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Driveway Easement Rights on Farmland Oregon

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  • Driveway Easement Rights on Farmland Oregon

    Would greatly appreciate help in understanding easement rights in relation to our situation.

    We purchased 20 acres of bare land a few months ago that had a previous driveway easement granted through a small portion of the grantors land. We hired an excavator to begin the construction of our road and have been battling cattle damage to the ditches and culverts he is trying to install. The owners of the land lease it to cattle farmers and cattle run the entire property, including over the section where our driveway easement is located. The excavator has been extremely frustrated with the daily repairs he is having to make to the work he is doing due to cattle damage and we've been incurring fees for that extra work. He finally asked us to put up temporary fencing to protect the work he is trying to do to get our road in properly and the necessary drainage protection. The fencing would extend the length of our driveway impacted by the cattle, about 300' within either side of our easement, and it would not affect the cattle movement in any way as they have full access around the entire area other than our driveway to our property.

    Several questions we have about all this. What is reasonable for us to expect? Is it reasonable to expect to be able to get our road in without daily cattle damage to the work? Are we responsible to keep the cattle off the project and from damaging the work our excavator is trying to accomplish or is the property owner who profits from the lease of the cattle land responsible to keep them from damaging our project? If damage is done and needs to be repaired, is it reasonable to expect the property owners to pay for that? And lastly, if fencing is needed to keep the cattle off the ditches and culverts to protect our driveway (it's on a slight hillside and these are necessary to prevent the road from washing out), who is responsible for the cost of putting up fencing? The cattle damage will not only be a temporary situation, but ongoing unfortunately, so we have our immediate need to address the road going in, as well as the long term issue of cattle running through the ditches and culverts along our driveway.

    We have been attempting to address the issue with the property owners who do not feel we should be upset by the cattle impact to the road work, and they will not acknowledge our repeated stated concerns about the cost we have been incurring to deal with their cattle damage. We want to handle this appropriately as we really wanted good relations with our new neighbors, and we aren't sure what is normal or reasonable since this is all new to us. All thoughts and helpful information would be greatly appreciated as we try to navigate this in a thoughtful way.

    Thank you!
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