Services & Industries
J.D., Stanford Law School
B.A., with great distinction, political science and economics, Stanford University, Phi Beta Kappa
Bar & Court Admissions
Oregon State Bar
U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon
Owen has an extensive range of legal experience in business, commercial, real estate, and corporate matters. Among the clients he represents are small family-held businesses, national and international corporations, nonprofit organizations, and charitable foundations. His industry experience includes manufacturing, retail, sports, media, entertainment, and technology.
Representative transactional matters Owen regularly handles include:
- Real estate sales, acquisitions, financing, and investment transactions
- Business mergers, acquisitions, and dispositions
- Professional sports and media matters
- Business contracts
- Nonprofit organization formation, mergers, and dissolutions
- Alternative investment transactions on behalf of investors
Owen’s experience also includes counseling nonprofits on their governance, operational, and investment issues. He has served as a member, officer and/or director of many civic, professional, and nonprofit organization committees, task forces, and boards of directors. For over 25 years, Owen and his colleagues at Tonkon Torp have provided pro bono legal services to Albina Head Start, which serves approximately 1,000 children and their families.
Sale of High Profile Downtown Portland Mixed-Use Property
Represented client members of the seller in the sale of a 17-story high profile downtown Portland mixed-use property that includes ZGF's world headquarters, luxury apartments, and ground floor retail.
Formation of Qualified Opportunity Fund
Formed and organized a Qualified Opportunity Fund, Qualified Opportunity Zone Business, and Fund Manager for purposes of investing in real estate located in an opportunity zone in Portland, Oregon.
Acquisition of a Metals Recycling and Processing Company
Represented the purchaser in a complex two-stage strategic acquisition of a metals recycling and processing company and associated real estate entities for expansion into a new region of the country.
Representation of Automobile Dealers
Represented automobile dealers in purchases and sales of franchises and in contractual and other matters with automobile manufacturers.
Represented Minority Shareholders
Represented minority shareholders in the sale of a nationally known, privately held consulting firm to a publicly held company.
Sports Contractual Matters
Have represented professional baseball, soccer and basketball franchises as well as NBA executives, coaches and players, and sports marketing companies in various contractual matters.
Complex Real Estate Reorganization
Completed the acquisition of six tenancy-in-common and 10 LLC interests in a complex series of transactions which effectuated the separation of multiple owners from other multiple owners. Required a combination of real estate and LLC reorganization transactions.
Milwaukie Light Rail Condemnations
Represented various owners in connection with condemnations resulting from the Milwaukie Light Rail extension.
Multi-State Real Estate Holdings
Represented complex limited partnership, with multi-state real estate holdings, in connection with separation from corporate general and limited partner and governance issues.
Purchase of Inner-Eastside Retail Center
Represented purchaser in acquiring inner-eastside retail center.
Purchase of Williams Sonoma's Signature Building
Represented purchaser in acquiring Williams Sonoma's signature building on NW 23rd Avenue.
Represented Land Owner with Joint Venture Development
Represented land owner in connection with a joint venture development of a multi-story retail, office, apartment complex in downtown Portland.
Agreement with Portland Community College
Negotiated and documented a unique agreement with Portland Community College to provide on-campus Head Start Program.
Investments in Alternative Investment Funds
Represented nonprofit foundations and nonprofit institutions with respect to investments in alternative investment funds (hedge funds, private equity funds, and similar investment vehicles) with investments ranging from $500,000 to $100,000,000.
Complex Reverse Exchange
Owen Blank and Kimberlee Stafford led the Tonkon Torp team in guiding the client through executing a complicated reverse exchange, which involved the purchase of 10 real property interests and the sale of one real property interest pursuant to Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended, and the Treasury Regulations promulgated thereunder. These carefully timed transactions also involved the client's exercise of a put option under the controlling ground lease, the termination of numerous tenancy-in-common agreements, the assumption of dozens of leases, and the coordination of tenants, counter-parties and their counsel, two title companies, and the exchange accommodation titleholder/qualified intermediary company.
Purchase of Portland Property
Represented purchaser in acquiring half-block of downtown Portland property with known environmental issues for future development.
City Center Parking Acquired by Canada-based Impark
Represented the general partner in the sale of Portland's largest local parking management and services company to an international firm. The company operated approximately 200 lots, mostly in the core of the City. Transaction included contractual arrangements for 28 lots owned by affiliates of the company's owners.
Underneath Tonkon Torp’s Financial Services banner, a specialized Investment Management Practice represents institutional, governmental, and individual investors to advise on investments in funds such as hedge funds, real estate funds, venture capital funds, and private equity funds. For instance, in recent years, the State of Oregon has turned to Tonkon Torp’s expertise to provide legal counsel in connection with its investments. Business attorneys David Forman and Owen Blank, and tax attorney Gwen Griffith each hold an appointment as Special Assistant Attorney General for the state.
Represented the General Partner in the sale of Portland’s largest local parking management and services company to an international firm. The company operated approximately 200 lots, mostly in the core of the City. Transaction also included contractual arrangements for 28 lots owned by affiliates of the company’s owners.
Tonkon Torp lawyers demonstrate speed like the Oregon Ducks to help SportsOne create the Bud Light Fiesta entertainment village at the BCS National Championship.
When Albina Head Start, Inc. received a significant grant award to expand the agency’s services, its management called on Tonkon Torp to help address many legal and business issues.
The National Head Start Association was facing a crisis. Although the program is credited with helping over a million at-risk children achieve pre-school readiness, the federal government was attempting to make serious overhauls in the program’s structure that program leaders feared would dismantle it.
As younger and younger children are diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, and other weight-related conditions typically seen in adults, the effort to restore physical education to schools has become more urgent.
