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  • 25 Jun 2021 8:36 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    The National Society of Professional Surveyors ("NSPS") has updated the ALTA/NSPS standards for an ALTA ("American Land Title Association") Survey, effective February 23, 2021.  Revisions and clarifications were made to both the Minimum Standard Detail Requirements ("Standards") and Table A Optional Requirements ("Table A"). 

    Of particular note, pursuant to the NSPS website, the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1995 case of Gutierrez de Martinez v. Lamagno, 515 U.S. 417, through its interpretation of a portion of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, found that the word "shall" is used frequently as a synonym for the word "may", neither of which is indicative of the word "must".  A Joint Committee, comprised of members from both the NSPS and ALTA, reviewed each use of the words "must" and "shall" and used the one that was most appropriate in each case, with "must" indicating an imperative.  Throughout the Standards, the term "property" is now referred to as the "property to be surveyed" or the "surveyed property".

    In additional to many minor revisions to the Standards, the Joint Committee added a provision to require that evidence of utility poles on or within ten feet of the surveyed property be marked on a plat or map without expressing a legal opinion as to ownership or nature of any potential encroachment of the utility pole or its crossmembers or overhangs.  Utility locate markings are also to now be included on a plat or map, including the source of the markings with a note if unknown.  In addition to all easements identified in title evidence provided, if a surveyor finds a recorded easement that is not otherwise included, the surveyor must advise the insurer, show or otherwise explain it on the face of the plat or map and make a note that the insurer has been advised.

    Fewer revisions were made to Table A; however, there are three that are substantive.  First, item 6(a), which relates to zoning of the surveyed property, adds to the first sentence, "(a) If the current zoning classification, setback requirements, the height and floor space area restrictions, and parking requirements specific to the surveyed property are...".  These items are to be added to the plat or map.  Second and third, item 10(b) which relates to party walls being plumb was deleted, as well as item 18 pertaining to wetlands.

  • 22 Apr 2021 8:52 AM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    Please consider assisting a young student who has reached out to NSPS seeking input for a project he is working on. He says, For my project I would need to get at least a few responses, I have created google forms to collect some simple data and will add the link below. It is a very short survey and does not require any personal information, nor to be logged in. The application I proposed to research is about finding benchmarks (the reference points) and making it easier and more efficient for Surveyors. If there are any Surveyors that could potentially help out that would be greatly appreciated.

    The link is:

    Thanks to all who can participate!

  • 17 Mar 2021 8:31 AM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    The Board is asking members to review the Steering Committee’s proposed PLSO Vision Statement before adoption. The purpose of this review is to inform those members that have been left out of the process due to the Pandemic and refine it grammatically. Once the results are collected, it will be sent to the Board of Directors for final review before the next Board meeting. Please take a moment to respond to a short survey that will be emailed out to each member. For those that need a refresher or have been left out of the process, here is a summary of the process with links:

    PLSO’s Strategic Plan was adopted in 2019 with goals to:

    1) Increase Membership

    2) Promote the Profession

    3) Improve Leadership.

    The “Plan” is based on general topics that allow for flexibility over a three year review period. During the review, it became increasingly apparent that the goals need a unifying direction toward a vision.

    A Steering Committee was formed in January 2020 to develop a Vision Statement and to report to the Board its recommendations. The Board reviewed two proposals during the October 2020 meeting, which was sent to the Chapters for discussion. At the December meeting, the Board chose the best statement version, then sent it back to the Steering Committee with a few minor edits. The changes were made and brought back to the January 2021 Board meeting.

    The Vision Statement is based on our Mission Statement and gives direction to the Strategic Plan. The direction is based on the general idea of a good Surveyor (Increase membership with good Surveyors), excellence in our profession (Promote the Profession through excellence), and our duty to society and our organization (Improve Leadership through education).

