When in doubt, take the high road: there’s less traffic.
How I represent clients at Schwabe
I focus my practice on helping 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, I help my clients seek fair compensation for property taken by the government. I also assist landowners with pre-condemnation planning and can assist with guiding them through the process of relocating their business or home.
With my experience as a trial lawyer, I also represent commercial landlords, construction contractors, and other business owners faced with litigation. Whether assisting a commercial landlord with evicting a problem tenant or helping a construction contractor with filing and foreclosing liens, I strive to approach every problem with a can-do attitude.
Broad experience with condemnation law
Along with my teammates, I help 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. My clients include small business owners, large corporations, developers, ranchers, homeowners, condominium owners, and homeowners’ associations.
Extensive experience with public records issues
I routinely assist 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, I believe 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. My clients know that I frequently advise them to take the high road—that is until the circumstances dictate that the high road is not appropriate. In those cases, I will always vigorously defend my 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.
- Willamette University College of Law, Juris Doctor degree (1999)
- Montana State University, Bachelor of Science degree (1993)
- Oregon State Courts
- Washington State Courts
- U.S. Court of Federal Claims
- U.S. District Court - District of Oregon
- U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Washington
- U.S. District Court - Western District of Washington
- Oregon Owner’s Counsel of America, Oregon Member
Board of Directors
- Southwest Washington Contractor’s Association, Board Member
- 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)
Oregon Constitutional Law Deskbook, Chapter 15 “The Takings Clause,” Oregon State Bar Association publication, co-editor
Fifty-State Survey: The Law of Eminent Domain, Oregon Chapter, American Bar Association publication, editor
“The Island of Misfit Rights: Addressing Non-Condemnation Issues in a Condemnation Case”: Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation 2023 ALI Conference, co-presenter
February 2, 2023
“Inverse Condemnation Update”: Eminent Domain Conference, The Seminar Group
June 6, 2019
“Top 5 Issues in Valuation Trials”: Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation 2019 ABA/ALI Conference, co-presenter
January 24, 2019
“How to Appeal Under the URA (& Lessons Learned)”: Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation 2017 ABA/ALI Conference, co-presenter
January 26, 2017
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
- Humane Society for Southwest Washington, Vice-Chair and Board Member (2017-present)
- Vancouver Metro Sunset Rotary, Former Member (2013-2015)
- YWCA Clark County, Former President and Board Member (2008-2014)
- SafeChoice Legal Clinic, Founder and Volunteer
- Leadership Clark County, Class of 2007
Zags basketball, traveling, live music, and skiing.
Ideas & Insights
News and Insights delivered to your inbox