Environmental & Natural Resources

Tonkon Torp helps clients anticipate and strategically address environmental and natural resource issues.

We help clients achieve their business objectives while complying with complex federal, state, and local environmental regulations. Our environmental and natural resources attorneys help companies minimize costly delays, reduce risk exposure, and maintain public goodwill.

We counsel landowners, investors, tenant operators, and nonprofit entities on a broad range of issues such as the acquisition of water rights and operation and cleanup of contaminated property.

Our clients include people and companies involved in:

  • Manufacturing
  • Industrial operations
  • Agriculture
  • Forest products
  • Energy development
  • Food processing and production
  • Wine and beer production
  • Transportation
  • Real estate development
  • Real estate investment

Environmentally-Impaired Businesses and Real Estate

Our environmental lawyers are adept at closing deals involving businesses and properties with legacy environmental issues. We protect our clients – both buyers and sellers – from undue environmental risk.

Preventive Advice

Preventive counseling and advice is a key part of our practice. We advise clients on the natural resource use and environmental issues inherent to business and real estate transactions. Tonkon Torp attorneys counsel clients on how state and federal environmental laws affect property use, business operations and structure, mergers and acquisitions, secured loans, securities offerings, and employee safety.

Due Diligence

We help our clients buy, sell, and lease environmentally-impaired businesses and real estate, and our environmental lawyers are skilled at finding creative solutions for allocating environmental risk and closing deals involving businesses and properties with legacy environmental issues or uncertain environmental liabilities. Toward that end, our environmental attorneys also coordinate the environmental due diligence process, including hiring and overseeing environmental technical consultants to ensure the client understands the environmental conditions, evaluating insurance coverage, and negotiating and drafting access agreements, environmental provisions in commercial real estate, asset or stock purchase and sale agreements, and real estate leases.

Sustainability Advice

Our business-savvy attorneys also help clients add environmental value to their businesses through green building practices, environmental certification programs (including LEED or FSC certification), sustainability programs, and renewable or alternative energy tax credits.


We provide compliance counseling and environmental audits to help clients navigate complex environmental regulations on federal, state, and local levels, including:

  • Superfund/CERCLA
  • Clean Water Act
  • Hazardous Waste Laws/Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • Toxic Substances Control Act
  • Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Proposition 65 (California)
  • Clean Air Act
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Lacey Act
  • Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
  • Litigation and alternative dispute resolution

Acquiring Resources

Our environmental lawyers work in conjunction with our business and real estate practice groups to help our clients acquire land, water rights, necessary permits, and any other components needed to support their business goals. This multidisciplinary approach allows us to efficiently target our legal services to meet our clients’ needs.


Tonkon Torp attorneys understand the science and complicated legal issues involved in complex environmental litigation. Our environmental litigation team includes lawyers with advanced degrees and work experience in environmental science, which allows them to translate scientific and technical concepts to jurors, judges, arbitrators, consultants and peers.

We build collaborative trial teams that include both seasoned environmental trial lawyers and experienced regulation attorneys that handle litigation in federal and state courts throughout the region. We represent clients in lawsuits, high-profile administrative proceedings and private arbitrations. Tonkon Torp attorneys handle matters involving toxic torts and personal injuries, and help clients address insurance issues associated with environmental liabilities.

Our environmental attorneys work diligently to prevent lawsuits, but when these disputes do arise, we provide creative strategies for prevailing in litigation as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

Our representations include:

  • The defense of criminal and civil investigations and prosecutions
  • Litigation arising from private citizen suits
  • Natural resource damage claims
  • Superfund cost recovery claims

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Of Counsel
Labor & Employment Paralegal
Of Counsel
3503, 3539, 3541, 3545, 3547, 3551
Immigration Paralegal

Tonkon Torp Helps Friends of the Children Actuate $33 Million Real Estate Gift

Tonkon Torp is proud to help Friends of the Children unwrap its transformative $33 million gift from philanthropists Gary and Christine Rood. The Roods, based in Vancouver, WA, presented Friends of the Children with a three-year gift in the form of five debt-free commercial properties that Friends of the Children will resell in phases.

