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Lower-than-expected contractor bid bolsters South Plaza project

Mayor lauds hands-off process that led to Lanphere Construction proposal for The Round


With Beaverton's Lanphere Construction & Development taking on primary contracting work after submitting a bid $144,312 less than the next lowest offer for the South Plaza construction at The Round at Beaverton Central, the project is on track to begin in June and be complete by September.

Lanphere Construction, a subsidiary of Lanphere Enterprises, perhaps best known for its Canyon Road-based Honda and Toyota dealerships, delivered the lowest bid, out of four submissions, at $486,698.78.

Mayor Denny Doyle said the lower-than-expected bid is good news for the project, which will provide a symbolic welcome to the proposed move of City Hall's government offices from 4755 S.W. Griffith Drive to the South Office Building at The Round at 12725 S.W. Millikan Way.

“The low bidder in this case came in over $145,000 less than the other two bidders, which I think is a terrific, terrific deal,” he said during the May 14 City Council meeting.

The new plaza will complement the existing semi-circular park on the north side of the TriMet MAX light-rail line. The design calls for a grove of trees moving toward a more urban-oriented grid into a slightly elevated gathering place anchored by “Three Creeks One Will,” a 38-foot-tall, 6-foot-diameter sculpture by artist Devin Laurence Field.

The city is directing the project in collaboration with The Round's redeveloper Skanlan Kemper Bard Companies, which is contributing $250,000 toward construction.

Koch Landscape Architecture, from which the city accepted a $654,000 bid last year, worked with a design committee to shape the plaza's look and feel.

Lanphere Enterprises contributed $5,000 to Doyle's re-election campaign in September 2011. The mayor stressed, however, that he has no role whatsoever in this or any contract bidding process. Bidding for the South Plaza project went through Terry Muralt's office in the city's Purchasing Department, and included oversight from the Public Works, Finance, Purchasing and Engineering departments.

“We try to treat all businesses equally,” Doyle said. “I don't know when the (bidding request) goes out. I don't know who's responded. I don't know anything until that signature comes to my desk, and I do that on purpose.”

Level playing field

Six contractors responded to the city of Beaverton's bid advertisement in the Daily Journal of Commerce on April 12. After opening the bidding process on May 7, the Finance Department received bids from the following companies:

• Brown Contracting Inc., of Eugene — $719,789

• D&T Excavation Inc., of Wilsonville — $639,241.97

• In-Line Commercial Construction of Aloha — $631,010.40

• Lanphere Construction & Development of Beaverton — $486,698.78.

The bid was awarded to Lanphere Construction on May 14.

“Just because somebody knows somebody doesn't mean they don't have the right to bid on contract,” Doyle noted. “And our safety valve is the (City) Council.”

Jim Brink, a project engineer with the city of Beaverton for 12 years and two mayoral administrations, said this is the first project on which he's collaborated with Lanphere Construction.

“I'm pretty sure there's no other capital projects they've been involved in,” he said, adding the mayor's office plays no role in bidding. “The process is the same for every project. In all the projects I've done, I've never heard from the mayor once, and that includes (former) Mayor Rob Drake.”

The tentative starting date for South Plaza construction is June 19, with the “Three Creeks One Will” sculpture expected to cap off the project — which also will feature plaques and artwork recognizing Beaverton's sister cities — on Sept. 30.

“I'm excited about it,” Doyle said. “It will certainly be a wonderful change for the area. It will round off the plaza area, completing the plaza and giving functionality to both sides.

“I can't wait to see the sculpture.”

Local contractor attracted to 'legacy' project

Jerry Jones Jr., director of Lanphere Construction, headquartered at 13625 S.W. Farmington Road, attributes the successful bid for the South Plaza project to the company's proximity to The Round, its ability to “self-perform” projects that other companies might hand off to a subcontractor and its interest in being part of a long-lasting municipal monument.

“Of all the bidders, we are the only contractor located within Beaverton, 2 miles from the job site,” he noted. “We're right there able to manage the job from our home base. A lot of other, larger contractors have to set up a job shack, and that can be a lot of money.”

The company also is able to perform its own excavation and underground utility installation work.

“Since we are able to self-perform, we're able to be a lot more aggressive in pricing,” he said.

Furthermore, Jones noted, Lanphere Enterprises, parent company of Lanphere Construction, has made a point of being a community partner through its 50 years in business. The company donated $42,000 for a canopy at the Beaverton Resource Center on Hall Boulevard, is a title sponsor of the annual Beaverton Celebration Parade and was recognized in 2011 through the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce's Partner of the Year award and the city-sponsored Service to Beaverton Award.

“It's important for us to be part of this plaza as part of the new City Hall,” Jones said. “Completing this project leaves a bit of a legacy for Lanphere Construction and Development. We're excited to be part of that, and that's why we went after the (bid) so aggressively.”



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