Garrett Stephenson helps clients navigate all facets of land use law, and has obtained entitlements and permit approvals for a wide variety of development projects in both urban and rural settings. A former urban planner, Garrett has a valuable perspective on local government decision making and a practical understanding of project management and delivery. Garrett uses these skills and experience to provide sound counsel to clients considering any aspect of a development project.
Garrett’s experience includes single- and multi-family residential projects, affordable housing, assisted living, office and retail, industrial, energy facilities, and natural resource projects. Using a practical and client-centered approach, Garrett is skilled in all phases of land use matters, including planning and executing a permitting strategy, representing clients before local decision-makers, working with neighbors and other stakeholders, and negotiating public improvements and private property takings. He can also defend those results, having successfully briefed and argued cases before the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals and Oregon Court of Appeals.
Garrett’s natural resource and energy practice focuses on project planning, risk reduction, and permitting. Garrett has substantial experience in electrical transmission and other multi-jurisdictional development projects, including experience with the State Energy Facility Siting Council (EFSC) Site Certificate process and associated state regulatory requirements. He also has considerable recent experience in land use permitting of a large and complex mineral development project.
"We have used Schwabe for about ten years, first in a bond refinancing, and then in other matters. I've always found Schwabe attorneys to be knowledgeable and very helpful in solving my problems. Kudos especially to Garrett Stephenson and Joel Parker. They were both extremely helpful to me."
-Parkview Christian Retirement Center
- As land use counsel for PacifiCorp, assisted with permitting a number of transmission projects, including modification of the Eugene to Medford Transmission Line and the Crook County Transmission Line Expansion Capacity Project. Such work includes successfully defending a local appeal of the Sam’s Valley Substation in Jackson County and serving as PacifiCorp legal counsel before the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council.
- Obtained all land use entitlements for a large chemical gold and silver mine in Malheur County.
- Recently successfully defended LUBA appeals of residential and mixed-use projects in Washington County, Oregon City, and Canby.
- Defended Douglas County in appeals of its Rural Open Space Program.
- Provided, and continues to provide, regulatory due diligence and advising for PacifiCorp and Weyerhaeuser Company.
- Obtained entitlements for a non-profit assisted living and associated multi-family development project in Portland.
- Provided land use and energy law due diligence for wind and solar farm transactions.
- Assisted Wallowa Resources and Wallowa Land Trust in a major conservation deal to preserve nearly 2,000 acres of mixed timber/rangeland near Wallowa Lake.
- Assisted ECONorthwest with preparation and approval of an urban renewal plan for the City of St. Helens.
- Represented McDonald’s Corp. in negotiating governmental takings in Lake Oswego and Eugene.
- Obtained settlements with local governments on behalf of a number of individual land owners in disputes concerning code compliance and required public improvements.
Memberships & Awards
- Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland, Vice Chair of Government Affairs Committee
- International Council of Shopping Centers, Member, Oregon Public Affairs Committee
- Bar People, Oregon State Bar Bulletin (July 2020)
Resources & Ideas
Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- DJC Oregon Builder Breakfast Series: The Future of Affordable Housing: Providing Sustainability, Services and Community with Cost ConstraintsDaily Journal of Commerce OregonJune 17, 2021
- New Developments, Capital Markets and Remaining on the Cutting Edge of CoolThe Benson Hotel, 309 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205, October 19, 2017
- May 18, 2021
- SB 391, Authorizing Accessory Dwelling Units in Rural Residential Zones, Set to Pass Oregon State SenateMay 18, 2021
- Daily Journal of Commerce OregonApril 17, 2020
- April 6, 2020
- Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission Votes to Mandate Space for Public Camping in New DevelopmentsDecember 11, 2019
- Daily Journal of Commerce OregonFebruary 27, 2019
- May 22, 2018
- April 19, 2018
- December 21, 2017
- Daily Journal of Commerce, August 21, 2017
- June 2017
- May 5, 2017
- November 23, 2016
- Proud Ground, Board Member (2020-present)
- Lewis and Clark Small Business Legal Center, Volunteer
- City Club of Portland, Research Board Member (2015–2017)
- Lewis & Clark Law SchoolJuris Doctor degree, cum laude (2013)
- Willamette UniversityBachelor of Arts degree, Cultural Anthropology, magna cum laude (2006)
Oregon State Courts
Outside The Office
- Garrett enjoys hiking, skiing, and cycling all over Oregon.