503 595 3924

Katherine McDowell named by Best Lawyers® as Portland Lawyer of the Year - Energy Law in 2013 & 2016




Katherine's practice focuses on energy regulatory matters and related litigation. She advises and represents utilities and energy companies on a full range of regulatory and administrative law issues, including ratemaking, resource development and acquisition, compliance with environmental mandates, industry restructuring, and utility mergers and acquisitions. She has represented clients before regulatory commissions throughout the West, including Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, and Arizona, and at the Bonneville Power Administration and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Katherine also handles appeals from administrative agency final orders.

Legal Experience

Katherine practiced with Stoel Rives LLP for eighteen years until May 1, 2006 when she opened her own law firm, McDowell & Associates, now McDowell Rackner Gibson. While at Stoel Rives, she practiced in both the litigation and energy areas, and chaired the firm's energy practice group for a number of years.

Representative Work

  • Counsel on electric utility general rate cases in OR, WA, UT, ID, and WY.

  • Handled utility merger approval proceedings in various Western state commissions.

  • Assisted in drafting and implementing state law governing removal of hydro project.

  • Worked on rulemaking to implement cost recovery mechanism of renewable portfolio standard.

  • Advised on PURPA compliance and other issues related to Qualifying Facility contracts.

  • Handled rulemaking to implement utility taxation law and successfully defended commission rules in state appellate court.

  • Advised on Energy Service Supplier issues in Oregon.

Professional Activities 

  • Member of the Oregon, Washington, and Florida State Bars.

  • Executive Committee Member of the Oregon State Bar Energy, Telecom, and Utilities Section.

  • Selected by her peers for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America in the Energy Law category for many years.

  • Selected by her peers as an Oregon "Super Lawyer" in energy and natural resources law.


Katherine received her BA from the University of Iowa in 1981, and her JD from Stetson University College of Law in Florida in 1985, where she was editor-in-chief of the law review. She clerked for the US District Court for the Middle District of Florida, and for the Chief Judge of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Community Activities

Katherine is active in various public interest organizations. She has served as Chair of the Oregon Law Foundation, President of Multnomah County’s Volunteer Lawyers Project and a board member of HEAT Oregon.