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A couple of years ago, a power plant speculator got his property rezoned, and tried to build a power plant across the street from a residential neighborhood. I worked with the angry neighbors to challenge the project. Power plants generate more noise than a hard-rock band, from many sources. The turbine is like a jet airplane engine, there are massive fans, and there would be a "tub grinder," which chews up whole trees into chips which are burnt in the plant boiler.

I arranged for a guy to help us look at the noise issues, who'd fought similar plants in Northern California.  He purchased a noise measurement device from Radio Shack, measured the existing nighttime noise levels (crickets) by the neighbor's houses, and then did the math on how much noise a turbine and tub grinder would add from 200 feet away.

Since the power plant speculators hadn't even bothered to prepare their own noise study, his testimony during the public hearing was helpful and  the City Council imposed noise control measures.

But now the Oregon Engineering Board has fined him $1000 for "engineering without an engineering license," because of his testimony during a public hearing before the City Council.

For additional details, keep reading below the tangle of orange driftwood.

This situation is very important  because it penalizes the free speech of anyone who testifies during a public hearing, especially if they present well researched, detailed criticisms of a project that conflicts with the developers' own "experts."

Suppose you want to testify on a project and look up the zoning codes, then look up litigation records to see how the courts have resolved zoning controversies.  

Hey, you just might be practicing law without a license.

Maybe you check records from several different agencies to see what kind of air pollution control devices are used on chemical plants, and discover some scrubbers are 99% effective, while the project you oppose has a scrubber that's only 90% effective.

There you go again, committing industrial engineering without an engineering license.

The more thorough your research, the more painstaking and documented and eloquent your comments, the greater the danger that your activities "are consistent with engineering practices" and merit a fine.

This type  of complaint is more diabolical that a SLAPP suit (strategic lawsuit against public participation) because it is an administrative complaint, with no remedy except a request for a hearing before a the Board that's already decided to issue the fine.  

Before this case, the Engineering Board's only punitive actions were against fly-by-night types who falsely declared themselves to be engineers, and then designed, for instance, a faulty retaining wall that collapsed, and their client then complained to the Board.

This is the Board's only case against someone who didn't lie about being an engineer, and the only case against someone for effectively criticizing the shabby work of a licensed engineer.

Here are an example of the purported violation:

"(He) ... provided engineering analysis and calculations consistent with the practice
of acoustical engineering."

In other words, it is illegal to do the math calculations to estimate how loud a 120 decibel turbine or grinder will be, to the neighbor across the street, at 3am. It's apparently also  illegal to do something "consistent with the practice of engineering," even if it wasn't actually engineering.

The real violation was the willingness to do the tedious research and math to effectively criticize the haphazard work of a licensed engineer.

We will be asking the ACLU for assistance against this attack on comments given during the invitation for public testimony. Please wish us luck.

By the way, the power plant was never built. The City Council's imposition of noise control measures was one factor in delaying or killing the project.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (215+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    phillies, Glen The Plumber, kaminpdx, Phoebe Loosinhouse, FisherOfRolando, belinda ridgewood, Polly Syllabic, LookingUp, Mr Robert, Villabolo, quill, anodnhajo, flashmans ghost, Player to be named later, serendipityisabitch, DavidMS, Cassandra Waites, occupystephanie, SC damn yankee, Norm in Chicago, CenPhx, Chaddiwicker, swarf, Catte Nappe, Nattiq, CF Perez, Terre, concernedamerican, xynz, kartski, cocinero, ChemBob, wilderness voice, ninkasi23, pointilleux, LakeSuperior, George3, IndieGuy, jguzman17, sow hat, koosah, divineorder, Simplify, fixxit, Caddis Fly, thanatokephaloides, DannyX, Eyesbright, jexter, maggid, RiveroftheWest, BlackSheep1, mofembot, viral, solesse413, mslat27, camlbacker, Lovo, Triceratops, doingbusinessas, marina, annominous, NBBooks, wildweasels, Sandino, slowbutsure, niteskolar, FarWestGirl, clinging to hope, ceebee7, kurt, martyc35, tapestry, snoopydawg, kkkkate, tgrshark13, Teiresias70, countwebb, spooks51, also mom of 5, CJB2012, Jim Domenico, OregonWetDog, GeorgeXVIII, jeremybloom, KenBee, peregrine kate, ER Doc, rb608, Kombema, carpunder, OleHippieChick, my pet rock, Shockwave, greycat, Horace Boothroyd III, StrayCat, AnnetteK, Lilredhead, banjolele, rapala, TracieLynn, Zinman, illegal smile, Darwinian Detrius, Kingsmeg, psnyder, most peculiar mama, Smoh, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, minnvoter, Capt Crunch, turn blue, gundyj, CA Nana, Otteray Scribe, tofumagoo, la urracca, here4tehbeer, Sarahsaturn, kevinpdx, 2d, foresterbob, AZ Sphinx Moth, zerelda, Jollie Ollie Orange, eyesoars, notrouble, chimene, peachcreek, BobBlueMass, Cofcos, revsue, Brian82, Heart of the Rockies, geekydee, Aaa T Tudeattack, ichibon, Flying Goat, petulans, Farugia, cspivey, cville townie, onionjim, Lefty Coaster, MadRuth, Ezekiel in Exile, Curt Matlock, GwenM, codairem, GreyHawk, Cedwyn, Carol in San Antonio, pixxer, OHdog, Oldowan, ATFILLINOIS, Crashing Vor, marleycat, Al Fondy, Hayate Yagami, The grouch, petestern, owlbear1, J M F, Angie in WA State, gooderservice, decisivemoment, myboo, congenitalefty, barkingcat, global citizen, Youffraita, leeleedee, devis1, bastrop, Empower Ink, DaNang65, Paul Ferguson, NJpeach, splashy, ginimck, cybersaur, jadt65, Philpm, Ozzie, watercarrier4diogenes, democracy inaction, Liberal Thinking, SmartAleq, madgranny, davelf2, parse this, Sychotic1, deben, dagnome, Duckman GR, leonard145b, LSmith, Alice Venturi, catullus, BRog, markdd, Tonedevil, cai, hubcap, fumie, nota bene, corncam, AdamR510, peacestpete, bnasley, wasatch, enhydra lutris, todamo13

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 11:30:17 AM PST

  •  This is insane. (20+ / 0-)

    And, do you have a link to the story?

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 11:38:47 AM PST

    •  Land of the brave (0+ / 0-)

      home of the free.

      End of the story.

      The system is corrupt. Not as in "give us some cash and a hooker and I'll make it happen" corrupt but more like "your file is corrupt and cannot be opened".

      Until inauguration day The USA is in the greatest danger it has ever experienced.

      by Deep Dark on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:43:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  where in OR? (19+ / 0-)

    Have u been contact with state legislators?

    Good luck and bust their balls.

    Please don't piss all over my shoes and tell me it is raining. I know better. And you're getting my shoes wet.

    by kaminpdx on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 11:46:58 AM PST

  •  Hi coffeetalk and loggersbrat (30+ / 0-)

    There isn't a news story to link to -- yet.

    All I've got is an alert from the poor soul who got the dunning letter from the Engineering Board.

    I apologize that I do not have links to the actual documents from this debacle.  I'll ask him to forward the letter to me and try and link it.

    This involved the proposed "Biogreen" power plant proposed for LaPine, Oregon.  The public hearings were  in 2011.

    This complaint languished for a couple of years and I'd thought it had gone away  so I tossed the documents.

    Let me see if the Engineering Board has posted anything.  

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 11:48:07 AM PST

  •  Only if he claimed to be an expert (45+ / 0-)

    should there be a problem.

    Since he used object measurements and calculations that anyone with sufficient background in science could check or duplicate, these should stand on their own merits.

    One need not be licensed to be a scientist, and a scientist can be an expert witness.  There's a serious confusion about the law and about logic here.

    "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

    by LookingUp on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 11:56:10 AM PST

    •  Exactly. (36+ / 0-)
      "(He) ... provided engineering analysis and calculations consistent with the practice of acoustical engineering."
      Note that part: consistent with the practice.

      So, if I apply logic and science to solve a problem, I can be accused of "engineering without an engineering license"?  Therefore, I have to reduce the quality of what I do to such a low level that it wouldn't be "consistent with the practice" to avoid such a charge?  Of what value to the public discourse would it be then?

