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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Coronavirus and Commercial Evictions: Oregon’s New Moratorium
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COVID-19 Crisis Renews Interest in e-Notarization
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Commercial Real Estate and the Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

On Wednesday evening the Senate passed a $2 trillion stimulus package. What follows are some of the highlights of the bill that are most pertinent to commercial real estate.
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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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Evictions in the Age of COVID-19

On March 22, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an executive order temporarily prohibiting law enforcement officers from acting on evictions as a result of nonpayment of rent. This followed the City of Portland and Multnomah County (which includes…
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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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Building in the Time of COVID-19

While I was social distancing at home, I was talking with an electrician friend and he said that builders are not slowing down on projects at all. If anything they are accelerating.
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Mortgage Rates Drop as the Coronavirus Epidemic Grows

As cases of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, surpass 5,000 in the United States as of March 17 and global stock markets tumble amidst concerns over economic uncertainty, the Federal Reserve has taken measures to address economic turmoil. Most…
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Managing Construction Risk for Oregon Owners and Builders

This article looks at how owners and builders can minimize risk for both private and public projects. A construction contract is the primary source for managing risk for a project of any size.
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The Lowdown on Commercial Leases in Oregon

A new infographic released by Cushman & Wakefield looks at the past 10 years of commercial real estate growth in Portland. With so much demand for office space from the multiple industries fueling our region's growth, I’m not surprised to see that 85…
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Preserve Suburban Farms or Advance Suburban Low Income Housing?

Farmland is going out of farm production in Oregon at what seems to some to be an alarming rate – near double the nationwide rate. As everyone knows, we also have a dearth of low income housing, at least near urban areas. "Wait a minute!," you say…
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Is Portland Really Requiring Private Developers to Provide Campsites for the Homeless?

The Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission proposed edits to the City’s Design Guidelines to require that the street frontage of some new commercial developments be designed with spaces for people to “rest,” which some interpreted as spaces…
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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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Things to Think About for Commercial Cannabis Leases in Oregon

Commercial property owners and tenants often ask their lawyers for a "form lease." But no form will fit every situation, and this is particularly true when the tenant is a cannabis business. Because cannabis remains illegal under federal law…
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Who Can Hold Real Estate in Oregon?

The field is wide open as far as what kind of entity can invest in and hold real estate in Oregon. And even though any legal entity may be used, most commercial real estate in Oregon is owned by a single-purpose entity, an LLC. If an entity is formed…
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The Alphabet Soup of Working with Foreign Real Estate Investors

Given the continuous fluctuation in business immigration, tariffs, and international relations, it shouldn’t be a surprise that foreign investment into the U.S. (especially by China), has slowed. And yet, it is still happening. The Oregon real estate…
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The Building Blocks of Real Estate Development – Planning and Zoning

Our Real Estate Review miniseries continues with a look at the challenges developers often encounter due to local zoning and other land use regulations. In Oregon, zoning and permitting regulations are mostly set by local city or county governments…
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Due Diligence for Messy Commercial Property Purchases

As we continue our look at the legal environment for Oregon Real Estate we’re going to get a little messy and explore the due diligence recommended for buying property that may have environmental contamination. In the Sale and Purchase section of the…
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What’s Driving Real Estate in the Portland Metropolitan Area?

When it comes to big buildings, the suburbs have been where the action is. The largest projects and transactions in the past twelve months have been in the Portland area's western suburbs.
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Checking in on Oregon’s Real Estate Environment

Oregon continues to benefit from one of the nation’s most attractive residential and commercial real estate environments. We have had, and will continue to have, ebbs and flows just like any market, as we discussed here. But the region's general…
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Is Pre-Fab Coming of Age?

Prefabrication of building components has come a long way since the 1970s. The current focus is on commercial applications. Commercial building projects are often driven by schedule as much as cost.
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There Really Is Enough Sunshine to Go Around, People

Crops need sun. Solar panels need sun. One would think there is enough sunshine, even in rainy Oregon, for everyone. But at the urging of some strict farmland preservationists, the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission recently adopted…
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