IV. PARK DATA (continued)
B. Appraised value
Before detailed consideration is given to appraised values, it should be stated in general that the determination of actual land values in the Port Clatsop area is difficult at the present time. After having been fairly stable for a long period, land values have begun to rise sharply during the last decade. This condition is due to the demands created by increasing population, to the changing character of land use in the vicinity, to the higher prices paid for timber, and to unsettled conditions as regards possible oil and gas deposits.
The unusual disparity between official assessed values and actual values is recognized by both the County and State. At the present time property values in Clatsop County are being re-appraised by the Oregon State Tax Commission, and until the work is completed the appraised values as given on assessment rolls will be of little use in estimating true values.
An example will illustrate the existing condition very clearly. Swamp land lying near, but not on the shore line of, the Lewis and Clark River in the Fort Clatsop vicinity is generally now assessed at $3 per acre. In accordance with the recognized relation ship of assessed value to appraised value for such land, the appraised value is about $18.00 per acre. According to the County Assessor, the actual sale value of this type of property is also about $18 per acre. However, a tract of such land lying a short distance northeast of the Fort Clatsop Site was recently sold to a commercial firm which wanted it for a special purpose for about $300 per acre.
1. Present historic site property.
Being tax exempt, the tracts presently owned by the Oregon Historical Society and by Clatsop County have no official appraised values. The 1-acre tract owned by the Clatsop County Historical Society is still carried on the County Assessor's records as being part of the tract owned by Archie Riekkola (the deed of sale being still unrecorded). The Riekkola tract is appraised by the County at $ 18. 00 per acre as logged-off land. The actual sale value of such land, according to the County Assessor, is generally assumed to be $18 or more" per acre. In actuality, any valuation as low as $18 per acre for this tract would be unrealistic, since in its present state it would be usable as a homesite, which land sells for $500 or more per acre in this vicinity.
As a matter of hard, commercial fact, it must be recognized that the three present historic site tracts, considered purely as real estate and without historical considerations, comprise some of the most valuable property in the neighborhood. About four acres of the land, being of suitable gradient for residential use, having good exposure and access to views, and being accessible to a county road and utilities, would be desirable homesite property. The value of this property is well recognized. As early as 1902, shortly after the Oregon Historical Society had acquired its original 3-acre tract, it was claimed by a prospective purchaser of the surrounding land that the Historical Society tract contained the only good building site and about all the cleared land in the immediate vicinity. Without the 3 acres, said a former owner, "the place is like a lock with no keyhole." 
In the unexpert opinion of the present investigator, a realistic actual sales value of the present historic site property, including the well, pump, and access road but excluding the reconstructed fort, would be about $3500.
Of course, if the property were transferred to a State or Federal Government agency for operation as a historic monument, it is assumed that no sale price would be involved.
2. Land needed to protect site.
a. Minimum area. It is difficult to determine either the appraised value or the actual value of the additional 32 acres suggested as the minimum necessary to assure the proper protection and interpretation of the site. This situation results from the fact that several types of land--agricultural, timber, logged-off, etc.-- are involved in most of the parcels concerned; and without an actual survey and appraisal it is impossible to tell how many acres of each type are within the suggested 32-acre addition. County assessment records are of little assistance, since the figures given therein are for entire parcels in single ownerships.
However, by combining the information received from the County Assessor and from personal observation on the ground, the following rough approximation was reached:
Property to be acquired from R. J. and J. Kraft. The land owned by the Krafts adjoining the present historical monument has a total area of 39.52 acres, consisting of 12.5 acres of agricultural land, 24.6 acres of logged-off land, and 2.4 acres of swamp land. The total appraised value of this land shown by the county records is $2620.
Since the 17 acres of the Kraft property suggested for acquisition comprise about 1/2 of the total property and since these 17 acres probably contain somewhat more agricultural land than the part not suggested for acquisition, it probably would be fair to say that the appraised value of the 17 acres equals about 1/2 the total appraised value, or $1310.
The actual sale value of this property would be much higher, since it contains at least 3 acres of cleared building sites, which land, according to the County Assessor, sells for $500 or more an acre. Also, some of the logged-off land now contains second-growth timber and thus might sell for about $100 to $150 per acre.
The actual sale value of this property, in the opinion of the present writer, would be about $3400. In addition, the purchase price probably would have to include some charge for severance damage to the remainder of the Kraft property, which would be cut off from the most convenient approach from the county road.