Tonkon Torp played a foundational role in paving the way for Oregon’s first five-star hotel development, the 35-story Ritz-Carlton hotel in downtown Portland. Attorneys from the Real Estate & Land Use Law Practice Group represented their client, the landowner, in negotiating an agreement to enter into a ground lease (AEGL) with BPM Real Estate Group, a Portland-based developer, assisting with the fulfillment of the AEGL’s conditions, and closing the transaction with the parties entering into the ground lease itself.
Attorneys from Tonkon Torp’s Real Estate & Land Use Practice Group are celebrating a successful real estate purchase for pro bono client Albina Head Start (AHS). For more than 40 years, AHS has leased space at a former church building in NE Portland for its Tina Clegg Center. The Center, a community pillar for one of Portland’s historic communities of color, houses both a Head Start program serving 60 low-income families and AHS administrative offices that coordinate and provide services for numerous additional families.
Tonkon Torp attorneys Owen Blank and Max Miller represented the buyer in a recent purchase of Portland area property that was previously the site of a gas station and had contaminated soil that presented potential liability and development risk issues.
Albina Head Start, Inc. (AHS), which serves more than 1,000 low-income children and their families in North, Northeast and Southeast Portland, faces the future in a stronger financial position thanks to a significant pro bono effort by Tonkon Torp. Find details and more featured cases here.
When Albina Head Start learned it was awarded a Blue Sky Fund grant to install a rooftop solar array on one of its buildings, it turned to its long-time pro bono legal partner, Tonkon Torp. The nonprofit organization knew that it would need legal guidance to ensure that it could meet the terms laid out in the grant’s detailed and binding Memo of Understanding.
Auto dealership sales are generally straightforward affairs that frequently involve both business and real estate assets. In 2015, Tonkon Torp got involved in a purchase transaction that took a unique turn. Find details and more featured cases here.
For decades, Tonkon Torp has been honored and proud to represent the Tonkin family and its businesses. In fact, the relationship dates back to the post-World War II era.
On March 31, 2020, Owen Blank and Rachel Atchison helped their client close on the beginning of Portland’s first living building, which will be located at SW 1st Avenue and SW Pine Street. The “Living Building” will meet the world’s most stringent sustainability standards. It will have many amazing attributes, like use of filtered heat recovery ventilation and cross-laminated timber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Community Involvement & Activities
Multnomah Bar Association Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee
American Bar Association
Multnomah Bar Association
National Sports Law Institute
The Best Lawyers in America
2008-2023, Corporate Law
2008-2023, Mergers & Acquisitions Law
2008-2023, Real Estate Law
2023, Lawyer of the Year – Real Estate Law, Portland
Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers
2021-2022, Real Estate
2006-2022, Oregon Super Lawyer – Business/Corporate
Multnomah Bar Association/Legal Aid Services of Oregon/Oregon Law Center
2015, Pro Bono Award of Merit
Albina Head Start
2014, Dedication of Owen D. Blank Head Start & Early Head Start Center (in honor of years of pro bono support)
Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs
Member Service Award
Portland Business Alliance
Five Tonkon Torp partners have been named 2023 Portland Lawyer of the Year in their respective specialties by The Best Lawyers in America.
Fifty-three Tonkon Torp lawyers representing 37 practice areas have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2023. Nearly all the attorneys have been previously named to the peer-review list, and most have been listed for more than 10 years.
Thirty-one Tonkon Torp attorneys in 11 practice areas have been included in the 2022 Oregon Super Lawyers or Rising Stars
Chambers USA has recognized 28 Tonkon Torp attorneys in eight practice areas in its Chambers USA 2022 Guide.
Tonkon Torp Partner Owen Blank moderated a panel for an event hosted by the Multnomah Bar Association Equity Diversity & Inclusion Committee.
On June 11, 2007, in U.S. v Atlantic Research Corp., the United States Supreme Court solved a portion of the puzzle that has confounded so-called potentially responsible parties (PRPs) since the Court’s decision in Cooper Industries, Inc. v Aviall Services, Inc. in 2004.
Ear to the Ground Blog
Effective December 2, 2020, the IRS issued its Final Regulations (the “Final Regs”) clarifying what is real property under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code.
The IRS issued Proposed Regulation 117589-18 on June 11, 2020 (the “Proposed Regs”), in response to legislative changes applicable to like-kind exchange transactions (“1031s”). The Proposed Regs address transactions involving both real property and personal property given that under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act personal property is no longer eligible for like-kind exchange treatment.
The IRS issued Notice 2020-39 on June 5, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which extended several deadlines applicable to Opportunity Zone investments.
Last month the IRS issued additional guidance in the form of more proposed regulations. The latest guidance is generally favorable to real estate investors, and reflects continuing efforts by the Government to promote the purposes and intent of the Opportunity Zone legislation. In this post, I will briefly discuss my top picks related to real estate from the important answers we received in this second round of guidance.
Several weeks ago my blog post (How Will Opportunity Zone Investing Impact the Portland Real Estate Market?) talked about the importance to investors and professionals of forthcoming guidance from the IRS. The first chapter of that guidance was issued October 19 in the form of proposed regulations and a Revenue Ruling (26 CFR Part 1 and IRS Revenue Ruling 2018-29: Special Rules for Capital Gains Invested in Opportunity Zones), which answered some key questions. Other questions were left for the next chapter(s). In this post, I will briefly discuss my top five picks (there are more) from the important answers we received in this first round.
Publications & Presentations
Moderator, “Everybody’s In, Nobody’s Out: Confronting Institutional Racism in the Business World,” Multnomah Bar Association, April 2022