J. Mark Morford

J. Mark Morford

Retired Partner
Portland, OR

About Mark

J. Mark Morford is a retired partner no longer practicing law. To connect with an environmental & natural resources law attorney, please click here.

Mark started his legal career in the early years of modern environmental law and was privileged to help Oregon develop its reputation as a leader in regulation of air quality and water quality in the 1990s. In the course of his legal career, he served on numerous advisory committees for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the federal Environmental Protection Agency and had a central role in developing some of Oregon’s key environmental statutes and regulations. By 2000, Mark was advising clients in nascent efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and in trading carbon credits. In later years, he led industrial clients in negotiating landmark good neighbor agreements with their communities.

Mark has 35 years’ experience counseling businesses on environmental issues. He spent most of his legal career helping clients resolve compliance issues at the intersection of law, science, engineering, finance and public opinion. Known for advocating “whole problem solving,” Mark is more interested in identifying and removing obstacles to improved environmental outcomes than in simply resolving immediate compliance issues. As a lawyer, he frequently assisted clients in integrating beyond-compliance commitments into successful business strategies.

In its annual survey of America’s best attorneys for business, Chambers and Partners reported that sources consider Mark to be “at the top of the pile in terms of Oregon environmental lawyers,” adding that there are “very few people who really have the depth of knowledge he does in several different statutory areas.” Mark frequently worked as the interface between industrial clients and community and environmental activists and advised clients in resolving conflict without litigation.

Mark helped found and grow Stoel Rives’ environmental practice into a nationally recognized leader in the field. He served as its practice group leader until the late 1990s and then served two years on the Stoel Rives management committee.

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Honors & Activities

Professional Honors and Activities

  • Named by Best Lawyers® as Environmental Law “Lawyer of the Year,” Portland, 2011, and Litigation-Environmental Law “Lawyer of the Year,” Portland, 2014
  • Included in The Best Lawyers in America© (currently: Environmental Law, Litigation-Environmental), 2001–2021
  • Awarded inaugural Leadership and Services Award by Oregon State Bar, Environmental and Natural Resources Section, 2011
  • Selected as one of “America’s Leading Lawyers for Business,” top tier, (Oregon) by Chambers USA (currently: Environment), 2006–2020
  • Listed in Oregon Super Lawyers® (Environmental, Environmental Litigation), 2006–2014
  • Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America, 2005–present
  • The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, 2004–present
  • Past member, Oregon DEQ Hazardous Air Pollutant Advisory Committee, 2000–2003
  • Adjunct professor, Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, 2000
  • Past member, DEQ Hazardous Air Pollutant Consensus Group, 1998–2000
  • Past member, EPA Air Quality Management Work Group, 2004–2007
  • Past member, Oregon DEQ Cleanup Early Warning Team
  • Past member, Executive Board, Portland Air Quality Project
  • Past chair, Associated Oregon Industries Cleanup Subcommittee
  • Past chair, Associated Oregon Industries Air Quality Subcommittee
  • Past representative, Associated Oregon Industries on the Industrial Source Advisory Committee
  • Past chair, AOI Air Quality Subcommittee
  • Member and past chair, Environmental and Natural Resources Section, Oregon State Bar
  • Past editor, Oregon Environmental and Natural Resources Law News, Oregon State Bar

Civic Activities

  • Portland Mountain Rescue, 2008–present.  Rescue Leader, Public Information Officer, 2010–present, and Board Member, 2010–2020
  • Africa Bridge.  Board Member 2006–2018, Board Chair 2010–2017
  • Portland Homeless Family Solutions.  Volunteer carpenter and occasional project leader, 2018–present, and long-time supporter.
  • Boy Scouts of America.  Cubmaster (Pack 39) and Scoutmaster (Troop 1), 1998–2012
  • Member, Oregon Business Plan Sustainability Committee
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • Author and frequent speaker at business, legal and industry conferences throughout the Northwest regarding cleanup issues, air and water quality, and environmental issues in business transactions.


Mountaineering, skiing, kite boarding, cycling, racquet sports, automobiles and woodworking

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