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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Supplemental Environmental Projects Have Been Eliminated, Local Communities to Feel the Pain

On March 12, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) ended its Environment and Natural Resources Division’s long-standing policy of allowing the use of supplemental environmental projects (“SEPs”) to offset monetary penalties assessed to private…
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Will Financial Impacts from COVID-19 Pandemic Suffice to Breach a Contract Under a Force Majeure Clause?

Force majeure clauses in contracts are intended to allow performing parties to avoid liability if certain natural or unavoidable events or catastrophes interrupt the expected course of events and impact the parties’ ability to perform.
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Contractual Obligations and the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Absence of a Force Majeure Clause

In this age of non-stop news coverage, we continue to be bombarded with news of how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our world. Most of us would likely agree that the pandemic was unforeseeable and that it was out of anyone’s control.
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Property Owners Win Big Battle in Supreme Court Decision on Regulatory Takings

On June 21, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania, 139 S. Ct. 2162 (2019) (Knick), that private parties seeking to challenge a local government under the “Takings Clause” can now file their lawsuits directly…
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Can Oregon Processors Keep Up with Oregon Hemp?

Oregon's next bumper crop may end up being industrial hemp, the nearly THC-free cousin of marijuana, grown for recreational andr medical use. With planting season 2019 in full swing, Oregon farmers have registered to grow around 50,000 acres of hemp…
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Portland's Manufacturing Growth Is Impressive, but Not for Everyone

According to the March 2019 Multnomah County Economic Indicators report, the Portland manufacturing sector has grown impressively since the great recession, having created close to 250,000 jobs since 2010.
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Thoughtful and Controlled Pollution: Oregon Likely Next in Line for Carbon Cap-and-Trade Program

This year, Oregon lawmakers will likely pass an economy-wide cap-and-trade system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, introduced as House Bill 2020, which would make Oregon the second state after California to adopt such a sweeping law.
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Urban Onion: The City of Beaverton Seeks Livable Core

The latest efforts to transform the City of Beaverton into…well, Portland, apparently shape the city into an onion, made up of distinct layers. The outer layer, formed from offices and residential developments, encloses the inner core areas of the…
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Drink Up, Portland!

Last week, a colleague and I went on a field trip hosted by the Portland Water Bureau to the Bull Run Watershed, which is the primary water supply for the City of Portland and its multiple wholesale customers (including the City of Beaverton). The…
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Oregon Growth Trends Still High

According to recent research from the American City Business Journals, Oregon ranks 8th in the US for overall migration gains. Surprisingly (to me), in gains, Texas is second, after Florida, and, in losses, New York ranks #1. The Oregon city with the…
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Repurposing Jails and Other Innovative Solutions to the Growing Homelessness Problem

If you live in Portland, Oregon, you might be “used to” seeing people sleeping in tents, openly using drugs, people without shoes or proper clothing pushing carts with meager belongings through town, or people acting strange and often frightening…
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Is Change Finally Coming to Portland's Centennial Mills Site?

A San Antonio, Texas real estate development company, The Lynd Company, is at the top of a list of proposals to finally develop the 4.4-acre Centennial Mills site located along the western side of the Willamette River just north of downtown Portland…
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Portland, Oregon – Future Olympic City?

Last month, Portland hosted the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships. While not likely what comes to mind when thinking of major sporting events, it nonetheless drew a lot of visitors to the city, with an economic impact estimated at $1.5 million.
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New Clean Energy Jobs Bills Seek to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Oregon

The Oregon legislature is currently in the process of figuring out how the state will (or won't) deal with the greenhouse gas emissions made by Oregonians that are negatively impacting the world's climate. Substantially similar drafts of the Clean…
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Portland's Fossil Fuel Terminal Ban Upheld by Court of Appeals

On January 4, 2018, the Oregon Court of Appeals issued its decision in the case brought by Petitioners Columbia Riverkeeper, Portland Audubon Society, and Center for Sustainable Economy, among others, to attempt to uphold the City of Portland's new…
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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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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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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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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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