Timothy V. Ramis

  • Born: April 4, 1950
  • Died: October 13, 2021
  • Location: Portland, Oregon

Gethsemani Funeral Home

11666 SE Stevens Rd.
Happy Valley, OR 97086

Tel. (503) 659-1350

Tribute & Message From The Family

Timothy Victor Ramis, the son of Vic and Rose Ramis, passed away on Wednesday, October 13, at his home in Portland at the age of 71 surrounded by family after a year-long courageous battle with cancer. Tim was a lifelong resident of Portland and graduated from Madison High School, where he was on the swim and tennis teams and was active in student government. Tim's mother died when he was young. With the help and kindness of family and friends, Tim and his sister, Sue were raised by their father who was their constant supporter and champion. Tim inherited his prowess in storytelling and tennis from his father. Following high school, Tim attended Princeton University and then Stanford University, where he graduated in 1972. He then attended University of Oregon School of Law before returning home to Portland to build a practice in land use and eventually become a shareholder with Jordan Ramis, PC.

Tim had three great loves: his family, the practice of law, and tennis. He devoted his time to those loves in that order. Family first, then his clients and finally recreation. Tim has six children from three pregnancies: twins Will and Kelly, Henry and lastly triplets Katherine, Eleanor, and Benjamin. Tim was not a fighter; he was a problem solver. He was kind, strategic, and steadfast. He was the kind of husband and father who could distill any disagreement or conflict into an amicable solution and then help enable that solution with kindness and empathy.

Tim was a longtime leader in the land use bar. A rarity among land use lawyers, Tim represented both cities and private developers, playing both sides of the net effectively, like the skilled tennis player he was. He was fond of saying that the essence of land use was captured by Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes, Jr., "Pretty much all law consists in forbidding men to do something that they want to do."

An institutionalist, Tim's trademark solution was to persuade clients, both public and private, that they are free to do what they want to do when it is done respectfully within the established bounds. Amidst the cacophony in civic affairs, Tim's method of obtaining results through careful diplomacy stood out in the law as it did in life. Tim was comfortable in the smallest venue, in small cities and commissions to the largest cities and appellate bodies and courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court where he argued Dolan v. City of Tigard, 512 US 374 (1994).

Tim dedicated his time and expertise to providing safe and equal housing opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities. Tim served for 40 years as counsel, advocate, benefactor, and board member for Specialized Housing Inc.

In tennis, Tim had many friends, teammates and opponents at the Multnomah Athletic Club where he played on competitive teams. He always brought his son Will to those matches so Will could laugh with and tease Tim's friends. All of Tim's MAC tennis buddies, upon learning of Tim's passing commented on the consummate gentleman he was on and off the court, with opponents, teammates, his clients, and those in opposition.

Tim lost his battle with cancer, but he wasted not a second of a life well lived and loved.

Tim leaves behind his wife Melissa Ramis, their children Henry(5), Katherine (2), Eleanor (2) and Benjamin (2), William and Kelly and their mother Marina Mar, his loving younger sister Sue Thompson, her husband John, and his niece and nephew Kelsey and Kevin Thompson. He also leaves his colleagues at his law firm Jordan Ramis, many friends, and clients and all of his tennis buddies. He will be forever missed.


Mass at 1:00 PM on November 2, 2021 at St. Mary's Cathedral
1716 NW Davis St Portland, Or 97209.

Burial to follow at Mt Calvary Cemetery
333 SW Skyline Blvd, Portland Oregon.

A Celebration of life will follow at Multnomah Athletic Club
1849 SW Salmon St, Portland, OR 97205.

Social distancing and masks required.

Donations can be made to:
St. Rose of Lima

Or Specialized Housing Inc.


Condolence & Memory Journal

My memory of Tim is from a different time period compared to the other memories shared. I knew Tim in grade school at Rose City Park Elementary School. In 7th grade, Tim and I had shop together. That was the year we spent building our model sail boats. Tim would come over to me in shop and give unsolicited help on my boat. His goal was to have helped me with every step in the building of my boat. If I was sawing, he would come and do a stroke or two of sawing. If filing, then a stroke or two of filing. And so he helped in every step in building my boat. I have fond memories of this and of Tim. He was funny and kind, and a person (kid) who I truly liked and respected. I know he must have been a wonderful treasure to his family. My condolences to his family.

Posted by Jeff Minor - School   November 03, 2021

Sue, We were saddened to hear your loss. You have a lifetime of memories to uplift you and reflect upon. We love you and offer our support in any way we can.

Posted by Kathy and Jeff Nickoloff    November 02, 2021

I worked with Tim on several issues over the years - A smart lawyer who was humble and congenial and incredibly easy to work with. He will be missed for that and so many other reasons. My condolences to his family.

Posted by Kandis Brewer Nunn    November 01, 2021

I am sorry to see notice of Tim´s passing. I remember his appearances before the Land Use Board of Appeals. He was a superb lawyer, and I counted him as a colleague and friend. My best to the family in such a sad time.

Posted by John Bagg - Work   October 31, 2021

Tim Ramis was my lawyer - pro bono - at a critical time in the renovation of the St Johns Racket center on behalf of Portland Tennis & Education. PT&E is an after school enhancement program, that was the inspired by Arthur Ashe, for at-risk youth in North Portland. His work helped me secure the future of PT&E for 20 years. He was a generous should and i am confident he will be rewarded for his service.

