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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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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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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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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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 is…
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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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"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…
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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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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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It Doesn’t Take a Weatherman...

Actually, sometimes it does take a weatherman. Or a weatherwoman, as long as he or she is a real meteorologist, with an actual degree in SCIENCE, as Bill Nye the Science Guy might say. A month ago, when record snow was dumping on Portland and across…
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Water, Water Everywhere: Coming Soon to a Legislative Chamber Near You

Water is a real estate issue, a business issue, a taxpayer issue. Whether you're a developer, a farmer, a city manager, a manufacturer, or "just" a taxpayer, I think you’ll be hearing a lot more about water in the next few months. Last summer, The…
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Out of Sight, but Not Out of Mind

The unusually cold weather in Portland and other parts of the state this winter brought some attention to the area’s aging water infrastructure. The Portland Water Bureau normally deals with about 200 broken water mains a year, but the freezing…
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Five Jaw-Dropping Reasons to Read "Ear to the Ground"

Despite that headline, it's not clickbait. We are attorneys at Tonkon Torp LLP, a full service business law firm in Portland, Oregon. We have our ears to the ground as to what is going on in the real estate development community in the Pacific…
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