Tonkon

It Doesn’t Take a Weatherman...

Environmental


2/23/2017 by Janet Neuman

It Doesn’t Take a Weatherman...
Actually, sometimes it does take a weatherman. Or a weatherwoman, as long as he or she is a real meteorologist, with an actual degree in SCIENCE, as Bill Nye the Science Guy might say. A month ago, when record snow was dumping on Portland and across the state, the Oregonian ran an article titled: "There’s snow in Portland, so is global climate change even real? Yes, say scientists." National Weather Service meteorologist Jon Bonk explained to the reporter why the record snowfalls and cold temperatures in Portland do not disprove climate change, or “global warming” as some non-scientists still call it. My favorites of his quotes: “’Climate’ is what you expect, but ‘weather’ is what you actually get.” “A single weather event doesn’t prove anything about climate change.”

Portland General Electric Wants to Electrify Your Commute

Energy


2/15/2017 by Stephanie J. Grant

Portland General Electric Wants to Electrify Your Commute
In December 2016, Portland General Electric released its "Transportation Electrification Plan." The objectives outlined in the Plan position PGE as leader among electric utilities in embracing electric transportation. The utility's goals include encouraging more people to choose electric transportation options, effectively integrating electric vehicles into its grid; and to making purchase and use of electric vehicles easier for consumers. PGE's proposed initiatives range from community outreach to installing charging stations for TriMet busses and private vehicles. For example, some Portland residents may already be familiar with PGE's "Electric Avenue" charging site downtown at World Trade Center.

Downtown Parking Lot Facelift Starts With The Collective

Real Estate and Land Use


2/9/2017 by David J. Petersen

Downtown Parking Lot Facelift Starts With The Collective
Construction is underway for one of the first of many development projects slated for downtown surface parking lots owned by the Goodman family's Downtown Development Group. Due to open in fall of 2018, The Collective is a 15-story mixed use apartment building planned for 425 residential units and underground parking at SW Fourth and Harrison. New-to-Portland developer Core Spaces will develop the project. An anchor grocery store and restaurant are targeted for the ground-floor retail.

Mind Your Tail-A Visit to Banfield Pet Hospital's New Corporate Headquarters

Real Estate and Land Use


2/7/2017 by Jeanette C. Schuster

Mind Your Tail-A Visit to Banfield Pet Hospital's New Corporate Headquarters
At a recent meeting at the new corporate headquarters of Medical Management, Inc. dba Banfield Pet Hospital ("Banfield"), I took some time to admire the beautiful spaces that mark Banfield's showcase new headquarters located in Vancouver, Washington, and the many smiling dog faces encountered at every turn. Banfield moved its corporate headquarters from its previous, long-term location in NE Portland to Vancouver to accommodate the company's growth (over 800 employees work there). The location of Vancouver was chosen to minimize commute times and staff disruptions.

Water, Water Everywhere: Coming Soon to a Legislative Chamber Near You

Water Law


2/3/2017 by Janet Neuman

Water, Water Everywhere: Coming Soon to a Legislative Chamber Near You
Water is a real estate issue, a business issue, a taxpayer issue. Whether you're a developer, a farmer, a city manager, a manufacturer, or "just" a taxpayer, I think you’ll be hearing a lot more about water in the next few months. Last summer, The Oregonian ran an excellent, in-depth series of four feature articles about water. That, in itself, is news since water issues rarely make the front page in the metro area. Boiled down to its essence, the series demonstrated that Oregon's water management system is out of balance, particularly when it comes to groundwater. The state doesn't have sufficient data about Oregon's groundwater resources to assess the impact of new requests to pump, but the default response has been to issue permits anyway.

Longview Coal Terminal Follows Footsteps of Other Unsuccessful Fossil Fuel Export Proposals

Real Estate and Land Use


1/30/2017 by David J. Petersen

Longview Coal Terminal Follows Footsteps of Other Unsuccessful Fossil Fuel Export Proposals
Opponents of a proposed coal export terminal on the Columbia River in Longview, Washington are celebrating the State of Washington's decision to deny the developer the right to use state-owned aquatic lands. As part of its proposal to export 44 million tons of coal annually from Longview, Millennium Bulk Terminals applied for state approval to sublease aquatic lands currently leased to Northwest Alloys, an ALCOA subsidiary. Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark rejected the proposal, citing Millennium's "chronic pattern of failure" in providing essential and accurate information in connection with the request.

Out of Sight, but Not Out of Mind

Water Law


1/24/2017 by Janet Neuman

Out of Sight, but Not Out of Mind
The unusually cold weather in Portland and other parts of the state this winter brought some attention to the area’s aging water infrastructure. The Portland Water Bureau normally deals with about 200 broken water mains a year, but the freezing temperatures caused even more breaks than usual. Ten occurred in just three days over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend, bringing the weekly total to 45. One broken main disrupted traffic on busy Barbur Boulevard near downtown Portland—though since the break occurred on the MLK holiday itself, the impact was less than it could have been. The broken Barbur main was 75 years old.

Toxic Air Emissions-Time to Tally

Environmental


1/19/2017 by Jeanette C. Schuster

Toxic Air Emissions-Time to Tally
On January 6, I attended a Q&A session by lawyers and technical experts designed to help business entities prepare responses to an information request by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality ("DEQ") under the agency's new air toxics program called Cleaner Air Oregon that was launched in April 2016. Specifically, DEQ has requested hundreds of Oregon businesses to provide information on annual production and materials usage, and a certain subset of businesses to prepare air emissions inventories (excluding dry cleaners or gasoline dispensing facilities). This is no small task because the list of chemicals that must be evaluated numbers over 600.

Portland General Electric Plans to Replace Coal with Renewable Energy

Energy


1/18/2017 by David J. Petersen

Portland General Electric Plans to Replace Coal with Renewable Energy
Portland General Electric (PGE) will shut down Oregon's only coal-fired power plant in 2020. Recently, PGE filed with the Oregon Public Utility Commission its plan to replace that energy, and to meet the state's revised renewable portfolio standard (RPS). The plan identifies a shortfall of 819 megawatts (MW) in 2021 after closure of the Boardman coal plant. Also, PGE must source 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, 27% by 2025 and 50% by 2040. To offset the loss of Boardman and move toward these targets, PGE plans to acquire 175 new MW of renewable energy by 2020.

Five Jaw-Dropping Reasons to Read "Ear to the Ground"

Environmental, Real Estate and Land Use, Water Law


1/17/2017 by David J. Petersen, Janet Neuman, Jeanette C. Schuster, Michael Mangan

Five Jaw-Dropping Reasons to Read
Despite that headline, it's not clickbait. We are attorneys at Tonkon Torp LLP, a full service business law firm in Portland, Oregon. We have our ears to the ground as to what is going on in the real estate development community in the Pacific Northwest. It is our goal to share what we know and learn with you. Our legal careers are diverse, so we can cover a lot of ground.