Ore. counties may pay Comcast now to save later

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Three Oregon counties may return $16.8 million in taxes to Comcast this fall to avoid paying millions more in interest later if the cable television giant wins a property tax appeal.

Multnomah County could return approximately $8.2 million to Comcast, Washington County $5 million and Clackamas County $3.6 million.

In addition to the metropolitan Portland counties, seven other Oregon counties could be affected: Benton, Columbia, Lane, Linn, Marion, Polk and Yamhill.

The Oregonian reports that Comcast saw its property values and taxes increase dramatically after the state Department of Revenue began using a new formula to "centrally assess" the cable giant in 2009-10. Until then, individual counties "locally assessed" the company's property value.

The case could also affect dozens of Oregon school districts, cities, fire districts and other public agencies.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com