T. Ryan Durkan

T. Ryan Durkan


Direct: 206.470.7614

Main: 206.623.1745


Fax: 206.623.7789

Phone: 206.470.7659

Professional Overview

Ryan’s practice focuses on environmental and land use law, with an emphasis on land development and permitting. Ryan was raised in a political family, an experience that gave her a valuable understanding of both the substance of the law and the political framework within which decisions are made. Our state's permit system can be a complex maze for many clients, no matter how sophisticated. Ryan applies her experience to develop and execute strategies to successfully assist clients in reaching their goals.


State Convention Center. Land use counsel for the construction of the state convention center over I-5 in Seattle and the subsequent convention center expansion project, which included an exhibit hall, an office building, the Elliott Hotel and public atrium beneath a glass canopy arching over Pike Street. The projects involved City departmental approvals, Hearing Examiner hearings, City Council approvals, street vacations, conditional uses, rezoning, and transferable development rights (TDRs) agreements.

University of Washington. Land use counsel to the University of Washington in the development of its downtown Metropolitan Tract and in the development of its master plans (1990 - 2000, 2001 - 2010, and 2015 - ongoing), which approved an unprecedented building program for new science and bio-tech facilities on its main campus. Represented the University of Washington in initial negotiations of a 2000 Memorandum of Agreement with Sound Transit, specifying the terms for light rail facilities on campus.

Federal Reserve. Represented the Federal Reserve Bank in connection with new facilities in Renton, Washington.

Counties. Defended Snohomish County and Pierce County in connection with Growth Management Act comprehensive planning matters.

Cities. Represented the City of Bellevue in negotiations involving the East Link light rail project.


Represented clients affected by state, local and regional public works projects and land use planning efforts, WSDOT projects, subarea or comprehensive plans underway in cities throughout the Puget Sound region, including Seattle, Bellevue, Tukwila and Redmond.


Office Uses:

  • Represented Amazon on its multi-block office developments in the South Lake Union area of Seattle.
  • Permitted the redevelopment of Seattle's Union Station for over one million square feet of office space including rezone, SEPA review, street vacations, code amendments and easements.
  • Represented Nitze-Stagen in connection with remodel projects at SODO Center to accommodate Starbucks world headquarters.
  • Represented Daniels Development in connection with preservation of the First United Methodist Church and the Fifth and Columbia high-rise office building in Seattle, including SEPA, code amendments, subterranean street vacation, floor area bonuses and historic preservation bonuses.

Hotel Uses:

  • Permitted hotels for R.C. Hedreen Company, including the convention center hotel at 9th & Howell and the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
  • Permitted Fifth & Columbia Tower for mixed-use office and hotel project.
  • Represented DRE in development of North Lot properties for mixed-use office, residential hotel.
  • Worked with Motif Hotel on 5th Avenue regarding land use issues.

Retail Uses:

  • Permitted the Pacific Place retail complex in downtown Seattle and advised the developer on the issues pertaining to the redevelopment of three square blocks in downtown Seattle for retail, office, telecommunications and housing uses.
  • Represented Transwestern Harvest Partners in connection with the Landing retail center in Renton, Washington. This project involved planned action review under SEPA.
  • Represented internet retailers with new generation retail uses in various locations in Western Washington.
  • Represented Sears in connection with the East Link Light Rail route through the Overlake area of Redmond, Washington. Also represent Sears in connection with the proposed Tukwila Urban Center Plan.
  • Represented Target Real Estate in an adaptive reuse project for a new facility in Downtown Seattle.
  • Represented Macy’s in renovation of a downtown department store and sale of upper floors to office developer.

Medical Uses:

  • Represented The Polyclinic in connection with new medical facilities on First Hill in Seattle, including entitlements, code amendments and public outreach efforts.
  • Represented Trammell Crow in connection with a First Hill Medical Office Building in Seattle.

Historic Uses:

  • Represented property owners in matters pertaining to landmark regulations and transfer of development rights.

Residential and Mixed Uses:

  • Represented Daniels Development in connection with development approvals for the North Lot project, creating office and residential development on the site of the old Kingdome parking lot.
  • Represented Security Properties in connection with multi-family developments in Seattle, Bellevue and other King County sites.
  • Represented Fortin Group in connection with planning for a mixed-use village in downtown Bellevue.

Natural Resource Uses:

  • Represented the state's largest sand and gravel operator in permitting a mineral extraction and shipping facility in DuPont, Washington. The project involved shoreline rezoning, SEPA, NEPA, state and federal permits for a new dock facility, and negotiation of a successful settlement with numerous environmental organizations.

Manufacturing and Warehouse Uses:

  • Represented Coca-Cola in connection with land use matters affecting its facility in Bellevue, Washington.
  • Represented Tarragon in development of warehouse facilities in southwest Washington.
  • Represented internet retailers with warehouse and distribution uses in various locations in Western Washington.

For over 25 years, Ryan has been a speaker on many topics including shoreline regulation and permitting, zoning regulation and permitting, NEPA and SEPA matters, the Growth Management Act, street vacations, development and related topics.

  • Pacific Real Estate Institute
  • Downtown Seattle Association
  • Downtown Bellevue Association
  • Repeatedly recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Land Use & Zoning Law and Real Estate Law, most recently for 2024.
  • Recognized as a “Top 100 Super Lawyer” by Washington Super Lawyers for fiver years running.
  • Recognized as a “Top 50 Women Super Lawyer” by Washington Super Lawyers for four years running.
  • Recognized as a “Super Lawyer” by Washington Super Lawyers for more than a decade, most recently in 2022.
  • Repeatedly ranked by Chambers USA in the category of Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use, most recently in 2022.
  • University of Washington Law Review Distinguished Alumni Award, 2015.
  • Appointed by Governor Gregoire to the Washington State University Board of Regents, 2011.
  • Profiled in the King County Bar Association's October 2009 edition of the Bar Bulletin, in "Land Use Suits Her to a 'T'," by George Kresovich.
  • Appointed by Governors Locke and Lowry to chair Washington State's Land Use Study Commission, 1995-1998.
  • A/V Preeminent Lawyer, Martindale Hubbell.
  • J.D., University of Washington School of Law, 1981
              Order of the Coif
              Editorial Board, Washington Law Review
              Extern to the Honorable Eugene Wright, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • B.A., Washington State University, magna cum laude, 1978
              Phi Beta Kappa

Ryan likes to spend her leisure time with her family. They enjoy golfing, boating, and traveling. Ryan and her husband have a long tradition of community service and board work.