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Steven L. Shropshire

Practice Areas
  • Environmental & Natural Resources 
  • Water Rights
  • Real Estate Law & Litigation
  • Land Use
  • Wetlands & Drainage
  • Water Quality
  • Endangered Species
  • Agribusiness & Agricultural Law


Steve first developed his love for Western water and land issues during his boyhood in Colorado. He spent much of his free time accompanying his father's geology field trips around the mountains and plains of the Rocky Mountain region. As a teen he spent summers working on cattle ranches. This personal experience with the West's resources and the people who depend on them shapes Steve's perspective as an attorney and provides him with a personal understanding of the unique issues faced by landowners, businesses, and local governments who operate in the western states and beyond.

As a lawyer, Steve uses this experience and knowledge to help his clients understand and navigate the complex legal environment that governs natural resources, water rights and water law, environmental, real estate, and land use matters. He advises clients in a wide variety of contexts including transactions, administrative proceedings, and legislation. Steve is a seasoned litigator who effectively represents his clients before state agencies as well as state and federal courts, having served as counsel on several cases involving water rights issues of first impression before Oregon, Colorado, and federal courts.

Steve is the former managing shareholder of the firm, and he draws on this experience as he works with his clients to achieve their own goals and dreams. He serves as general counsel for many of his clients, helping them find real, lasting solutions to their legal problems.  His approach to a matter starts with his emphasis on a strong client relationship. Steve communicates frequently and directly with his clients to ensure that they understand the benefits and drawbacks of any proposed action. He then draws on his personal experience to help clients identify legal issues, develop options to address those issues, and pursue the most effective and efficient legal strategy possible. This approach enables Steve's clients to play a significant role in deciding on the most beneficial course of action to address their challenges and achieve business or personal success.


Education & Admissions

  • Universität Regensburg, Germany, 1988-1989
  • B.A., University of Colorado, 1991
  • J.D., Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law, Lewis & Clark College, Northwestern School of Law, 1994
  • State of Oregon
  • State of Washington
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth and Tenth Circuits
  • U.S. District Court, District of Oregon 


Memberships & Activities


  • Boys and Girls Club of Bend, Board of Directors (2016-Present), Chair (2016-2018)
  • Associated Oregon Industries, Environmental and Energy Committee Member (2015-Present)
  • Central Oregon Builders Association (COBA), Board of Directors, Government Relations Committee, Chair
  • Deschutes County Bar Association (2012-Present)
  • 100 Men Who Care, Central Oregon, Co-Founder (2015-2018)
  • Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO)
  • High Desert Museum, Board of Directors
  • Oregon Water Resource Congress Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and other various roles
  • Oregon Association of Water Utilities
  • Oregon Association of Nurseries, various roles
  • Family Farm Alliance
  • American Water Works Association
  • Oregon City Attorneys Association
  • J.R. Campbell American Inn of Court, Bend, Oregon (2015)
  • Multnomah Bar Association, Board of Directors (2011-2012) and other various roles
  • Lewis & Clark Law School Alumni Board of Directors, past member (2004-2011)
  • Oregon State Bar, Environmental and Natural Resources Section, Past Chair
  • Oregon State Bar, Agricultural Law Section, Executive Committee past member (2003-2011)
  • Owen M. Panner American Inn of Court (1993-1995, 1998-2005)

Awards and Honors

  • The Best Lawyers in America®, "Lawyer of the Year," Water Law, Portland area, 2016, 2018
  • Chambers and Partners, Environmental Law, 2007-2021
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Water Law and Natural Resources Law, 2012-2021
  • Portland Business Journal's 40 Under 40, 2005
  • Multnomah Bar Association, Award of Merit, 2002


