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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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…
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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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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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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 commercial…
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Mall Expansion in Beaverton is Taking Off

The expansion of Cedar Hills Crossing mall in Beaverton, located on SW Cedar Hills Boulevard approximately between Hall Boulevard and Walker Road, is well underway. The buildings that needed to make way have been razed and the site now looks poised…
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Is Property Tax Reform Coming to Oregon?

As our state faces a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, lawmakers are considering a number of ways to raise taxes to bridge the gap. One current proposal asks Oregonians to reconsider Measure 50, their 1990s-era property tax revolt. Senate Joint…
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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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A Case Study on the Accuracy of Real Market Values on Tax Statements

In my previous Ear to the Ground post, I discussed real market values and how they can become inaccurate on your tax statement. For this week’s post, I wanted to offer a real-life example of how this discrepancy played out for a client of mine and…
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