Monday, December 10, 2012

"Shock[ing]" Decision: Oregon Officials Say Firm Used to Sell PPS School Bond OK To Do Apparently Unlicensed Work in Oregon

It was a company tasked with assessing and compiling a list of items to be fixed or rebuilt at Portland Public Schools. Magellan Consulting compiled the list that then became the heart of the May 2011 campaign for the PPS half a BILLION dollar bond measure. The list required engineering and architectural expertise, but there was one problem: According to an expert on these matters, it wasn't licensed to do that kind of work in Oregon. Now the State Board of Architect Examiners is giving the company a pass, claiming there was "no violation."

It's tantamount to an out of town lawyer acting as the attorney of record on a school bond measure but having no license to practice in the State of Oregon.

 "I'm shocked and appalled [by the Board's decision] and it would be interesting to know the name of the person who signed that letter, what that person's credentials are, and whether that person is an architect, and engineer, an attorney or representative of the Attorney General's office..."

Jim Jones, an Architect/Environmental Consultant who is certified by the State of Oregon and who previously had been selected as an investigator with the OBAE, was astounded that the Board fines some companies, but not the one that dealt with the school bond measure. Find our discussion on the matter (here at 31:50)
"What they're saying that what I told you was in error...I would say their action from the way I read the law and other architects read the law and the way the Attorney General reads the law is they should have done something."
Here's the information I included in this post in May 2011 about the situation:

The Portland Public School District came up with its list of priorities for the bond measure with the help of Magellan Consultants. Inspector, Jim Jones, Architect/Environmental Consultant/Certified State of Oregon Energy Auditor with Building Diagnostic Services, Inc, says, while they're nice people over at Magellan Consultants, they're not legally qualified to assess the situation:

Oregon Law, ORS 671 & 672 requires the type of study used for the bond issue to be conducted by Oregon licensed Architects & Engineer for the legal health, life & safety protection students, teachers building code compliance. 
Jones says, "...I don't think it takes a degree in law to understand what these people did precisely complied with practice of architecture and engineering and the State Board should have pursued that."

I subsequently filed the complaint with the Oregon Board of Architect Examiners based on Jones' assessment. The letter (nearby) took well over a year to be considered and resulted in the dismissal of any violation:
 "The Board carefully considered the above referenced case at their last Board meeting. The Board voted unanimously to close the case with no violation. The Board now considers this matter closed. Thank you for your cooperation and assistance in this matter. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact this office."
I've asked for an explanation and filed a records request to determine if this issue was properly investigated or whether a governmental agency--Portland Public Schools--was given preferential treatment by another government agency.

In the meantime, a scaled down version of the bond measure passed.

See my previous post on whether there were any real safety code violations at the schools involved in the bong measure:
What the bond measure asked of Portlanders:
See video here of our producer looking for the items in the school bond commercials:

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