Kelly M. Walsh
Kelly Walsh helps property owners defend themselves against the government in eminent domain (also known as condemnation) cases. Drawing on more than 23 years of experience as a litigator, Kelly helps her clients seek fair compensation for property taken by the government. She also helps landowners with pre-condemnation planning and can assist with guiding them through the process of relocating their business or home.
An experienced trial lawyer, Kelly also represents commercial landlords, construction contractors and other business owners faced with litigation. Whether it is assisting a commercial landlord with evicting a problem tenant or helping a construction contractor with filing and foreclosing liens, Kelly approaches every problem with a can-do attitude.
Broad experience with condemnation law
Kelly helps landowners from all walks of life navigate the waters of eminent domain, inverse condemnation, regulatory takings and other issues impacting private property rights in Oregon and Washington. Her clients include small business owners, large corporations, developers, ranchers, homeowners, condominium owners and homeowners’ associations.
Extensive experience with public records issues
Kelly routinely assists Ports and other public entities with issues related to public records requests. This includes a full range of services including analyzing and advising on exemptions, spearheading large document review teams, and handling litigation when necessary.
Taking the high road … most of the time
In a profession built on adversarial proceedings, Kelly believes that you don’t have to be a bull in a china shop to get things done. In fact, most of the time, being the bull is not to the client’s benefit. Kelly’s clients know that she frequently advises them to take the high road—that is, until the circumstances dictate that the high road is not appropriate. In those cases, Kelly will always vigorously defend her client in the sword fight.
- Negotiated an additional $100,000 for a Fortune 500 company in just compensation from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) by showing that the partial taking had a much greater impact than ODOT recognized. ODOT also paid all of the client’s attorney fees and appraiser fees.
- More than tripled the amount of just compensation Pierce County Transit (PCT) offered a national bank by showing that PCT failed to adequately value the damages to the remaining bank property. The taking reduced the bank branch’s parking ratio from 4.13 to 2.98 parking spaces per 1,000 feet.
- Following a week-long trial, resolved a long-standing dispute for a developer who owned a prime piece of commercial property with I-5 frontage. ODOT sought to take a strip of land adjacent to I-5 in order to construct a 16-foot high wall that would completely obstruct the visibility of the commercial property, thereby vastly reducing its value. After trial, ODOT agreed to wrap the noise wall behind the developer’s property, thereby preserving the freeway frontage and visibility. ODOT also paid the developer’s attorney fees and appraiser fees.
- Successfully represented the Port of Vancouver against a tenant who asserted that a small partial taking of its leasehold resulted in over $6 million in costs to reconfigure the site. After a seven-day administrative trial, obtained a ruling that the tenant was only entitled to approximately 1% of its claim.
- Filed a $500,000 lien on behalf of a general contractor, resulting in nearly immediate payment of amounts due.
- Drafts, reviews and edits construction contracts for developers and contractors.
- Represents the Port of Vancouver in commercial eviction proceedings and other lease-related disputes.
- Routinely assists the Port of Vancouver in responding to and/or challenging public records requests, including litigation when necessary.
Memberships & Awards
- American Bar Association Member, State & Local Government Section, Condemnation Law Committee, Vice-Chair
- American Bar Association Member, Litigation Section
- Southwest Washington Contractor’s Association, Board Member
- Oregon Owner’s Counsel of America, Board of Directors
- Washington State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, Outstanding Young Lawyer award (2008)
- Vancouver Business Journal, Accomplished Under 40 award (2007)
- Washington Law & Politics, Rising Star Award (2007-2008)
Resources & Ideas
- Digital JournalDigital Journal, February 16, 2021
Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- April 21, 2021
- American Law InstituteJanuary 24, 2019
- Crowne Plaza Portland - Downtown Convention Center, June 9 & 10, 2016
Co-presenter, “Cross-Examining Appraisers: Taking Apart the Key Witness,” American Law Institute: Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation Seminar
February 6, 2015
“Pre-Filing Condemnation Issues,” 8th Annual Eminent Domain Conference
June 4, 2015
“Overview of the Condemnation Process,” 7th Annual Eminent Domain Conference
June 5, 2014
- What Does Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Proclamation Mean for the Construction Industry in Washington?March 31, 2020
- Vancouver Business Journal, March 25, 2016
- July 31, 2015
- YWCA Clark County, Former President and Board Member (2008-2014)
- Vancouver Metro Sunset Rotary, Former Member (2013-2015)
- SafeChoice Legal Clinic, Founder and Volunteer
- Leadership Clark County, Class of 2007
- Willamette University College of LawJuris Doctor degree (1999)
- Montana State UniversityBachelor of Science degree (1993)
Oregon State Courts
Washington State Courts
United States District Court, Oregon District
United States District Court, Eastern District of Washington
United States District Court, Western District of Washington
Outside The Office
- Traveling, live music, traveling to see live music, hanging with my dog and cat, cheering on the Zags basketball team … and, of course, frequent trips to Las Vegas.