Property to be acquired from A. Riekkola. The 4.2 acres of Riekkola property suggested for acquisition presently are classified as logged-off land and are appraised at about $ 18 per acre. The officially estimated actual sale value of such land is "$18 or more" per acre. However, this property contains some timber, and in the new assessment the valuation of at least part of it almost certainly will be raised. Such timber-bearing land now sells for from $100 to $150 per acre in this vicinity according to the County Assessor. Acquisition of the entire tract probably would cost between $800 and $900, in view of homesite and timber potentials.
Property to be acquired from Crown Zellerbach Corporation. Determining the appraised value of this land is particularly difficult, since the 5.5 acres suggested for acquisition form only a small fraction of a large Crown Zellerbach holding in the vicinity. Four acres of the suggested addition are classed as logged-off land, part of a large tax lot consisting of 337.28 acres of logged-off land with a total appraised value of $6020. At an average value of $17.85 per acre, the total appraised value of the 4 acres in question would be $71.40. Ordinarily, according to the County Assessor, logged-off land would sell at or below this appraised value, but this land now has second-growth timber on it and probably would sell for about $100 to $150 per acre. The particular logged-over land recommended for acquisition (see Map 2) forms a strip south of the Riekkola and Clatsop County Historical Society tracts and perhaps was intended to serve as a route of access to the extensive Crown Zellerbach holdings to the westward. This fact might influence the price which would have to be paid for the property.
The remaining approximately 1.5 acres of Crown Zellerbach land suggested for acquisition consists of a 60-foot-wide strip of land along the west bank of the Lewis and Clark River. This strip was acquired by the company as a right of way in connection with its storage and transport of logs on the adjacent river. This property is appraised at $18 per acre; the official sale value is the same, but such land can sell for $150 per acre. Actual value might be higher, since the land apparently is important to the company in its quite extensive operations in the vicinity. On the other hand the Crown Zellerbach Corporation has been extremely cooperative in the Fort Clatsop restoration project, and it might part with the property at little or no cost to the acquiring agency. Because of the unusual circumstances, it seems impossible to estimate what it would cost to acquire the 5.5 acres. Perhaps $1020 would be a reasonable guess.
Property to be acquired from L. H. and R. C. Wood. These 5.3 acres are part of a large tax lot of 107.11 acres of mixed agricultural, pasture, and logged-off land. The total appraised value of the entire lot is $11,200, or an average of $104.56 per acre. Since perhaps 4 acres of the 5.3-acre parcel in question would probably be classed as timber land now, a more realistic sale price probably would be about $850 for the parcel.
Summary. The appraised value of the 32 acres suggested as the minimum amount of additional land required for the proper protection of the site is perhaps about $2038. An unofficial estimate of the present-day actual sale value is $6120.
b. Area needed for more adequate protection. The determination of the appraised value of the 69 acres of land (in addition to the present monument) within the more satisfactory boundary as suggested by the yellow line on Map 2 is likewise virtually impossible.
Approximately 2.5 acres of this land would be shore-line property, appraised at $18 per acre and with an officially estimated actual sale value of $18 per acre. About 4 acres would be Crown Zellerbach logged-off land with an average appraised value of $17.85 per acre and a present-day actual timberland value of about $150 per acre. About 28.4 acres would be from the Wood property, with an average appraised value of $104.56 per acre and an actual sale value of perhaps $200 per acre. The total Reikkola property of 4.2 acres is appraised at $76; the officially estimated sale value is the same. About 28.9 acres would be from the Kraft property, with an average appraised value of $66.29 per acre, or a total appraised value of $1916, and with a total actual sales value, including home-sites, of about $5800. The remaining acre consists of the Miller property (1 acre and residence) the land of which is appraised at $1000 and the improvements on which are appraised at $11,970. The official sale price of the Miller land and improvements would be about $12,970; a more realistic estimate is $16,500.
Thus, the total appraised value of the land and improvements within the yellow line is about $18,048; as best as can be determined, the actual sale value of the same property would be about $29,805.
c. Area suggested to protect view across Lewis and Clark River. If, to reach ultimate ideal boundaries, lands on the east bank of the Lewis and Clark River should be acquired as shown by the purple line on Map 2, the appraised value of the lands involved would be as follows: 4.3 acres of county-owned shoreline property, with no appraised value but an actual sale value of $150 per acre; and 20 acres of the Johnson property (mixed agricultural and pasture land) with an average appraised value of $181.73 per acre and an average actual sale value of perhaps $300 per acre. Therefore, if it should prove necessary to purchase the county-owned property, the total actual sale value of this east-bank tract would be about $6645.
Last Updated: 04-May-2004