      Oh, right...that's what the plaintiff wants.

      "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

      by rfall on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 12:01:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You've captured the Catch-22, rfall (25+ / 0-)

        If you say that danged thing is gonna be too darned loud, you are safe, but who will listen to you?

        If you say a 120 decibel turbine will increase noise levels by 15 decibels 200 feet away, your testimony is more effective, but you are performing calculations consistent with engineering, and could be fined.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 12:09:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Whether one is paid for services (23+ / 0-)

        Services rendered and paid for are generally how the "professional" of any stripe is deemed to be in business. Just doing the math and proving the paid professionals to be in the wrong is not a professional service rendered. Stifling the science in a bully pulpit is not the role of regulating bodies. I guess the obvious is my specialty today!!

        Moderation in everything, especially moderation.

        by CF Perez on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 12:45:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree with you CF (13+ / 0-)

          but the Engineering Board had an engineer investigate, and he thinks we've done something very wrong.

          The $1000 fine is even high, the Board's typical penalties which run about $500.

          I'm not certain how you are supposed to know if you are breaking this law, or not.

          “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

          by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:19:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The witness did not break the law, he broke the (6+ / 0-)

            club rules that says you cannot embarrass the 1 per cent's mandarins, not be successful in slowing down the march of corporate progress.

            Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

            by StrayCat on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 04:28:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think Radio Shack might want to hear about this. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            onionjim, Deep Dark, Tonedevil, nota bene

            After all, they sold a piece of audio gear to someone without an engineering license, and he followed the directions to make measurements.  I am sure their legal dept. might draft a stiff letter to that engineering board.

            Plus, you should get the word out, as you have here, to other communities, and perhaps your state attorney general.

            Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

            by triplepoint on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:57:52 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  That's not true. (11+ / 0-)

          I know it is not true for the unauthorized practice of law.  See for example this case, where a South Carolina inmate's felony conviction for the unauthorized practice of law was upheld by the SC Supreme Court.  The offense?  Helping fellow inmates with their cases without taking any compensation.

          I also seriously doubt you can practice medicine without a license, fee or no fee.  

          •  Attorneys have warned me, skymutt (15+ / 0-)

            that I am at risk as a non attorney for helping folks trapped in the administrative hearing processes for protesting land use and environmental permits.

            Nothing's happened yet.

            “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

            by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:33:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  this misuse of law makes it 'law' (9+ / 0-)

              the suppression of speech and dissent by entangling dissenters in spurious legal claims is suppression , outright.

              Fine me for that statement.

              There should be massive penalties for this attempt to suppress speech and dissent. There should be damages paid for loss of rights and speech.

              Good luck to those involved with this 6.

              And thanks for this very creepy story.

              This machine kills Fascists.

              by KenBee on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 03:00:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  There are some penalties and laws against such. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                KenBee

                It's a narrow definition, I think, but it's possible that the ACLU or a similar org - if they take it on - might be able to help widen the recognition, definition and precedent against such SLAPP actions.

                *Note: SLAPP: Strategic lawsuit against public participation

                Quite likely, should become "Strategic Legal action against public participation" (SLAAPP), and incorporate some degree of the intentional misuse of legal fines, fees, penalties in order to suppress public action or concerns, including the misuse of official authorities to suppress or negate attempts to investigate official actions & justifications.

                As stated in my last line above, tho, that in and of itself wouldn't necessarily be the correct wording - it, as it stands, allows for much too much leeway for hinkiness (see how the current GOP forces in Congress are currently, gleefully, abusing their authority).

          •  asdf (7+ / 0-)

            The inmate in this case said he was a lawyer.  

            You can't tell people you are a lawyer and then give them legal advice if you are not a lawyer.

            don't drone me, bro

            by BradMajors on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 05:55:40 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I was a "jailhouse lawyer" for many years, (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skymutt, SmartAleq, Code Monkey, Tonedevil

            in fact it was my prison job, although I had no legal training beyond the court ordered "Legal Studies Program" taught by another convict inside the prison. I have some pretty clear notions of where the lines are for the unauthorized practice of law.

            Where McLauren stepped on his dick is obvious to me from the jump. He described himself on the pleadings as "Of Legal Counsel to Petitioner" and added "Esq." behind his name. Whether or not it ever says it in the fine print these are hallmarks of holding oneself out to be a lawyer.

            He could have simply filed the petitions nominally pro se in the "client's" name, or if his ego required getting his name on them signed himself as "Lay Advocate" and he'd have been fine so long as the "client" himself also signed the petition.

            I walked this line a lot, and full well realize there are slight variations from state to state, but the real rules are unwritten and about identical everywhere.

            As to the case at hand, the so-called "practicing engineering without a license" a quick google search led to this page where it states

            If you are not a licensed professional engineer, you cannot hold yourself out as one or offer to perform engineering services for others. If, for example, you create business cards with the letters “P. E.” after your name and hold yourself out to others as a licensed engineer, you have committed a crime. It doesn’t matter if no one accepts your offer or pays you money for your services, as the mere act of falsely claiming you are licensed public engineer is a criminal one.
            In the language of the law it is the indicia of holding oneself out to be an licensed engineer, the P.E. after the name, for example that constitutes the crime.

            While small claims court has been suggested, above, personally I'd seek relief in federal district court with a civil rights suit under 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983 which reads in relevant part

            Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress . . .

            War beats down, and sows with salt, the hearts and minds of soldiers." Brecht

            by DaNang65 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 09:13:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  As a practical matter (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DaNang65

              ...holding yourself out to be a professional and/or taking a fee is probably what would most often get you in trouble.  But technically, just doing what the licensed professional does is often unauthorized practice, even if you don't hold yourself out to be a professional. Simply going into Legalzoom and drawing up a will for someone for free is pretty clearly UPL in Minnesota, for example:

              § 481.02.  Unauthorized Practice of Law

              Subdivision 1. Prohibitions.
              It shall be unlawful for any person or association of persons, except members of the bar of Minnesota admitted and licensed to practice as attorneys at law ... for or without a fee or any consideration, to prepare, directly or through another, for another person, firm, or corporation, any will...

              Of course, people do this stuff all the time and it is almost never punished, because nobody finds out about it and even if they did there's no strong public interest in punishing jailhouse lawyers for providing free legal help or punishing Johnny for going into Legalzoom and helping Grandma make her will.
      •  RAT FxCKING. A fake notice. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nota bene

        A fake fine.
        Audio engineering exists and you can get a degree, but it has next to nothing to do with measuring noise levels from power plants.

        Audio/acoustic engineering is not covered in the PE system in Oregon. Similar to software engineering. No such thing.

        National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) does the tests for certification.

        -- Professional Engineers of Oregon

        Moreover, there's no such "Oregon Engineering Board." That does not exist.

        State of Oregon: Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Survey.

        Also, these are the guys who do the exams for different engineering specialties. National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). There's no such exam.

        -- Earn a degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program.
        -- Pass the FE exam.
        -- Gain acceptable work experience (typically a minimum of four years). In most cases, this must be completed under the supervision of a P.E.
        -- Pass the PE exam in the appropriate discipline.

        And there's no such exam.

        Some rat effing wing nut is spoofing you.

        "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

        by waterstreet2013 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:10:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You know, people get trained in logical argument, (0+ / 0-)

        and get degrees showing they know how to do it.

        Therefore, if you construct a logical argument, you're guilty of pretending to be a PhD. So you'd better resort to inane babble for the rest of your days.

        I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:08:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  As long as he's not being paid (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimene, 6412093, LookingUp, Coastrange

      for his work or claiming to be an engineer, I don't see what the problem is.

      •  Being paid to protect neighbors is irrelevant (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        white blitz

        I am the guy who helped that quiet residential neighborhood in Oregon. And I never claimed to be an engineer. It was necessary however to unseat what appeared to be incompetent work by the project engineers. No one else had done so. As others have observed, insecure engineers are using their membership club to smack down critics.

        Unfortunately ethics and reading comprehension skills are not universally integrated into all Oregon engineers' practices. So they are now twisting the plain language of their rules to broaden the scope and include even members of the public who criticize engineers. Proving an engineer wrong is not considered to be "engineering." Being paid to protect the public thus is immaterial.