  • Oregon Legislature Passes Landmark Water Supply Funding Bill
  • 2009 Oregon Water Resources Legislation
  • The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008: Tax Incentives and Other Provisions That Benefit the Nursery and Greenhouse Industry
  • DEQ Proposes Rule to Mandate Registration and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Municipal and Industrial Sources
  • Oregon Supreme Court Renders Decision in Landmark Water Rights Case
  • What's Coming Down the Pipeline? Natural Gas Facilities and Agricultural Land
  • Brief Overview of Oregon Water Law Relating to Artesian Springs
  • Growth at a Crossroads — the Intersection of Water Law and Land Use Law in Oregon
  • "Approaching Water Rights as Collateral," Winter 2003 Oregon State Bar Debtor-Creditor Section Newsletter.
  • "2003 Legislative Land Use Update," Daily Journal of Commerce (February 2003).
  • "Municipal Water Use Permit Extension Rules Approved by Oregon Water Resources Commission," Oregon Insider, Issue No. 307 (November 1, 2002).
  • "Bush Administration and Federal Legislators Sharpen Focus on Klamath Basin," Oregon State Bar Environmental and Natural Resources Section Newsletter (Spring 2002).
  • "Community Water Supply Permit Extension Developments," Oregon Insider, Issue No. 294 (April 15, 2002).
  • "Recent Developments Related to Oregon Wetlands," Daily Journal of Commerce (June 2002).
  • "Salmon Rules to Be Rewritten — But Impact Unknown," Daily Journal of Commerce (March 2002).
  • "Water Rights Issues in Agricultural Lending," American Bankers Association Journal of Agricultural Lending, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Winter 2002).



