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Case Histories

Public law

Valuable private land requires realistic payment from City.

When the City of Portland decided to “take” a portion Dick and Gayanne Courter’s property for a future water tower, they offered as “just compensation” a fraction of the value of the property the last remaining large parcel of developable land in Portland’s West Hills. That’s when they called us. After a hotly contested lawsuit in which the City also sued Gayanne’s 95-year-old mother, Mark O’Donnell’s partner Kelly Clark and his trial team won a jury verdict that was nearly five times the settlement offer, along with a requirement that the City pay the Courter’s attorney fees.

Local marina fights land use laws for smooth sailing.

When Fred’s Marina on the Columbia River had its expansion construction slapped with a stop-work order by Multnomah County land use authorities — an order with no right to appeal and no right to a hearing — owners Cherie and Greg Sprando called longtime friend and lawyer Mark O’Donnell. A year later, thanks to a dogged lawsuit brought by Kelly Clark and his litigation team, a federal judge ruled that the county’s actions were unconstitutional. A settlement with the county required the county to expedite all future land use permits on the expansion, as well as to pay the marina’s legal fees.

Mixed-use project moves mountains — and mobile home park.

When putting together one of the largest land assemblages in U.S. history, developers of Clackamas Town Promenade and the surrounding residential and commercial development had one major obstacle: The Sunnyside Mobile Home park and its community of renters. Working with attorney Mark O’Donnell, residents were relocated rather than evicted. Community goodwill and significant funding from the Clackamas County Development Agency were a direct result, bringing this nearly $100 million project to fruition.

Business Law & Real Estate

Blocking room tax keeps area hotels competitive.

With alarming frequency, cities and counties throughout Oregon have floated the idea of increasing hotel room taxes to support deteriorating economic conditions in their local communities. Increasing hotel room taxes in this manner is nearly always an attempt to balance a local budget on the backs of the lodging industry without any appreciation for the adverse impact such an increase can have on local tourism. Attorneys Mark O’Donnell and Matthew Lowe have been successful in thwarting these efforts in several jurisdictions by educating local officials both on the adverse impact that an increase has on the community, as well as the applicable law that in many instances would be violated through such an increase.

Estate Planning and Probate

Proper planning eases family business transition

When the owners of a small, family-owned business decided it was time to develop and implement an effective succession plan, they called attorney Mark O’Donnell. The goal was simple: A smooth transition from one generation to the next with the least estate tax impact. Following the sudden passing of the business’ founder, the legal team at O’Donnell Law Firm LLC probated the founder’s estate, established a marital bypass trust to reduce the tax impact and addressed the various corporate, real property and other issues- easing the burden on the family to the greatest extent possible during an extremely difficult time.