Tribal Enterprise Zones

Each of the nine federally recognized Indian Tribes in Oregon can have a single "reservation enterprise zone" designated to encompass up to 12 square miles of its tribal lands throughout the state.

In addition, such a tribe can enter into special intergovernmental agreements with city, port or county governments to directly create and co-sponsor any number of contiguous "reservation partnership zones" anywhere in Oregon.

The Incentives

In both types of zones, the following apply:

  • Local property tax abatement for qualifying businesses, as allowed in any rural enterprise zone:
    • standard exemption of three to five years (except for hotels/resorts), and
    • long-term rural facility program (7 to 15 years) if facility is inside an eligible county.
  • Special tax credit against state income tax liability:
    • benefiting most any type of business operation that is relatively new to zone/reservation,
    • claimed annually by business on state tax return using special form for any income tax year that begins no later than during 2027, and
    • equals 100% of all tribal taxes in the first year of operations and of all annual tribal property taxes after that (no carry-forward of unused credit amounts).

Reservation Enterprise Zone Designation

  • Noncontiguous area may contain any of the following:
    • land on the tribe's reservation
    • land held in trust by the United States Government for the benefit of the tribe and/or
    • land officially pending trust status.
  • In order for Business Oregon to designate the zone, the tribal governing body may at any time adopt a resolution and submit it to the department, along with boundary map and other evidence.
  • Designation is not subject to regular restrictions on distances within an enterprise zone.
  • After designation, the tribal government, which is the "zone sponsor," may change or expand the reservation enterprise zone boundary through an official request to the department. If the proposed request and the resulting zone boundary also fully conform to regular statutory provisions, including minimum distances and city/port/county co-sponsorship, then non-tribal land may be added.
  • A reservation enterprise zone terminates after 10 years, but it may be re-designated subject to criteria above even after 2025.

Reservation Partnership Zones

  • No limit on number of such zones statewide or by tribe,
  • Zone area (less than or equal to 12 square miles):
    • Must be contiguous and contain some territory inside each co-sponsoring city, port or county, and
    • Tribal trust and reservation land allowed (even outside city/port/county) but not required.
  • No necessary state agency involvement, but rather local, totally self-administered.
  • Perhaps, most useful for discrete parcels, in which Tribe and local government share mutual interest in advancing development.
  • Zone is created pursuant to a co-sponsorship agreement:
    • Must involve, at a minimum, the Tribe and a city, port and/or county with territory inside the proposed zone.
    • Despite any overlapping jurisdiction, one such local government as a part to the agreement is enough, either the city, port, or county.
    • Needs to address mutual zone sponsor roles and responsibilities (ORS 285C.105), as well as the exact boundary of the zone area.
    • Based on special intergovernmental agreement (IGA) provided under state law (ORS 197.110), to which Tribe can be a party (utilize legal counsel).
    • Term is for 10-11 years of zone, consistent with normal enterprise zone existence.
    • Could be amended to expand zone area within originally sponsoring jurisdictions.