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Batteries and Solar Might Be Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter

Energy, Real Estate and Land Use


3/8/2018 by David J. Petersen

Batteries and Solar Might Be Like Chocolate and Peanut Butter
Currently, the largest operating solar energy facility in Oregon is the 56 megawatt Gala Solar facility near Prineville, which generates electricity for Apple. But homegrown Oregon developer Obsidian Renewables has plans for something much, much bigger. Six solar projects developed by Obsidian are already up and running in Oregon, including the 2.5 megawatt Black Cap and Lakeview projects in Lake County, which as recently as 2012 were the largest in Oregon. But the proposed 600 megawatt Obsidian Solar Center would dwarf them all, generating a supply of power equal to that of many fossil fuel-powered plants. Although its size alone makes the proposal unique, it also comes with an interesting twist – batteries.

Portland, Oregon – Future Olympic City?

Real Estate and Land Use


3/2/2018 by Jeanette Schuster

Portland, Oregon – Future Olympic City?
Last month, Portland hosted the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships. While not likely what comes to mind when thinking of major sporting events, it nonetheless drew a lot of visitors to the city, with an economic impact estimated at $1.5 million. Portland won the bid to host the Championships because of the joint efforts of the Oregon Skating Council, the Oregon Sports Authority, and Travel Portland. According to Bill Cloran, president of the Oregon Skating Council, while this is the first time this event has been held here, the three organizations have been working together to host skating events since the 2005 U.S. nationals were held in Portland. At these championships, over 2,300 figure skaters from 89 of the nation's top synchronized skating teams participated.

Big Changes to 1031 Exchanges, But Not for Real Estate (Yet)

Real Estate and Land Use


2/23/2018 by David J. Petersen

Big Changes to 1031 Exchanges, But Not for Real Estate (Yet)
Section 1031 of the tax code allows sellers of investment property to defer capital gains if the proceeds are reinvested in "like kind" property within certain timeframes. Prior to 2018, 1031 exchanges could be used for many kinds of property, including real estate, vehicles, artwork and other tangible items.

Trends in Drinking Water: Part Two – Poop Water

Water Law


2/15/2018 by Janet Neuman

Trends in Drinking Water: Part Two – Poop Water
At the other end of the spectrum from raw water is "poop water"—sewage effluent that has been transformed back into safe drinking water. Whereas raw water is completely untreated, poop water—or "direct potable re-use" if you want a more palatable euphemism—is very highly treated, for obvious reasons. Drinking reclaimed sewage water is hardly a new idea; in fact, if you live downstream from an urban area, you may already be doing so to some degree. A few years ago, Bill Gates drank reclaimed water publicly and repeatedly —even on national TV with Jimmy Fallon —to promote a company developing treatment plants for developing countries. A couple of years before that, the film Last Call at the Oasis featured Jack Black drinking the stuff. For the most part, the movement to reclaim sewage effluent for drinking water stays under the radar, since the biggest barrier to widespread adoption is negative public perception—the "yuck" factor.

Trends in Drinking Water: Part One – Raw Water

Water Law


2/9/2018 by Janet Neuman

Trends in Drinking Water: Part One – Raw Water
The water news popping up in my email inbox recently has really run the gamut. One of the latest health fads is apparently drinking "raw water"—meaning unprocessed and untreated water. At the other end of the spectrum, there are a couple of new proposals to drink "poop water"—water produced by thoroughly treating sewage effluent to meet drinking water standards. First, a look at raw water. The New York Times, The Washington Post, the BBC, and even The Oregonian have featured stories about the raw water craze. One of the sources of this hot new product is here in the Northwest—Opal Spring, in Central Oregon—the source of the Crooked River.

New Clean Energy Jobs Bills Seek to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Oregon

Energy, Environmental


2/1/2018 by Jeanette Schuster

New Clean Energy Jobs Bills Seek to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Oregon
The Oregon legislature is currently in the process of figuring out how the state will (or won't) deal with the greenhouse gas emissions made by Oregonians that are negatively impacting the world's climate. Substantially similar drafts of the Clean Energy Jobs Bill (SB 1070) were released on January 8 in both the Senate (Legislative Concept 44) and the House (Legislative Concept 176). Besides a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the bill's goal is to "promote carbon sequestration and adaptation and resilience by this state's natural and working lands, communities and economy in the face of climate change and ocean acidification."

The Future of Freight

Manufacturing, Real Estate and Land Use


1/26/2018 by David J. Petersen

The Future of Freight
By now we've all heard about receiving Amazon packages by drone. Drones haven't cornered this market, though – there are also robots. But these are just the tip of the iceberg for cool new ways for stuff to get delivered more efficiently. Here's a review of some other ideas in the works, starting simple and working up the freakiness ladder.

The "Disastrous" Costs of Climate Change

Environmental, Real Estate and Land Use


1/19/2018 by Janet Neuman

The
"Natural" disasters cost the United States a record amount of $306 billion in 2017, topping the previous record of $215 billion in 2005, the year of Hurricane Katrina. This past year also tied with 2011 for the highest number of billion-dollar disasters—a total of 16. The events included floods, fires, storms, droughts, and freezes—pretty much everything except the locusts and the plague—according to the folks at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Centers for Environmental Information, whose job it is to keep track of these statistics.

Portland's Fossil Fuel Terminal Ban Upheld by Court of Appeals

Energy, Environmental, Manufacturing, Real Estate and Land Use, Water Law


1/10/2018 by Jeanette Schuster

Portland's Fossil Fuel Terminal Ban Upheld by Court of Appeals
On January 4, 2018, the Oregon Court of Appeals issued its decision in the case brought by Petitioners Columbia Riverkeeper, Portland Audubon Society, and Center for Sustainable Economy, among others, to attempt to uphold the City of Portland's new "Fossil Fuel Terminal Zoning Amendments" adopted December 14, 2016 under Ordinance No. 188142 ("FFT Ordinance"). The FFT Ordinance would stop the expansion of existing fossil-fuel terminals and significantly limit the size of new terminals within the City of Portland. This ordinance was originally challenged by industry groups Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council, Portland Business Alliance, Western States Petroleum Association, and Working Waterfront Coalition in a case against the City of Portland before the Land Use Board of Appeals.

Why Mapping Apps Keep Traffic Engineers Up at Night

Real Estate and Land Use


1/5/2018 by David J. Petersen

Why Mapping Apps Keep Traffic Engineers Up at Night
By now, we've all used a mapping app -- like Apple Maps, Google Maps and Waze – to find the best way from point A to point B. A primary attraction of the apps is that they can filter traffic conditions in real time and provide the quickest route to your destination, which may not always be the most direct. Many times, the apps direct drivers onto residential side streets not designed for through traffic or additional volume. For traffic engineers, this can be a big headache. The traffic grid is designed primarily to move large numbers of vehicles as safely as possible. Design choices are made based on expected traffic under normal conditions. The mapping apps, on the other hand, serve the individual driver's desire for flexibility and convenience based on real time conditions in the moment.

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