Portland PHONE: 503.727.2004 FAX: 503.727.2222 Download V-Card > Download Resume >

Christopher (Chris) W. Rich



Chris focuses his practice on complex regulatory permitting, compliance, enforcement and environmental cleanup as he helps clients navigate the regulatory landscape. His 20 years of experience working with state and federal regulatory agencies includes serving as a former state regulator and in private practice. The numerous program areas he has experience in include hazardous waste, air emissions, toxics, water quality and cleanup of contaminated properties.

Permitting and Compliance

Chris provides clients permitting guidance, regulatory analysis and strategies to successfully engage with state and federal regulatory agencies to achieve their goals. This includes Clean Water Act (CWA) and stormwater permitting, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permitting and closure, Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) compliance and Clean Air Act (CAA) permitting.

For the past seven years, Chris has served as lead regulatory counsel for the contractor operating the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (UMCDF), a U.S. Army federal facility located in Eastern Oregon charged with destruction of 12 percent of the U.S. stockpile of legacy chemical weapons. UMCDF completed safe destruction of all chemical agents in late 2011 and Chris is now advising the facility through the completion of the RCRA Closure process.

Water Quality

Chris has extensive experience in all facets of Clean Water Act compliance, permitting and Citizen Suits, including both prosecution and defense, and has negotiated numerous administrative and judicial settlements of federal and state agency cases and third-party Citizen Suits. In the past few years, Chris has successfully settled numerous stormwater Citizen Suits while avoiding protracted litigation. He frequently speaks and writes on water quality/stormwater, government enforcement, Citizen Suits and related emerging issues.

Regulatory Agency Enforcement

With a background as a former Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) enforcement officer, Chris is uniquely positioned with an insider’s knowledge of the tactics of regulatory agencies. Chris has handled over a hundred agency enforcement matters and numerous appeals as part of his work resolving cases, getting clients on track with compliance and improving their relationships with agencies.

Cleanup of Contaminated Properties

Chris has experience in all aspects of environmental cleanup compliance, including site assessment, regulatory requirements, working with regulators and helping clients develop a cost-effective path to cleanup. He also advises clients on prepurchase due diligence, All Appropriate Inquiry, negotiating Prospective Purchaser Agreements (PPAs), and other transactional issues. He has completed numerous cleanups on federal land (Forest Service) under the EE/CA Non-Time Critical Removal Process. Chris has significant state and federal court cleanup litigation experience.

Professional Recognition

  • Ranked by Chambers USA, as "Leading Lawyers: Environment," 2007 - present
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America  2010 - Present: Environmental Law

Professional Leadership

  • Oregon Business Association, Environment and Economic Development Committee, Chair, 2004 - present
  • Oregon Environmental Council, Board of Directors, 2005 - present
  • Department of Environmental Quality Air Contaminant Discharge Permit (ACDP) and Regional Haze Advisory Committee, 2008
  • Department of Environmental Quality, Mercury Rule Advisory Committee, 2006
  • Department of Environmental Quality, Enforcement Advisory Committee, 2005
  • Department of Environmental Quality, Solid Waste Advisory Committee, 2002 - 2003
  • Environmental Partnerships for Oregon Communities Advisory Committee, 1999 - 2003

Related Employment

  • Rycewicz & Chenoweth, LLP, Portland, OR, Attorney, 1999 - 2006
  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Portland, OR, 1994 - 1999


  • University of Denver Sturm College of Law, J.D., 1991
  • University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., History, 1987

Bar Admissions

  • Oregon


  • Spanish


Chambers Ranked