David chairs Tonkon Torp's Real Estate & Land Use practice group, focusing his practice on land use and local government law. He has helped bring a wide range of development projects to fruition, including large-scale residential developments, big-box retail stores, educational and office campuses, mixed-use developments and master planned communities, and other industrial and commercial facilities. He has successfully represented clients before a wide range of permitting bodies including the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals and many Oregon and California cities and counties.
David has a subspecialty focusing on renewable energy development, having worked with many clients to bring utility-scale wind and solar facilities online in Oregon, California, and elsewhere. David has represented clients before and serves as a hearings officer for the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council. He is a member of the firm's Energy Law practice group and often speaks and writes on land use topics as they relate to renewable energy.
Beyond land use, David has a robust real estate transactional practice, representing owners and developers in a wide range of title, finance, transactional, leasing, and regulatory matters. He has handled the real estate aspects of several complex mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcies, including the $1.2 billion sale of 146 senior housing facilities arising out of the bankruptcy of Sunwest, at the time the nation's largest privately-held senior housing provider. He also regularly counsels developers and owners on the intricacies of Oregon law related to owners' associations and restrictive covenants.
David's clients repeatedly praise his direct advice, quickness to grasp key issues, and efficiency in completing work on time and under budget. Clients and decision-makers alike compliment his clear, concise, and forthright explanation of complicated issues and presentation of legal arguments.
Prior to joining Tonkon Torp, David worked as a criminal investigator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. After law school, he practiced real estate and land use law in the San Francisco area.
Get To Know
Featured Representative Matters
Site Certificate for Oregon Wind Facility
Sale of Public Park Site and Trail Easement
Purchase of Restaurant Development Site in Shopping Center
Land Use Approvals for 187-Unit Subdivision
Portland Area Apartment Development
Coronado California Retail Property Sale
Hotel Purchase, Sale, Financing, and 1031 Exchange
Land Use Permit for Retail Fueling Stations
Design of Riverwalk
New Corporate Headquarters Campus
Acquisition of Land For Commercial Development
Family Real Estate Reorganization
Seniors Housing Secured Financing
Acquisition of Property Leased to Restaurant Chain
Sale of Historic Building
Native American Senior Living Facility
Public School Solar Rooftops
1031 Exchange For Estate of Deceased Out-of-State Taxpayer
Acquisition of Nonprofit Religious Corporation
Land Use Appeal
Acquisition of Hickory Spring Foam Manufacturing Facility
Eastern Oregon Wind Projects
Eastern Oregon Wind Projects and Land Use Appeal
Albina Head Start Turns on First Solar-Powered Building with Assist from Tonkon Torp
When Albina Head Start learned it was awarded a Blue Sky Fund grant to install a rooftop solar array on one of its buildings, it turned to its long-time pro bono legal partner, Tonkon Torp. The nonprofit organization knew that it would need legal guidance to ensure that it could meet the terms laid out in the grant’s detailed and binding Memo of Understanding.
Tonkon Torp Obtains First-of-its-Kind Site Certificate for Oregon Wind Facility
After obtaining land rights for a 500 megawatt wind energy facility, Tonkon Torp helped Wheatridge file and process the first wind energy project presented to the Siting Council without a specific transmission corridor identified. Find details and more featured cases here.
Solar Project Sale Shines Light on Tonkon Team
Tonkon Torp represented our long-standing client, Obsidian Renewables, in sale of the Black Cap Solar II project to PSEG Solar Source, a New Jersey-based utility. Find details and more featured cases here.
Tonkon Facilitates Sale of Iconic Coronado Theatre
Tonkon Torp represented one of the sellers in the $5.2 million sale of the historic Vintage Village Theatre in Coronado, California. Find details and more featured cases here.
Yakima Products Acquires New Headquarters Campus with Help from Tonkon Torp
Tonkon Torp’s real estate and land use team completed a time-sensitive transaction that enabled the fast-growing Yakima Products, Inc., to acquire its new corporate headquarters in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Find details and more featured cases here.
Tonkon Torp Helps Human Solutions Secure New Family Shelter Site
Tonkon Torp is proud to have helped Human Solutions navigate a complex financing project to transform a shuttered commercial property into an emergency 24/7 family housing shelter. Find details and more featured cases here.
Diverse Team Aids Greenbrier in Joint Venture
Tonkon Torp acted as Oregon corporate counsel for its long-term client The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. in finalizing a 50/50 joint venture with Watco Companies, L.L.C. The venture combines the two companies’ railcar repair, refurbishment and maintenance businesses into a new organization, GBW Railcar Services, LLC.
Tonkon Torp Leads Oregon Grocery Chain Out of Bankruptcy
In one of the quickest and most successful conclusions of a grocery chain bankruptcy proceeding, Tonkon Torp secured court approval of a reorganization plan for C&K Market, Inc., to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy just seven months after filing. Find details and more featured cases here.
"Burn To Learn" Training Clears the Way for Residential Development
Attorneys David Petersen, Ted Herzog, and Duncan Delano recently provided the legal horsepower for a new, seven-lot rural residential development to be known as Trillium Estates on Chehalem Mountain. The property originally included one structure, which was slated for removal prior to development of the new parcels. Rather than the mundane bulldozing of the house, the client allowed the Newberg Fire Department to burn it down in a “burn to learn” training exercise.
