We are honored to recognize Joe Willis for his passion for private property rights, defense of landowners in eminent domain and land use matters and leadership in the law as a mentor to other attorneys.
Jacksonville, Florida (PRWEB) February 12, 2016
Oregon lawyer Donald Joe Willis, a Shareholder with the Pacific Northwest law firm Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, has been recognized by the Owners’ Counsel of America (OCA), a nationwide network of condemnation and property rights attorneys dedicated to defending property rights, for his advocacy on behalf of landowners in eminent domain and land use litigation.
In a ceremony January 30 in Austin, Texas, OCA honored Willis with the 2016 Crystal Eagle Award for his efforts over more than four decades representing private property owners in land use, condemnation and regulatory takings litigation both across Oregon and nationally.
Jill S. Gelineau, a Shareholder in Schwabe’s Portland office, and Kelly M. Walsh, a Shareholder in the firm’s Vancouver office, introduced Mr. Willis. Gelineau and Walsh were joined by Dennis J. Dunphy, a Shareholder in Schwabe’s Seattle office, in presenting the award to Willis. Gelineau is the Oregon representative of OCA and Dunphy is the Washington state member.
Schwabe managing partner Mark Long said, “It is fitting that Joe Willis has been honored by the Owners’ Counsel for his efforts defending property owners. Joe has amassed quite a portfolio of very impressive cases and very impressive wins.”
Throughout his long and distinguished career, Willis has argued many condemnation cases before courts and juries. He has also successfully litigated numerous land use cases involving the validity and application of government regulations before the Land Use Board of Appeals and in State and Federal courts.
“Joe is extremely passionate about the law,” said Gelineau. “Perhaps the reason he is so passionate, is because he understands how much the law impacts regular people.” Gelineau added, “Joe cares deeply about property rights but he also cares genuinely for his clients. He puts himself in his client’s shoes and views the case from the client’s perspective.”
One prominent case Willis handled was Dolan v. City of Tigard, Case no. 94-1259 in the Circuit Count for Washington County, Oregon, in which he represented the Dolan family. Upon remand from the United States Supreme Court, Willis tried the case with Jill Gelineau reaching a settlement with the city before the trial was completed. Willis also represented Dorothy English in State ex rel English v. Multnomah County, 348 Or. 417, 238 P.3d 980 (2010), a land use and regulatory takings case that he handled at every level, including oral argument before the Oregon Supreme Court.
Beyond his law practice, Willis has enjoyed a rich career in public service. He has served as the Oregon Commissioner to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, a position he was appointed and reappointed to by five separate governors and in which he has been honored with a lifetime membership. He also served on the Eminent Domain Work Group, tasked with redrafting Oregon’s Eminent Domain Code. Willis is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and has served for over a decade on the Board of Directors of the Pacific Legal Foundation. He has also supported his alma mater, the University of Oregon School of Law, in a variety of capacities.
“Annually, the Owners’ Counsel of America identifies an individual who has made a substantial contribution toward protecting private property rights and acknowledges that individual’s efforts with the Crystal Eagle Award,” explained Andrew Prince Brigham, OCA President and Florida representative. “We are honored to recognize Joe Willis for his passion for private property rights, defense of owners in eminent domain and land use matters and leadership in the law as a mentor to other attorneys."
The Owners’ Counsel of America is a nationwide network of eminent domain and property rights attorneys dedicated to protecting the rights of private owners large and small, locally and nationally, and to furthering the cause of property rights. Lawyers affiliated with OCA are in private practice in nearly every state and represent landowners against federal, state, and local governments, utilities, redevelopment authorities and others that have the power of eminent domain or engage in land-use regulation.