        So the engineer/investigator deleted essential phrases from the published rule to exaggerate the scope of that rule. He also lied what I actually said. Yet when I sought the Board's investigation of his breach of professional ethics, the Board refused.

        •  Not claiming to be an engineer is the (0+ / 0-)

          operative here. Note, I said OR. Even if were an unlicensed engineer, you shouldn't be in breach of the law if you weren't paid.

          It seems like you are dealing with some real bastards. It appears that your real crime was "Never, but never question the engineer's judgement"

  •  I can't imagine this would stand up in court (22+ / 0-)

    As long as he made no claim to be an engineer. Even if he is an engineer and said so, it still might not be a problem as long as he made no claim to be a licensed engineer...

    "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

    by quill on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 12:00:22 PM PST

    •  The problem, quill (20+ / 0-)

      is this may never go to court.  It goes to an administrative hearing.

       And after you are fined $1000, how much are you willing to spend on an attorney to  overturn that fine? $5000? $10,000?

      Suppose you don't even have that $1000, which is the case here.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 12:11:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's also no such thing as an (5+ / 0-)

      acoustical engineering license, nor are there laws against practicing engineering without a license, to the extent of my knowledge.

      There is such a thing as a "Certified Audio Engineer", but the title is just protected by copyright law, which is owned by the  "Society of Broadcast Engineers".  And since he didn't claim the title...

      •  In most states (3+ / 0-)

        engineering plans for certain safety-critical things (virtually all civil engineering plans, buildings, high-voltage power) have to be signed off by a professional engineer in the field involved, similar to with architecture. That's the formal requirement, and it makes sense. But as we see in this case that's not all.

        Professional regulation has a lot of problems both in theory and practice; Ivan Illich probably hit on most of the social theory over 30 years ago. In practice, self-regulation of professions without input from other stakeholders creates a host of problems.

        The path into a profession requires a specific curriculum, and sometimes schools which innovate in a discipline can't fit in all the boilerplate or make the accrediting board (ABET, for engineering) happy; sometimes, the curriculum and the students suffer. For example, some of the top 5 schools in computer science in the US do not offer an ABET-accredited degree in CS, because giving ABET authority over it would harm their ability to teach. This means that in certain cases involving embedded engineering software, ABET's proposed legislation means that graduates of the best schools in the country can't even do that work without a full additional master's level degree.

        Some regulated professions (architecture) have had serious trouble recruiting women and minorities (though many unregulated professions have as well); as of a few years ago the share of non-white women as architects was below 5%.

        Now in this case it appears that "self-regulation" has extended not only to how the regulation operates, who governs it, and how people can enter a discipline; it extends even to the definition of what is regulated. This insanity must end; if we are to regulate things, they should be regulated by lawmakers with input from all stakeholders — professionals, their customers, and the public interest.

        We might need lawmakers to actually do more of a job — a part-time state legislature might not be sufficient, and in many states we'd have to spend more on the state house — but the hidden costs of legally binding self-regulation are insane. If it were not for the even much greater greed of the hospitals, the medical profession's unaccountable self-regulation (by which they have curtailed the number of future doctors, tried to fight lower-skilled work being distributed to PAs and nurses, and even tolerated the situation where the low number of students relative to demand for hospital residents meant residents were working every waking hour and then some) would be the leading reason for rising health costs.

  •  You are right, LookingUp (27+ / 0-)

    The law and logic are mixed up here. His biggest problem is that he made a licensed engineer look like a fool. Now the Engineering Board is determined to grind him down.

    The $1000 fine is a level almost comparable to what they levy against someone who forged an engineering stamp on a document.

    All my guy did was testify at a public hearing and submit his own calculations.  He is an expert, in that he's studied the likely noise levels from the specialized kinds of operating equipment at several wood burning power plants.  But he never claimed to be an engineer.  The City Council noted in their findings that they did not consider him an expert or an engineer.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 12:05:47 PM PST

    •  The problem may well be in this (7+ / 0-)
      All my guy did was testify at a public hearing and submit his own calculations.  He is an expert, in that he's studied the likely noise levels from the specialized kinds of operating equipment at several wood burning power plants.
      Did he testify as an expert witness?  If so, what area did he claim to have expertise in, and what credentials did he say he had that qualified him to be an expert?  

      A person who is not claiming to be an expert probably could do testing with commonly available instruments and testify factually what he did without an issue.

      It's when you purport to be an expert -- so that you can give expert opinions rather than just facts -- that there may be some issue raised.  

      I don't know if that was the case here, which is why I asked if you had any links.

      •  coffeetalk, I'll look for some (7+ / 0-)

        of the older news articles, occupystephanie posted one a little upstream.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 12:34:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Coffeetalk, (8+ / 0-)

        Here is a link to the actual City decision.  The noise discussion starts on page 66.

        http://www.ci.la-pine.or.us/...(2).pdf

        I'll look for some of the news articles also.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 12:46:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry Coffeetalk (4+ / 0-)

          That link may not work, it's going to a PDF doc that I found by googling Biogreen power plant La Pine.

          Occupystephanie's link to the news story in Biomass Magazine is probably the best article.

          “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

          by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:00:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Wouldn't a cross examination reveal (4+ / 0-)

        the exact credentials?  If he lied, there are penalties for that. If not this is a ridiculous fine, your pious posturing notwithstanding.

        •  That's the point (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          6412093, cville townie

          if someone (I'm not saying he did) exaggerates credentials to be qualified as an expert, there may well be fines from whatever organization is responsible for monitoring that profession.

          If someone who's gone through law school but not passed the bar, for example, tries to pass off as a lawyer, when they are discovered, they may be fined for practicing law without a license.

        •  Sandino, there was no question (4+ / 0-)

          at the public hearing that the City Council knew this guy was not an engineer and he never claimed to be one. No one lied.

          The City Council's findings noted he was a mere architect.

          “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

          by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 11:00:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  6, this may be the issue..... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib, 6412093

            ...'a mere architect.'   Is he in fact a Licensed Registered Architect?

            If he presented himself in any way as being one (as you indicate the City Council noted) and he is not in fact a Licensed Registered Architect then he did misrepresent himself.

            It is a illegal to say "i am an architect' without being a licensed architect. It is  one of the most demanding professional licenses to achieve. It takes 5 years of school, 3 years of specific logged intern ship, 3 10hr days of testing in 9 sections of study, then a written expose showing you understand the professional statutes that pertain to the practice.....and then an oral exam in front of a board panel where you show your portfolios and work logs. Most people who studied architecture and who practice architectural design are in fact NOT architects by law.

            In the game of professional license cards the Architect is a very high trump. They can present designs and data on, civil, structural, lighting, acoustical, soils, heating and ventilating, electrical and more and expect their offerings to carry significant weight.

            It is not to be trifled with.
            But the term has become watered down. It is applied now in the computer industry. Many people who are talented and studied who do architectural design work make the mistake of saying I am an architect. Or their friends think its ok to say, "I know an Architect" because they don't know the legal ramifications.

            There are approximately 2,600 Licensed Architects in the State of Oregon. There are approximately 3, 700 in the Sate of Washington. I am one of those.

            If I offered a studied opinion in a formal setting in the State of Oregon and wanted to boost my cred by saying, 'I am an Architect' I am allowed to. But if I failed to note, "but my license is in Washington", I would be in violation of Oregon statute.

            I suspect your friend tripped up and the power plant folks decided to be dicks about it.

            .....it's on the table, under the watermelon she demurred. Thanks, I was planning on shaving anyway he replied.

            by pdx kirk on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:19:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's a wrinkle, pdx kirk, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pdx kirk

              we hadn't considered.  However the complaint doesn't mention any misuse of his architect background, only his alleged trespass into engineering.

              Thanks for the info, though, I'll review the hearing record and see how he described his California architect  credentials.

              “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

              by 6412093 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:38:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Architects and Engineers both have oversized egos (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pdx kirk

              Thanks, pdx_kirk, for your detailed information. But in this case it is not on point. I am the acoustical expert being investigated, but did not represent myself to be a registered architect or an engineer.

