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 has served 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.
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Featured Representative Matters
Represented NW Auto Group in Acquisition of Name Brand Dealerships
Sale of Senior Living Businesses & Property with Added COVID-Related Negotiations
Acquisition of Bare Land for Subdivision Development
Real Estate Counsel for Eastern Oregon Wind Projects
Complex Seniors Housing Transaction
Acquisition of Shopping Center during COVID Crisis
Construction Debt Conversion for Solar Energy Facility
Represented Auto Dealer in Simultaneous Property Transactions
Sale of Adjacent Parcels for Vancouver Business Center Expansion
Acquisition of Organic Herb Farm
Acquisition of Property Leased to Restaurant Chain
Sale of 90 Acres of Undeveloped Property in Oceanside, CA
Development of Massachusetts Senior Living Facilities
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
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
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 and Land Use Appeal
Portland Area Apartment Development
Eastern Oregon Wind Projects
Pandemic No Match for Tonkon Torp Real Estate Practice
In March, many pending commercial real estate deals were scuttled by COVID-19. But for one deal that was close to the finish line, Tonkon Torp helped implement a simple but unusual solution to overcome the uncertainty caused by rapid market disruption and complete a multi-million dollar deal led by Real Estate & Land Use Practice Group Chair David Petersen.
Tonkon Torp Guides Unique Renewable Energy Project Through Key Phases
Tonkon Torp has worked on the project at key stages throughout its lifespan. Led by David Petersen, the firm first helped the original developer obtain land rights and evaluate title issues. In 2013, the developer and Tonkon Torp began a four-year process to secure the project’s site certificate from the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council.
Tonkon Torp Crosses the Finish Line with a Fast Moving Real Estate Transaction
Tonkon Torp completed a sophisticated, fast-moving real estate transaction for a client that involved a time-sensitive obligation to purchase, a shaky tenant, and pending litigation. The transaction was led by partner David Petersen, who chairs the firm’s Real Estate & Land Use Practice Group.
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.
Community Involvement & Activities
Community Services, Inc.
Board of Trustees, Chairperson
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children of Multnomah, Washington & Columbia Counties
Best Lawyers in America® Includes 53 Tonkon Torp Attorneys on 2022 List
Best Lawyers in America® Includes 49 Tonkon Torp Attorneys on 2021 List
Tonkon Torp Holds Pandemic Primer Webinar for Oregon Cannabis Businesses
Chambers USA Names 20 Tonkon Torp Attorneys in 2020 Ranking
2020 List for Best Lawyers in America® Includes 48 Tonkon Torp Attorneys
Tonkon Torp Attorneys Author Real Estate Guide for Chambers USA
David Petersen Talks CLT on Business of Portland Podcast
Best Lawyers in America® Names 51 Tonkon Torp Attorneys to 2019 List
Tonkon Torp Hosts Program on Tax Reform Implications for Real Estate
Commercial Real Estate in the Age of Coronavirus
Important Deadlines Loom for Landlords Under Portland Residential Renter Protection Ordinance
New Legal Developments in California's Booming Renewable Energy Market
U.S. Supreme Court Issues Significant Land Use Decision Benefiting Developers
Faster Permitting for Infrastructure Projects May Be On Tap in Pacific Northwest
Federal Incentives for Commercial Buildings to Go Green
Oregon Legislature Hears Proposals To Modify The Business Energy Tax Credit
Supreme Court Allows Superfund Cleanup Cost Recovery
Deadline Extended for Resolution of Certain Measure 37 Claims
Deadline to File Certain Measure 37 Claims is December 2, 2006
Publications & Presentations
"In Oregon, e-Notarization is Here to Stay," Ear to the Ground Blog, July 2021
"Oregon’s Latest Residential Eviction Relief Bill Hopefully Will Be the Last," Ear to the Ground Blog, July 2021
"How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Altered Commercial Leasing Forever," Ear to the Ground Blog, May 2021
"Rent Assistance Lottery for Oregon Commercial Tenants Opens March 8," Ear to the Ground Blog, March 2021
"Oregon Establishes Fund to Help Homeowners Pay Their Mortgages," Ear to the Ground Blog, November 2020
"Last Coal-Fired Power Plant in Oregon Shuts Its Doors Forever," Ear to the Ground Blog, October 2020
"Oregon Eviction Ban Extended for Residential But Not Commercial Tenants," Ear to the Ground Blog, October 2020
"Real Estate Adapts to the New COVID Normal," Ear to the Ground Blog, August 2020
"Three Overlooked Ways to Reduce Development Costs," Ear to the Ground Blog, July 2020
"Oregon Clarifies State Jurisdiction Over Solar Energy Projects," Ear to the Ground Blog, July 2020
"Oregon Adopts Temporary E-Notarization Law," Ear to the Ground Blog, July 2020
"Oregon Legislature Extends Eviction Moratorium to September 30," Ear to the Ground Blog, June 2020
“Commercial Leases and COVID-19: Agreements Are Still Feasible,” DJC Oregon, June 2020
Panelist, “A Pandemic Primer for Cannabis Businesses – Unique Challenges for a Unique Industry,” April 2020
"COVID-19 Crisis Renews Interest in e-Notarization," Ear to the Ground Blog, April 2020
"The Lowdown on Commercial Leases in Oregon," Ear to the Ground Blog, February 2020
"Is Portland Really Requiring Private Developers to Provide Campsites for the Homeless?" Ear to the Ground Blog, January 2020
"Things to Think About for Commercial Cannabis Leases in Oregon," Ear to the Ground Blog, January 2020
"The Building Blocks of Real Estate Development – Planning and Zoning," Ear to the Ground Blog, November 2019
"Things to Think About for Commercial Cannabis Leases in Oregon," Portland Business Journal, September 2019
"There Really Is Enough Sunshine to Go Around, People," Ear to the Ground Blog, July 2019
"Federal Tax Law Drafting Error Punishes Commercial Dveloperes," Ear to the Ground Blog, June 2019
"New Life for an Old Courthouse," Ear to the Ground Blog, June 2019
"USA Regional Real Estate Guide – Oregon," Chambers and Partners, May 2019
"Despite Rumors that it often Rains, Oregon Really Is a Solar Paradise," Ear to the Ground Blog, April 2019
"Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) – Prospects and Risks," Business of Portland podcast, Pamplin Media Group, October 2018
"Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – Selected Real Estate Impacts," June 2018
"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