Why did I get a service charge reminder letter?

State law requires the District to send service charge letters to the owners of all rural properties in the District once per year, and to the owners of all city properties on which the District has verified reasonable grounds to believe our signals are in use.

Who gets a reminder letter?

These letters are sent out every summer by law, and our board policies require a reminder letter be sent to every property owner who has not responded to the service charge letter by winter of the following year.

What if I do not return the letter?

The letter must be returned by all property owners, submitting payment for the voter-approved service charge ($100 per year) or requesting an exemption. If the letter is not returned, then state law requires the District to place the charge on the following year’s property taxes for certain properties. For example, if the 2019-2020 service charge letter, sent in summer 2019, is not returned by February 2020, the property owner will receive a reminder letter. If neither letter is returned, the charge will be placed on the owner’s fall 2020 property tax statement.

Isn’t antenna television free?

The federal government requires all full power television stations to transmit their signals for free. BMTD does not operate full power television stations, we operate low-power television translators that transmit channels normally broadcast by urban full power stations in Baker and Union Counties. As a local government special district, both the US Congress and the Oregon Legislative Assembly empower the District to charge for the use of these over-the-air signals.

Why is there a $100 charge on my property taxes?

If the District does not receive a payment or a returned letter with a signature claiming an exemption for the service year (e.g. 2016-2017), the full assessment will be placed on the property taxes of the property owner for the following year (e.g. 2017-2018). The Blue Mountain Translator District is required by state law to send service charge letters to every property owner within the District boundaries once per year. A service charge letter is sent to the owner of properties that are outside of the District’s boundaries after the District has physically inspected the properties to discover whether transmitted signals can be received, and the service charge letter sent to these individuals must include a copy of this report.

What is Blue Mountain Translator District?

Formed in 1978, the translator district was created to bring “over the air” television to Baker and Union counties.  The district is governed by an elected Board of Directors who serve on a volunteer basis and live within the district boundaries. Learn more in this LaGrandeAlive.TV profile from October 2017!

What are BMTD’s office hours?

Our satellite office is located at 2307 Adams Ave, La Grande, OR                  open from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday-Friday except for major holidays.

How much does it cost?

$100.00 per year.

I started watching in the middle of the year. Is the charge pro-rated?

No. ORS 354.705 refers to the service charge as a minimum tax rate. If the TV signal is viewed at any point between July-June, a viewer must pay the full $100 service charge.

Who has to pay for the service?

Anyone who owns or rents residential property in Baker and Union counties and receives and uses the “over the air” television signals from any of the 3 translators.

ORS 354.690

(2)  When a district broadcasts television signals through a translator on a regular basis, if any person residing on or occupying property located in an area entirely surrounded by the district intentionally receives and uses those signals, the owner of that property is liable to the district for a service charge.  The owner of the property shall be deemed to have contracted with the district for use of the translator signals.

Blue Mountain Translator District surrounds the cities of Baker City, Cove, Elgin, Haines, Imbler, Island City, La Grande, North Powder, Summerville, and Union.

 Who receives a letter every year?

Rural property owners (district members) who may receive and use the signal, and the owners of properties within city limits where an antenna was discovered during a physical inspection.

Why do I receive a letter every year?

Oregon statues state that we must annually mail all properties where the signal can be received, and surrounded by the district where an antenna is located.

Why don’t all customers in the cities receive a letter?

At this time residents of the cities are not incorporated into the district.  However, residents of cities in Baker and Union counties are subject to the $100.00 annual fee due May 31st if they use the signal.  See above ORS 354.690

Why can BMTD add the fee to my property taxes?

Reference Oregon statute ORS 354.690.

What if I rent my property or have multiple residences on my land?

It is the responsibility of the property owner to know whether or not a tenant is utilizing the signal and respond accordingly.  If you have multiple residences on your property you need to respond for each residential structure.

What channels are broadcast?

Depending on the translator you are receiving a signal from:

ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, the CW, NBC (Boise), and KPDX.


First be sure to check all connections and that your antenna is pointed towards the mountain you receive your signal from.

  1. CABLE CONNECTION:  Most Digital Televisions have a direct coax cable connector, but older TV’s often failed part in your system will be the balun which attaches the coax cable to your antenna. Check that both U connectors are securely screwed on making a firm connection.  Check this annually.  Often times cabling from existing cable television services will work well with your antenna. Occasionally we see problems when the existing cable was from Dish or Direct TV. It may be best to use new coax cable from your antenna directly to your television. Signal works best with cabling not to exceed 100ft. Remember every time the coax cable splits it loses half of its signal. There are quality splitters available. http://support.channelmaster.com/hc/en-us/articles/200383715-How-Much-Signal-Do-I-Lose-Going-Through-A-Splitter-
  2. SCANNING:  Re-scan: follow your televisions MENU options and scan for antenna or air signal
  3. DEAD SCAN:  Unhook the coax cable from the back of your television and run the scan program. Re-attach the coax cable and run the scan program again.
  4. MISSING ONE CHANNEL:  If you are missing just one channel, try inputting the RF channel with your remote to see if the channel comes back. See the channel listing at the end of this document.
  5. WEAK SIGNAL:  Weak signal notice. Depending on the trees or buildings between your antenna and the mountain you may need an amplifier in your system. Best is to have one that is not part of the antenna. One amplifier is great – two amplifiers will negate each other.

RF channels follow:         Bold: Input this on the remote (): what your TV will likely display

Beaver Mountain:            18 (ch 8), 40 (ch 12), 42 (ch 6), 44 (ch 2), 46 (ch 7)

Mt Fanny:                              23 (ch 7), 26 (ch 8), 29 (ch 6), 31 (ch 32), 33 (ch 12), 35 (ch 2), 39 (ch 49)

Mt Harris:                               41 (ch 12), 43 (ch 8), 45 (ch 6), 47 (ch 2)