Sea River Properties, LLC v. Parks

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Property Law
  • Date Filed: 08-14-2014
  • Case #: S061094
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Kistler, J. for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Walters, J.; Linder, J.; Landau, J.; & Baldwin, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Accreted land attaches to the property on which it begins to accrete. Adverse possession requires actual use of land – payment of property taxes is a manifestation of actual use, but is not itself actual use.

Parks owned a plot of land to the north of property held by Sea River Properties (Sea River) in Tillamook County on the Nehalem River. Over the course of time, Parks’ property, which originally bordered the ocean, eroded to the extent that it now borders a former channel of the river. Sediment accreted and land grew slowly until it covered the channel to the north, across from Parks’ land. Sea River acted to quite title. The trial court found the land was Sea River’s because it began to accrete on his property, but that Parks had adversely possessed Sea River’s land. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Oregon Supreme Court reversed the findings of both the trial court and the Court of Appeals, holding the new land was first attached to Sea River’s property, so titled passed to it. The Court further reversed the trial court’s finding of adverse possession, holding that Parks’ use of the land was not significant enough for adverse possession, despite having paid property taxes on the land for decades, which was a manifestation of ownership, but not use. The decisions of the Court of Appeals and trial court are reversed; remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

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