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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Portland to Significantly Revamp Historic Preservation Code

The City of Portland has about 10,000 buildings, bridges, cemeteries, landscapes, and other resources that have been designated as historic. Of those, about 5,000 are "documented" on the City's Historic Resource Inventory, which was created in 1984…
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Where Will Right Brainers Thrive?

You have likely been reading many articles and editorials recently about how the gentrification of Portland's downtown and neighborhoods has forced artists out of once inexpensive creative spaces. City Hall is poking around at some remedies. But now…
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LIBOR’s Days Are Numbered - What Should a Commercial Borrower Do?

LIBOR, a key interest-rate benchmark for commercial loans, is published daily by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). After December 31, 2021, the FCA will no longer require banks to submit their daily rates, which FCA uses to calculate LIBOR…
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How the Missing Middle May Help Create Affordable Housing

As discussed in my previous blog post, we need to find ways to build more housing if we are to make a dent in our affordable housing crisis. One solution being explored this legislative session, and by Portland City Council, is to end the ban on so…
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Portland's Affordable Housing Crisis - What's Being Done?

The January 24, 2019 meeting of the Oregon Chapter of NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, featured a panel of affordable housing experts who described the root causes of the crisis, and what is being done to fix it.
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More Real Estate Transactions Now Subject to National Security Review

Created in 1988, the federal Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, reviews acquisitions of US-based assets by foreigners for potential national security implications. Using CFIUS's findings, the President can then block a…
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A Sighting of the Rare Bird of Bipartisanship

Surprise, surprise. The current Congress—the same one that has melted down numerous times over judicial appointments, intelligence investigations, healthcare, and taxes—actually passed some bipartisan water infrastructure legislation—and the…
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Sales, Swaps, and Bike Parks – Change is Coming to Mt. Hood

For a community that has not seen a great deal of change in recent years, there are a lot of new developments happening in Mt. Hood's mountain village. When Collins Lake Resort and the nearby Grand Lodges were built in the early 2000s, it appeared…
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How Long Can Portland's Red Hot Economy Last?

October, rarely friendly to financial markets, has recently come and gone. But Portland keeps rolling along. In the last 12 months, Portland Metro has added 37,100 new jobs, a growth rate of 3.2%, while unemployment remains at 3.6% which is basically…
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Multnomah Property Taxes Will Increase to Highest Rates in Two Decades

On Tuesday, Portland voters approved the $652.8 million bond measure to build thousands of affordable homes for low-income residents in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas Counties (detailed here). Measure 26-199 was proposed by Metro, which says it…
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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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