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Michael J. Gelardi

Michael Gelardi's practice focuses on land and water management. He advises on real estate and business transactions involving agriculture, energy, and other natural resource issues. He also has a range of land use and environmental regulatory experience, including legislative and policy matters, as well as permitting and appeals.

Practice Highlights
  • Agriculture: Represents agricultural businesses in real estate, land use, and natural resource matters. Michael has helped shape Oregon land use law governing commercial activities on farmland and is working with stakeholders to reduce pesticide damage to vineyards. He is also working to support the development of a responsible, professional, and successful cannabis industry in Oregon and Washington.
  • Energy Development: Represents wind, biofuels, hydropower, and other energy producers in real estate transactions and regulatory matters.
  • Water Rights and Water Quality: Advocates for water users in permitting proceedings and appeals. Michael also advises on water rights transactions, and he has helped draft state water resources legislation. He also has experience with water quality issues, including permitting, enforcement, and the development of market-based watershed restoration programs.
  • Environmental Remediation: Michael evaluates environmental risks in business transactions and assists property owners with remediation activities.

Representative Experience

Land use and natural resources counsel for Oregon Winegrowers Association

Advising wine industry trade association on legislative and policy matters including land use, water resources and pesticide use.(Ongoing)

Agricultural goods contract breach

Represented distributor in Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) proceeding against purchaser who breached sales agreements. Obtained favorable settlement. (U.S. Dept. of Ag., 2015)

Del Rio Vineyards v. Jackson County

Working to prevent agricultural and environmental impacts from mining operation in southern Oregon. Prevailed before Oregon Court of Appeals and Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals twice. 263 Or App 406; LUBA No. 2014-054; LUBA 2015-104 (Ongoing)

Center for Environmental Law and Policy v. Department of Ecology

Represented Okanogan Public Utility District in defending water rights related to hydropower production at existing dam. Prevailed before Washington Pollution Control Hearings Board and Thurston County Superior Court. (2015)

Olsen Agricultural Enterprises

Assisted family farming enterprise with water rights and other property issues in sale of Willamette Valley farming operations. (2015)

Friends of Yamhill County v. Yamhill County

Represented winery in defending conditional use permitting process for winery facilities and activities on farmland. Prevailed before Oregon Court of Appeals, Land Use Board of Appeals, Land Conservation and Development Commission, and Yamhill County Board of Commissioners. 255 Or App 636 (2013)

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates

Assisted with due diligence investigation and transaction for the acquisition of vineyard assets associated with the Willakia Vineyard.

In the Matter of Waverly Marina Association, OAH Case No. 1403630

Successfully challenged Oregon Department of State Lands permitting decisions before an administrative law judge.

Agricultural conservation easements for Oregon Rangeland Trust

Outside general counsel. Negotiating agricultural conservation easements with farm and ranch owners. (Ongoing)

Development - renewable for Caithness Shepherds Flat, LLC

Local development counsel on one of the world's largest wind energy projects, recently completed in Eastern Oregon. Assist with siting, electric transmission and interconnection, environmental and other regulatory matters.

Federal Superfund for Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsubishi International Corp.

Representing client in the potentially responsible party group for the Portland Harbor Superfund site. (Ongoing) Read more

Hydroelectric power project for Idaho Power Company

Representing power company in two-state water quality certification proceedings, under § 401 of the Clean Water Act, associated with relicensing of the 1,200 MW Hells Canyon Complex on the Snake River. (Ongoing) Read more

Water rights planning, procurement, and legislative counsel for multiple cities in Oregon

Representing before the Oregon Water Resources Department of cities and municipal utilities in fast-growing communities in Central Oregon, Southern Oregon, and the Portland metro area related to obtaining, extending and protecting municipal water rights. Counsel to the Oregon Water Utilities Council and special water counsel to the League of Oregon Cities. (Ongoing) Read more

Freedman v. Lane County, LUBA No. 2011-055

Represented farm business owner and other neighbors seeking to protect local water quality through land use proceedings. Prevailed before Land Use Board of Appeals and Lane County Hearings Official. (2012) 

Development - renewable for biomass power producer

Local development counsel to the developer of small biomass power facilities proposed for locations throughout rural Oregon. Assisting the client on siting, electric transmission and interconnection, environmental and land use issues, tax credits, and property tax abatements.

Additional Qualifications

  • Legal Extern, Hon. John C. Coughenour, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Seattle
  • Legal Extern, Office of Regional Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 10, Seattle
  • Three years of experience in nonprofit fundraising and communications

Professional & Community Activities

  • Executive Committee, Agricultural Law Section, Oregon State Bar
  • Board of Directors, Portland Fruit Tree Project, 2010-2014 
  • Pro bono legal counsel to several agricultural land conservation organizations

Professional Recognition

  • Selected to "Oregon Rising Stars," Thomson Reuters, 2013-2016
  • Selected to "Up and Coming Lawyers" in Oregon, Daily Journal of Commerce, 2012
blog for real estate & construction industries
blog for analyzing the critical energy and environemental issues of the day
A day in the life video with Michael J. Gelardi