              By the way, an Architect is not the same job as a "Licensed Registered Architect." If it was, there would be no need for the redundant extra words you use. You may proudly thump your licensing laws to disagree, but you can't equate black and white by merely saying they are the same. Frank Lloyd Wright was not a licensed architect. Daniel Libeskind, architect of the One World Trade Center in NYC, was not licensed when it was proposed. Humans have been creating architecture for millennia, but only recently have licensed architects usurped that endeavor all for themselves.

              Obviously architecture licensing is important. But architects in Oregon initially overstepped their authority for licensing when attempting to forbid unlicensed people from designing homes. I imagine their must have been widespread furor among the general public when learning they'd have to hire an architect to design their own home. Pressure was put on the Oregon legislature and a subsequent exemption was carved out. Now anyone can design his or her own home, or can design homes for other people if they don't exceed a certain size.

              Similarly, exceptions have been written into the Oregon rules allowing non-engineers to do some engineering-like things. Presenting plans and calculations to protect residences like I did from excessive noise is one such exception.

              •  Lots of truth in what you say AC (0+ / 0-)

                The arena of residential and small commercial design that does not need a license has existed as long as I have been active. (early 80's)

                I exist in this realm of housing design in Oregon as I am not licensed in Oregon. The professional term is Architectural Designer or Consultant. Stupid, but true. Architect is verboten.

                I can't get reciprocity because they changed the internship rules such that I would have to spend three more years in the IDP and retake the test. It was way too much work the first time.At times it is a Country Club of an industry. Now I stick to designing houses and small commercial per the opportunities you outlined.  

                I have lots of friends who are more skilled than those with licenses that work in the design fields. I am good with that. We need them and their free lances. I have existed for 20 years in the grey and exception zones of the design/build profession. The rules are often stupid. But you can't ignore them and survive.

                Right or wrong,  whether it should be this way or not, regardless of whether a 21 year old Frank Lloyd Wright famously dropped out of school and hung out a shingle declaring himself an architect (before architecture licensing was required), the law exists about being perceived as having claimed status, that may not be actually held.

                I was asked once to be deposed on a building related lawsuit for the defence. I had no intention of 'thumping' my license. The lawyer that asked me did it. I watched a row of lawyers and 'mere engineers' on the other side of the table slump....defeated simply because my license required more years to acquire then theirs did! I was stunned.  It was a bullshit pissing match. I instantly new I had to watch my every word. It taught me to be very circumspect in certain settings when presenting my bona fides. Its not really the engineers or architects that tend to press these distinctions by the way. Its the lawyers.

                If it is true that somehow the City Council wrote down, "that you are an Architect", then reviewing how that happened may be critical in your hearing with the engineering board. I suggest you check those words and prepare to explain how the presentation of your bona fides was mis-construed.

                If you stand in front of the hearing board and eloquently present to them (as you have to me) that titles aren't relevant and that the board members are egotistical toadies in service of an undemocratic medieval guild, you may be correct, but your fine will stand. Further your name could be red flagged in building departments around the State. Know it.

                Do note that your friend who wrote the diary used the words 'mere architect' with exactly the intent to impress the readers with the fact that you are a studied person and no fly by night amateur. He used the word Architect in this diary to boost your cred.

                I am being blunt and 'thumping' my credentials. I apologise if that feels arrogant. Its a bullshit fine you have received. You did a good thing and are being punished for it. I suspect the legal team for the power plant is engaged in petty pay back for your persuasive presentation.  But right or wrong you have steered into rocky waters. I am giving you my professional understanding of where the problem MAY lie and how you may steer clear of the looming rocks.

                We need skill and heart like yours to survive in the industry....not get driven out by petty rules.  Pick your battles.

                Best of luck to you.

                .....it's on the table, under the watermelon she demurred. Thanks, I was planning on shaving anyway he replied.

                by pdx kirk on Tue Jan 28, 2014 at 12:49:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Good Advice! (0+ / 0-)

                  Thanks, pdx kirk, for those comments including good advice not to assault the Board members' engineering egos. I can make my point by instead focusing on the free speech rights. I will also target the proper interpretation of Oregon's rules that exempt public criticism of engineers' work.

                  I suspect that the $1,000 fine is either an attempt to punish a critic, defend the honor of those in the engineering club, or to simply get a chance to meet me in person at an appeal hearing.

                  This appeal hearing may give me the chance to make some real noise. Should I bring a loud boom box with a recording of a typical power plant's operations and a noise meter to demonstrate how loud that noise would be when heard inside a bedroom at a comparable distance? Or would that subject me to additional fines for again unlawfully practicing engineering when using a 'calibrated noise meter' and math and physics principles "like an engineer does?"  Or in your experience, can an Architectural Designer employ such skills without getting fined?

                  p.s.  I have a close friend (Bruce) who is a registered architect in California but who has lived/worked in Oregon for decades who similarly cannot get reciprocity in Oregon without years of repeated testing and expense. I have heard your reasonable complaint numerous times from him.

      •  Many types of acoustical "experts" exist. (0+ / 0-)

        Not all such acoustical experts are engineers, nor do they need to be in order to comment on a noisy project.

        An audiologist could testify on behalf of a neighbor worried about his sleep-disturbance.
        An architect could calculate whether project-induced exterior noise levels would exceed the community's maximum interior noise level standards.
        A physics professor could measure and calculate how loud that power plant project might be.
        A scientist researching how noise propagates could comment about flaws in the acoustical engineer's report.

        All are different kinds of acoustical experts. None are employed on behalf of the power plant working to certify its acceptable safety. And there is the critical difference: experts can comment without violating engineering rules if they aren't working on behalf of the power plant's application. Oregon rules clearly state that. But the engineering Board inexplicably edited that part out of its accusations, and thus have overstepped their authority. Engineers might like to occupy the entire field of acoustical expertise, but that is clearly indefensible.

  •  I may be wrong, but I assume that an engineering (20+ / 0-)

    ...license is only needed for specific purposes--for instance, I've been a practicing engineer for nearly 40 years, and never held any kind of a professional license.  Nor do any of the engineers I've worked with.

    That's because, I would imagine, that the engineer we do is for the private sector--we do work for our employer to produce their products, be they websites or new ASICs.

    The only time an engineering license is needed, I think, is when you are providing engineering services for the public domain--e.g., civil engineering work for the state, or appearing as an expert witness in a court case.

    If I'm wrong, there are hundreds of thousands of engineers in California alone who are potential criminals.

    "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." - Thomas Jefferson

    by rfall on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 12:05:54 PM PST

  •  If you did the measurements and calcs (4+ / 0-)

    yourself you'd probably be fine as the home owner. The problem, it appears to me, is that you "arranged for a guy" to do the work. Which, it seems, is deemed professional engineering by the state, and then presented that information as evidence.

    •  Agree. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093, realalaskan

      Doing something like this on your own behalf is fine. Doing it for others is practicing without a license.

    •  cfm and welso (16+ / 0-)

      I am uncertain exactly what engineering he performed. He didn't design anything.

      He read a Radio Shack noise meter. He read the noise regulations.  He read the power plant engineer's report and pointed out the company had utterly failed to estimate the noise impacts.  He did math and gave his opinion of how much noise there could be, and hope the regulations didn't allow it.

      And he did it all in the context of a public hearing, where interested parties are invited to make comments, during the "petitioning" of elected officials that the first amendment is supposed to protect.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 12:23:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Key part - "gave his opinion" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093, ozsea1

        When it comes to the unauthorized practice of law, he would've gone off the rails at giving an opinion.

        I guess I'm a little bit skeptical here of whether or not something inappropriate has happened - I truly don't know.

        "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

        by auron renouille on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:45:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The part that rankles me, auron, (5+ / 0-)

          is the whole thing took place in response to the City issuing a notice soliciting comments from the public on this project.

          Folks are generally legally immune to prosecution for any nonsense they spout while commenting to a elected government body in a public hearing.

          But my guy is facing a substantial fine for his comments.

          “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

          by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:51:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  So people are not allowed (3+ / 0-)

          to give an opinion in a public meeting without threat of fines, now?

          I work for municipal government and spend no small amount of time sitting in meeting pertaining to zoning and development issues.  If giving an opinion in a public meeting is an offense worth of a fine, I can name dozens of citizens in my town who owe some money.

          •  You've boiled it down, Witgren (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cville townie

            to its essence.  Everyone testifying at these hearings gives the most educated opinion they can, on issues of law and engineering and medicine and everything else.  It is all supposed to be protected speech.

