Environmental and natural resource issues have been at the core of Carson Bowler’s practice for more than 20 years. Carson was trained as a litigator, but now also handles many transactional matters that involve cleaning up contaminated properties and/or buying and selling such properties. Carson’s litigation experience helps him understand risk in transactional matters, and his transaction experience helps him frame the strengths and weaknesses of a case in court.
On the transaction side, Carson has worked on dozens of deals requiring due diligence review, indemnities, pollution insurance provisions, and other aspects of real estate transactions for buyers, sellers, landlords, and tenants of contaminated properties. Carson has been involved with transacting or cleaning up sites formerly and currently used as gas stations, dry cleaners, forest product mills, manufacturing facilities, auto wrecking yards, mines, and bulk fueling facilities. He is also familiar with operations and risks associated with forestry and agricultural land and has negotiated many Prospective Purchaser Agreements to reduce liability exposure for properties with environmental risks.
Carson also helps clients with stormwater permitting and compliance, hazardous and solid waste management, project development, water quality and quantity disputes, wetlands issues, and locating environmental insurance coverage.
Carson still has an active litigation practice, both in court and in administrative settings, and will try a case if that is the best course of action. But he has also negotiated resolution of many disputes by way of settlements, consent judgments/orders, and other agreements with state and federal administrative agencies.
In addition to the above, Carson advises a few fantastic companies on day-to-day decision-making, including managing risks and liabilities. Carson refers to himself in the third person in this bio, but not when he talks to you.
Real Estate Transactions and Development
- Broad experience with due diligence and transactions for sites with environmental concerns, including major industrial facilities, former dry cleaners, gas stations, wind and solar farms, former landfills, timberland, and wood products manufacturing facilities.
- Negotiated cost recovery and indemnity agreements for former and current gas station sites with Shell, Chevron, and BP.
- Secured numerous Prospective Purchaser Agreements with DEQ for buyers, including on sites with existing No Further Action letters, sites located in Superfund areas, and low-income housing credit projects.
- Advised buyers and owners on pollution insurance options for environmental liabilities.
- Advised clients on permitting obligations for stormwater, wetlands, hazardous and solid wastes, and other permits for development projects.
- Assisted clients with achieving site closure on numerous projects, including coordinating environmental consultants, permitting, insurance recovery, cleanup strategy, and settlements with governmental agencies.
- Project experience includes soil, groundwater, and sediment cleanup of bulk fuel facilities, former dry cleaners, wood product manufacturing facilities, landfills, gas stations, boat building and repair facilities, marine oil spills, and areawide sites.
- Coordinate environmental audits and facility reviews.
- Developed Lacey Act Due Care programs with several firm clients.
- Litigation experience in state, federal, and administrative courts, including property damage, water rights, Clean Water Act, lease disputes, environmental damage and cost recovery, and licensing and enforcement actions.
- In two cases involving contamination from underground storage tanks, obtained judgments finding that the property owner clients were not liable for cleanup costs (and shifting 100% of cost to the other side) and awarding attorney fees; one case required overcoming an “as-is” clause in the purchase and sale agreement. See Rudder v. Hosack, 317 Or App 473 (2022).
- Defended Superfund prosecution by the U.S. Department of Justice arising out of dioxin and other contamination used at a window-manufacturing site.
- Worked on a team that had an $8 million Oregon Superfund case dismissed in a suit filed by an Oregon municipality.
- Litigated navigability determinations for the John Day River and Waldo Lake in state and federal court.
Memberships & Awards
- Oregon State Bar Administrative Law Section, Executive Committee (2015–Present), Chair (2018)
- Oregon State Bar Energy, Telecommunications & Utility Law Section, Executive Committee (2002–2003), Chair (2003)
- Multnomah Bar Association Court Liaison Committee (2009–2012)
- Multnomah Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, Service to the Bar Committee, Chair (2001), Professionalism Committee (2001–2003), Award of Merit (2001)
- American Inns of Court, Gus J. Solomon Chapter (1997–2003)
- Sigma Nu Fraternity Alpha Affiliate
- Ranked for Environment Lawyers in Oregon, Chambers USA (2021-2022)
Resources & Ideas
Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- Redevelopment of Brownfield SitesNEBC Environment & Business ConferenceDecember 2, 2021
- Managing Compliance & Continuity in Challenging TimesNEBC Environment & Business ConferenceDecember 9, 2020
Clean Water Act Enforcement
Managing Stormwater in Oregon Conference
June 9, 2020
Environmental Laws and Regulations
Conference on Environmental Protection: What's Next?
Environmental Law Education Center
January 20, 2017
Case Study: Astoria Marine Construction Company
2016 Superfund in Oregon Conference
October 21, 2016
Working with DEQ—Understanding the Spectrum of DEQ’s Programs
Oregon Brownfields Conference
May 16, 2016
ISO 14001/Environmental Management Systems: Things Your Facility Needs to Know
Northwest Pulp & Paper Association Annual Meeting
June 3, 2015
- February 22, 2022
- Control Issues: Kinzua Resources, LLC v. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Expands Liability for Landfills in OregonOregon State Bar: Administrative Law Newsletter Fall 2020November 11, 2020
- With EPA Approval, Landowners May Bring State Law Claims for Remedial Action in Addition to Ongoing Superfund CleanupMay 8, 2020
- May 7, 2020
- Oregon Real Estate and Land Use DigestOctober / November 2019
- Oregon State Bar Legal Publication2018
- The Lacey Act in the 21st Century: An Old Law's Renewed Clout Imposes Serious Consequences on Importers and Processors of Foreign WoodForestry Source Magazine, July 9, 2018
- March 8, 2018
- Daily Journal of Commerce Oregon, January 26, 2017
- Invasions of Real Property, Including Environmental DamageOregon State Bar Legal Publication2016
- May 13, 2016
- University of OregonBachelor of Arts degree (1991)
- University of Oregon School of LawJuris Doctor degree
Editor-in-Chief, Oregon Law Review (1994)
Oregon State Courts
Washington State Courts
United States District Court, District of Oregon
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
United States Court of Federal Claims
Outside The Office
- Carson loves his work, but he loves his family more, and to a lesser degree, commuting by bike, running, golfing poorly and getting out on his motorcycle.