    If you have questions regarding the process, please feel free to contact me.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    Jeremy A. Sherer

    Professional Practices Committee Chair

    State Chair Elect/Past Chair

  • 16 Mar 2021 11:23 AM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    NSPS will host a “Virtual Day on the Hill” on April 20 and 21 to match surveyors with their state’s Congressional delegation for a series of web-conference meetings. In these meetings, NSPS members will educate Congressmen, Senators, and their staff of the role surveying and geospatial activities play in major legislation likely to be considered in Congress this year. There is no fee to participate. For information and registration, click here. NSPS will host a training webinar on April 7, 2021 at 2:00 pm EDT to prepare all participants for their Congressional meetings.

    Visit the Virtual day on the Hill website.

  • 08 Jan 2021 12:43 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    By Dana Goward

    Senate poised to join House this week and override Trump’s veto

    The U. S. Congress, especially the Armed Services Committees, have long been concerned about GPS and positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) issues. Over the last two decades Congressional hearings, demands for reports, and investigations have dealt with acquisition, contingency plans for when space is not available, deliberate interference, and a host of other issues.

    While these all evidenced Congress’ interest and concern, they were relatively passive measures.

    The NDAA for 2021 seems to finalize Congress’ transition from an interested observer, mostly on the sidelines, to an active player in national PNT issues and policy.

    This began to change in 2018 with passage of the National Timing Resilience and Security Act. It requires the Department of Transportation to establish a terrestrial timing system to backup GPS signals.

    Then in 2019, Congress appropriated money for a GPS Backup Technology Demonstration. And the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2020 required the Air Force to develop a prototype multi-GNSS receiver as part of its resiliency efforts.

    The NDAA for 2021 seems to finalize Congress’ transition from an interested observer, mostly on the sidelines, to an active player in national PNT issues and policy.

    Capitol Hill observers say this is the result of several things that have come to a head over the last year. Taken together, they have convinced many legislators that GPS is under threat and PNT issues are not being taken seriously enough by the executive branch. These include increased jamming and spoofing (especially by China and Russia), full implementation of China’s BeiDou system and its marketing to other nations as a superior alternative to GPS, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision on Ligado Networks, and the Pentagon’s failure to respond to combatant commanders’ Joint Urgent Operational Needs Statements for non-GPS PNT.

    Here are some of the provisions of the 2021 NDAA of interest to the PNT community.

    Military Multi-GNSS Receiver Prototype

    The 2018 NDAA required the Defense Department to incorporate Europe’s Galileo and Japan’s QZSS satellite navigation signals into military user equipment. The idea was to make it more resilient to disruption. Also required was an investigation into using non-allied signals.

    Apparently not satisfied with progress on this project, Congress mandated a project to develop a prototype multi-GNSS receiver as part of the 2020 NDAA.

    The 2021 NDAA seems to indicate the Congress is still not happy. It withholds 20% of the funding for the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force until such time as the department certifies the prototype project is underway and provides briefings to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees.

    Resilient Survivable PNT

    Language in the 2021 NDAA also seems to show Congress is impatient with the Pentagon’s lack of responsiveness to combatant commanders’ requests for non-GPS PNT systems.

    Section 1611 of the Act is entitled “Resilient and Survivable Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Capabilities.” It requires development, integration, and deployment of these capabilities for combatant commanders within two years. This, it says, is “… consistent with the timescale applicable to joint urgent operational needs statements…”

    The act says the new PNT capabilities shall “generate resilient and survivable alternative positioning, navigation, and timing signals” and “process resilient survivable data provided by signals of opportunity and on-board sensor systems.”

    The act also reverses the Defense Department’s 2018 PNT Strategy’s plan for future systems to be classified and for military use only. It directs the department to work with the National Security Council, Departments of Transportation, Homeland Security and others “to enable civilian and commercial adoption of technologies and capabilities for resilient and survivable alternative positioning, navigation, and timing capabilities to complement the global positioning system.”

    To help ensure prompt action on this, the act requires a report to Congress within six months and authorizes the department to reprogram funds from other areas to finance the effort.

