Jeanette Schuster

Jeanette Schuster

Partner

503.802.2114
jeanette.schuster@tonkon.com

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Services & Industries

Education

J.D., magna cum laude, Lewis & Clark Law School, 2002, Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law

B.A., summa cum laude, Northern Arizona University, 1996

Bar and Court Admissions

Oregon State Bar
U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon

Jeanette is a highly organized and practical solutions-driven attorney with extensive commercial, transactional, and regulatory experience. Jeanette’s experience includes drafting, analyzing, and negotiating a broad range of commercial contracts, including professional service agreements, transportation agreements, settlement agreements, and non-disclosure agreements, as well as negotiating agreements with federal and state government agencies. She regularly conducts due diligence for commercial and real estate transactions.

Jeanette is Chair of the firm’s Environmental & Natural Resources Practice Group. As part of that team, she advises clients on compliance with complex regulatory requirements under federal, state, and local environmental statutes and regulations — with an emphasis on the Clean Water Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) — in the context of buying and selling contaminated property, regulatory agency enforcement defense, and contaminated site investigation and cleanup (including the Portland Harbor Superfund Site).

Jeanette began her career as a Research Assistant at Portland’s VA Medical Center and R.W. Franz Cancer Research Center. During law school, Jeanette served as the associate editor of Lewis & Clark Law School’s Environmental Law Journal.

Get to Know

Jeanette Schuster has three great passions – travel, birds, and interior design. Finding where they converge is one of her biggest pleasures in life. Raised in Munich, Germany before moving to the U.S. as a teenager, Jeanette grew up experiencing new places and taking trips abroad to visit family. For the past several years, she has been drawn to more local travel, exploring more of the United States. Prompted partly by the pandemic, Jeanette and her longtime partner Josef recently purchased their first Airstream trailer. Jeanette had great fun finding unique pieces to make the trailer a cozy second home. The pair, with one of Josef’s daughters and Jeanette’s cat and dog in tow, headed south to California for their first excursion as digital nomads.

They have found that discovering new vistas at their own pace is worth the pain of spotty Wi-Fi and scarce hookups that come with traveling in remote sections of the country. One of the best perks of traveling by Airstream is being able to stop as needed to track down birds at varying elevations and habitats. Jeanette has an ornithology-focused zoology degree from Northern Arizona University. When she later pursued her J.D., she was drawn to Lewis & Clark Law School for its strong environmental and natural resources program. Is it any wonder that Jeanette now has a thriving environmental law practice that blends scientific study, natural world experience, and legal expertise?

While in the scenic town of Sedona, Arizona on their second outing, Jeanette received a lesson on the parenting style of Black Hawks. After spying a pair bringing food to a nest not far from her campsite, she moved in to get a closer look at the fledglings – she was promptly dive bombed by one of the parents perched nearby. Who says bird watching isn’t an action hobby?

With two interstate Airstream trips in the books, Jeanette is having fun mapping out future routes and creating bird-spotting lists. At the top of the wish list is a visit to Oregon’s Wallowa Mountains and Painted Hills. Loops through Bryce Canyon, Zion, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton national parks are in the works for next fall. Beyond that, the road is wide open!

Representative Matters

Agricultural Property Redevelopment

Oversaw the investigation and remediation of arsenic in soil for the conversion of former agricultural property to residential use.

Asbestos Removal

Represented clients on issues related to asbestos removal.

Clean Air Act Defense

Defended forest products client against alleged air quality violations, resulting in withdrawal of the Department of Environmental Quality's enforcement claims.

Clean Air Act Permitting for Renewable Energy Projects

Prepared an analysis of air permitting requirements applicable to the construction of a hybrid gas-wind power generating facility in Oregon.

Clean Water Act Violation Defense

Negotiated settlements with third-party citizen-suit claimants under the Clean Water Act.

