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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Trends in Drinking Water: Part Two – Poop Water

At the other end of the spectrum from raw water is "poop water" — sewage effluent that has been transformed back into safe drinking water. Whereas raw water is completely untreated, poop water — or "direct potable re-use" if you want a more palatable…
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Trends in Drinking Water: Part One – Raw Water

The water news popping up in my email inbox recently has really run the gamut. One of the latest health fads is apparently drinking "raw water" — meaning unprocessed and untreated water. At the other end of the spectrum, there are a couple of new…
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New Clean Energy Jobs Bills Seek to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Oregon

The Oregon legislature is currently in the process of figuring out how the state will (or won't) deal with the greenhouse gas emissions made by Oregonians that are negatively impacting the world's climate. Substantially similar drafts of the Clean…
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The Future of Freight

By now we've all heard about receiving Amazon packages by drone. Drones haven't cornered this market, though – there are also robots. But these are just the tip of the iceberg for cool new ways for stuff to get delivered more efficiently. Here's a…
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The "Disastrous" Costs of Climate Change

"Natural" disasters cost the United States a record amount of $306 billion in 2017, topping the previous record of $215 billion in 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina. This past year also tied with 2011 for the highest number of billion-dollar…
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Portland's Fossil Fuel Terminal Ban Upheld by Court of Appeals

On January 4, 2018, the Oregon Court of Appeals issued its decision in the case brought by Petitioners Columbia Riverkeeper, Portland Audubon Society, and Center for Sustainable Economy, among others, to attempt to uphold the City of Portland's new…
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Why Mapping Apps Keep Traffic Engineers Up at Night

By now, we've all used a mapping app -- like Apple Maps, Google Maps and Waze – to find the best way from point A to point B. A primary attraction of the apps is that they can filter traffic conditions in real time and provide the quickest route to…
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Water Win-Win

In case you haven't noticed, Washington County is booming. For many years, the County's population has been growing at around 2% annually and its current population of more than 580,000 is second only to Multnomah County's 800,000. Growth means…
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Portland Residential Home Energy Score Requirement Takes Effect January 1

Starting January 1, 2018, single-family home sellers in Portland will be required to report a Home Energy Score (HES) to potential buyers. The HES is a federally-developed measurement of the energy-related use and associated costs for a home, and is…
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Willamette Falls Riverwalk Moving Forward Despite Adversity

Willamette Falls, between Oregon City and West Linn, is the second-largest waterfall in the US by volume. Home of the nation's first hydroelectric project in 1888, the falls have largely been cut off from public view since then by industrial…
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Real Market Values and "Compression" – Property Taxes Continue to Climb in Oregon

One of the most significant reasons taxes have increased so much this year is "Compression." Due to Measure 5, Oregon's constitution limits the amount of taxes that can be collected from each property for two categories of tax: Education related…
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There's an Essential Oil for That

Portlanders are familiar with the panoply of ailments that essential oils can solve — from depression to broken legs (okay, maybe not quite) — and commercial real estate spaces have also taken note of the power of scents. The sense of smell can evoke…
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Why Did My Property Tax Bill Go Up?

Property taxes have skyrocketed for many Oregonians this year – with some taxpayers experiencing double digit percentage increases over the year before and average increases in the Metro area of 11 % (Multnomah), 6.5 % (Clackamas), and 5.9…
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Portland's Neighborhood Associations Going Strong After 40 Years

Portland's neighborhood associations have generated news lately, from Montavilla's resolution resisting the City's efforts to clear homeless camps, to controversy over whether transient persons can vote in Overlook's meetings, and whether…
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One Reason Your Property Taxes Skyrocketed – New Bond Measures

Contrary to popular belief, Oregon law does not limit property tax increases to three percent per year. If you received a property tax statement this year, you may have learned this the hard way. Overall tax rates are now at a 20 year high and this…
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Industrial Growth Booming on Portland's Eastside

The Eagle Creek fire isn't the only recent conflagration in east Multnomah County. The market for new industrial development in places like Troutdale and Gresham is en fuego also. Big new developments attracting hot employers to the region include…
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Mass Timber Products Take Center Stage in Multi-Story Construction

Governor Brown has declared October 15-21, 2017 as "Oregon Forest Products Week" and asked all Oregonians to join in observance. In her signed proclamation to designate this week, Governor Brown recognizes Oregon's forest sector as the state's…
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Portland's Chances to Land Amazon RFP for Second Headquarters Seem Slim

The October 19 deadline for states, counties, provinces and metro areas in the US and Canada to submit proposals to Amazon in response to its search for a second headquarters location (with a budget of $5 billion and plans for employment of up to 50…
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Oregon Targets Renewable Heating Companies for Increased Assessments

Biomass heating companies, which use renewable energy sources like wood, crop waste, or garbage to generate heat, will now come under central assessment in Oregon. Under central assessment, all of a company's property, including its intangible…
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Water in the Cloud(s)

In case you struggle — as I do — to wrap your head around the concept of "the internet of things," here's a wonderful, accessible, and local example. A Portland company called SweetSense™ has developed a remote sensor monitoring system to improve…
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