Jan is Senior Counsel with Tonkon Torp’s Water Law and Environmental & Natural Resources practice groups. She represents clients in a variety of water and natural-resource-related matters, including obtaining, transferring, and protecting water rights for both groundwater and surface water. Jan is considered one of the foremost water law specialists in Oregon and is nationally recognized as a water law scholar. She is also a frequent speaker and writer on water law and policy.
Jan has many years of experience with water and natural resource law and policy issues and a wealth of connections with agencies, water management entities, policy makers, and water leaders. She approaches issues with a problem-solving approach.
From 1992-2011, Jan was a tenured Professor at Lewis & Clark Law School, where she taught Water Law and other natural resource classes. She was also Associate Dean of Faculty and co-director of the Natural Resources Law Institute and the Northwest Water Law & Policy Project at Lewis & Clark. Prior to her academic career, Jan was Director of the Oregon Department of State Lands — the agency responsible for management of Oregon’s common school fund lands and natural resources. Before working in state government, at the beginning of her legal career, Jan practiced litigation at Tonkon Torp and at the Gray Plant firm in Minneapolis.
Originally from the Midwest (Minnesota and South Dakota), Jan made Oregon her home more than thirty-five years ago. She has three sons: a lawyer, a jazz musician, and an aspiring businessman; and two dogs. She and her husband enjoy camping, hiking, and exploring Oregon’s waterways by canoe and kayak.
Jan has been beading and designing jewelry for 15 years as a relaxing right brain balance to her decidedly left brain professional life. Her latest fascination is working in silver clay, a Japanese kiln-fired technique using recycled silver from the electronics and aviation industries. Check out Jan’s company, Waterspell Jewelry, or find her on Etsy.
Water Rights Contested Case Defense
Represented hydro-power producers in water rights contested case proceedings before the Oregon Department of Water Resources and appellate courts.
Climate Change White Papers
Preparation of white papers on climate change adaptation for coastal communities.
Contested Water Rights
Representation of clients in contested case water rights proceedings before Water Resources Department.
Property Owner Water Rights
Water rights due diligence for large property transaction.
Representation of landowners in water rights transactions and disputes.
Water Rights Valuation
Review of water rights valuation studies for funding agencies.
Water Right Transfers
Represented clients in matters concerning the purchase and sale of water and water rights.
Water Rights Protection
Represented clients in administrative proceedings to secure new and protect existing water rights.
Represented land development companies in wetlands permitting matters before the Oregon Department of State Lands.
Attorneys from Tonkon Torp’s real estate and land use, and environmental and natural resources teams represented the Columbia Land Trust in negotiating and completing the transfer of property for a habitat preserve. Find details and more featured cases here.
Tonkon Torp wrapped 2020 with a complete victory in a complicated and contentious boundary and water law dispute.
Community Involvement & Activities
Oregon Parks Forever
Member, Board of Trustees
Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program
2011–2015, Technical Advisory Committee
The Freshwater Trust
2008–2016, Board of Directors
Oregon Board of Forestry
1998–2002, Appointed by Governor John Kitzhaber
Oregon’s Integrated Water Resources Strategy
2010–2012, Policy Advisory Group
Oregon Water Trust
2005–2008, Advisory Board
Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board Land and Water Acquisitions
Western Water Policy Review Advisory Commission
1995–1998, Appointed by President William Clinton
Wilson High School Constitution Team
American Bar Association
Multnomah Bar Association
Oregon Women Lawyers
Chambers USA has recognized 28 Tonkon Torp attorneys in eight practice areas in its Chambers USA 2022 Guide.
Fifty-three Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 39 practice areas have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022
Chambers USA has recognized 23 Tonkon Torp attorneys in seven practice areas in its Chambers USA 2021 guide.
Forty-nine Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 36 practice areas have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2021. A majority of attorneys have been named to the peer-review list in past years, and most have been recognized for more than five years.
Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business has recognized 20 Tonkon Torp attorneys in seven practice areas in its 2020 USA Guide. Eighteen of the Tonkon Torp attorneys named have been previously ranked by Chambers.
By a vote of 26-2, the Oregon Senate passed the “Brownfields Land Bank Bill” today. HB 2734 had previously passed the House with a vote of 43-15. The bill now heads to the Governor’s office for signature. With the enactment of the Brownfields Land Bank Bill, local governments will have a significant new tool to assist them in redeveloping brownfields.
Ear to the Ground Blog
How much will water be worth in the future? We may soon find out. For years, investors have traded “futures” contracts in corn, soybeans, crude oil, silver, and gold. A futures contract is simply an enforceable agreement to buy (or sell) a certain quantity of a commodity at some point in the future at a price agreed upon today.
On the reservation of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs in Central Oregon, it’s wildfire season. As of August 25, two fires were burning.
Happy belated World Water Day. It was Sunday, March 22, but you could be forgiven for missing it, since we’re all paying attention to the COVID-19 pandemic instead. But what about water and the coronavirus?
Everybody loves lists—at least when the list ranks something positive. We can celebrate that Oregon ranks second for the most craft breweries per capita (Vermont eked out the top spot). And that Bend topped a list of best ski towns, while Portland ranked as the number 1 foodie city in the country. Nothing to dislike about eating, drinking, and skiing. But recently, I was unpleasantly surprised to see Oregon show up on a less savory list.