            “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

            by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 04:35:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  You are right rfall (13+ / 0-)

    the relevant Oregon definition of engineering is to be involved in the actual designing of a structure.

    There's nothing that says you have to be an engineer to criticize an engineer.

    That's one reason the complaint accuses my guy of doing things like reading a noise meter which are "consistent" with engineering.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 12:14:14 PM PST

  •  The fellow may also want to get in touch (29+ / 0-)

    with the attorneys at the Institute for Justice. That is a libertarian oriented law firm, and they are big on First Amendment protections.

    I have talked with some of the lawyers there in the context of occupational licensing versus the First Amendment. That was when I was preparing a story for Jonathan Turley's law blog, which I entitled, http://jonathanturley.org/...

    They posted an article on their web site in 2012 about how licensing boards were overstepping themselves with unnecessarily burdensome requirements.

    Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength. - Eric Hoffer

    by Otteray Scribe on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 12:31:08 PM PST

  •  How do you study to BECOME and engineer w/o (10+ / 0-)

    practicing engineering practices before you have your engineering license?

    I'd say the fine in this case is inappropriate and indefensible

    Righteousness is a wide path. Self-righteousness is a bullhorn and a blindfold.

    by Murphoney on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 12:38:17 PM PST

    •  Murphoney, I agree the fine is (5+ / 0-)

      is indefensible, but it is chilling, so it achieves its goals.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:02:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You go to school, you do internships under others (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093, cville townie

      with engineering licenses, then you take your P.E. exam the summer after college.

      That's how.

      "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

      by auron renouille on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:46:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  ok, I see, so it has communal properties... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093, cville townie

        as long as there is an engineering license in the general vicinity, it's not illegal to practice engineering practices.

        Righteousness is a wide path. Self-righteousness is a bullhorn and a blindfold.

        by Murphoney on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:55:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not quite, but close enough. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          6412093, cville townie

          The act of doing calculations is never illegal - it's when you provide professional advice to others that you get in trouble.  You can do the grunt work and have your boss look it over and the boss can sign off on it under their license (with limitations), so there's no shortage of ways for new grads to be trained even before being licensed.  It's really much more lax than the legal profession, and I have no problem with the prohibitions on unauthorized practice of law either.

          "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

          by auron renouille on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 06:22:59 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  but calculation & analysis are common observation (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            6412093, cville townie, OHdog

            and reporting.  

            It isn't necessary to delve into implication or recommendation, let alone anything that could be termed professional advice, to have provided "analysis."

            If there isn't any clear evidence that the guy stepping into the realm of suggesting that such-and-such must be done because so-and-so is the case -- the diary doesn't provide that info, nor a link -- I think the engineering board should elect to acquire some thicker skin.

            Righteousness is a wide path. Self-righteousness is a bullhorn and a blindfold.

            by Murphoney on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 06:49:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm sorry to lack a link Murphoney (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cville townie

              there were only a couple of old articles without much detail.  The City Council decision is on-line as as a PDF but won't link.  I found it via Googling Biogreen power plant La Pine.

              There is a complete noise discussion starting on p. 66.

              Would you like me to try and Kos mail it to you for perusal?

              I'll diary an update in a couple of weeks and line up complete document links in advance forv that.

              “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

              by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 10:55:21 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  After you get an engineering degree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093

      you sign on with a firm and become an EIT, i.e., Engineer in Training. After the appropriate hours of experience in your field you can test to become a licensed engineer.

  •  You folks should contact Eugene Weekly. (15+ / 0-)

    They cover stories like this and it may bring the eyes you need to witness it.  Someone might come forward with help. Also, the U of O teaches Environmental Law.  The Law School may know someone who could provide pro bono help/advice.

    Good luck.      

    "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by koosah on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:15:04 PM PST

  •  last time i checked did not need license for math (13+ / 0-)

    if all he was doing was offering calculations according to standard algorithms using publicly available information, not clear how that would qualify as engineering.

    By their reasoning, a legislative body that made a ruling that either was not made up of licensed engineers could be criticized for engineering without a license.

    And while government agencies in a democracy are in theory agencies of we the people, the logic of their ruling is only those selected and certified by the closed group are appropriate to give testimony and are in denial of the principles of democracy beginning with the first three words of the Constitution.

    There are NO educational requirements or licenses either for President or for the House and Senate. All agencies at the federal level operate under laws passed by the latter usually with people appointed by the former.  HMMMMM

    "Teachers teach. Well-trained teachers teach better. Great teachers change lives." - David Greene, from "Doing the Right Thing: A Teacher Speaks"

    by teacherken on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:17:51 PM PST

    •  teacherken, I like the way (7+ / 0-)

      you think.  Maybe I'll file a practicing medicine without a medical degree against the next legislature that passes one of these punitive anti abortion laws.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:25:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm on my way to research WI law...even if a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093

        lawsuit like this fail, publicity should help label those asinine laws a for what they really are.

        Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

        by ranton on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 06:05:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  My blood is boiling ranton (0+ / 0-)

          I hope I don't start cussing at the appeal hearing. I'll start working on publicity.

          “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

          by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 10:51:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I have talked to people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093

      who believe laws should only be made by people in the field they are regulating.

      At least one of these same people, ironically, have degrees (in CS) which are unaccredited by ABET (the engineering accreditation board which wants into CS but hasn't gotten there yet), because ABET's curriculum is a pile of trash nobody in their right mind wants to adopt.

      I'm not a fan of the idea in general. There are always multiple sets of stakeholders, and cartels are a bad idea. I'd rather have the occasional bad law about medicine than prevent the ability to even make good ones that the cartels don't happen to support. The answer is better general education in which people (including voters and lawmakers) understand when they are out of their depth, how to get help from the people who aren't, and how to make general sense of it all. Anything less is profoundly undemocratic.

  •  Easy. (9+ / 0-)

    Tell them, in writing, to go fuck themselves. Then get a good lawyer and go after them for filing a SLAPP suit.

    •  My thoughts exactly, Indieguy (6+ / 0-)

      that's what we did a couple of years ago which this first reared up.

      But this isn't a court suit, and getting a good lawyer?  I'll need to win the lottery first.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:23:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  nah (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093

        do you have a lawyer friend?  you'd be amazed what even just a little pushback can accomplish; a sternly worded letter on legal office letterhead just might take some wind out of their sails.

        actions like this utterly depend on the recipient being too cowed to fight back.

        Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

        by Cedwyn on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 06:45:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cedwyn, you may be right (0+ / 0-)

          and we screwed up at the beginning by not having an attorney send a letter. Instead we sent our own lengthy letters with braces of legal citations and legal arguments, and thought that made the matter go into limbo.  Now it's popped up again.

          “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

          by 6412093 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:31:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  it appears that it is not yet a fine (7+ / 0-)
    Depending on the result of an investigation, a case may not be subject to a disciplinary action.  However, if the LEC determines that there are sufficient facts and legal grounds to proceed, it will direct the Regulation Department staff or the OSBEELS' Assistant Attorney General to prepare a notice of intent for disciplinary action.  Such notices are governed by the Oregon Administrative Procedures Act, namely the ORS 183.415.  The notice of intent is a formal notice sent to the respondent, stating the actions that are in violation of OSBEELS regulatory authority, a proposed disciplinary action, and informs the respondent of their rights to a hearing.  Additionally, complainants may be requested to provide testimony for the case.
    •  That's the exact situation, askyron (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, kkkkate, ER Doc, KenBee, AaronInSanDiego

      and there is a proposed disciplinary action, which is the $1000 fine.  We've got two weeks to exercise our rights to ask for a hearing, or just pay the fine with a $1000 we don't have.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 01:40:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  and the FOIA request is free as far as I know (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093

        as Lake suggested above.

        contact the legal aid in your area for a free consultation..don't expect too much, butit may help. Wouldn't be your first go-to legally...

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 03:14:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Why would you pay the fine without (0+ / 0-)

        making them go to hell and back to collect it?

        Of course call the ACLU and every environmental lawyer you know--they may be looking for exactly this as a test case against this kind of intimidation.  Also, when you talk to them, ask for a reference to a local lawyer who might be willing just to write the first letter response to these guys demanding all the information on their supposed jurisdiction over th ematter in the first place. As far as I can see (IANAL) there is no way in hell that a person offering any kind of testimony/opinion in an open public meeting can be held to have violated any professional standards of a group which he doesn't belong to in the first place.  Wide latitude is usually given to "the public" in these settings because they are public meetings, not professional or paid committe meetings.

