December 2, 2008 - Bend Bulletin Lawyer Was Devoted To Area Tribes

December 4, 2008
December 2, 2008 - Bend Bulletin Lawyer Was Devoted To Area Tribes

Lawyer was devoted to area tribes
Jim Noteboom, 1945-2008

By Sheila G. Miller / The Bulletin

Published: December 02. 2008 4:00AM PST

Friends and colleagues remembered Jim Noteboom on Monday as a man who was devoted to his work and loved a good laugh.

Noteboom, who died Thanksgiving Day of complications from leukemia, was a longtime senior partner at Karnopp Petersen focused on Indian law, as well as a golfer and a longtime military man. He was 62.

Born in 1945 in North Dakota, Noteboom moved with his family to a farm outside Salem in 1949 and lived there throughout his childhood. He attended Oregon State University and graduated with honors in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in food science and technology.

In 1968, he earned a master’s degree in business administration at OSU, the same year he married his wife of 40 years, Marie.

Noteboom served in the military for 39 years, first as a Marine in Vietnam in 1969 and then as a military instructor for the Defense Institute of International Legal Studies with the U.S. Department of Defense. As an instructor he taught classes ranging from border security and counterterrorism law to government ethics and human rights law in a variety of countries. According to Jim Petersen, a coworker at his law firm, he also served as a member of the Oregon National Guard.

In 1977, he graduated from the University of Oregon School of Law, and garnered another degree in 2002 when he earned a master’s degree in strategic studies from the United States Army War College.

Noteboom and his family moved to Bend in 1977, where he began working for the law firm now known as Karnopp Petersen. Over a 31-year law career, Noteboom focused on Indian law and served as the firm’s counsel for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. He also worked in energy and natural resources law, and helped start the Museum at Warm Springs and the Deschutes River Conservancy.

“Jim devoted his whole career to the representation of the Warm Springs tribes,” Petersen said. “He was a real friend of the tribes and very highly respected by the tribes and the leadership of the tribes.”

Noteboom, who was a partner at the firm, worked with Petersen for nearly 30 years. “He was great to work with,” Petersen said. “You could always count on him to be there not only for clients but for the firm.”

And his expertise in Indian law was such that he’ll be hard to replace at the firm.

“I think he played a huge role as far as the tribes are concerned,” he said. “And in terms of reliance on his expertise and years of experience, he leaves a big hole here in the firm. He certainly was one of the leaders of firm, and we’ll miss him deeply.”

But Noteboom was more than just his work, Petersen said. His nickname at the firm was Boomer, because of his loud voice. And he’d collected so many things in his travels, Petersen said, his office was chock full.

“He brought back artifacts and treasures from each one of his trips, and those occupied his office,” Petersen said. “There was barely room for him in the office among all those treasures.”

Bobby Brunoe, general manager for the natural resources branch of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, worked with Noteboom for more than 20 years on a variety of projects dealing with energy and conservation issues.

“Jim was a very smart guy. He was his own person, had a very good sense of humor,” Brunoe said. “As a person to work with, he was just brilliant.”

Brunoe often joined Noteboom and Warm Springs Chief Delvis Heath for golf games, and said Noteboom always knew where the best restaurants were in Central Oregon. But Brunoe said when it came to work, Noteboom was loyal and honest.

“Some very historic things, first-ever done in the U.S., he was involved with, with the tribes,” Brunoe said.

Noteboom worked on, among other things, the Pelton Round Butte dam complex relicensing, in 2004, and water rights settlement agreements.

Heath, the chief of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, knew Noteboom for about 25 years both as a friend and a colleague.

Soon after the pair started working together, Noteboom invited Heath to play golf with him. Heath had never played golf before, but after losing a few rounds to Noteboom decided he’d better learn to compete. After that, the two played golf together regularly, and Heath said there were some very funny moments. Once, the pair were golfing at the Oregon Coast, and Noteboom bet his beach house, Heath said. After he won, Heath said he’d just take a room.

Another time, Heath and Brunoe joined Noteboom at a course in Hood River. Heath said Noteboom had just bought a new pair of shoes, and on the hilly course he fell down one of the slopes.

“We just laughed, and the guy with us from Cascade Locks said, ‘He might be hurt.’ Me and Bobby just kept laughing,” Heath said. “We said, ‘He’s not hurt, he’s a Marine.’”

It’s memories like those Heath said he’ll miss about Noteboom, like the time Noteboom was golfing in San Diego and hit the ball into a palm tree.

“The ball bounced back 20 feet behind us,” Heath said, laughing.

But Heath said he’ll miss Noteboom also for his dedication to the tribe.

“What I’ll miss most is the help he gave to the tribe,” Heath said. “He put a lot of time into us.”

Noteboom is survived by his wife Marie and three children, Andrea, Christian and Aaron, as well as two sisters, two brothers and six grandchildren.

Memorial service
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Oregon National Guard Armory, 875 S.W. Simpson Ave. in Bend. A graveside service will follow, and arrangements are being made by Niswonger-Reynolds Funeral Home.
Instead of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to The Museum at Warm Springs, 2189 U.S. Highway 26, Warm Springs.

Sheila G.
can be reached at 541-617-7831 or at


Published Daily in Bend Oregon by Western Communications, Inc. © 2008

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