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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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…
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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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Housecalls Are No Longer a Thing of the Past

If you know what a housecall is, you've dated yourself. If your doctor has ever made a housecall to you, you've really dated yourself. Or maybe not, as housecalls are staging a comeback – recent data shows they can save serious healthcare…
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Portland Loves Coworking

Portland is already the ninth-largest market in the U.S. for coworking space, and that was before WeWork signed a lease for 30,000 more square feet on the top floor of Pioneer Place in January. The new WeWorks space in Portland joins their other…
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Downtown Parking Lot Facelift Starts With The Collective

Construction is underway for one of the first of many development projects slated for downtown surface parking lots owned by the Goodman family's Downtown Development Group. Due to open in fall of 2018, The Collective is a 15-story mixed use…
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Longview Coal Terminal Follows Footsteps of Other Unsuccessful Fossil Fuel Export Proposals

Opponents of a proposed coal export terminal on the Columbia River in Longview, Washington are celebrating the State of Washington's decision to deny the developer the right to use state-owned aquatic lands. As part of its proposal to export 44…
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Portland General Electric Plans to Replace Coal with Renewable Energy

Portland General Electric (PGE) will shut down Oregon's only coal-fired power plant in 2020. Recently, PGE filed with the Oregon Public Utility Commission its plan to replace that energy, and to meet the state's revised renewable portfolio standard…
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