June 27, 2022

30 (Tied) | Oregon

Score: 35/100
  • Brent Skorup

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  • Airspace Lease Law: 30/30
  • Avigation Easement Law: 0/25
  • Task Force or Program Office: 0/20
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: 0/10
  • Sandbox: 0/10
  • Jobs Estimate: 5/5

Factors Helping the State Score

  • Airspace Lease Law: Oregon law allows public authorities to lease low-altitude airspace above state and local roads. Such a law allows state or local officials to create drone highways above these roadways.
  • Jobs Estimate: Oregon is in the top quintile when it comes to the number of drone-related jobs per 100,000 people, receiving five out of five points.

Factors Hindering the State Score

  • Avigation Easement Law: Oregon law does not create an avigation easement, which means drone operators may be subject to nuisance and trespass laws, even if their drones do not disturb people on the ground.
  • Task Force or Program Office: State leaders should consider convening a statewide drone task force or creating a drone program office within the transportation department.
  • Law Vesting Landowners with Air Rights: Oregon law does not expressly provide air rights to landowners, which raises litigation risk for drone operators because landowners do not know the extent of their property rights and may sue to protect their interests. The law allows landowners to sue for drone trespass, but there are many exemptions for drone flights, so the litigation risk remains.
  • Sandbox: Oregon does not have a drone sandbox. There are major drone test sites and airspace access at the Pendleton UAS Range and the Tillamook UAS Test Range, but neither site appears to have an affiliation with the state transportation department. State officials should consider dedicating state facilities and airspace to commercial drone testing and should have a prominent, open invitation for drone companies to test their hardware and services.

These factors make Oregon tied (with West Virginia) for the 30th most drone-friendly state in the country.