Dry Cleaning Operation Cleanup

Obtained a No Further Action determination (full closure) from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for an owner of property formerly operated as a dry cleaning business, and secured full insurance coverage from historic insurance for the agency's claim. Secured Oregon Dry Cleaner Fund coverage for several dry cleaning operation cleanups.

Due Diligence in Bankruptcy Proceedings

Provided environmental due diligence for the sale of multiple divisions of a manufacturing company out of a bankruptcy proceeding.

Due Diligence in Corporate Transactions

Provided environmental due diligence for the sale of a marine transport company, which involved multiple, multi-state environmental and maritime regulations as well as contaminated properties.

Environmental Audit Oversight

Conducted environmental audits of manufacturing facilities.

Hazardous Waste (RCRA) Violation Defense

Defended a large manufacturing client against multiple hazardous waste violation claims by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, resulting in a reduction of almost $200,000 in assessed violations.

Lacey Act Compliance

Wrote a protocol for and assisted in compliance with a lumber importer's compliance with the Lacey Act, which prohibits the importation of illegally harvested forest products.

Land Use

Represented Gunderson in a series of appeals successfully challenging the City of Portland's North Reach River Plan ordinance as failing to comply with Oregon's statewide land use planning goals and the City's own comprehensive plan. (Land Use Board of Appeals, Oregon Court of Appeals, Oregon Supreme Court)

Lumber Mill Redevelopment

Counseled clients in the decommissioning of old lumber mills in Oregon, Idaho and Montana and preparing them for different land use.

Mining Waste Cleanup

Represented landowners in mining waste cleanups.

Offsetting Civil Penalties Through Supplemental Environmental Projects

Successfully negotiated reductions and settlements of environmental enforcement actions, including offsetting penalties by supplemental environmental projects.

Petroleum Contamination and Vapor Intrusion Remediation

Negotiated with and secured approval of the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for a corrective action plan for petroleum contamination at an auto dealership. The matter was complicated by the fact that contamination had migrated offsite, and also implicated Idaho DEQ's vapor intrusion regulations.

Portland Harbor Superfund Site (CERCLA)

Ongoing representation of a large manufacturing company in the $100 million Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study for remediation of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, which has been ongoing for over a decade.

Renewable Project Finance

Assisted global renewable energy developer with due diligence to prepare three renewable projects for the capital markets in advance of pending expiration of applicable federal tax credits.

Stormwater Compliance Counseling

Regularly represent a variety of manufacturing and commercial operations to come into or maintain compliance with state, municipal, and local stormwater regulations.

Transfer of Contaminated Property

Counseled landowners and developers throughout the country on federal and state environmental laws associated with the sale and purchase of contaminated commercial and industrial property.

Underground Injection Control Well Closure

Successfully negotiated with EPA in Alaska for closure of a motor vehicle underground injection control (UIC) well without the need for removal or remedial action.

In re Stayton SW Assisted Living, L.L.C. (the Consolidated Sunwest Related Entities)

(Bankr. D. Or.) – Tonkon represented debtor, Stayton SW Assisted Living, L.L.C., and over 700 substantially consolidated affiliates, in a Chapter 11 proceeding that resulted in a confirmed Plan of Reorganization. The biggest and most complex bankruptcy case ever filed in Oregon, the consolidation, restructuring and $1.2 billion sale involving over 700 of Sunwest entities demanded legal expertise in bankruptcy, securities, tax, real estate, corporate governance, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, regulated industries and commercial transactions. Al Kennedy and Tim Conway worked with a team of Tonkon lawyers and paralegals who developed and executed a complex resolution that restructured obligations owing to over 90 secured lenders, sold 146 senior living facilities (including approximately 1,200 tenant-in-common interests held by investors), and resulted in distributions to creditors and investors exceeding 100% of their claims.

1031 Exchange For Estate of Deceased Out-of-State Taxpayer

Represented client and his estate in the sale of investment property and the purchase of new investment property in a 1031 tax deferred exchange. The transaction presented unique tax and real estate issues due to the death of the client during the 1031 exchange period. Also, the new property required evaluation of environmental issues due to its former use as a gas station.