Posted by Bob Howard - Friend   October 31, 2021

I was Tim's law clerk right after my law school graduation. He was one of the smartest people I have ever met and also a great guy. I learned a lot from him for which I am eternally grateful. RIP Tim.

Posted by David Fine    October 28, 2021

I knew Tim professionally, always on the other side of the table, from the local governments he represented in land use matters. That included trying the Dolan case once returned from the U S Supreme Court. We finally got the case settled even though it took years and much litigation to get there.
I not only respected him greatly but liked him greatly too. Both were easy given his competence as a lawyer and his personality and integrity. His contribution to Oregon Land Use law is truly legend. Rest in peace my friend.

Posted by Joe Willis - Work   October 28, 2021

Tim was so patient with me as a young Planning Director in Milwaukie. He bridled my energy, while respectfully and quietly coaching me on the finer points of Oregon land use law. I wish Tim's family peace in the days ahead.

Posted by Alice Cannon    October 26, 2021

I worked with Tim for years with his various small town clients. He was about solutions, and not confrontations. He cared deeply about helping everyone win. He was gracious to me as I started out in my career and became a good friend. What a great Oregonian.

Posted by Tom Markgraf - Friend   October 26, 2021

I am very sorry for the loss of Tim. I interacted with Tim over the years on a number of matters. He was an excellent lawyer and, more importantly, he was an admirable person. Tim treated people with respect and kindness, even if he was on the other side of the matter. He had a rare gentility ; a quality that is rare. I extend my condolences to his family and the members of his firm.

Posted by Stephen Janik - Portland, OR - friend   October 24, 2021

Tim was the epitome of the consummate gentleman.
A charming wonderful man. From the moment I met him I was struck by his kindness, his intellect & our common adoration of Herman Brookman, but mostly by his love for his family. It warmed my heart to see the love he and Melissa shared. My heart breaks a little to think of the loss you are all feeling.

Posted by Benjamin Silver - Friend   October 19, 2021

Our family has known Tim as a father and Scout leader with Will, Kelly, Henry and the triplets. We remember him for his love and care for his family. We sorrow with them and with Melissa for his loss.

Posted by Barbara & Eric Hall - Friend   October 18, 2021

Tim was an incredible friend and mentor.

I’ve known Tim my entire life, he was a high school buddy of my father, and as I grew up and focused on the law he became a great friend to me.

Tim was gregarious, effective, bold, and civil. He knew how to find the common ground wherever possible, he taught me the value of hard work at the beginning and demonstrated time and time again just how this has a profound impact on what happens in the end.

Tim and I first worked together on a matter in Wasco County—he and I spent weeks unpacking the County’s land use rules and we argued before the County Commissioners. In exchange for tens of hours of his time, a dedicated associate, and staff—he asked for a beer and a steak dinner. Nothing more. He coached me to stay on the County and just days before his passing, the County adopted the rules we fought for.

I suspect hundreds if not thousands have shared a similar experience with Tim. I can’t begin to list his accolades—but one of my favorite memories of Tim was discussing his argument before the Supreme Court where Thurgood Marshall asked him whether someone could ‘carry a bathtub on a bicycle.’

More than anything Tim was an incredible father. I’ve spent time socially with Tim and his son, and I’ve seldom seen a man so busy so dedicated to his child. I remember Tim beaming with pride that Will had earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

The tragedy of Tim’s passing is tempered by his legacy—and by the many like me who will carry the lessons he taught us forward into the future.

Nothing takes away the sadness. But today I’m choosing to focus on what made him so great. Because that will never go away.

God speed my friend. Rest easy. And thank you so much for sharing even a small piece of you with me.

And to all of Tim’s family—my heartfelt sympathy is with you.

Posted by Gabriel Watson - Friend   October 17, 2021

My experience with Tim was interacting with him in land use issues in local government settings. Tim was a rare lawyer in my mind -- someone who you could take his word on behalf of his client and you could "take that promise to the bank!" Tim was a kind soul and a thoughtful person as well as a lawyer -- what a combination! I can only express my condolences to Tim's family and I hope they know that they and the State of Oregon have lost one heck of a lawyer.

Posted by Joe Grillo - Hillsboro, OR   October 15, 2021

I am so sorry to hear of Tim's passing. I enjoyed working with him for 4 years as well as getting to know him on a personal level. He was a kind,thoughtful
, intelligent, empathetic person who will surely be missed by his friends and family. My utmost feelings of love and condolences to his family.

Posted by Richard Sakelik - West Linn, OR - Coworker   October 15, 2021

My condolences to Tim's Family and extended work family. Oregon Land Use has lost a power house of knowledge and a genuinely kind man.

Posted by John J Boyd - Acquaintance   October 14, 2021

Best wishes to the family.
Ed and Patte Sullivan

Posted by Edward Sullivan - Portland, OR - Acquaintance   October 14, 2021

I remember Tim fondly for his occasional talks to Oregon land use planners, particularly his telling us about the City of Tigard case he argued at the United States Supreme Court.

Posted by Al Burns - Portland, OR   October 14, 2021

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