Walter H. Evans III


For 30 years, Walt Evans has helped Northwest ports, water carriers and waterfront businesses surmount legal and regulatory hurdles, both as a lawyer at Schwabe and as an advocate in Washington, D.C. Walt creates solutions for problems ranging from narrow regulatory issues to “bet the future” crises requiring complex, varied responses and skilled advocacy. 

A strong voice for Northwest ports

Walt has worked with ports and water carriers throughout the Northwest, from Lewiston to Coos Bay and Anacortes, to resolve diverse legal, regulatory and business issues. His leadership in guiding ports as they respond to changing regulatory, fiscal and environmental challenges was recognized with the 2013 Pacific Northwest Waterways Association Lifetime Achievement Award.

Before joining Schwabe, Walt distinguished himself as an advocate for ports in Washington, D.C. As part of a coalition of outside counsel, Walt helped shape the landmark 1986 Water Resources Development Act, which imposed cost sharing on local sponsors for the first time. For nearly a decade, Walt represented the Business Oregon Department’s Ports Division, working extensively with the Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies and legislators to advance Oregon port economic assistance projects.

A global perspective

While practicing in law in Washington, D.C., Walt represented the Embassies of Japan and Qatar for nearly 15 years, focusing on the intersection of trade law, policy and politics, and assisting diplomats with a variety of legal and policy issues. He also helped Northwest companies in a variety of industries secure export licenses from U.S. Departments of Commerce and State.



  • Represented Upper Columbia and Snake River ports, towing companies, terminal operators and others for over a decade in long-running federal court litigation impacting salmon recovery programs in Columbia-Snake basins. Also known as “the Judge Redden endangered salmon recovery litigation,” the case has entailed defending several successive U.S. government Biological Opinions (BiOps) from challenges by environmental groups, State of Oregon and the Nez Perce Tribe.
  • Drafted and helped secure authorization and funding to deepen the Coos Bay Channel.  Over 15 years later, helped port staffers refine their strategy for future development along port’s North Spit.
  • Drafted and helped secure passage of special legislation for Columbia River ports in McNary Pool that broadened uses in developing waterfront port property.
  • Helped Port of Newport secure critical, time-sensitive Corps of Engineers permitting required to develop in-water and shore-side facilities for NOAA research vessels.
  • Advocated for Bonneville Pool client ports and successfully persuaded Portland Corps District to provide and deliver dredged material at no cost to each pool port during construction work on navigation lock at Bonneville Dam.
  • Spoke numerous times at regional mid-career training programs for Portland District and Northwest Division Corps of Engineers officials, focusing on role of ports and private sector partners in Corps decision-making and project management.

Memberships & Awards


  • Pacific Northwest Waterways Association Lifetime Achievement Award, 2013
  • Portland Business Alliance Volunteer of the Year, 2014
  • Port of Coos Bay award for “'Digging In’ for the Port of Coos Bay" 

Resources & Ideas

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

Oregon State Bar Association Admiralty Section Continuing Legal Education program, speaker


“One Enduring Legacy of the Corps of Discovery” The Oregonian November 10, 2005

“C-Tran Victory Offers Lessons for Spending Proposals,” The Columbian, October 2, 2005

Testimony before Oregon Senate Committee on Oregon’s Stake in International Trade

“Scoop Wouldn’t Have Switched” Seattle Times May 30, 2001

“Oregon: The State of Civility,” The Oregonian, November 8, 2004

“'Ambassador’ Akio Morita’s Death is Oregon’s Loss” Portland Business Journal, October 15, 1999

“Navigation, commerce and core of expedition,” Corps of Engineers “Keeping Up” Newsletter

“Look to Asia for Oregon’s Future,” The Oregonian, December 31, 2001

“Engaging China the Oregon Way,” The Oregonian, September 22, 2000

“Second Economic Punch for Oregon,” The Oregonian, January 24, 1999

“Oregon Another Domino,” The Oregonian, April 2, 1998

Community Activities

Community Activities




Oregon State Courts

District of Columbia Courts

United States District Court, District of Oregon

Outside The Office