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.

Tonkon Torp Helps Albina Head Start Purchase Property for Community Cornerstone

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 Helps Columbia Land Trust Establish Sandhill Crane Habitat Preserve

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 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 Finds Solution to Property Purchase Dilemma

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.

Natural Resource Acquisition for Commercial Aquaculture Business

Represented an association of commercial aquaculture businesses in obtaining a reversal of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's proposed denial of Section 401 water quality certification to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Nationwide Permit 48 for commercial shellfish operations, and in avoiding the need to obtain dredge and fill permits for standard commercial shellfish operations.

Commercial Shellfish Regulation

Represented commercial shellfish growers in regulatory matters, including the Clean Water Act.

Food Safety Recall Defense

Assisted a commercial aquaculture business in favorable resolving a food safety recall.

Sale of Cadet Manufacturing Company

Tonkon Torp negotiated and finalized the sale of Vancouver-based Cadet Manufacturing to an Irish company called Glen Dimplex, the world's largest electric heat manufacturer.

Sale of Portland Bottling Company

Tonkon Torp negotiated the sale of 92-year old Portland Bottling Company. The buyer is an entity formed by Ed Maletis, former founder of beer and spirits giant Columbia Distributing.

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.

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).

Acquisition of 540 Acres, Subject to Conservation Easement

Represented the Columbia Land Trust in the acquisition of 540 acres from the Port of Vancouver, USA in the Vancouver Lake Bottomlands, subject to a conservation easement requiring that the land be actively managed to provide a feeding and nesting area for the costal flock of the Pacific Flyway population of Sandhill cranes.

Emergency Removal Actions

Represented the landlord of a metals recovery lab in an U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-directed emergency removal action.

Multi-Party Groundwater Contamination Proceeding

Oversaw development of the remedial investigation and feasibility study for petroleum contamination in groundwater and surface water at the Port of Astoria in a multi-party groundwater contamination proceeding.

Solvent-Contaminated Groundwater Cleanup

Negotiated with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality for risk-based closure of a site involving solvent-contaminated groundwater.

No Further Action Letter

Obtained No Further Action Letter from DEQ for approximately 85 acres of former millsite brownfield property, allowing it to be developed for industrial use.

Wastewater Pond Decommissioning

Represented agricultural landowner regarding the decommissioning of a food processing wastewater pond.

Water Treatment System Compliance

Represented a bottler regarding the use and disposal of excess water from a reverse osmosis treatment system.

Federal and State Administrative Order Negotiation

Helped negotiate and implement an administrative order for the $6 million cleanup and removal of PCB-contaminated cooling pond at a former sawmill and plywood plant in Montana.

Forest Practices Compliance

Represented timber owners with respect to federal and state forest practices compliance.

Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Defense

Helped client resolve multiple claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and others related to a PCB boiler fire in Montana.

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.

Wetlands Permitting

Represented land development companies in wetlands permitting matters before the Oregon Department of State Lands.

Acquisition of Peterson Caterpillar Property

Represented the purchaser of the Peterson Caterpillar property in NE Portland. The property consists of 13 buildings containing approximately 264,000 square feet, constructed on 30.64 acres of land. The acquisition involved extensive environmental due diligence which resulted in a No Further Action Letter from the DEQ, issued shortly before closing. Purchase price: $17,500,000.

Due Diligence in Real Property Transactions

Regularly provide environmental due diligence for the purchase and sale of manufacturing facilities, industrial real estate, and timberlands.

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.

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.

Environmental Liability

Obtained a defense verdict as lead trial counsel for a large public company following a seven-week jury trial relating to insurance liability for environmental contamination at three superfund sites, including the Portland Harbor, and over 1,200 asbestos claims.

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.

Services + Industries

Services + Industries

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