Acquisition of Hickory Spring Foam Manufacturing Facility

Represented FXI, Inc., a manufacturer of innovative foam technology headquartered in Media, Pennsylvania, in its acquisition of the Hickory Spring foam manufacturing facility located in NE Portland.

Coronado California Retail Property Sale

Represented a family trust in the sale of a $5.2 million commercial property, including the historic Village Theater, on the main commercial strip of downtown Coronado, California. The transaction involved the acquisition of fee title to a portion of the property ground leased from another trust, and the subsequent sale of the entire property. The transaction also posed complicated environmental issues due to the property's former use as a dry cleaners, but with Tonkon Torp's help the buyer was persuaded not to reduce its offered price due to environmental issues.

Eastern Oregon Wind Projects Acquisition

Represented private equity firm in $200 million acquisition and development of five utility-scale wind projects in Eastern Oregon for sale of power to prominent Idaho utility.

Represented Auto Dealer in Simultaneous Property Transactions

Represented auto dealer client in the simultaneous purchase of dealership property, sale of vacant land, and amendment of lease to third property. Transaction also involved the resolution of thorny environmental issues affecting the acquired property with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

Sale of Industrial Production Facility and Related Technology

Representation of sellers in $100 million+ sale of industrial production facility to private equity buyer. Operating company recognized to have the best available technology for the manufacturing of its industrial products. Assisted the company in the environmental due diligence process and provided support and regulatory review in connection with the transfer of environmental permits.

Advised Client on Washington State Regulations Regarding Toxics in Children's Products

Provided legal advice to manufacturer of consumer electronics about Washington state regulations that govern toxics in children's products. The client needed to know whether such regulations could potentially impose requirements on manufacturers of consumer electronic products to which children are likely to be exposed, but which are not manufactured specifically for or advertised directly to children (for example, remote controls or PC tablets).

Municipal Wastewater

Represented a cattle ranching operation in negotiating a favorable agreement in a condemnation proceeding involving diversion of treated municipal wastewater.

Stimson Lumber Co. v. International Paper Co

In Montana, assisted Stimson in the negotiation and implementation of an administrative order for the $6 million cleanup and removal of a PCB-contaminated cooling pond formerly owned by Stimson. Successfully asserted claims against prior owners of the cooling pond under CERCLA, recovering past and future cleanup costs.

World's Eighth-Largest Photovoltaic Solar Facility

Provided legal services in connection with the financing of EDF Renewable Energy's 143.2 MW Catalina Solar Project, which became operational in August 2013.  When it opened, the facility in Kern County, California was EDF's largest PV facility in the U.S. and the 8th largest PV facility in the world.

City of Hermiston v. LGW Ranch, Inc.

Represented LGW Ranch, Inc., a cattle ranching operation, in a condemnation proceeding involving diversion of treated municipal wastewater. The matter was resolved through a negotiated agreement favorable to our client.

Stimson Lumber Co. v. International Paper Co.

In Montana, assisted Stimson in the negotiation and implementation of an administrative order for the $6 million cleanup and removal of a PCB-contaminated cooling pond formerly owned by Stimson. Successfully asserted claims against prior owners of the cooling pond under CERCLA, recovering past and future cleanup costs.

Tonkon Torp Helps Malarkey Roofing Company Construct a Billion-Plus Sale Strategy

Tonkon Torp guided client Herbert Malarkey Roofing Company through a successful $1.35 billion stock sale to Switzerland-based Holcim Group, one of the world’s largest building products companies. The deal secured a place as one of Oregon’s largest M&A transactions in 2021.

EDF Renewable Energy

EDF Renewable Energy, formerly enXco, engaged Tonkon Torp to provide real estate and environmental due diligence support in connection with two renewable energy projects in California (the Catalina Solar and Pacific Wind Projects) and one in Kansas (the Spearville 3 Wind Energy Project).

