The legal doctrine of adverse possession generates a lot of legal folklore. If you fence in your neighbor’s property for X years, does it become yours? In some states, yes; in others, no. In Oregon the answer is “it depends.”
The kissing cousin of adverse possession is the prescriptive easement. If you use your neighbor’s property for a driveway for X years without permission, do you acquire a permanent easement to continue to use it? In some states, yes; in others, no. In Oregon the answer is — you guessed it — “it depends.” One of the facts on which the answer depends is whether your use was adverse enough for the neighbor to notice that you were trespassing. If your use wasn’t so obvious that your neighbor must have noticed, then your use isn’t adverse enough to ripen into a prescriptive easement. The Oregon court of appeals said this month that if your neighbor is a railroad, it might not be expected to notice that you’re trespassing, even if you’ve been trespassing for 75 years. Read Dean Alterman’s article about the case on LinkedIn here.