Ear to the Ground
Ear to the Ground
Our attorney contributors share relevant and timely insight into real estate, energy law, water law, and environmental issues.
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Multnomah Property Taxes Will Increase to Highest Rates in Two Decades
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A Fresh View of Sichuan's Air Pollution Solutions

I recently had my ear to the ground in and around Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China's Sichuan province. Two things struck me about the air quality in the city. First, the air seemed far cleaner than during my last visit in 2007 despite a…
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Opportunity Zones: A Sequel

Several weeks ago my blog post (How Will Opportunity Zone Investing Impact the Portland Real Estate Market?) talked about the importance to investors and professionals of forthcoming guidance from the IRS. The first chapter of that guidance was…
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The “Wet” is Returning to the Oaks Bottom Wetlands

After almost completely drying out this summer, water has begun to return to the 140-acre Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge in southeast Portland, as work wraps up on an extensive wetlands rehabilitation project. Oaks Bottom is the largest remaining…
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The Silver Tsunami Will Shape Seniors Housing Development

I’ve been helping clients develop and manage seniors housing projects in a national market that has experienced steady growth in recent years. Seniors housing is need-driven with many seniors moving into independent living, assisted living, or memory…
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Property Tax Statements Require a Close Look This Year

Oregon's county assessors must send out property tax statements to all property taxpayers no later than October 25. If you run a business or own real property, you’ll be getting your statements soon. Over the next few weeks I’ll be covering many of…
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Urban Growth Boundary Expansions on the Rise

Metro Council, the governing body charged with managing the Portland metro area urban growth boundary, is at it again. As a follow-on to David Petersen’s April 20 blog regarding the UGB, I’m here to report that Metro Council has been busy considering…
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Urban Onion: The City of Beaverton Seeks Livable Core

The latest efforts to transform the City of Beaverton into…well, Portland, apparently shape the city into an onion, made up of distinct layers. The outer layer, formed from offices and residential developments, encloses the inner core areas of the…
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The Skyscrapers of the Future Will Be Made of Wood

On August 8, the Oregon Building Codes Division approved a new state building code called a Statewide Alternate Method. The new code authorizes the construction of wood buildings taller than six stories, which was the previous limit. Taller wood…
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In Defense of Public Transit

The arrival of market disrupters Uber and Lyft has spawned many think pieces on the future of transportation. While we may think technology will solve our transportation problems, instead of focusing on new technology, state and local governments…
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Worker Shortage Hits Portland Builders Two Ways

Many years ago, a local homebuilder told me he wouldn't build in the Portland City limits anymore, because the permitting and inspections took so long and were so expensive that it ate into his profits, not to mention his psychological well-being…
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WeWork Continues to Grow and Evolve

In 2010, Adam Neumann and Miguel McKelvey started WeWork, a company that provides shared work spaces for startups, small businesses, freelancers and entrepreneurs. WeWork has been remarkably successful. After only eight years since opening its first…
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Drink Up, Portland!

Last week, a colleague and I went on a field trip hosted by the Portland Water Bureau to the Bull Run Watershed, which is the primary water supply for the City of Portland and its multiple wholesale customers (including the City of Beaverton). The…
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It's Looking Like a Long, Dry Summer

By the middle of June, Governor Kate Brown had already issued drought declarations for several counties—Baker, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Klamath, and Lake. By the 10th of July, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, almost the entire state of Oregon…
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How Will Opportunity Zone Investing Impact the Portland Real Estate Market?

The federal tax overhaul (a.k.a. the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) includes an intriguing tax incentive for potential investors in Portland real estate. If gains from the sale of assets are reinvested in eligible census tracts identified as Opportunity…
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Oregon's Land Use Laws Should Embrace Solar Energy

It's no secret that Oregon's natural beauty is one of its greatest treasures. In 2016, Thrillist named Oregon the seventh most beautiful state in the country – a ranking that should come as no surprise to most Oregonians. Our remarkable rivers…
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Do Uber and Lyft Make Traffic Worse?

One of the express promises of ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft was that they would reduce traffic congestion by reducing vehicle ownership. City dwellers would opt not to own their own cars but instead rely on someone else's car to get…
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The Sparkle of Gresham's Enterprise Zone Attracts New Diamond Factory

Element Six, a manufacturer of synthetic diamonds, recently announced a new factory in Gresham, Oregon. It will spend $94 million over four years to build its new 60,000 square foot factory and will eventually employ approximately 60 people. Element…
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Oregon Growth Trends Still High

According to recent research from the American City Business Journals, Oregon ranks 8th in the US for overall migration gains. Surprisingly (to me), in gains, Texas is second, after Florida, and, in losses, New York ranks #1. The Oregon city with the…
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Don't Drink the Water!

EMERGENCY ALERT! Residents of Salem, Oregon, and several surrounding communities received this message on their cell phones on May 29. A toxic algal bloom in Detroit Lake contaminated the communities' water supply and "sensitive" residents were…
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The Largest Property Tax Bond in Oregon History Should Have Been Much Bigger

Just one year after voters passed the largest bond measure in Oregon history, PPS now acknowledges that Portland Public School-Bond Measure 26-193 should have been much more – between $80 and $136 million more. PPS originally asked voters to approve…
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