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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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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Terminal 1 Is Back in the Driver's Seat

Terminal 1, the decrepit former marine terminal located on NW Front Avenue just north of the Fremont Bridge on the west side of the Willamette River, was recently bought by the Medford-based automotive company, Lithia Motors. The company plans to…
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In the e-Commerce Game, It's All About the Last Mile

Legend has it that e-commerce began in April 1995 when Jeff Bezos went into his Seattle garage and boxed up the first book he sold on amazon.com. Since then, internet access has grown from 0.4% to almost 50% of the world's population. E-commerce has…
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Eagle Creek Fire Threatens More Than Just Trees

This past week brought a smoky smell, floating ash, and a hazy, deep red sun to downtown Portland. School athletics were cancelled and people advised to stay indoors. Pedestrians walk about in face masks as if this was Beijing, and our primary…
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New Developments on the Rise in Downtown Portland

Every day on my way to and from work, I see the building on SW Taylor between 2nd and 3rd getting eaten away, bite by bite. Oddly enough, it's a very orderly and calm process, the tearing down of a building. The site currently houses the Ancient…
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Water in the Silicon Forest

Do you have any idea how much virtual water is embodied in your computer? A lot! Your morning shower might use about 17 gallons, but manufacturing a computer requires more than 400 times that amount — as much as 7300 gallons. Computer manufacturing…
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In the Sharing Economy, Is All Real Estate Still Local?

The City of Portland has an Airbnb problem. Its citizens want to use Airbnb to earn income on real estate investments, but the City has valid concerns about safety, tax collection, non-discrimination, and Airbnb's impact on the availability of…
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Shining a Positive Light on the Willamette River with Portland's New Urban Plan

Growth and development in Portland's central city – comprised of 10 neighborhoods adjacent to or near the Willamette River, including South Waterfront, Lloyd and downtown – will soon be governed by a new urban development plan. A draft of the new…
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The (Bull Run) Honeymoon is Over...

In 1895, Portlanders started drinking unfiltered water from the Bull Run watershed on Mt. Hood. Right away, public health officials noted a big drop in typhoid fever cases, and by 1905, the water was being credited for a record low death rate in…
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The Goat Blocks Show the Value of the Long Play

The 347-unit Goat Blocks apartment project is due to open shortly in inner SE Portland. Killian Pacific's project features 347 market rate apartments, the fourth Market of Choice grocery store in the Portland area, an Orchard Supply Hardware and 98…
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Kickstarting New Brownfields Development in Portland

For a city as deeply steeped in all things sustainable, organic, gluten-free, and vegan as Portland, Oregon, it is surprising that the city does not have more of a thriving Brownfields program. Brownfields are the contaminated properties (and…
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