  •  If he presented himself as an engineer with (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, Mayfly, kurt, kkkkate, peachcreek, Cedwyn

    expertise in the subject matter, then I could understand. But otherwise, this would be excessive and significant overreach by the board. What actual legal authority does this board have? I've never heard of it.

  •  Crony capitalism, whaddaya expect? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, 6412093, ranton, cville townie, OHdog

    Who do you think is on the Engineering Board? Fucking engineers, that's who. Of course they're not gonna let someone undercut their monopoly.

    Occupational licensing is abused all the time in order to artificially limit the supply of services. It's called rent seeking.

    Want to be an interior designer in Florida? It requires SIX YEARS of education. For chrissakes, I became a lawyer in about that time.

    Of course, anytime I mention licensing abuse, I get inundated with "ZOMG it's about safety!" Bullshit. It's about crony capitalism.

    •  Valar, I'm afraid you are right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Valar Morghulis, cville townie

      We'll stand trial before a jury of engineers, and we are essentially accused of criticizing an engineer.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 04:38:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  He needs to speak with an attorney. (3+ / 0-)

    Such statements are likely covered by various privileges.

    "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

    by Publius2008 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 03:01:24 PM PST

    •  We did, publius, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cville townie, Sychotic1

      awhile back, the attorney thought it was absurd. But she still wants dough for the defense.  What should you spend to evade a $1000 fine?

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 04:39:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Definitely find an attorney who (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093, cville townie

        does not asks for money.

        In CA, statement at hearings of all kinds are covered by an absolute privilege.

        There may also be a first amendment right to petition the govt and an anti-slapp type cause for chilling those rights by the fine/administrative claims.

        Call a local bar association and or look up NACA on line.

        "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

        by Publius2008 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 05:11:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for your comments (0+ / 0-)

          Publius, what is NACA?

          “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

          by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 10:49:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Another suggestion (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093

        Contact Ken White over at Popehat. He maintains an informal network of lawyers who are willing to do pro bono work for victims of SLAPP actions. Send him all the facts and copy of the note from the board.

        •  And as a follow up (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          6412093

          It does appear that Oregon has anti-SLAPP legislation. Here is a cryptic summary from Public Participation Project

          Oregon

          Anti-SLAPP Law

          OR. REV. STAT. §§ 31.150 et seq. (2001)
          Statements made:  in a government proceeding; in connection with issue under consideration by government; in a place open to public or public forum if connected with issue of public interest; or other conduct in furtherance of petition or right of free speech in connection with public issue or issue of public interest.

          Oregon attorney Linda Williams reports that the Oregon legislature amended the state’s anti-SLAPP law in 2009. She reports that the law now explicitly provides for immediate appeal, and that a court must now award fees to a prevailing defendant, but not plaintiff.  The immediate appeal provision is likely in response to the Ninth Circuit’s holding in Englert v. MacDonnell, in which the court held that the legislature had evidenced no intent to allow appeal of denials of motions under the statute.  Williams reports the changes will take effect beginning in 2010.

          It may well be that a strongly worded letter from an attorney citing the above statute is all you need.
          •  Thanks for the info, T100R (0+ / 0-)

            I actually spoke to attorney Linda Williams a couple of years ago about this.  

            She is a superb attorney and a wonderful person.

            I wrote my own lengthy, strongly worded letter to the Board and the matter disappeared for two years, until last week.

            “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

            by 6412093 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:27:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  T100R, thanks very much (0+ / 0-)

          for your help and your links.  We'll be contacting Ken White Monday morning.

          “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

          by 6412093 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:28:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Unless he represented himself as (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093

    having professional qualifications and licenses he did not, there is no case against this person.  Measurements, calculations and research are open to anyone...as is sharing that information with anyone.

    I hope he pursues every avenue available to get this into a higher court...and bills them for his legal fees, for he surely will win.

  •  It often is about public safety... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, AaronInSanDiego

    ... finding the middle way between "freedom" and "safety" is the task of Democracy.

    Certification of professional competence has two purposes:
    1) It gives the customer some assurance of receiving real value for their money. 2) It transfers a portion of responsibility from regulatory agencies to the professional.

    Hard to say if this is an attempt to discredit your expert's testimony, or if the Engineering Board is rightfully protecting its turf. I have to ask myself how I'd feel if the power plant developer had hired a non-licensed noise consultant and the council had approved the project based on his testimony.

    Obviously, your guy did not advertise himself as an engineer, but he could be guilty of "practicing without a license".

    Lots of gray area in what defines "practice". If he was paid just for collecting data and doing a calculation, he's probably OK. But if he was paid for the time he spent providing testimony, or if his report asserted some kind of validity based on his prior experience, then he was quite possibly acting in the capacity of a "consulting engineer".

    It may come down to this: If the city council substituted his "professional" judgement for their own, he's cooked. If they are willing to state that they only received data from him and drew to their own conclusion from it, he could claim he was merely contributing public testimony, without actually practicing engineering.

    (Disclaimer: The author of this comment is not an attorney and makes no claim to legal expertise. Side effects may include subpoena, litigation and testimony. Please consult your own legal counsel if symptoms persist for more than 24 hours)

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 03:41:23 PM PST

    •  THat, jjohnjj (0+ / 0-)

      is exactly what happened.  I tried to post a link to the decision but it woudn't link.

      The City considered his testimony and made their own rulings.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 04:41:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Board has misread its own rules. Shame, shame. (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks jjohnjj for your opinion:

      Lots of gray area in what defines "practice". If he was paid just for collecting data and doing a calculation, he's probably OK. But if he was paid for the time he spent providing testimony, or if his report asserted some kind of validity based on his prior experience, then he was quite possibly acting in the capacity of a "consulting engineer".
      Your suggestion might be valid if Oregon's rules for engineering were written differently. The engineering Board appears to be taking a position like you suggest as well. But that is not what the actual rules state. As "Drobin" writes so well below, the Board is misinterpreting its rules:
      but reading the statute, it defines the "practice of engineering" as (ORS 672.005(1) )

            (a) Performing any professional service or creative work requiring engineering education, training and experience.
            (b) Applying special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences to such professional services or creative work as consultation, investigation, testimony, evaluation, planning, design and services during construction, manufacture or fabrication for the purpose of ensuring compliance with specifications and design, in connection with any public or private utilities, structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, works or projects.
       [...]

      The Board has omitted the bold text above in its accusation against me. Since my expertise was focused on preventing bad engineering from harming neighbors, and was not offered for construction and ensuring compliance, then it does not constitute the practice of engineering.

      What is curious is that this point was clearly made years ago to the investigator but he continues to misinterpret the rules, and even misquotes then now.
      .

  •  Check out what Portland is doing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, peachcreek, cville townie

    Remember the young lady maced in the face during the occupy protests?  She sued the city but a jury found the police not guilty (what do you have done to you for a jury to hold the police accountable?), and now the city is suing her to recoup some of the costs incurred in defending against her suit.

    http://www.newsobserver.com/...

    Note that they are blackmailing her to keep her from appealing.

  •  Also (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, nota bene

    They may claim it is irrelevent but I would also ask the Board to demonstrate that the information presented by your friend was incorrect in any substantial way.

    •  It is irrelevant (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093

      The quality of the work, if it has any redeeming qualities at all, is a non-issue.  Publicly practicing engineering without an appropriate and current license, if that is what he did, is the issue.

      •  You are right Ernest (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cedwyn

        and my reading of the regulations is that in this context, engineering would be actually designing noise-related features of a power plant, not criticizing lack of noise attenuation features.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 10:47:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If he wasn't paid for it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093

        in what sense was he publicly "practicing" engineering rather than merely opining?

        •  I paid him, aimai (0+ / 0-)

          He spent a lot of time on it and had travel expenses to come to eastern Oregon.

          “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

          by 6412093 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:23:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  it's absolutely relevant, in this case anyway (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093

        if only because neither the board, the city, nor the power plant company are likely to want the negative PR. Fining somebody for being right at a public hearing? It's 2014. Even the mere possibility of something like that going viral should give them pause. Is this fight really worth it to them? Don't they have bigger fish to fry?

