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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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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The Fair-Haired Dumbbell Regulation A+ Offering

On the corner of NE MLK and Burnside in Portland, the new Fair-Haired Dumbbell building is nearly complete. The building has garnered attention for its unique architectural design and painting plans. But more important for developers is the way the…
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Vancouver Is Not Portland, and That's Just Right

Vancouver and Portland have a relationship that is, well, complicated. For some they are too close, and Vancouver seems bland and uninteresting, lost in the glare reflected from its more glamorous neighbor. For others, they are too far apart…
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"Infrastructure Week" – In Case You Missed It

For those of you who may have been distracted by other events in the news, let me recap the Trump Administration’s "Infrastructure Week" for you. Monday, June 5: President Trump kicked off the week with a formal East Room signing ceremony, complete…
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Beware Environmental Regulations Lurking in City Codes

When most people think of environmental regulations, they think of the federal government (United States Environmental Protection Agency or "EPA") and state agencies (Oregon Department of Environmental Quality or "DEQ"). However, environmental…
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Is All Renewable Energy by 2050 Realistic?

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury recently pledged that the City and County will run exclusively on renewable energy by 2050. Is this for real? Can it be done? To answer that, this post focuses on science and…
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Oregon House Passes Hidden Property Tax Increase

The Oregon House of Representatives just passed a bill (now headed to the Senate) that will significantly increase property taxes in some Oregon cities. House Bill 2088 allows cities to pick the method for determining a property's taxable value after…
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Forward-Thinking Senior Living Community Blazes Net-Zero Neighborhood Trail

By their nature, senior living communities are forward-thinking, always keeping an eye on 10, 20, 30 years down the road. Rose Villa, a Portland, Oregon nonprofit continuing care retirement community (CCRC), exemplifies this forward-thinking strategy…
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Resilient Design: Preparing for Disruption

In January and February, the New York Times ran a series of articles on resilient design. The concept of resilient design is just what it sounds like — incorporating features in the design of the built environment that help make buildings…
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Portland's Commercial Real Estate Boom: Is the End Near?

There is no doubt that Portland's commercial real estate market is on fire, and has been for several years. But what goes around comes around, so when is the next down-cycle coming? Based on a recent Portland Business Journal survey, most commercial…
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Mall Expansion in Beaverton is Taking Off

The expansion of Cedar Hills Crossing mall in Beaverton, located on SW Cedar Hills Boulevard approximately between Hall Boulevard and Walker Road, is well underway. The buildings that needed to make way have been razed and the site now looks poised…
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Is Property Tax Reform Coming to Oregon?

As our state faces a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, lawmakers are considering a number of ways to raise taxes to bridge the gap. One current proposal asks Oregonians to reconsider Measure 50, their 1990s-era property tax revolt. Senate Joint…
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One of the Ways in Which Portland is Not Like Los Angeles

I recently attended the American Bar Association's 35th Annual Water Law Conference in Los Angeles. On opening day, we toured parts of the Los Angeles River Revitalization Project. As often happens when I visit other cities, I am reminded of how…
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Industrial Land Boom in Portland Still Can't Keep Up With Demand

2016 saw the addition of 2.3 million square feet of new industrial space in the Portland Metro region, slightly less than was added in 2015 but otherwise the largest annual growth since before the Great Recession. But that was not enough to meet…
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A Case Study on the Accuracy of Real Market Values on Tax Statements

In my previous Ear to the Ground post, I discussed real market values and how they can become inaccurate on your tax statement. For this week’s post, I wanted to offer a real-life example of how this discrepancy played out for a client of mine and…
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Is the Real Market Value on Your Tax Statement Accurate?

One of the most common questions asked about property tax in Oregon is whether the assessor's real market value ("RMV") is accurate. The short answer is, probably not. There are two reasons for this. First, Measure 50, passed in Oregon in 1997, has…
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