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I think a lot of people use the term "right of way" in too broadly in these situations. You need to understand there are easements across land for very specific use or users, dedicated right of way as you would find in subduvisions, right of ways acquired by long term public use which the courts typically treat like limited use easements, then you have right of ways acquired through purchase, these can be either private or public. When asking about these from county staff its very likely they will generalize without doing the research. Then to further confuse the issue every state adopted laws in their early days to deal with public access and who gets the right of way if vacated. Another hybrid is counties allowing a subdivision with publicly dedicated right of way to privately control that right of way which is a means of getting gated communities.
 

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Talked again today with the County. Bona fide county owned road. It even has its own name.

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Locally we have a County road in a subdivision that has a county road name and number but is gated to only landowners behind the gate. The landowners have a trust fund they pay into that pays for road maintenance. No public tax money is being spent on the road only private money which in this day with trash dumping and theft is a benefit to those living behind the gate.
 

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Meaning the County here will simply tell you its a county road, but unless you live behind the gate you have no access rights. Just pointing out that strip of roadway and who can use it is simply not cut and dried.
 

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The example you cite above really sounds like a private road to me. The fact that there is a HOA fund and maintenance agreement in place....and a gate....screams private. Many private roads have officially recognized names for them. I'd be curious to know the name of this road you speak of.

The road I am questioning in my original post is a public road, open to the public, with a 60 ft. wide County owned ROW. I've confirmed this verbally with the County, and the County GIS backs up County ownership.

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I should know i wrote the county agreement. Its a county owned 60 foot right of way with a 24 foot wide paved surface.
 

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Are you saying a WA county agreed to vacate a public right of way?

In Oregon, absent that vacate, it's a public road that the public can ingress and egress without any obstacle employed by adjacent land owners.
Washington State like many has thousands of miles of public ROW that are not opened up just trees and brush. The second part of ROW use is who maintains it. For a county to put money into that road they need to bring it the counties inventory of roads through legal action. Until that happens it remains an unopened ROW. The plus side of a gated county road to an subdivision is the property values are higher subjecting the property to higher tax.
 
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