Portland is a leader in managing stormwater runoff with green infrastructure. Nearly 20 years ago, the City began a serious effort to adopt green infrastructure – such as pervious surfaces, bioswales, vegetated infiltration galleries, and other methods of handling urban runoff – rather than sending it directly from impervious, developed surfaces into grey infrastructure such as pipes and constructed treatment facilities
Publications & Presentations
Co-author, “Water and Growing Cities: A Survey of Western State Water Requirements for Urban Development,” Dividing the Waters General Conference, November 2017
“Drought and Floods in Oregon: Plan Now or Pay Later,” Oregon Environmental Council Business Forum, May 2016, Portland, OR
“Farmer v. Farmer: EVWD v. Jaquet and Water Storage,” Hot Topics in the Development of New Water Storage, 24th Annual Water Law Conference, The Seminar Group, November 2015, Portland, OR
“Planning for Drought and Managing Conflict,” Drought in the American West: A Symposium on Law, Policy, and Science, University of Oregon Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center, September 2015, Eugene, OR
“Is It Time for a Federal Water Policy?” 33rd Annual Water Law Conference, American Bar Association, June 2015, Denver, CO
“Climate Change/Sustainability of Water Supplies,” Oregon Water Law Conference, the Seminar Group, November 2014, Portland, OR
“Wells & Septic Systems,” Stewart Title Educational Session, June 2014, Oregon City and East Multnomah County, OR
“Is Western Water Law Sustainable?” OSB Sustainable Future Section, January 2014, Portland, OR
“Water Management Under Climate Change Scenarios,” Climate Change Impacts in the Pacific Northwest, Metcalf Institute for Marine & Environmental Reporting, September 2013, Seattle, WA
“Realizing the Goal of Water for Life: Lessons From Around the World,” Lewis & Clark Law School and National Law University of Delhi, May 2013, New Delhi, India
Future of Water Supply and Management in the Pacific Northwest, Portland, OR, co-chair and moderator, 2013
“Water Wars: Mediating Water Rights Disputes,” Vanderbilt Alternative Dispute Resolution Program, Vanderbilt Law School, Mar 2013, Nashville, TN
Oregon Water Quality Conference, Environmental Law Education Center, Portland, OR, 2013
National Land Conference, Denver, CO 2012
Future of Water Supply and Management Conference, Portland, OR, co-chair and speaker, 2012
“Western States’ Water Planning,” The Water Report, May 2011
“Preserving Bull Run: Looking Deeper into Portland’s Water Variance,” The Oregonian, December 2011
“Oregon Water Law: A Comprehensive Treatise on the Law of Water and Water Rights in Oregon,” 2011
Water in the Columbia Basin Conference, Skamania, WA, 2011
Oregon Water Resources Congress Water Law Conference, Bend, OR, 2011
Public Interest Law Conference, Eugene, OR, 2011
The Water Spot Television Show, 2011
“Survey of Oregon Water Law in 6 Waters and Water Rights,” Robert E. Beck and Amy L. Kelley, eds., 3d ed. 2010
“Seeking a Shared Understanding of the Human Right to Water: Collaborative Use Agreements in the Umatilla and Walla Walla Basins of the Pacific Northwest,” 47 Willamette Law Review 361 (2011) (with Dena Marshall)
“Are We There Yet? Weary Travelers on the Long Road to Water Policy Reform,” 50 Nat. Res. J. 139, 2010
Northwest Water Law Symposia, Portland, OR, 2009 and 2010
Portland City Club Friday Forum, 2010
Oregon Water Law Conference, Portland, OR, Keynote, 2009
“Chop Wood, Carry Water: Cutting to the Heart of the World’s Water Woes,” 23 J. Land Use & Envtl. Law 203, 2008
“Thinking Inside the Box: Looking for Ecosystem Services Within a Forested Watershed,” 22 J. Land Use & Envtl. L. 173, 2007
“Remembering Rain,” 37 Envtl. L. 105, 2007 (with Troy Payne)
“Sometimes a Great Notion: Oregon’s Instream Flow Experiments,” 36 Envtl. L. 1125, 2006 (with Anne Squier and Gail Achterman)
“Dusting Off the Blueprint for a Dryland Democracy: Integrating Water Supply and Watershed Integrity into Land Use Decisions, in Wet Growth: Should Water Law Control Land Use?” 35 Env. L. Rep. 102236, 2005
“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The First Ten Years of the Oregon Water Trust,” 83 Neb. L. Rev. 432, 2004
“Drought-Proofing Water Law,” 7 U. Denv. Water L. Rev. 92, 2003
“Adaptive Management: How Water Law Needs to Change,” 31 Env. L. Rep. 11432, 2001
“Federal Water Policy: An Idea Whose Time Will (Finally) Come,” 20 Va. Envtl. L.J. 107, 2001
“How Good is an Old Water Right? The Application of Statutory Forfeiture Provisions to Pre-Code Water Rights,” 4 U. Denv. Water L. Rev. 1, 2000 (with Keith Hirokawa)
“Protecting Instream Flows in Prior Appropriation Systems: Continuing Challenges,” 7 Rivers 345, 2000
“Wading Into the Water Market: The First Five Years of the Oregon Water Trust,” 14 J. Envtl. L. & Lit. 135, 1999 (with Cheyenne Chapman)
“Overhaul or Maintenance: A Review of Existing and Proposed Governance Institutions in the Columbia River Basin and Estuary,” Report to the Lower Columbia River Estuary Program, 1999 (with Angus Duncan and Brett Swift)
“Beneficial Use, Waste and Forfeiture: The Inefficient Search for Efficiency in Western Water Use,” 28 Envtl. L. 919, 1998
“A Survey of Columbia River Basin Water Law Institutions and Policies,” Northwest Water Law and Policy Project of Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, 1997, (contributor)
“Run, River Run: Mediation of a Water Rights Dispute Keeps Fish and Farmers Happy – For a Time,” 67 U. Colo. L. Rev. 259, 1996
Selected article downloads available here.