Spanish wind energy manufacturer Gamesa and local wind developer Ella Wind LLC joined forces to propose the 2Morrow Wind Energy Project, a 104 megawatt wind farm in Morrow County, Oregon.
2012 was a year of full-scale retreat for most renewable energy developers, both in Oregon and nationwide. Key tax credits and other incentives had expired or were expiring, and low natural gas prices kept demand for renewables low. This did not deter local developer Obsidian Renewables.
EDF Renewable Energy
EDF Renewable Energy, formerly enXco, engaged Tonkon Torp to provide real estate and environmental due diligence support in connection with two renewable energy projects in California (the Catalina Solar and Pacific Wind Projects) and one in Kansas (the Spearville 3 Wind Energy Project).
Tonkon Torp Helps Advance 700-Megawatt Solar Project in San Joaquin Valley
Tonkon Torp's energy lawyers helped Fresno-based real estate client Maricopa Sun LLC secure development of a significant solar project in central California.
"Local Firm Snags Megadeal: Case Doesn't Faze Midsize Law Office"
Tonkon Torp is featured in an article in the April 2011 issue of the ABA Journal. The firm's work on the Sunwest bankruptcy case is the topic of the story, which discusses our representation of Clyde Hamstreet, the Chief Restructuring Officer for the case. The Sunwest bankruptcy concluded with a $1.2 billion deal, which was the culmination of one of the biggest and most complex bankruptcy cases of its kind ever filed in Oregon.
Untangling the Sunwest Bankruptcy
In August 2010, Blackstone Real Estate Advisors closed a $1.2 billion deal to acquire 134 senior living properties from bankrupt Oregon-based Sunwest Management, formerly the country's fourth largest (and largest privately-held) senior living operator. Tonkon Torp represented the Chief Restructuring Officer of Sunwest in this deal, which was the culmination of one of the biggest and most complex bankruptcy cases of its kind ever filed in Oregon.
A Thriving Renewable Northwest Energy Economy
Element Power is a global renewable energy company that develops, acquires, builds and operates utility-scale solar and wind power projects. Backed by some of the biggest names in global renewable energy development, it currently has wind and solar projects throughout Europe and a large development pipeline in Europe and Latin America.
Helping IKEA Break Ground in Portland
When home furnishings giant IKEA needed to secure land and obtain necessary approvals for a new location in the Portland Metropolitan area, they turned to Tonkon Torp for help. Tonkon's real estate attorneys successfully navigated our client through the complex two-year process.
Bringing Affordable Housing to Low-Income Families
When a non-profit group needed help obtaining special building permits to create low-income housing, it turned to Tonkon Torp for help. With the pro-bono assistance of our attorneys nine low-income families in Ashland, Oregon now have a home of their own.
World Headquarters for Banfield, the Pet Hospital®
As one of the world's largest veterinary hospital chains, Banfield Pet Hospital relies on the trusted counsel of Tonkon Torp. When Banfield was looking to build a new world headquarters, it once again turned to Tonkon Torp to handle all the legal matters.
Community Involvement & Activities
Community Services, Inc.
Board of Trustees, Chairperson
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children of Multnomah, Washington & Columbia Counties
Wilson Junior Baseball
Southwest Portland Little League
2011–2016, Board of Directors
Best Lawyers in America® Names 49 Tonkon Torp Attorneys to 2018 List
Tonkon Torp Launches Blog Aimed at Region’s Development Community
David Petersen Elected Chairperson of Community Services, Inc. Board of Trustees
Best Lawyers in America® Names 44 Tonkon Torp Attorneys to 2017 List
Jon Stride and David Petersen Share Vice to Nice Case Study
45 Tonkon Torp Attorneys Named Best Lawyers in America® 2016
David Petersen Recaps the Oregon Court of Appeal's Decision in Ooten v. Clackamas County
David Petersen Leads Tonkon Torp Real Estate & Land Use Practice
Entrepreneurial Services Group Hosts Solar Oregon Event
Tonkon Torp Sponsors NIPPC Annual Meeting
Best Lawyers in America® 2015 Names 49 Tonkon Torp Attorneys to Prestigious List
Petersen and Delano Discuss PURPA with Oregon’s Solar Industry
Tonkon Torp Sponsors Renewable Northwest Project Event
David Petersen Featured in Solar Oregon Newsletter
Tonkon Torp Real Estate Attorneys Discuss Title Insurance and Purchase Contracts for NBI Seminar
David Petersen Offers Industrial Development Overview for East Metro Economic Group
50 Tonkon Torp Attorneys Named to Best Lawyers in America® 2014
Just Passing More Laws Won't Solve Oregon's Industrial Lands Problem
State Legislation On Energy Siting Should Uniformly Allow Local Input
Publications & Presentations
"Family Shelter – From Vice to Nice: A Case Study," February 2016
"Requiring Utilities to Buy Solar Power Under PURPA," Solar Now! University, June 2014
"Title Insurance and Survey Review: What You Need to Know" and "Step-by-Step Through the Purchase Contract," Handling Real Estate Transactions with Confidence, National Business Institute, December 2013
"The Industrial Development Toolkit," East Metro Economic Alliance, September 2013
"Building Local Acceptance for Renewable Energy Projects," Future Energy Conference, April 2012
"Development of Utility-Scale Solar Projects in Oregon," NW Solar Expo, April 2011