    Responding to FCC’s Decision on Ligado Networks

    By far the most PNT-related text in the 2021 NDAA includes a host of measures responding to FCC Order 20-48 approving an application by Ligado Networks. An order which the executive branch is on record as strongly opposing saying it will degrade GPS service for many.

    Senator Jim Inhofe, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has regularly expressed outrage at the FCC’s decision and has called for its reversal.

    Among its provisions the act:

    • Requires the Department of Defense to estimate and report to Congress the cost of damage to department systems as a result of the FCC order.
    • Prohibits using department funds to upgrade or modify military equipment to make it resilient to interference caused by broadcasts in the spectrum allocated (the FCC order requires this to be funded by Ligado)
    • Prohibits contracting with any entity using the frequency bands allocated to Ligado unless the Secretary of Defense certifies the use will not interfere with GPS services
    • Requires the Secretary of Defense to contract with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for an independent technical review of the FCC order.

  • 21 Dec 2020 2:43 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    Fairfax,VA – Legislation to establish a constituent-driven program in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide a digital information platform capable of efficiently integrating coastal data with decision-support tools, training, and best practices and support collection of priority coastal geospatial data to inform and improve local, State, regional, and Federal management of the coastal region became law Friday when President Trump signed S. 1069, the Digital Coast Act.

    “As the leading proponent of this important legislation, we’re pleased that Congress, on a bipartisan basis, and the President, came together to pass the Digital Coast Act into law,” said John M. Palatiello, partner in Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies, LLC, parent of John M. Palatiello & Associates, Inc. (JMP&A).

    The Digital Coast Partnership Advocacy Coalition, the broad alliance of organizations supporting the legislation in Congress, was managed by JMP&A. Member organizations include: American Planning Association (APA); Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM); Coastal States Organization (CSO); National Association of Counties (NACo); National Estuarine Research Reserve Association (NERRA); National Flood Association (NFA); National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS); National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC); The Nature Conservancy (TNC); and U.S. Geospatial Executives Organization (U.S. GEO). NSPS and U.S. GEO are JMP&A clients. Passage of the bill was a 10-year effort.

    The bill’s sponsor, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said, “This legislation will strengthen the incredibly popular Digital Coast Program, which makes it possible for local leaders in our coastal communities to make decisions with clear, current, and useful information. While Digital Coast helps make management choices clear, the work behind those decision tools is incredibly complex. I am proud to support the great work of geospatial professionals and coastal management experts in the private sector and at all levels of government who make it possible for local leaders to have clear data that informs their decisions. The Digital Coast Act will strengthen this important program and support the great work they do to deliver top notch, reliable information relied on by emergency responders, coastal planners, and businesses.”

    “Wisconsin’s Great Lakes are a great asset for our quality of life and also for our long-term economic security,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m proud that this bipartisan legislation has passed both chambers of Congress to strengthen our shoreline communities, which face a variety of challenges to keep their harbors open, their waters clean and their beaches ready for visitors. This bipartisan bill ensures that our Great Lakes communities have the resources and tools they need to adapt to changing environmental conditions, maintain healthy shores, and make smart planning decisions to support their local economies and way of life."

    Representative Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), sponsor of the companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, said, “While it is critical to coastal communities like mine in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, we all have a stake in protecting America’s shorelines. This bill is more important now than it was when I first introduced it ten years ago. We’re seeing more storms that are stronger and sea level rise is accelerating. We can’t wait any longer. Today, we’re arming local planners and managers with the tools they need to save people and property.”

    The primary cosponsor in the House, Rep. Don Young (R-AK), said, “No other state in the nation understands the need for coastal resilience and mapping more than Alaska. With more than 44,000 miles of coastline, much of which is not fully mapped, Alaska’s coastal communities rely heavily on our waterways and shipping channels to support all forms of social and economic prosperity: goods from the Lower 48, critical transportation needs, search and rescue operations, and the state’s largest private-sector employer – our fishing industry. The Digital Coast Act is an important step towards developing a system that supports our coastal communities, and serves our national security and economic needs. I am grateful to my colleagues in both the House and Senate for supporting its passage."

