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Vancouver Is Not Portland, and That's Just Right

Real Estate and Land Use


6/22/2017 by David J. Petersen

Vancouver Is Not Portland, and That's Just Right
Vancouver and Portland have a relationship that is, well, complicated. For some they are too close, and Vancouver seems bland and uninteresting, lost in the glare reflected from its more glamorous neighbor. For others, they are too far apart, separated by an iconic river, an aging bridge and an eternal traffic nightmare. But things change. Helping this trend considerably is the gradual makeover of Vancouver's dull image.

"Infrastructure Week" – In Case You Missed It

Environmental, Real Estate and Land Use, Water Law


6/16/2017 by Janet Neuman

For those of you who may have been distracted by other events in the news, let me recap the Trump Administration’s "Infrastructure Week" for you.

Monday, June 5: President Trump kicked off the week with a formal East Room signing ceremony, complete with a military band, souvenir pens, and a photo op. What did he sign? Was it his promised trillion dollar spending proposal to rebuild the nation's highways, bridges, dams, and water facilities? No—just a letter to Congress that advocated privatizing the air traffic control system. Even that did not represent a new proposal, but simply expressed support for a bill initially proposed several years ago by a Pennsylvania representative in Congress—a version of which died in the Senate last year. The LA Times called it "the latest example of a pattern of the administration claiming to have sent Congress fully constructed policies when it has provided only facades..."

Beware Environmental Regulations Lurking in City Codes

Environmental, Water Law


6/8/2017 by Jeanette C. Schuster

Beware Environmental Regulations Lurking in City Codes
When most people think of environmental regulations, they think of the federal government (United States Environmental Protection Agency or "EPA") and state agencies (Oregon Department of Environmental Quality or "DEQ"). However, environmental requirements also lurk in city ordinances. While such local requirements are often tied to the issuance of a building permit and cannot be avoided, operators of an existing facility may not be aware of them and therefore fail to implement them. This risks possible enforcement actions and fines.

Is All Renewable Energy by 2050 Realistic?

Energy


6/1/2017 by David J. Petersen

Is All Renewable Energy by 2050 Realistic?
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury recently pledged that the City and County will run exclusively on renewable energy by 2050. Is this for real? Can it be done? To answer that, this post focuses on science and economics. Policy and human nature are of course huge hurdles also, but I want to know – assuming there is the will, is there a way? Going 100% renewable basically requires electrifying everything. This mostly means transitioning the energy source for transportation and heating from carbon fuels to electricity. Of course, electrifying everything will cause a huge increase in demand for electricity. Electricity from wind and solar are the best carbon-free options, and they are limited only by the amount of the earth's surface dedicated to their generation. But they are not "dispatchable," meaning they are not always available when needed.

Oregon House Passes Hidden Property Tax Increase

Real Estate and Land Use


5/26/2017 by Michael Mangan

Oregon House Passes Hidden Property Tax Increase
The Oregon House of Representatives just passed a bill (now headed to the Senate) that will significantly increase property taxes in some Oregon cities. House Bill 2088 allows cities to pick the method for determining a property's taxable value after a change occurs to that property, e.g. a remodel or addition. Although you cannot tell from reading the Bill, the practical effect will be a hidden property tax increase.

Forward-Thinking Senior Living Community Blazes Net-Zero Neighborhood Trail

Energy, Environmental, Real Estate and Land Use


5/19/2017 by Jeanette C. Schuster

Forward-Thinking Senior Living Community Blazes Net-Zero Neighborhood Trail
By their nature, senior living communities are forward-thinking, always keeping an eye on 10, 20, 30 years down the road. Rose Villa, a Portland, Oregon nonprofit continuing care retirement community (CCRC), exemplifies this forward-thinking strategy on an environmental and land use planning basis with its recent, large-scale redevelopment project that has created pocket neighborhoods, including a soon-to-be-forthcoming "net-zero" neighborhood.

Resilient Design: Preparing for Disruption

Environmental, Real Estate and Land Use


5/11/2017 by Janet Neuman

Resilient Design: Preparing for Disruption
In January and February, the New York Times ran a series of articles on resilient design. The concept of resilient design is just what it sounds like—incorporating features in the design of the built environment that help make buildings, transportation infrastructure, water and wastewater systems, and public safety networks resilient in the face of natural or human-caused disasters. The NYT series featured new buildings—from luxury apartment towers to affordable housing complexes—that are being designed with the lessons of Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy in mind. Simple changes can help buildings and their occupants bounce back after disasters.

Portland's Commercial Real Estate Boom: Is the End Near?

Real Estate and Land Use


5/2/2017 by David J. Petersen

Portland's Commercial Real Estate Boom: Is the End Near?
There is no doubt that Portland's commercial real estate market is on fire, and has been for several years. But what goes around comes around, so when is the next down-cycle coming? Based on a recent Portland Business Journal survey, most commercial real estate executives in Portland think 2017 will be even hotter than 2016, but that warning signs of a downturn are starting to appear.

Mall Expansion in Beaverton is Taking Off

Real Estate and Land Use


4/24/2017 by Jeanette C. Schuster

Mall Expansion in Beaverton is Taking Off
The expansion of Cedar Hills Crossing mall in Beaverton, located on SW Cedar Hills Boulevard approximately between Hall Boulevard and Walker Road, is well underway. The buildings that needed to make way have been razed and the site now looks poised for construction work. The existing mall has an interesting history. Originally, it was the site of Bernard's Airport, which was a non-commercial airfield and one of two private airports located in Beaverton. In 1969, the airport shut down and the site was redeveloped as "Bernard's Beaverton Mall." In 2002, Vancouver development company C.E. John Company expanded and redeveloped the mall and renamed it "Cedar Hills Crossing." Current anchor tenants include New Seasons Market, Powell's Books, Best Buy, Old Navy, and WinCo Foods. The mall also has a movie theater, a bowling alley, a gym, and a health clinic.

Is Property Tax Reform Coming to Oregon?

Real Estate and Land Use


4/18/2017 by Michael Mangan

Is Property Tax Reform Coming to Oregon?
As our state faces a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, lawmakers are considering a number of ways to raise taxes to bridge the gap. One current proposal asks Oregonians to reconsider Measure 50, their 1990s-era property tax revolt. Senate Joint Resolution 3 (SJR3) – would amend Oregon's Constitution and do away with Measure 50. Property taxes would be based on real market values instead of the formulaic "Assessed Values" we have now.

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