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CCB sweep of Central Oregon reveals several violations

Contractors who work without a license can face serious consequences


Investigators from the Construction Contractors Board recently showed up unannounced at more than 200 job sites in Central and Eastern Oregon as part of an ongoing campaign targeting unlicensed contractors.

Six investigators visited nearly 40 communities in late June, turning up 43 potential violations of construction contractor law in communities ranging from Hood River and The Dalles east to Pendleton and from Bend east to Ontario.

The sweep uncovered 17 workers without a valid license and six cases involving contractors who hired unlicensed subcontractors.

Other violations included contractors who lacked workers’ compensation coverage, contractors who neglected to include their CCB number on advertising, and contractors who lacked a license to handle lead-based paint.

According to Cheryl Martinis with the CCB, anyone who repairs or remodels, as well as those who build new homes or businesses, must be licensed with the CCB. Contractors working on homes built before 1978 also need special licensing to handle lead-based paint.

“We will root out unlicensed contractors,” CCB Interim Administrator Berri Leslie said. “Penalizing contractors who work on the fringe of the law levels the playing field for hard-working, legitimate contractors and protects the public.”

The CCB reminds the public that anyone who does repairs, remodeling or new construction must be licensed with the state and any advertising must include the CCB number.

“Licensed contractors have bonds and insurance that offer some financial protection to homeowners should a problem arise,” said Leslie. “And, we’ll help mediate any disputes if you’re working with a licensed contractor.”

CCB surveys from recent years show that more than 70 percent of homeowners know that contractors must be licensed. However, more than half of people hiring contractors for major projects do not verify the license.

The licensing board offers a simple method to verify that any contractor is licensed and legal to work in Oregon. Simply text the CCB license of any contractor to 503-444-8898 to receive a reply that will include the current license status and its expiration date.

“It only takes a few seconds to verify that a contractor’s license is active,” Leslie said. “Most construction projects go smoothly when you do your homework by researching the contractor and by making informed decisions during the project.”

Contractors and consumers can report unlicensed contractors and other illegal activity or verify licenses on the CCB’s website or by calling 503-378-4621.

According to Martinis, the investigation is still underway and the organization is not able to release names of any contractors suspected of violations.

“Our investigators in the field spot what they believe to be violations and refer them back to Salem staff that follow up and decide whether to issue penalties,” she said. “It will be awhile before we know the outcome of the sweeps in Crook County and other areas.”

A typical first-offense penalty for working without a license is $1,000 with subsequent violations resulting in fines of up to $5,000. Working without a license is also a misdemeanor crime.



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