    The lead Senate co-sponsor is Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

    “The enactment of this bill is a testimony to the extraordinary leadership and tenacity of John “JB” Byrd of our firm”, Palatiello said. “JB patiently and methodically coordinated efforts among the coalition partners and supported members of Congress and staff, engaged a number of geospatial firms, and kept key NOAA staff aware of progress on the legislation throughout the long, arduous process. His professionalism, knowledge of Congress, and consensus building was evident and a major reason for the success of the Digital Coast Act.”

    About JMP&A

    John M. Palatiello & Associates, Inc., ( a public affairs consulting firm based in the Washington, DC suburb of Fairfax, VA, provides government relations, public relations, association management, strategic planning, event planning, and management and marketing consulting services to private firms, associations, and government agencies with an emphasis on the architecture and engineering; geospatial, mapping and GIS; construction; transportation and infrastructure, and land use sectors. The firm is a subsidiary of Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies, LLC ( 


  • 16 Dec 2020 3:39 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    Forms for Oregon’s Corporate Activity Tax are now available on the Department of Revenue website. Go to the Revenue forms page and scroll down to Corporate Activity Tax or type “corporate” in the search box. Forms now available include:

    • Form OR-CAT, Oregon Corporate Activity Tax Return.
    • Form OR-CAT, Oregon Corporate Activity Tax Return Instructions.
    • Form OR-CAT-EXT, Application for Extension of Time to File an Oregon Corporate Activity Tax Return.
    • Form OR-CAT-V, Oregon Corporate Activity Tax Payment Voucher.
    • Form OR-QUP-CAT, Underpayment of Oregon Corporate Activity Estimated Tax.
    • Publication OR-CAT-BRO, Corporate Activity Tax Brochure.
    • Schedule OR-AF-CAT, Schedule of Affiliates for Form OR-CAT.
    • Schedule OR-EXC-CAT, Exclusions From Commercial Activity.
    • Schedule OR-EXC-CAT, Exclusions From Commercial Activity.
    • Worksheet OR-CAT, Instructions for calculating tax on corporate activity.
    Taxpayers with general questions about the CAT can email or call 503-945-8005.

  • 09 Sep 2020 8:52 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    Nominations Being Accepted for 2020 Awards 

    Let's be honest - this year has been rough for quite a few reasons and it's not even over! However, business hasn't stopped and celebrating our members is more important than ever. Awards Committee Chairman, Dan Nelson is now accepting nominations. You may download a form here or write-up your nomination on a separate sheet and email them to the PLSO Office.

    Life Membership

    • Career long service to the profession & PLSO
    • Previously served as chapter officer or on a committee
    • Is currently and has been a PLSO Corporate Member for 10 years prior to the nomination

    Surveyor of the Year

    • Career long service to the profession & PLSO
    • Is currently and has been a PLSO Corporate Member for 5 years or more prior to the nomination
    • Have a demonstrated history of high competence, integrity, and professionalism
    • Assisted qualified and interested people in advancement within the profession
    Outstanding Associate or Special Member of the Year
    • Exemplary work and demonstrating professionalism during the year. 

    Article of the Year

    • An award given to the author of the best article that has been published in the Oregon Surveyor within the last year. (Typically, from October to September, but may be shifted to coincide with the annual meeting).

    In addition, Local Chapters or the Board may present additional awards such as:

    • Outstanding Associate or Special Member Award
    • Good Humor Award
    • Brush Cutter Award
    • Team Player Award
    • Bright Idea Award
    • Contagious Attitude Award
    • Diversity Award
    • Hidden Talent Award
    • Community Service Award

  • 08 Jul 2020 1:05 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    The Oregon Legislature held an Emergency Session last week, ending late on Friday, June 26th. During the three-day marathon, the Capitol was closed to the public and to lobbyists. Nonetheless, I actively advocated on your behalf, testifying remotely, and connecting with lawmakers over the phone and by email.

    The Emergency Session had two purposes: it dealt with COVID-19 related issues, but it was dominated by bills related to policing and the race-related civil unrest gripping our country right now.

