William J. Ohle


Bill Ohle brings a strong industry background to representing public utilities and industries in state and federal regulatory matters. Before joining Schwabe, Bill served as in-house counsel for a publicly owned electrical, water and wastewater utility company. Currently, he represents both private and public clients before the Bonneville Power Administration, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Oregon Public Utilities Commission. He also assists with transactions between private interests and investor-owned and publicly owned utilities, including negotiating power purchase agreements involving renewable energy resources and conventional energy resources. Bill also has experience in telecommunications and cable television regulation.

Bill has more than 20 years of experience representing clients in construction defect and housing accessibility claims, with an emphasis on claims involving design defects by architects and engineers. He defends design professionals against professional malpractice claims and drafts professional service contracts to minimize the risk of construction disputes and meet the needs of specific design disciplines and projects. Bill has litigated nearly two dozen Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act claims in federal and state courts and agencies.

Professional clients rely on Bill’s advocacy when their livelihood is on the line. He has represented numerous clients before regulatory boards—including the Oregon Board of Architect Examiners, Oregon Board of Examiners for Engineering and the Oregon Electrical and Elevator Board—in contested case hearings, appeals, and negotiated settlements.



  • Successfully represented a large investor-owned utility in complex federal litigation over the constitutionality of a city franchise ordinance.
  • Briefed and argued Grays Harbor PUD v. Idaho Power Company (9th Cir. 2004), one of the first cases arising from the 2000-2001 West Coast Energy Crises to reach the federal appellate courts, and obtained a favorable remand.
  • Advised a large investor-owned utility in ongoing efforts by cities to form municipal utilities and condemn utility facilities.
  • Tried numerous court litigations and administrative contested cases as first chair, including matters before state and federal courts and professional licensing boards such as the Oregon Board of Architect Examiners and the Oregon Electricians Board.
  • Drafted and negotiated hundreds of architectural, engineering and construction contracts and subcontracts, including custom forms based on specific client needs and knowledge of AIA design and construction forms.
  • Advise design professionals in areas of business organization, including matters of state incorporation and professional licensing and drafting of corporate documents.

Resources & Ideas

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

‎Ethics in Government Contracting
HalfMoon Education, October 2014‎

‎Architects and the Law Series
AIA Portland, June 2014‎

‎Architects as Master Builders Series
AIA Portland, April 2014‎

‎Risky Business: Traps and Pitfalls in the Practice of Architecture
AIA Portland, May 2013‎

Building Designs: Are They Works for Hire or Works of Art
Daily Journal of Commerce Oregon, December 22, 2014

Oregon Legislative Updates: Statutes Governing Architects
Daily Journal of Commerce Oregon, August 1, 2013

Perfect a Contract, and Then Follow It
Daily Journal of Commerce Oregon, March 1, 2013

Community Activities

Community Activities

  • Reynolds School District, Citizens Oversight Committee, Chair, 2015 Bond Issue for School Construction (2015-present)
  • Architecture Foundation of Oregon, Communications Subcommittee, Member (2011-present)




Oregon State Courts

Washington State Courts

Commonwealth Courts for the Northern Mariana Islands

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

United States District Court, District of Oregon

Outside The Office