Wages And Other Requirements For Public Construction Projects

This past spring, both the Oregon House and Senate passed bills that required contractors who were working on construction projects at Oregon universities to pay workers prevailing market-rate wages. Oregon law already requires prevailing wages on all public construction projects.  However, there are many major privately funded university projects currently in the works that would not be covered by the existing laws. One such project is the new basketball arena at the University of Oregon. This arena, The Matthew Knight Arena, is being built for the University by Nike co-founder Phil Knight and is named after his son. Phil Knight is the major donor to the Oregon University System and his costs will inevitably go up with the new law.

Construction work on public property

In Oregon, many of the largest building projects in the state involve public property. This includes construction of bridges, parks, hospitals, public housing, schools, state university campuses, police and fire stations. There are also projects that combine both private and public property, such as the construction of roads and infrastructure for sporting arenas, shopping malls and urban redevelopment projects.

The Construction Contractors Board (CCB) is the entity charged with regulating the construction industry in Oregon. Contractors and subcontractors involved in public works projects may have to deal with additional procedural and legal issues that involve:

  • Insurance endorsements
  • Zoning limitations
  • Community objections and environmental complaints
  • Employee protections and prevailing wages
  • Budget and schedules
  • Compliance, safety procedures and government oversight
  • Work restrictions to allow for the continued public use of the area under construction

The Portland based construction law attorneys of Kell, Alterman & Runstein, L.L.P. are proficient in all the legal issues involved in commercial and other construction projects, from financing to contract disputes, and they have regularly represented Oregon owners, lenders and contractors. 

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