Diverse Team Aids Greenbrier in Joint Venture

Tonkon Torp acted as Oregon corporate counsel for its long-term client The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. in finalizing a 50/50 joint venture with Watco Companies, L.L.C. The venture combines the two companies’ railcar repair, refurbishment and maintenance businesses into a new organization, GBW Railcar Services, LLC.

Tonkon Torp Secures Regulatory Closure of a Clean-Up Site

Tonkon Torp helped a small Northwest nonprofit organization, Columbia Dance Center, resolve an unexpected environmental problem. Find details and more featured cases here.

Tonkon Torp Leads Oregon Grocery Chain Out of Bankruptcy

In one of the quickest and most successful conclusions of a grocery chain bankruptcy proceeding, Tonkon Torp secured court approval of a reorganization plan for C&K Market, Inc., to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy just seven months after filing. Find details and more featured cases here.

Community Involvement & Activities

American Bar Association
Co-Chair Environmental Committee/Business Law Section

Women in Environment
Member

Portland Business Alliance
Leadership Portland Class of 2011
Member


Professional Memberships

American Bar Association
Multnomah Bar Association

The Best Lawyers in America

2022, Administrative / Regulatory Law
2020-2022, Environmental Law

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Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers

2014–2021, Environment

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Best Lawyers in America® Includes 53 Tonkon Torp Attorneys on 2022 List

Fifty-three Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 39 practice areas have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022

Jeanette Schuster Hosts Panel on Pending Changes to Environmental Due Diligence Standards

On May 19, Tonkon Torp hosted a panel to explore upcoming changes to the standards and requirements for completing a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) as part of a real estate transaction.

Chambers USA 2021 Ranks 23 Tonkon Torp Attorneys

Chambers USA has recognized 23 Tonkon Torp attorneys in seven practice areas in its Chambers USA 2021 guide.

Jeanette Schuster Delves into Deeds at Oregon Conservation Law Forum

On April 21, Tonkon Torp partner Jeanette Schuster spoke at the virtual Oregon Conservation Law Forum hosted by the Coalition of Oregon Land Trusts.

Best Lawyers in America® Includes 49 Tonkon Torp Attorneys on 2021 List

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.

All News Items

Oregon Senate Passes Brownfields Land Bank Bill

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.

Don’t Get in a Pickle – Food and Beverage Companies Need to Stay Mindful of Environmental Regulation

They may not realize it, but the manufacturers of many of America’s favorite foods (beer, bread, coffee, jerky, salsa, salad dressing, etc.) are subject to a multitude of environmental regulations for food and beverage companies.

Oregon Rethinks the Future of Recycling

Even though Oregon is considered the third greenest state in the United States, and a national leader when it comes to recycling, Oregon’s waste-management programs are not actually recovering all of the state’s recyclable wastes. The cause of this tragedy is not that consumers and businesses are failing to put materials into designated recycle bins, it is that they are putting in too much – garbage that is.

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 parties by the federal government, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), for violations of environmental laws.

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.

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.

All Ear to the Ground Blog Items

Publications & Presentations

“Oregon Forms of Deeds,” Oregon Coalition of Land Trusts, April 2021

Moderator: “Legal Issues and Enforcement,” Northwest Environmental Business Council, Managing Stormwater in Oregon Conference, June 2017

“Oregon Senate Passes Brownfields Land Bank Bill,” Tonkon Torp Legal Update, June 2015

Moderator and presenter: “Real Environmental Concerns in Real Property and Business Transactions,” American Bar Association Business Law Section’s Environmental Committee, Webinar, February 2014

Moderator: “Real Environmental Concerns in Real Property and Business Transactions,” American Bar Association Business Law Section, Washington, DC, April 2013

“Clean Water Act Overview,” Half Moon Seminars, December 2010

“Hot Environmental Topics – Endangered Species Act,” American Bar Association, Denver, Colorado, April 2010