County Digs Program

Making tax-foreclosed properties available for urban food and greenspace!

Multnomah County’s Office of Sustainability and Tax Title have partnered to bring the community an innovative program that reflects the county’s commitment to healthy, equity, local food, and our natural environment. The County Digs Program leases and donates tax foreclosed property to qualified non-profit organizations for urban gardens or greenspace uses.

To date, six community gardens have been created due to the County Digs and Greenspace Property Donation Program. Multnomah County transfers tax-foreclosed properties to local governments and qualified non-profit organizations in the community if the property will be put to continuous, productive use as a community garden, urban farm, teaching garden, and/or as a greenspace. 

Is your organization looking for space for a community garden? Review a summary of applicant eligibility criteria.

Do you know of a vacant space that may be eligible for the county digs program? Click here to find out more


Available Properties 

Currently we have no available properties for tax title transfer


Read about the success of some of our County Dig property donations below:

Our Garden Located on a pair of narrow city lots located in Portland at 3924 and 3930 NE Garfield Street, the site was placed in trust with OSALT on June 29th, 2009 by Multnomah County to remain as a community-based garden for future generations. For many years the lot was associated with the work that Reverend Jeanne Walker was doing next door - working with neighborhood youth in a garden, teaching them gardening and life skills. The Reverend lost the land that the prior garden was on, and was unable to build a new garden on this site.The neighbors have already done a lot of work on the site creating an urban farm and plants are in the ground. In addition, the heritage cherry tree, which site in the middle of the property, will be protected by the OSALT transfer.

Greeley Forest Garden Portions of adjacent lots in NE Portland between N Greeley and N Interstate Ave near the east end of the Fremont (currently about 2/3 acre). OSALT eventually hopes to add adjacent parcels to total about 10 acres. This property is currently under design to become Portland's first forest garden.                             

Emerson Garden Located on a narrow city lot at 822 NE Emerson Street: a typical old residential space in NE Portland, which is likely contaminated with lead. This is very common on sites where older houses have stood. OSALT has two objectives for this site: to provide a community garden space for the neighborhood, and to conduct a closely monitored research program on this site involving the decontamination of the soil so that food can safely be grown here.

Shortcut Farm Near the corner of Garfield and Shaver lies a half lot of land, neighboring a large empty lot transferred to OSALT in 2009. Shortcut farm’s premise is simple: turn this otherwise empty neighborhood lot into a fully functioning urban farm, complete with apiary, fruit trees, permaculture designs and a rainwater catchment system. The community has created a bountiful and sustainable urban agriculture project producing super-local, nutritious and organic produce for neighboring families and businesses, while learning and teaching how to manage a successful urban farm.

Central City Community Garden  A unique property in the County Digs program, using vacant land at Multnomah County's East Property in Gresham under contract to develop a thriving community garden. The Central City Community Garden is an innovative partnership between Outgrowing Hunger, Multnomah County and community-based stakeholders such as Imago Dei Community and Loaves & Fishes. The garden aims to improve access to healthy produce in Gresham's Central City Neighborhood. The garden currently boasts eight community plots and a recently built 1200-square-foot plot dedicated to growing food for the Loaves and Fishes Center within the Multnomah County East Building. Other expansions include planting fruit trees and developing more plots on site.

Demonstration Orchard A small fruit orchard and/or table grape vineyard is being explored for the property adjacent to 1682 NE Barns Lane in Gresham. With this unique site minimal resources and maintenance is needed after the first planting. The orchard will provide fresh fruits to neighbors and offer ample opportunities for research and education concerning the development and care of small urban orchards. At this site, OSALT will develop educational activities for the general public including volunteer positions, tours, workshops, and presentations based on orchard research on site. 

Check out this article about the County Digs program in the Portland Mercury!