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Our firm assisted a tribe in its successful effort to secure a Forest Service decision banning rock climbing on Cave Rock, a significant tribal cultural site, and filed an amicus brief in Access Fund v. U.S. Department of Agriculture in support of the Forest Service’s decision, which was upheld.

Attorney Biography

Starla K. Roels
Tel: 503.242.1745
Fax: 503.242.1072

Starla Roels grew up in Colorado where she developed a deep respect for Indian people, their cultural practices, and history. Starla joined Hobbs Straus in 1999 and advises tribal clients on a wide range of health-care issues including patient privacy and security of medical records, patient eligibility, and maximizing recovery of medical expenditures. She also helps tribal clients with employment policies and procedures, governmental approaches to labor, protecting natural and treaty-reserved resources, and matters under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA). She currently chairs Hobbs Straus’ health care practice group and serves on the environmental and natural resources law practice group.

Starla has been actively involved in the reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, having assisted the National Steering Committee of tribal leaders with exploring policy issues relating to tribal health facilities. She continues to help tribes and tribal organizations improve the health status of Indian communities as they build strong health programs.

Starla has made numerous presentations on matters relating to health-care such as the Indian Health Care Improvement Act and innovative ways to finance tribal health facilities. She has also presented on environmental issues such as tribal rights relative to the Endangered Species Act and water marketing options. She has written a number of articles, including “HIPAA and Patient Privacy: Tribal Policies As Added Means For Addressing Indian Health Disparities,” 31 American Indian Law Rev. 1 (2006-2007); and “Borrowing Instead of Taking: How the Seemingly Opposite Threads of Indian Treaty Rights and Property Rights Activism Could Intertwine to Restore Salmon to the Rivers,” 28 Environmental Law 375 (1998).

Prior to joining Hobbs Straus, Starla was a policy analyst with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, where she focused on treaty-reserved fishing rights and the impacts on those rights caused by hydroelectric dams. She worked with the Commission’s treaty tribes on hydroelectric relicensing and other matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and on negotiations for the Mid-Columbia Habitat Conservation Plan. 

Starla’s interests include bird watching, sea kayaking, biking, photography, reading historical fiction and Shakespeare, as well as traveling and learning about new languages and cultures.

Professional Organizations:
Oregon State Bar Indian Law and Health Law Sections
American Bar Association Health Law Section and Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities
Chair, Executive Committee, Oregon State Bar Indian Law Section (2002)
Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, J.D., 1996
Lewis & Clark Cornelius Honor Society
Arizona State University, B.A. (cum laude), 1992
Bar Admissions:
United States District Court, District of Oregon
9th Circuit Court of Appeals
United States Supreme Court
Practice Concentration: