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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 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 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.

The Goat Blocks Show the Value of the Long Play

Real Estate and Land Use


7/27/2017 by David J. Petersen

The Goat Blocks Show the Value of the Long Play
The 347-unit Goat Blocks apartment project is due to open shortly in inner SE Portland. Killian Pacific's project features 347 market rate apartments, the fourth Market of Choice grocery store in the Portland area, an Orchard Supply Hardware and 98,000 additional square feet of retail. The story of the Goat Blocks reveals how the long play can pan out in commercial real estate. Starting in the 1920s, the two-block superblock served as a neighborhood bazaar and farmer's market. Unused by 1999, Killian Pacific acquired the site and talked to the neighborhood about what it needed.

Kickstarting New Brownfields Development in Portland

Environmental, Real Estate and Land Use


7/20/2017 by Jeanette Schuster

Kickstarting New Brownfields Development in Portland
For a city as deeply steeped in all things sustainable, organic, gluten-free, and vegan as Portland, Oregon, it is surprising that the city does not have more of a thriving Brownfields program. Brownfields are the contaminated properties (and eyesores) remaining after a commercial or an industrial use is abandoned—think former gas stations and dry cleaners. A Brownfields program provides incentives for cleanup and redevelopment of these properties. Portland has over 900 acres of designated Brownfields, many in choice locations or in underserved neighborhoods.

The Fair-Haired Dumbbell Regulation A+ Offering

Real Estate and Land Use


6/29/2017 by Rachel Kiyoko Atchison

The Fair-Haired Dumbbell Regulation A+ Offering
On the corner of NE MLK and Burnside in Portland, the new Fair-Haired Dumbbell building is nearly complete. The building has garnered attention for its unique architectural design and painting plans. But more important for developers is the way the building was funded: with crowdfunding pursuant to the recently revised Regulation A, popularly known as Regulation A+.

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.

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