    With no industry-specific legislation, most of my advocacy was as part of the Oregon Employer Roundtable. During the Special Session, the Roundtable advocated for a liability shield for businesses who are making a good faith effort to follow through on COVID-19 guidance for employers. Sadly, Democratic leadership kicked the can down the road, creating a work group rather than creating protections for businesses. This was particularly disappointing because there were enough votes in both the Senate and House to pass protections for businesses.

    Trial lawyers and labor groups exerted enough pressure to stop our amendment. More information is detailed below. I am hopeful protection will be adopted during the next Special Session, which will come in late July or early August.

    As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to evolve, along with the ever-changing responses from Federal, State and Local governments, I also continue to monitor these changes and advocate on your behalf, and on behalf of the business community in general. Below are updates on just some of what has been happening.


    On June 11, the Oregon Health Authority provided new guidance for businesses. If you haven’t reviewed this document, it should be high on your “to do” list for this week.

    General Guidance for Employers / June 11, 2020


    Beginning June 24, Governor Brown required everyone in Clackamas, Hood River, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, and Washington counties to begin wearing masks or face coverings when in indoor public spaces. She has since added Clatsop county beginning July 1. This new requirement will likely impact your members, especially if they have an area of their place of businesses where customers visit and/or if they visit workplaces which are open for business, or occupied homes.

    County Specific Mask Guidance / June 22, 2020


    You can review the ever-changing guidance from the Oregon Health Authority at their dedicated website, and register to receive their email updates below:

    Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Website

    COVID-19 Guidance Email Sign Up


    The threat of lawsuits from employees, or members of the public, related to COVID-19 is both unlimited and very real. And the threat isn’t limited to businesses. The Oregon Employers Roundtable efforts to provide liability protections included a partnership with local governments and nonprofits across the state who are facing the same uncertain future as businesses.

    More than 50 organizations signed on to a letter requesting protections. Rep. David Gomberg (D-Lincoln City) — a small business owner — spearheaded a letter signed by ten Democratic House members asking leadership for our amendment. These ten Democrats, when added to the Republicans, ensured enough votes to pass a liability protection amendment. Rep. Caddy McKeown (D-Coos Bay) drafted the amendment and had it ready for adoption by the Joint Committee. However, the Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek (D-Portland), announced after a break in testimony before the committee that the amendment would not be adopted.

    Speaker Kotek did say a work group would discuss the issue and some kind of liability protection may be considered by a future Emergency Session of the Legislature.

    Below is a link to all of the bills passed by the Emergency Session of the Legislature. You can click on any bill number to read the actual legislation. There are also links to the letter by the ten Democrats and the amendment they drafted, and links to the testimony requesting protection and an earlier letter from Labor groups opposing efforts to protect businesses.

    Bills Passed During the Emergency Session

    Employers Plead for Liability Relief

    Ten House Democrats Help Employers

    Employer Protection Amendment

    Labor Groups Weigh In


    One of labor’s demands during the Emergency Session was a new presumption in Workers Compensation law that all positive COVID-19 cases are covered by Workers Compensation insurance. The business community strongly opposed this demand. To her credit, Governor Kate Brown pushed the issue away from the Emergency Session and to MLAC (the Management-Labor Advisory Committee). The Legislature created MLAC in 1990 to ensure changes to Oregon’s highly successful workers compensation system are deliberate and thoughtful. I applaud Governor Brown for her letter (see link below to read her letter).

    Governor Brown's letter to MLAC June 23, 2020

    If you have any questions about any of the information provided here, please email or call me at 971-388-1786.

