape contractors, etc.
Applicable Regulations - staff will review county regulations alleged to have been violated, as well as other applicable regulations.
Prior Complaint History - staff will review county records to determine existence and status of prior or existing code violations for the subject property or alleged violator.
If staff determines, at this point, that reasonable grounds do not exist, no enforcement action will be taken and the case will be closed.
STEP 4: Field Investigation
Enforcement staff will conduct a site visit to verify and document code violations. If possible, staff will discuss the situation with the property owner, occupant or other responsible person. This will include the nature of the code violation(s), methods for resolving the violation(s), timeline for compliance, and potential consequences for failure to comply.
STEP 5: Filing a Report
After the field investigation, enforcement staff will prepare a brief report that will note the d ate and time of the visit; violation(s) observed and documentation obtained; any witnesses interviewed; and summary of any discussion with owner or occupant including action needed to correct the violation and recommended timeline. If no code violation was observed, the report will include a brief explanation.
Follow-up with Complainants. At this point, enforcement staff will contact the complainant, if requested, and inform him/her of the results of the investigation and timeline for correcting the violation(s).
STEP 6: Notice of Violation Letter
When enforcement staff determines there are reasonable grounds to believe a violation did or does occur, a Notice of Violation (NOV) letter is sent to the property owner(s) and each person who is or may be responsible for the alleged violation.
STEP 7: Follow-Up for Compliance
Compliance. If it is determined that the required corrections have been made, the date and method of compliance are noted in the enforcement file and the case is considered closed.
Non-compliance. After the compliance date, if it is determined that the required corrections have not been made, and a Voluntary Compliance Agreement has not been signed, staff will begin the process to issue a citation.
Compliance Requiring Permits or Other Approvals. In cases where compliance requires applying for and receiving a permit or approval, enforcement shall continue until all necessary permits or approvals are granted or until they are denied and compliance is obtained through other means.
Time Extensions. If the alleged violator admits the violation(s) and requests an extension, the Enforcement Officer may allow it if circumstances warrant and/or if a "good faith" effort has been made to correct the violation(s).
Stop Work Orders. Stop work orders may be used whenever a confirmed violation is received regarding construction, installation and/or land use activity. If the violation continues after the issuance of a stop work order, enforcement staff will cite the alleged violator.
Restricting Issuance of Development Permits. In some cases, persons applying for land use, construction, building and/or engineering permits for property that has uncorrected county code violations may be denied until violations are corrected.
Permit Revocation . Certain county codes authorize revocation of permits or approvals for failure to comply with requirements or conditions. It is the County’s policy to use permit revocation in certain cases due to the nature of the violation and/or the deliberateness of the violator to avoid compliance.
STEP 8: Issuing Citations
It is the county’s policy to encourage voluntary code compliance by providing the opportunity to comply with little or no penalty. The county believes that voluntary compliance generally is less expensive for all parties and of a more lasting nature than involuntary compliance. However, when voluntary compliance is not obtained within the stated time frame, a citation will be issued.
Fines - The schedule of maximum fines for county code infractions is set forth in ORS 153.310 and ORS 203.065.
STEP 9: File Closure
An enforcement case will be closed: 1) w hen no code violation is found after investigation; 2) there is voluntary compliance; 3) w hen the property owner and/or responsible person has been convicted of an infraction and corrected the violation(s); or 4) it is determined that the code violation(s) is not likely to be resolved due to factors beyond county control.