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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Why Did My Property Tax Bill Go Up?

Property taxes have skyrocketed for many Oregonians this year – with some taxpayers experiencing double digit percentage increases over the year before and average increases in the Metro area of 11 % (Multnomah), 6.5 % (Clackamas), and 5.9…
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Portland's Neighborhood Associations Going Strong After 40 Years

Portland's neighborhood associations have generated news lately, from Montavilla's resolution resisting the City's efforts to clear homeless camps, to controversy over whether transient persons can vote in Overlook's meetings, and whether…
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One Reason Your Property Taxes Skyrocketed – New Bond Measures

Contrary to popular belief, Oregon law does not limit property tax increases to three percent per year. If you received a property tax statement this year, you may have learned this the hard way. Overall tax rates are now at a 20 year high and this…
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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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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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Oregon Targets Renewable Heating Companies for Increased Assessments

Biomass heating companies, which use renewable energy sources like wood, crop waste, or garbage to generate heat, will now come under central assessment in Oregon. Under central assessment, all of a company's property, including its intangible…
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Kickstarting New Brownfields Development in Portland

For a city as deeply steeped in all things sustainable, organic, gluten-free, and vegan as Portland, Oregon, it is surprising that the city does not have more of a thriving Brownfields program. Brownfields are the contaminated properties (and…
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The Fair-Haired Dumbbell Regulation A+ Offering

On the corner of NE MLK and Burnside in Portland, the new Fair-Haired Dumbbell building is nearly complete. The building has garnered attention for its unique architectural design and painting plans. But more important for developers is the way the…
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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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"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, complete…
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Oregon House Passes Hidden Property Tax Increase

The Oregon House of Representatives just passed a bill (now headed to the Senate) that will significantly increase property taxes in some Oregon cities. House Bill 2088 allows cities to pick the method for determining a property's taxable value after…
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Forward-Thinking Senior Living Community Blazes Net-Zero Neighborhood Trail

By their nature, senior living communities are forward-thinking, always keeping an eye on 10, 20, 30 years down the road. Rose Villa, a Portland, Oregon nonprofit continuing care retirement community (CCRC), exemplifies this forward-thinking strategy…
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