|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • Contractor sweep nets 34 violations in S. Oregon

  • The state Construction Contractors Board said today it is looking into 34 potential violations in Southern Oregon after investigators last week showed up at 279 job sites here checking for unlicensed contractors.
    • email print
      Comment
  • The state Construction Contractors Board said today it is looking into 34 potential violations in Southern Oregon after investigators last week showed up at 279 job sites here checking for unlicensed contractors.
    The CCB said the most common violations involved unlicensed people working as contractors or contractors who had employees but lacked workers' compensation insurance to cover job-related injuries.
    Investigators made unannounced job-site visits in Ashland, Grants Pass, Medford, Klamath Falls and Roseburg from July 21 to 25. The visits are part of a statewide campaign that began in the spring that so far has turned up more than 100 potential law violations.
    "Although the amount of violations varies through the year, we would expect to see a peak in violations after a sweep," Enforcement Manager Stan Jessup said.
    Although many contractors left construction for other industries in the wake of the real-estate bubble and subsequent housing collapse eight years ago, Jessup said his agency's sweep has been turning up people who may never have been licensed.
    "Most of these are people who have never been licensed or let it lapse in early 2000s," he said.
    It's unclear whether violators are scraping along the bottom or are simply scofflaws.
    "We hear that," Jessup said. "They say they can't afford to take classes needed to get their license back, but I don't know how true it is. If you let your license lapse, you can reinstate it up to two years after it expires. You still have to get bonding and insurance in place, but after two years you have to start over."
    Cheryl Martinis, a spokesperson for the CCA, said 160 job-site checks were made in Jackson County last week, with 13 violations noted. Five unlicensed contractors were working; four exempt contractors had employees; three had hired unlicensed subcontractors; and one exceeded task limits.
    Once field investigators report possible violations, Salem staff members decide whether to impose fines or issue warnings.
    Brad Bennington, executive director for the Home Builders of Jackson County, said his organization is always happy to support the CCB's work.
    "Unlicensed contractors do a lot of harm to our industry and our community," Bennington said. "When a consumer has an unlicensed contractor do work on their property, they have no recourse for improper work and they have exposed themselves to the liability for companies that aren't bonded and don't carry insurance. Sometimes these are otherwise good folks who have had the rug pulled out from under them by shifting financial fortunes, but that isn't an excuse to work outside the law."
    In addition, the CCB reported it had resolved nine earlier investigations of Jackson County contractors and levied these fines:
    B & D Gutters Inc., working without a license, $1,000; Christopher Heinze, working without a license, $700; Innovative Construction of Oregon Inc., reporting it didn't have employees when it did, $1,000; Iwall Concepts LLC, no workers' compensation for employees, $1,000; John A. Christensen LLC, reporting that he didn't have employees when he did, $1,000; Arnold Michael Lautt, working without a license, $700; Mitch Smith Installations Inc., working without a license, $1,000; Pool Masters Inc., working without a license, $1,000; Allen Rothgeb Painting, working without a license, $1,000.
    Jessup said the process can take six to eight months from the time the CCB notifies its intent to levy a fine to it becoming final.
    Contractors and consumers can report unlicensed contractors and other illegal activity or verify licenses on the CCB's website at www.oregon.gov/CCB. They may also verify licenses by calling 503-378-4621.
    Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregMTBusiness, friend him on Facebook and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/EconomicEdge.
Reader Reaction

      calendar