Walt Gowell is a General Business and Real Estate Attorney, with more than 40 years of experience in United States District and Oregon courts.

Walt serves as Acting City Attorney for several municipalities in Yamhill County.

Land Use

  • Dwellings
  • Partitions
  • Subdivisions
  • Lot Line Adjustments

Water Law

  • Water Rights
  • Water Cooperatives
  • Water Districts
  • Municipal Water Systems

Agricultural Law

  • Statutory Liens on Agricultural Services
  • Statutory Liens on Crops and Livestock
  • Vineyard and Winery Transactions

Municipal Law

  • Public Works Projects
  • Acting City Attorney


J.D., Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, 1979
B.A., Reed College, 1974


Active Member, Oregon State Bar, 1981 to Present
Active Member, United States District Court Bar, 1981 to Present


When I moved to McMinnville in the early 1980s, downtown was in decline. Nearly a third of the storefronts were empty and local businesses were continuing to close at an alarming rate. Longtime residents were leaving town and no one was moving in to take their place. But a group of local citizens saw promise in McMinnville.

In 1985, we formed the McMinnville Downtown Association. The young non-profit’s first major success came the following year, with the adoption of a Downtown Property Assessment District—the first of its kind in Oregon. Over the decade that followed, the MDA built on that early success, steadily revitalizing McMinnville’s core.

In 1999, at the request of the City Council the MDA developed a vision for downtown. Thanks in part to the building design guidelines and tree and sidewalk standards outlined in that vision, businesses continued to return to downtown and McMinnville began to attract attention as an exciting destination and a wonderful place to live.

In 2015, downtown leaders proposed McMinnville’s first Urban Renewal Plan. A $30 million federal grant allowed us to expand our effort to include McMinnville’s Granary and Alpine districts. Even now, exciting construction and revitalization projects—both public and private—are underway.

The nearly four-decade-long project—the revitalization of downtown McMinnville—has been my great professional joy. In perhaps the best testament to its success, we have created a community that my own children have returned to and claimed as their own.


Current Service
Chair, McMinnville Urban Renewal Advisory Committee
Member, McMinnville Downtown Master Plan Committee

Past Involvement
President, McMinnville Downtown Association
Member, McMinnville Downtown Master Plan Committee
Chair, Downtown Steering Committee
President, McMinnville Library Foundation
President, McMinnville Kids on the Block
Chair, McMinnville Urban Renewal Advisory Committee
Founding Member, McMinnville Library Foundation