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Wednesday, May 17 • 3:00pm - 3:30pm
Land Segregation in Washington

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The Land Ordinance of 1785 marked the beginning of the Public Land Survey System. Over the next 100 years the great majority of the land within the United States would be subdivided from a “wilderness” into segregated parcels of “real property” owned by individuals and legal entities. 

Settlers encouraged by the Preemption Act in 1841 and the Oregon Treaty in 1846 preceded the PLSS surveyors into what would soon be known as Washington Territory.  The Donation Land Act in 1850 and the establishment of the Willamette Meridian in 1851 ensured that claims of private ownership to parcels of land in the area would explode. 
I will focus on the general methods used in the PLSS surveys that resulted in the establishment of Townships, Sections, Quarter Sections and Government Lots in Washington State. We will see how Township lines and Range lines are counted from the Initial Point of the survey. I will show how the boustrophedontic method led to the creation of Government Lots in the northern and western tiers of Townships. I will include how subsequent surveys deal with error in the PLSS. We will see how subdivision deeds and plats along with the regulations (or lack thereof) that governed platting would lead to the creation of hundreds of thousands of individual parcels of land within Washington State. There will be discussion regarding the concept of a “bundle of rights” that determine what ownership of real property means in a legal sense along with how covenants, reservations, restrictions, easement rights and assessments impact real property ownership. Lastly, I will touch on the definition of a right-of-way and how public ownership of right-of-way differs from fee simple ownership.

avatar for Allen Grissom

Allen Grissom

Seattle Information Technology
After 15 years in Land Surveying and land development, I was lured into GIS at the City of Seattle by the seemingly endless possibilities. Over the last 5 years I've had opportunities to work on projects involving aerial imagery, lidar, cadastral data and other city wide vector d... Read More →

Wednesday May 17, 2017 3:00pm - 3:30pm
Room 315

Attendees (16)