  • “State-wide issues raised by recent Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) cases and the Integrated Report,” The Seminar Group’s Water Law Seminar, November 2020
  • "Takings of Water and Water Rights," The Seminar Group's Water Law Seminar, November 2019
  • "Due Diligence Issues in Water Transactions," The Seminar Group's Agriculture Law Seminar, July 2019 
  • "Water Law Update," The Seminar Group's Agriculture Law Seminar, July 2018
  • "Water 101: A Practical Introduction to Oregon Water Rights," Oregon Cattlemen's Association's Annual Convention, December 2017
  • “Litigation/Contested Case Update,” Seminar Group’s 26th Annual Water Law Conference, November 2017
  • “Water, Water Everywhere,” Oregon State Bar Environmental & Natural Resources Section Annual Year in Review CLE, October 2017
  • "Water Right Transfers 201," The Seminar Group's 25th Annual Oregon Water Law Conference, November 2016
  • "Water Law 101 for Public Water Suppliers," Oregon Association of Water Utilities, Annual Management and Technical Conference, March 2016
  • "Hot Topics in Water and Natural Resources Law," Oregon Association of Water Utilities, Annual Management and Technical Conference, March 2016
  • "Drought Declarations Now and in the Future," Oregon Water Law Conference, November 2015
  • "Pursuing Certainty in Municipal Water Supply," Oregon City Attorney Association, September 2015
  • "Water Issues and Updates for NW Agriculture," Columbia Bank AG Summit, April 2015
  • "2015 Oregon Legislative Update," The Seminar Group Annual Water Law Conference, November 2013
  • "Let's Play the Green Industry $100,000 Pyramid! Featuring the Top 10 Legal Issues and Best Management Practices for Green Industry Business Owners," Far West Trade Show, 2013
  • "Current Issues in Water Law" Oregon Association of Water Utilities 2012 Conference, March 2012
  • "Environmental and Natural Resources Law — Identifying and Responding to Environmental and Natural Resource Issues in Business and Property Transactions" The Seminar Group's 7th Annual Best of CLE conference, November 2011
  • "Municipal Stormwater and Water Delivery Systems" The Seminar Group's 20th Annual Oregon Water Law conference, November 2011
  • "Federal Legislation and Regulatory Developments; State Legislation and Regulatory Developments" The Seminar Group's The Future of Oregon's Water Supply and Management March, 2011
  • "What You Need to Know About Traffic, Water, and Environmental Issues" Oregon Land Use Seminar, December 2010
  • "Water, Water, Who's Got the Water?" Pacific Northwest Vegetable Association, November 2010
  • "Driving Forces Behind the Sustainable Product Market" OAN Sustainability Summit, October 2010
  • "Identifying and Responding to Environmental and Natural Resource Issues in Business and Property Transactions" The Seminar Group's Best of CLE, November 2009
  • "Strategies for Success in Conducting Due Diligence & Negotiating Water Supply Contracts, Water Right Purchases & sales, and real Property Transactions," The Seminar Group's 16th Annual Oregon Water Law Conference, November 2007
  • "Due Diligence Issues in Water Transactions," Lorman Water Rights Sales and Transfers in Oregon Seminar, 2006 and 2007
  • "Natural Resources Litigation Update," Oregon Water Resources Congress Annual Conference, 2005-2007
  • "Water Rights Issues for Public Water Suppliers," Oregon Association of Water Utilities Annual Conference, 2003-2006
  • "Water Rights Issues in Lending," Columbia River Bancorp Annual Lending Conference, May 2005
  • "Current Issues in Water Marketing And Transfers," Lorman Water Rights Sales and Transfers In Oregon Seminar, March 2005
  • "Water Law 101," Oregon Association of Nurseries Agricultural Water Rights Seminar, October 2004
  • "Sand Castle or Mud Pie? How Oregon's Land Use and Water Laws Affect Growth in Oregon," The Seminar Group's 12th Annual Oregon Water Law Conference, November 2003
  • "Federal Legislative and Regulatory Update on Clean Water Act Jurisdiction," OWRC and OSB Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section Joint Water Law Seminar, October 2003
  • "Land Use Law for Public Water Suppliers," Oregon Association of Water Utilities Annual Conference, 2003
  • "Water Law Meets Land Use Law — Avoiding the Mud," Oregon State Bar Real Estate and Land Use Section Annual Meeting, August 2003
  • "Natural Resources and Environmental Issues," A Year in the Life of a Development Deal: Land Use Impacts on Real Estate Transactions in Oregon Seminar, May 2003
  • "Municipal Aspects of Oregon Water Law," Oregon Association of Water Utilities — Eastern Oregon Water Rights Seminar, March 2003
  • "Land Use 101 for Water Providers," Oregon Association of Water Utilities — 25th Annual Management & Technical Conference, March 2003
  • "Legal Aspects of Water Conservation," Klamath Soil and Water Conservation District & Cascade Environmental Sciences — Water Conservation in the Klamath Basin Workshop, February 2003
  • "Water Rights, Wetlands and Water Quality Issues," A Year in the Life of a Development Deal: Land Use Impacts on Real Estate Transactions in Oregon Seminar May 2002
  • Oregon State University adjunct lecturer on water law, the Endangered Species Act, and Natural Resources Law, 2000-present
  • "Metropolitan Water Supply Issues," Jordan Ramis Real Estate Breakfast Series, January 2002
  • "H20 101 — A Primer of Oregon Water Law," League of Oregon Cities 2001 Annual Conference, November 2001
  • "A Comparative Analysis of Oregon and Washington Drainage Law," American Society of Civil Engineers 2001 Drainage Law Conference, November 2001
  • "Avoiding Injury in Water Rights Transfers," 9th Annual Conference on Oregon Water Law, October 2001
  • "Oregon Water Law," Yamhill County Realtors Association water law seminar, July 2001
  • "A Survey of Oregon Water Law," Oregon Association of Realtors 2001 Annual Convention, Spring 2001
  • "The Intersection of Federal Regulatory Law and State Water Law," Oregon State Bar Agricultural Law Section and Northwestern School of Law — Oregon Water Law Seminar, Fall 2000

Practice Overview

Practice Areas

Matter Examples

Case Studies

Client Raves

"As legal counsel to the OAN, Steve Shropshire is very familiar with the needs and challenges of our industry and our member businesses. For nearly a decade he has been there to help, securing results and offering great legal advice in every conceivable area in which the law can touch our industry."
— Oregon Association of Nurseries