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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Federal Tax Law Drafting Error Punishes Commercial Developers

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, signed into law in December 2017, promised radical changes to the federal tax code. Many of its goodies were aimed and the real estate industry, but because of a critical drafting error, many commercial landlords and…
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New Life for an Old Courthouse

Local real estate investment firm NBP Capital acquired the downtown Multnomah County courthouse for $28 million this past November. The current structure was completed in 1914, although the site has been the home of the County courthouse since the…
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Despite Rumors that it often Rains, Oregon Really Is a Solar Paradise

The Oregon Department of Energy has created a web tool showing the phenomenal growth of solar energy in Oregon in the last 20 years. In 1999, 15 tiny solar facilities were all that existed in the state. By 2018 the state appears to be carpeted in a…
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Oregon Adopts First in the Nation Rent Control Law

With the Governor's signature on Senate Bill 608 on February 28, Oregon became the first state with a statewide rent control law. The new law took effect March 1 and is applicable only to residential tenancies.
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Nation's Largest Living Building Is Coming to Portland

A team of Portland's heavy hitters has proposed a new five-story structure in Skidmore/Old Town that could be certified as Portland's first living building. The project team for the PAE Living Building include Gerding Edlen, Walsh Construction…
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Daimler Portland Takes Lead in Automated Trucking

Daimler Trucks North America, headquartered in Portland, recently added 200 jobs to its Automated Truck Research and Development Center here in Rip City. Daimler announced the job growth while unveiling its new Freightliner Cascadia automated truck…
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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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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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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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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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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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What's So Great About Being Great?

Of the 125 largest cities in the USA, U.S. News and World Report recently ranked Portland as the #6 best place to live. This is a big jump from Portland's #32 ranking in 2017. The evaluators at US News describe Portland as innocent and shameless…
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Metro Changes Its Approach to Urban Expansion For The Better

Oregon law requires Metro, the regional government for the Portland area, to maintain an urban growth boundary (UGB) that includes enough land to accommodate 20 years of population and employment growth. Addition of new land to the UGB is always a…
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Real Estate Winners and Losers Under Federal Tax Overhaul

In a prior post, I highlighted the effect the December 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has on Section 1031 tax deferred exchanges. While those changes affected investors in everything but real estate, other provisions of the Act will have a profound…
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Batteries and Solar Might Be Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter

Currently, the largest operating solar energy facility in Oregon is the 56 megawatt Gala Solar facility near Prineville, which generates electricity for Apple. But homegrown Oregon developer Obsidian Renewables has plans for something much, much…
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Big Changes to 1031 Exchanges, But Not for Real Estate (Yet)

Section 1031 of the tax code allows sellers of investment property to defer capital gains if the proceeds are reinvested in "like kind" property within certain timeframes. Prior to 2018, 1031 exchanges could be used for many kinds of property…
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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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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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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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