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Internet Startup HomeBuildings.com Launches Building Database in Seattle

HonestBuildings.com rolled out its database on 32,000 buildings in the Seattle area, providing information including size and location, environmental profile, and what work has been done and by whom. The site is a way for architects, engineers, and contractors to showcase their work through their online profiles, effectively creating portfolios of the work they have done, … Continue Reading

EPA Proposes New Soot Rules

Forced by a lawsuit by eleven states including Oregon and Washington, the EPA proposed tighter standards for fine particle pollution. The proposed regulation covers particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns. If adopted, the annual standard would be reduced from 15 micrograms per cubic meter to 12-13 micrograms per cubic meter. The existing 24-hour standard of 35 micrograms would … Continue Reading

Governor Opens a Door to Regional Planning

In recent years, rural counties have had a difficult time meeting budget requirements for adequate county services because of overreliance on timber revenues and related subsidies, which have been declining to nonexistent. In response, many rural counties have sought to diversify their economies and take more control of their land use destinies, but have had … Continue Reading

State and Local Governments Extend Land Use Permit Approvals Again

As a continuing sign of the times, and evidence that we are still in recovery mode, the Washington State legislature passed Engrossed House Bill 2012, effective June 7, 2012, extending certain subdivision plat approvals. Preliminary plats approved on or before December 31, 2007, located within a city’s limits and not subject to the Shoreline Management, … Continue Reading

Northwest Good News is Hidden by National Increase in Foreclosures

Cross-currents and monthly data on housing foreclosures might be masking a trend of REO inventory decline here in the Northwest. For example, the Seattle metro market posted a 54 percent decline in foreclosure activity, and all of Washington State showed a 67 percent decline in REO sales activity in April, according to UPI.… Continue Reading

Could Measure 37 Rise Again in Jackson County?

Frustrated by Oregon voters’ overturning Measure 37 by passing Measure 49 in 2007, property-rights advocates in Jackson County have put two ballot measures on the county’s May 15, 2012, ballot. Both ballot measures are aimed at reinstating the primary rights granted under Measure 37, at least in Jackson County. The first, Ballot Measure 15-110, would … Continue Reading

Housing Data Feast!

The Northwest Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association hosted a presentation by Jon Woloshin of UBS. A proud and fast-talking New Yorker, Mr. Woloshin’s conclusions, with some well supported analysis, were not to trust short term data, that the bulk of foreclosures still have not been dealt with, and that hyper-mobile Gen Y 20-30-somethings are more likely to … Continue Reading

New Venture Pushes Into Seattle’s Ever-Expanding Multifamily Market

The Wall Street Journal reports that a New York-based private equity firm and a Los Angeles developer acquired Seattle’s Harbor Properties in a deal valued at $75 million, which includes four existing apartment properties and three under construction. Apartment demand has been strong, especially among those who have experienced foreclosure.… Continue Reading

Miller Nash’s 19th Annual Affordable Housing Conference

Registration is now open for Miller Nash’s Affordable Housing Conference. Now in its 19th year, the conference is a one-day educational seminar featuring regional and national leaders and trendsetters who will share insight on financing, developing, and building affordable housing projects. … Continue Reading

Sometimes a Mill Pond Is Just a Mill Pond

In Camaslakeland v. Department of Ecology, the Shoreline Hearings Board altered the status quo that has been in place since the 1970s. In an order dated March 21, 2012, the Hearings Board ruled that a pond connected by a ditch to Round Lake in Camas, and used by the local mill for its operations, was not … Continue Reading

Washington Legislature Passes Narrowly Drafted Bill Aimed at Removing Drainage Ditches From Critical Area Ordinance Regulation

On March 7, 2012, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5292, which expressly excludes irrigation and drainage ditches “that lie within the boundaries of and are maintained by a port district or an irrigation district or company” from the definition of fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas under the Growth Management … Continue Reading

Converting Property into Condominiums & Preexisting Construction Defects

The person responsible for converting your property into condominiums may not be entirely accountable for the quality of your condominium’s construction. In Marina Condo. Homeowner’s Ass’n v. Stratford, 161 Wn. App. 249 (2011), Stratford at the Marina, LLC, converted an apartment complex into condominiums. The condominium’s homeowners’ association then brought a lawsuit against Stratford for various construction … Continue Reading

Stormwater Fight Continues in Federal Court

Those following Clark County’s stormwater case in federal court, as reported in this blog below, will not be surprised to learn the latest news: the environmental groups challenging the County’s alternative program are objecting to putting up a bond while the case continues. To recap, on December 28, 2011, the federal court for the Western … Continue Reading

Federal Court Prohibits Clark County From Issuing Development Permits Until Clark County Complies With More Stringent Stormwater Regulations

In 2009, Clark County adopted a new stormwater ordinance that contains alternative standards to those contained in the Department of Ecology’s Phase I Stormwater General Permit. These alternative standards are viewed as less onerous on owners and developers than the Ecology standards. Environmental groups sued the County, arguing that the alternative program is unauthorized, and … Continue Reading

Oregon Property Tax Appeals Deadline Approaches

It’s that time of year again (and we don’t mean the holiday season). For most taxpayers, the deadline to appeal your Oregon property tax is December 31 (this year, January 2, 2012, since the 31st is a Saturday). In the current economic environment the real market value of many pieces of real property has dropped … Continue Reading

King County Home Prices Drop In October

For the past year, close-in urban neighborhood real estate has been considered more valuable in Seattle and Portland, at least compared to more distant suburban developments. Now, that may not be holding as true with a 15 percent October drop in King County prices reported in the Seattle Times. I would guess that a greater portion of short sales and … Continue Reading

Proposed Revisions to the Transportation Planning Rule Now Available for Public Review

During this past session, Oregon’s legislature passed Senate Bill 795, which directs the Land Conservation Development Commission (“LCDC”) to adopt revisions to the Transportation Planning Rule (the “TPR”) (OAR 660, division 12). Senate Bill 795 also directed the Oregon Department of Transportation to consider changes to the Oregon Highway Plan that are consistent with the … Continue Reading

The Portland Plan Is Ready for Review

The latest draft of the Portland Plan is now ready for public review and comment, and can be found at: www.PDXPlan.com. The City of Portland describes the Portland Plan as the ”road map to help our city thrive into the future.” It contains three integrated strategies and a framework for advancing equity that are intended to … Continue Reading
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