  • 07 Jul 2020 1:29 PM | PLSO Office (Administrator)

    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines membership as follows:

    Membership noun

    mem·ber·ship | \ˈmem-bər-ˌship

    plural memberships

    Definition of membership

    1: the state or status of being a member

    2: the body of members // an organization with a large membership

    Membership is implied to be individuals who have something in common and therefore wish to belong to a group or organization that promotes that commonality. This is not a new concept, as various memberships have existed for centuries. The groups can be formal or informal, business or social, public or private, but the common interest is key to them all. For instance, membership was a status symbol if you and/or your family belonged to a country club, hunting club or equestrian club. Groups have gathered socially in automobile and motorcycle clubs for the past century. Civic clubs, including Kiwanis, Lions Club, and the Jaycees, were created to provide organized assistance to municipalities and neighborhoods. Museums are well known for their membership programs and those donations help keep the institutions thriving. Other membership organizations were established to help people with various causes, including civil liberties, Second Amendment rights, and retiree programs and discounts. All serve a good and dedicated purpose; however, the most important one that will most likely provide the most benefit is the professional membership.


    Membership in a professional society, especially in times like these, is also important on many levels. For the surveying profession, it provides advocacy and representation for not just the licensed practitioner, but anyone who works in surveying. Some of the benefits of being a member of state and national surveying associations include:


    Part of the association’s role for professional oversight is regulatory advocacy. Professional licensing has come under fire in recent years as deregulation groups seek to eliminate licensing they see as a barrier to entry rather than to protect the integrity of the interests. State and national associations are working together to defend our profession against these efforts and maintain the regulatory requirements of the surveyor.

    Another area of advocacy is political representation at both the federal and state levels. From UAV uses to fighting back against infringing uses of radio signals used by GNSS satellites, the associations work together to represent the surveying profession’s best interest in potentially damaging policies and lack of funding for essential surveying and mapping activities.


    Besides advocating for licensing, the associations provide input and guidance for professional standards for technical documents and services. From working with the title examiners group to establish a national land title survey standard to specific guidelines for deliverables, our association groups work together to raise the standard of the profession. They also advocate for a higher ethical standard for all practitioners in surveying so to be seen in a respectable light.

    Various certification programs are available through the national and state associations, including:

    • Certified Survey Technician
    • Certified Hydrographic Surveyor
    • Certified Floodplain Surveyor

    These certifications allow Surveyors to promote their skill set further as one who is specifically trained for a particular task.


    The surveying associations provide continuing education (whether statutorily required or not) for all levels and tasks of surveyors, from introductory field and office to advanced technology and legal curriculum. Many also provide material refreshers for those preparing for their licensing exams. Many of these educational opportunities are held during annual conferences and seminars specifically targeted for surveyors, whether members or not.

    Labor shortages are happening in most professions and surveying is no different. Our organizations provide educational outreach for future surveyors through various conduits, including elementary and high school programs and college career days through engineering and mapping-related curriculums. We also promote scholarship opportunities for two- and four-year degree college programs through a variety of channels.


    Along with formal surveying education topics and discussions, another substantial portion of an association’s conference or seminar is an exhibitor’s hall showcasing the latest and greatest in surveying technology. It is also a place for vendors to present new data services to augment existing surveying tasks.

    Technology providers often utilize these associations for advertising and marketing so members are exposed to new equipment, software, and processes more directly than simply advertising in trade magazines.


    Many of these organizations offer member discount programs for insurance, travel, products, and more. They can provide these discounted options simply because of the buying power of more users, so the savings are passed on directly to the Surveyor.

    Associations also often offer career centers for connecting people and open positions. Many also offer resume services to help the job seeker capture their best qualities for inclusion on a job application.


    While the aforementioned are the main examples of the benefits of membership in your state and national surveying association, for many it is simply the opportunity to connect with fellow professionals and technicians. Whether it be for job openings, questions regarding a specific survey or simply engaging another professional in peer review, your membership in these groups helps to pave the way to completing these tasks and more.


    Although we are living in unprecedented times, maintaining your memberships, both state and national, may become a question of necessity. For most, prioritizing expenses has become more scrutinized and membership is easily seen as non-essential cost. These memberships are an investment in your profession and career, so consider that return when your next renewal form comes in the mail. The money spent now on professional memberships can go a long way in keeping your profession and career acknowledged as an essential service for years to come.

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