        In any event, they still have to collect....which I imagine is going to take a real court where a real defense can be made.

        And if it's true that this firm hadn't bothered to do any studies on the noise pollution of the proposed plant in a residential neighborhood, well....it should be obvious that they probably would want to keep that from getting too much attention. Hard to do that if there's a hearing on whether this individual owes a grand to this professional board, I'd think.

        You WANT me on that server! You NEED me on that server!

        by nota bene on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:07:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's not a matter of freedom of speech (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peachcreek, 6412093, AaronInSanDiego

    It's a matter of (allegedly) publicly practicing engineering without a license, which (depending on your viewpoint) is a matter of safeguarding the public or protecting the practice. Or both.

    If he didn't, then he should be able to prove that without too much trouble. Licensing boards, in Oregon at least, are not monsters.

    If he did practice engineering without being registered as a professional engineer, then he should have made himself aware of licensing requirements before conducting the public practice of engineering in Oregon.

    Disclaimer: I work for a firm with dozens of professional engineers licensed in Oregon, I am a registered professional geologist in Oregon (and in other states), and I have served on committees and commented on documents governing the public practice of geology in Oregon. These licensing laws have a purpose. I've seen terrible and woefully incorrect "geology" work done by engineers and unqualified people who fancy themselves as amateur (or even professional) geologists.

    •  Ernest, if everyone knows (3+ / 0-)

      a speaker is not an engineer, and he criticizes an engineer's work, did he practice engineering without a license, in your opinion?

      If a power plant lacks a noise study, and some one points that out, are they practicing engineering?

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 10:45:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No. 1: Maybe; No. 2: No...in my opinion (0+ / 0-)

        Regarding number 1, which is really the crux of the matter, it doesn't matter if a person says they're not an engineer but then goes on to practice engineering.  It's the act of publicly practicing engineering that is the issue. So, if in his criticism he conducted work and submitted it to another party (in this case you or a public body), and it met the definition of engineering, he would be practicing engineering without a license.

        Let me ask you this: If everyone knows someone is not a doctor, and he tells your college-age child he's not a doctor, but you learn after the fact that he performed a medical procedure for pay (or even gratis) on your child, don't you think that person should be subject to a hearing and possibly disciplinary action by a state medical licensing board?

  •  I have a very basic question (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, 6412093, aimai, AaronInSanDiego

    If you are not a professional, how does a professional board have standing to hear the complaint in the first place?

    It seems like it would be more a civil or even criminal (fraud) type complaint brought by someone who was damaged, but not a professional or licensing  complaint.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 04:52:23 PM PST

    •  Well, Phoebe (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego

      in theory the defendant is performing work under their jurisdiction, and the Board is authorized to require licenses from people doing engineering work.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 10:41:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds similar to case of Mark Reed (8+ / 0-)

    Geologist free speech in Oregon: The Reed case

    Mark Reed was a professor of geology at the University of Oregon back in 2002 when he offered comments in a public hearing against Eugene Sand and Gravel's application for a license to mine gravel in Oregon's Willamette Valley under prime farmland. In retaliation for his insightful comments, Eugene Sand and Gravel filed a complaint with the Oregon State Board of Geologist Examiners who tried to force him to either cease offering comments on matters of geology in public proceedings, or obtain a geologist's license.

    Reed's comments were as a citizen in a public in a public proceeding.

    He fought back and the administrative rules being exploited to muzzle his testimony and that of other geologists were changed, and eventually the legislature passed a law to protect the public's right to comment on matters of geology.

    The situation sounds quite similar, but unfortunately the law and administrative rule changes applied only to geology.

    •  I did not know of the Mark Reed case. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peachcreek, 6412093, cville townie

      Thank you for providing this info, W.

      Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's CREATION." _ Jonathan Larson, RENT -9.62, -9.13

      by BeninSC on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 06:30:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This might be the ticket... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093, cville townie, Cedwyn

      Why not contact Mark Reed in Eugene* and ask him for advice on lawyers that might help you out. I suspect he knows just who you need. Very nice guy from what I hear.

      *google will find his email address@uoregon.edu and phone #.
      email first.

    •  Wow, whoever (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cville townie, Cedwyn

      that's so similar it's spooky.  We'll follow up on it.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 10:40:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But it set a precedent (0+ / 0-)

      that could be used to expand the core legal principle here, that citizens can't be required to be certified experts to be heard on ANY matter. By that thinking, no one should be allowed to vote unless they pass a stringent licensing test.

      "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

      by kovie on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:12:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The problem is with the Board. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093

        In most states the Board for engineers is composed of appointees of the governor. The oversee licensing and can impose fines on non-licensed individuals engaging in the practice of engineering. They can also be petty, vindictive, and arrogant as Board members are normally licensed themselves.

        This sounds like a typical smack-down; they did it because they can. They are a government board, so if they take action wrongly and it is appealed, the state is paying the cost to defend it. These Board members have no personal skin in the legal correctness of the decisions. They do what they want or what someone asks them to do with pretty much impunity.

        As a licensed engineer with almost 30 years experience in land-use, zoning and development matters, as a regulator and in private practice, I have seen similar experiences, mostly related to traffic, drainage and lighting. Public citizens have an absolute right to speak to any and all issues related to a proposal, and usually have the latitude to speak about unrelated things as well. The legislative body has technical staff available through the government, and the developer is expected to utilize the services of appropriate professionals consummate to the complexity of their proposal. On technical matters, any citizen can say what they want, and it is treated as unqualified testimony. The government body or developer can refute it, and if so done the presiding body can, in effect, ignore it completely.

        From what I have read here the testimony regarding noise went unchallenged. This speaks for itself: the government and developer failing to rebut the testimony is evidence that neither bothered to monitor the proposal for noise impacts. If evaluating noise was a required Code element in the land use proceeding or the state regulations concerning the planning design of power plants then either or both the government and applicant were deficient in their submittals to the planning body which would, by itself, be grounds for at least a deferral.

        Based on what is outlined in this diary, and what I have seen in other cases, the action of getting a finding by the Board is most likely intended to provide a pathway for filing a civil action against the individual making the statements. The classic SLAP suit. It could also be used a legal basis to obtain a judgment that the land-use decision was improper and to have it reopened. With this might also come a threat against the governmental body that they too may be sued should they allow any citizen testimony that might be challenged as improper.

        •  I don't understand the details (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          6412093

          But the idea that non-expert, non-licensed citizens can't speak freely and openly in such a hearing without having to worry about being sued seems unconstitutional to me. What next, lying in public is now a crime? Giving bad directions opens you to being sued for impersonating a travel agent? These are privileged venues and what you say can't be held against you. I hope they appeal and win and that they include legal fees and exemplary damages.

          "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

          by kovie on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:36:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  How Orwellian of them! (0+ / 0-)

    Robber Baron "ReTHUGisms": John D. Rockefeller -"The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets"; Jay Gould -"I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half."

    by ranton on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 06:08:00 PM PST

  •  What a tempest in an teapot (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, GreyHawk, AaronInSanDiego

    What the man got was the content of the "complaint" which had been lodged with the state board of Engineering. The board is required to investigate all such complaints and notify the party of the complaint. Unless he held himself out publicly as an engineer and/or received reimbursement for work as one, for which he would receive a scolding cease and desist letter, NOTHING is going to happen. The board will fulfill their duty to investigate, find nothing actionable and close the case with a letter to the complaining party. All the imaginings about "engineers" of which I am one, third generation, married to one and the mother of one, is just insulting.

    •  twospotted, the Board already (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cville townie, Cedwyn, GreyHawk

      asked an engineer to investigate, he said the guy did work similar to engineering which is actionable, and they've proposed a $1000 fine.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 10:39:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If the guy who did the calcs didn't claim to be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093

        an engineer, and the officials to whom he provided his information explicitly noted that he was not considered to be an engineer, then whoop-de-do about whether the work was "similar to engineering" - that's way too vague to be actionable, as anybody could be liable for as little as helping a neighbor calculate square footage for new flower garden or how much paint they might need to buy to fix up their house, or helping a neighbor who asked for a hand figuring out the size of a door jamb.

