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Oregon Targets Renewable Heating Companies for Increased Assessments

Real Estate and Land Use


10/12/2017 by Michael Mangan

Oregon Targets Renewable Heating Companies for Increased Assessments
Biomass heating companies, which use renewable energy sources like wood, crop waste, or garbage to generate heat, will now come under central assessment in Oregon. Under central assessment, all of a company's property, including its intangible property – e.g. goodwill, trade secrets, and contract rights – is taxable by law. This reclassification will likely result in a significant increase to the amount of property taxes these companies pay.

Water in the Cloud(s)

Manufacturing, Water Law


10/3/2017 by Janet Neuman

Water in the Cloud(s)
In case you struggle—as I do—to wrap your head around the concept of "the internet of things," here's a wonderful, accessible, and local example. A Portland company called SweetSense™ has developed a remote sensor monitoring system to improve delivery of drinking water in the developing world. In remote villages in Africa, where the only source of potable water is a community hand pump, pump breakdown is not just an annoyance, but a serious public health problem.

Terminal 1 Is Back in the Driver's Seat

Real Estate and Land Use


9/26/2017 by Jeanette C. Schuster

Terminal 1 Is Back in the Driver's Seat
Terminal 1, the decrepit former marine terminal located on NW Front Avenue just north of the Fremont Bridge on the west side of the Willamette River, was recently bought by the Medford-based automotive company, Lithia Motors. The company plans to develop a portion of the property for its own use, but also plans to sell a large portion of the property to developers, presumably for industrial use as the property is zoned heavy industrial, which forbids the construction of offices, retail stores, or residential housing. Given Terminal 1's history, it is apropos that a transportation company is once again in charge of the property's use.

In the e-Commerce Game, It's All About the Last Mile

Real Estate and Land Use


9/15/2017 by David J. Petersen

In the e-Commerce Game, It's All About the Last Mile
Legend has it that e-commerce began in April 1995 when Jeff Bezos went into his Seattle garage and boxed up the first book he sold on amazon.com. Since then, internet access has grown from 0.4% to almost 50% of the world's population. E-commerce has grown to match, far outpacing the growth of traditional retail. This boom benefited industrial real estate across the country, as monstrous distribution centers were built near major population centers. But in 2017, e-commerce's best customers – millennials – often don't live near those distribution centers. Cities with a high percentage of millennials like Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Denver and New Orleans still have significant need for e-commerce distribution facilities.

Eagle Creek Fire Threatens More Than Just Trees

Environmental, Real Estate and Land Use


9/7/2017 by David J. Petersen

Eagle Creek Fire Threatens More Than Just Trees
This past week brought a smoky smell, floating ash, and a hazy, deep red sun to downtown Portland. School athletics were cancelled and people advised to stay indoors. Pedestrians walk about in face masks as if this was Beijing, and our primary commercial lifeline to the east – Interstate 84 – has been closed for several days. These are all the consequence of some irresponsible teens with fireworks who started the Eagle Creek Fire, burning in the heart of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area about 30 miles east of downtown. As of this writing, the fire has burned 31,000 acres and is only 5% contained. The Columbia Gorge is the crown jewel of the fantastic landscapes that surround Portland and make it such an attractive place to live and work.

New Developments on the Rise in Downtown Portland

Real Estate and Land Use


9/5/2017 by Jeanette C. Schuster

New Developments on the Rise in Downtown Portland
Every day on my way to and from work, I see the building on SW Taylor between 2nd and 3rd getting eaten away, bite by bite. Oddly enough, it's a very orderly and calm process, the tearing down of a building. The site currently houses the Ancient Order of United Workmen Temple (or what's left of it anyway) and is the planned new home for a 10-story building by Ankrom Moisan Architects. According to the architecture firm's blog about this project, the building will consist of about 190,000 square feet. The main use of the building will be for creative office space with some retail space planned for the ground floor.

Water in the Silicon Forest

Manufacturing, Water Law


8/25/2017 by Janet Neuman

Water in the Silicon Forest
Do you have any idea how much virtual water is embodied in your computer? A lot! Your morning shower might use about 17 gallons, but manufacturing a computer requires more than 400 times that amount—as much as 7300 gallons. Computer manufacturing is an incredibly thirsty business—all of those silicon wafers that make up the core of your computer are rinsed over and over again during the assembly process. And ordinary water won't do—computer manufacturing requires "ultra-pure water" ("UPW") that won't leave behind any residue or contaminants of any kind.

In the Sharing Economy, is All Real Estate Still Local?

Real Estate and Land Use


8/18/2017 by David J. Petersen, Kimberlee A. Stafford

In the Sharing Economy, is All Real Estate Still Local?
The City of Portland has an Airbnb problem. Its citizens want to use Airbnb to earn income on real estate investments, but the City has valid concerns about safety, tax collection, non-discrimination, and Airbnb's impact on the availability of affordable housing. To address this, Portland followed San Francisco's lead and adopted an ordinance allowing for short-term rentals, but only if the rental unit is registered with the city and meets other regulatory requirements, such as the owner carrying liability insurance. Airbnb has taken some steps to encourage compliance but, also like San Francisco, Portland has struggled with enforcement.

Shining a Positive Light on the Willamette River with Portland's New Urban Plan

Environmental, Real Estate and Land Use, Water Law


8/11/2017 by Jeanette C. Schuster

Shining a Positive Light on the Willamette River with Portland's New Urban Plan
Growth and development in Portland's central city – comprised of 10 neighborhoods adjacent to or near the Willamette River, including South Waterfront, Lloyd and downtown – will soon be governed by a new urban development plan. A draft of the new plan (seven years in the making), dubbed the "Central City 2035" or "CC2035" plan, was released on June 22, 2017. Portland's city council is taking testimony on the draft through September 15, 2017. The basis of the plan is to prepare Portland's urban core to absorb 30 percent of the city's total expected growth rate, including the addition of more than 50,000 jobs.

The (Bull Run) Honeymoon is Over...

Water Law


8/3/2017 by Janet Neuman

The (Bull Run) Honeymoon is Over...
In 1895, Portlanders started drinking unfiltered water from the Bull Run watershed on Mt. Hood. Right away, public health officials noted a big drop in typhoid fever cases, and by 1905, the water was being credited for a record low death rate in Portland. It wasn't until 1929 that the Water Bureau started adding a little chlorine to the water for disinfection, and that—plus a little ammonia—is still pretty much the extent of treatment today. For more than a century, Portlanders—along with many other metro area residents whose water is provided through wholesale water contracts with Portland—have enjoyed wonderful, fresh, clean Bull Run water.

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