Dave Bartz, Jr.

Chair Emeritus

I’m committed to winning the war, not just the battle, so I always look for the ‎larger solution.

How I represent clients at Schwabe

I help transportation and construction businesses resolve disputes, gain approvals, and keep projects in motion. Throughout my 35 years of practice, I have been involved in complex and high-profile projects within the Pacific Northwest region, including the deepening of the Columbia River channel as well as the West Coast National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) relocation to Newport, Oregon.

I have extensive experience representing clients in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Washington Department of Ecology, and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

A name brand for creative problem solving 

My industry background involvement allows me to understand the big picture and find innovative strategies that work for the long term. My creative and bold ideas have given rise to the phrase, “Let’s Bartz it!” for clients and colleagues who face challenging issues.

Leadership on diverse fronts

Known for my diverse experience throughout the transportation and construction industries, I advise key principals and stakeholders, including ports, airlines, ship operators, marine transportation companies, tribes, developers, owners, financial institutions, and asbestos removal and construction companies. I have served as lead environmental counsel to the Port of Vancouver for more than 25 years, and am General Counsel to the Columbia River Steamship Operators Association.


Environmental Litigation

  • Representing the Port of Vancouver in a State Environmental Policy Act/National Environmental Policy Act trial related to a proposed crude oil transfer terminal that would be the largest in the United States.
  • Defended an environmental contractor in private litigation alleging trespass and negligence in removal of waste tire property (Hager v. Tire Recyclers).
  • Won judicial appeal of a DEQ order by proving unequal treatment of our client’s alternative septic system products (EZ Drain v. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality).


  • Represented the coalition of Washington and Oregon ports to help accomplish the deepened Columbia River Channel.
  • Assisted the Port of Newport, Oregon in environmental permitting for the West Coast NOAA facility.
  • Advised airline team that developed a favorable Clean Water Act permit and later, a revised permit for the Portland International Airport.
  • Kept a new plant open for a Fortune 250 consumer products manufacturer after the Oregon DEQ threatened to pull its air permit.

Hazardous Waste

  • Handled Brownfields work for Pacific NW Gas transmission headquarters on the Portland waterfront, the Clackamas Crossing development and the Consumer Power former headquarters Ninth Street project.
  • Defended numerous alleged administrative fines for Resource Conservation and Recovery Act violations, including separate cases with potential fines of over $1 million.
  • Successfully defended two of Oregon’s most active asbestos contractors against alleged violations of removal and disposal regulations.


  • Resolved various disputes for a $350 million “big pipe” project to install a new stormwater system under the west side of Portland.
  • Successfully represented disappointed bidders on public agency projects.


  • University of Oregon, School of Law, Juris Doctor degree (1982)
  • Michigan State University, Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors (1979)


  • Oregon State Courts
  • Washington State Courts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals - Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court - District of Oregon
  • U.S. District Court - Western District of ‎Washington


  • U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon committee to recommend the next Magistrate Judge (2014)
  • Oregon State Bar Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (Affirmative Action Committee, 2001 – 2013)
  • Associated General Contractors Oregon Columbia Chapter, Former General Counsel
  • Oregon State Bar Construction Law Section, Past Chair


  • Maritime Commerce Club’s Old Salt Award, presented to someone who has advanced the Willamette and Columbia River maritime industry (2019)
  • Frohnmayer Award for Public Service, University of Oregon School of Law (2018)
  • Legal Services Excellence Award, Northwest Pulp and Paper Association (2018)
  • Edwin J. Peterson Professionalism Award, Oregon Bench and Bar Commission on Professionalism (2016)
  • Ranked for Environmental Lawyers in Oregon, Chambers USA (2006 – 2019)
  • Lawyer of the Year award for Litigation – Environmental in Portland, Oregon, Best Lawyers in America (2015, 2018 and 2024)
  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America®, Environmental Litigation (2007-2024)
  • Selected to Oregon Super Lawyers List, Environmental (2007-2023)
  • Oregon League of Minority Voters Liberty and Hope Award (2011)
  • U.S. District Court Historical Society “Distinguished Trial Attorney” (2010)
  • World Arts Foundation Lifetime Achievement award (2008)
  • Oregon Women Lawyers Association Mercedes Diez award (2008)
  • Oregon State Bar President’s Affirmative Action award (1999)

Additional Publications

Editor, Real Property Deskbook, Environmental Law Supplement (Washington State Bar 2017)

Community Activities

  • Urban League of Portland, Executive Committee Member of the Board of Directors, 2010 – 2015 (2013 – 2015, Executive Committee; Assistant Secretary)
  • Associated Oregon Industries, past representative to Oregon’s Air Toxic Advisory Committee
  • The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Oregon Chapter, past Board member (2000 – 2009, Secretary)

Outside Interests

Working hard and playing hard in the Pacific Northwest.

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