Intergovernmental Affairs

The Office of Intergovernmental Relations is part of County Administration. It is the conduit through which many governmental entities do business with Lane County. By maintaining close communications with all county departments and the Board of Commissioners, we are able to foster collaborative relationships with other local and regional governments and state and federal agencies.

The Office also develops legislative and policy initiatives at both the state and federal level in order to complement and enhance Lane County's strategic objectives.


Lane County has an area of more than 4,600 square miles and a population of 351,109 (2009) — a relatively small population in comparison to its large area. There are 12 incorporated cities, with approximately 100,000 individuals living in unincorporated areas.

Lane County is one of 36 counties in Oregon and one of only four Oregon counties that employ government relations staff (the others are Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington).

Lane County is one of 18 "O & C" counties in Oregon. The O & C lands are federal timberlands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (U.S. Dept. of the Interior), with a unique revenue-sharing arrangement established by Congress in 1937.


Oregon’s counties are subdivisions of the State, and as such are required by statute to provide a variety of services. Read this report on State Mandated County Services for more information.


Lane County works closely with the Lane County federal delegation in the U.S. Congress in order to develop appropriate policies and to fund important infrastructure projects.

Lane County is also one of the nation’s largest recipients of federal funding from the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act.

As federal policies changed over the past two decades, timber revenue from federal forestlands has been unable to sustain local communities. (See Federal Forests and Lane County: From Timber to Treasury)


Lane County aims to create an intergovernmental team devoted to fostering significant engagement with the five federally recognized tribes within the county. Acknowledging the significance of cultivating robust relationships with tribal communities, our objective is to construct a basis of trust, respect, and cooperation, recognizing tribes as sovereign nations and incorporating their viewpoints into our decision-making procedures. These endeavors will establish the basis for an era of enhanced collaboration, comprehension, and reciprocal respect. We anticipate that this initiative will not only improve our decision-making procedures but also deepen our comprehension of the varied cultural and political heritage and distinct contributions of the tribes within our community.

The Secure Rural Schools Act and its Impact on County Government Funding

Fifty-five percent of Lane County’s landbase is publicly owned. Throughout most of the 20th century, federal forest lands managed by the Department of the Interior (Bureau of Lane Management) and the Department of Agriculture (United States Forest Service) directly returned significant revenues to Lane County government as well as playing a key role as the foundation to Lane County’s industrial economy. As federal policies changed over the past three decades, the capacity of federal forestlands to sustain local communities has waned. 

The Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Act was first passed in 2000 and was reauthorized in 2007 and 2008. The 2008 reauthorization redesigned the Act such that it ramps down over the course of 4 years, and in the fourth year, is not based on historical cut volumes.  SRS finally sunset in 2015. 

Without the Act in place, any federal timber revenue distributed to Lane County is based on actual harvest levels on the Willamette and Siuslaw National Forests, and from the O&C Lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  Forest Service dollars are allocated under state law to benefit county roads and schools, while BLM revenue is completely discretionary.   Actual harvest levels are linked to the respective agency planning and management documents, and in 2016 the Association of O&C Counties sued the BLM due to inconsistencies between the management plan for western Oregon and the O&C Act of 1937.  The outcome of that litigation has not yet been determined.

United Front (Federal Appropriations Effort)

Lane County has an active annual agenda with regards to federal lobbying. It partners with a group of local agencies to mutually seek federal appropriations and policies that are beneficial to the entire region. The presence of this "united front" in Washington is well valued by the federal delegation due to the vetting of projects and issues that is done at the community level. In addition, the annual trip provides an opportunity to bring specific federal policy issues and impacts to the attention of the federal delegation.

The United Front partnership has been developed over the past twenty years and remains dynamic. It has been held together through regular communications, written guidance, and formalized Memorandums of Understanding. An enormous amount of local infrastructure and programmatic efforts are in place due to the success of the United Front—efforts that have resulted in an estimated $400+ million in value to the partners over the past twenty years.