  •  The fine sounds similar to a SLAPP suit. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093

    SLAPP actions are illegal in Oregon (it's a Wikipedia link that opens in another tab; think of it as a starting point for confirmation, not a be-all end-all).

    The ACLU may be able to use the anti-SLAPP rules & case law to help extend protections  & set new precedents against SLAPP-like actions.

    •  Hi Greyhawk, thanks for reading (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreyHawk

      and your thoughts.  My concern is this is an administrative action, bot a court suit, so SLAPP may not apply.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:22:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't see how this stands up in court (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk, 6412093, AaronInSanDiego

    No one presented their findings as academic-quality. No one pretended to be an engineer. Did this panel have explicitly stated requirements that any facts presented to it have to meet some level of professionalism, and that the presenters be professionally certified, and if so to what grade? And if it did, were such requirements lawful? I don't see how as this was an open public hearing that by definition invites everyone, and not just professionals.

    Why do these petty politicians keep wasting the public's time and money with this ass-kissing horseshit, and why does the public keep accepting it?

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:10:02 AM PST

    •  I agree with you kovie (0+ / 0-)

      The trick is getting it into court, and devoting the time energy, and money to make that happen.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:20:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They'll need to find a lawyer who's good at this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093

        and is willing to work pro bono or on contingency. They could probably represent themselves pro se but that would likely be a mistake and miss a chance to establish solid precedential case law. They need a lawyer.

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:39:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  If he is forced to pay, crowdsource the fee here. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk, 6412093

    We'll have the $1000 made though small donations in the span of a day.

    In the meantime, fight this tooth and claw, and make these bastards pay for their hubris with every step.

    •  Thanks for reading Jaimas (0+ / 0-)

      and the suggestion.  I hesitate however, to consume funds from the progressive community that are better committed to electing better Democrats.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:19:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm coming late to this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, Tonedevil, AaronInSanDiego

    but I think this might be useful--hopefully the diarist will read it.

    UhDave above provided a link to the Oregon statute. First, IANAL, but reading the statute, it defines the "practice of engineering" as (ORS 672.005(1) )

      (a) Performing any professional service or creative work requiring engineering education, training and experience.

          (b) Applying special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences to such professional services or creative work as consultation, investigation, testimony, evaluation, planning, design and services during construction, manufacture or fabrication for the purpose of ensuring compliance with specifications and design, in connection with any public or private utilities, structures, buildings, machines, equipment, processes, works or projects.
     [...]
     (e) Surveying required for design and construction layout of engineering and architectural infrastructure.

    Then, it goes on to say that (ORS 672.020(1) ):
    In order to safeguard life, health and property, no person shall practice or offer to practice engineering in this state unless the person is registered and has a valid certificate to practice engineering issued under ORS 672.002 to 672.325.
    (emphasis mine)

    So it seems the Board's position is that the diarist's friend performed surveying and applied specialized knowledge from the physical and engineering science in connection with a utility, and then offered testimony regarding his conclusion, which is against the statute.

    It seems to me that the comeback should be that he did not offer testimony, he simply gave a public comment as a private citizen, where the City Council specifically noted that they did not consider this an expert opinion. Moreover, as I understand it, the main point here was to simply point out that the company had not performed any noise study, and that noise was likely to be a significant concern. The diarist's friend's measurements and calculation was just a rough estimate intended to make this point. It was not offered as a study or expert opinion, and was not understood in that way by the City Council. Hence the statute does not apply. Fining this guy does in any case do nothing to "safeguard life, health, and property", so the Board's action clearly contravenes the intent of statute.

    Finally, there are significant freedom of speech concerns here. The US constitution specifically enumerates the right to petition the government, and a public comment should fall under this, I would think.

    "A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." - George Bernard Shaw

    by Drobin on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 09:07:29 AM PST

    •  Drobin, you are seeing deep into the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego

      ambiguous fog swirling around this situation.  My guy did work that is "consistent" with engineering.  But in our eyes he did not do it as part of designing a power plant.  My read is that engineering takes place when a person actually helps design a project.  So we think "mere criticism" is not engineering.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:18:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It seems to me that this part (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      6412093

      "during construction, manufacture or fabrication for the purpose of ensuring compliance with specifications and design" would exclude 6412093's friends comments. He wasn't involved in the construction, manufacture or fabrication process, or the specifications or design of the project. It reads to me as if the "testimony" in question would have to be part of that process. In other words, if he were testifying as an employee working for the company designing or building the plant, there would be an issue.

      Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

      by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 01:08:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Aaron, we intend to raise that very issue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AaronInSanDiego

        Its somewhat complicated because testimony as an expert witness is also considered "engineering," but we will argue that a statement during a public hearing is different from expert witness testimony during court.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 12:32:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Public Criticism of Engineers is Not "Engineering" (0+ / 0-)

          Both AaronInSanDiego and Drobin have hit upon the critical part of the law that proves that no unlicensed engineering occurred.

          I am the consultant who submitted those comments and reports to protect the existing homeowners from a noisy industrial project being proposed. You can read my comment letters to see if you agree such criticism, even though accompanied with noise level measurements, calculations, and detailed observations, was not "engineering" that violates Oregon laws.  My letters are uploaded here if you are interested.  I consider my work to demonstrate expertise in order to be credible. But I never represented it to be engineering, nor does the rule that Aaron and Drobin point to include that within its scope.

          Otherwise the words in the Rule (ORS 672.005(1)(b): "during construction, manufacture or fabrication for the purpose of ensuring compliance with specifications and design" would be surplusage. It would be unnecessary if just every conceivable application and expression of "special knowledge of the mathematical, physical and engineering sciences" would be considered engineering. Clearly that was not intended by those who created this rule.

  •  Obvious Bribery (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093

    It's obvious that the members of the Oregon Engineering Board were bribed by the power plant operator, or their trade association, or some crony/proxy. Maybe direct cash, or just "business friendly" assertions of engineering jobs at stake, threatened by the "unlicensed engineering".

    The Oregon Attorney General should investigate, prosecute and jail these petty tyrants.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 09:19:14 AM PST

    •  No one has to bribe anyone. (0+ / 0-)

      They are simply engineer-friendly.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:10:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can you clarify? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093

    One thing that I have not noticed in all this discuss is the basis on which the Board started their process.

    Presumably (!?) they did not go out and seek cases to throw their weight about. Somebody must have made a complaint to them. Do you know who that is? If it was either the company or the engineer who did the dodgy job preparing their application for the zoning, it is pretty obviously a case of mendaciousness and sour grapes. What relation is the engineer who decided it was "engineering like" to the original company or engineer?

    We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:34:20 AM PST

    •  The power plant speculator's (0+ / 0-)

      engineering firm made the complaint.  We had strongly criticized their engineer-prepared land use application for not even assessing the potential noise impacts.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:10:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thought so (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        6412093, Tonedevil

        So an engineering company preparing an "expert" report on behalf of the developers sought to deceive the town by omitting a very important factor in their report, one on which the refusal in part hinged. They then tried to retalliate when a lay person did an "Emperor's new clothes" on them pointing out how the residents might be affected.

        Sounds like a case of covering professional misconduct (that should have been the subject of a complaint to that very Board) by complaining against the "boy in the crowd".

        We will work, we will play, we will laugh, we will live. We will not waste one moment, nor sacrifice one bit of our freedom, because of fear.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:08:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's our opinion, Lib Dem (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tonedevil

          The speculator didn't even offer a noise report until after we complained.

          When we continued to object, they added a noise wall and relocated equipment to reduce noise impacts.  

          The final City approval required the power plant to prove up noise compliance upon operation.

          “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

          by 6412093 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:24:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Complaint against Board's Engineer Was Ignored (0+ / 0-)

          Thanks, "Though so", for your concise observation!

          Sounds like a case of covering professional misconduct (that should have been the subject of a complaint to that very Board) by complaining against the "boy in the crowd".
          I am that "boy in the crowd" apparently. And I did file a complaint with the Board against its investigating engineer for his violations of the Board's rules himself.  His conduct sure appears to be misconduct to me.  But needless to say, the Board apparently exempts him from compliance with such rules; no real investigation occurred and the Board never responded to my complaint.

          Meanwhile the other engineer screwed up his belated noise report. It was submitted only after I commented that such a report was necessary. And he later revised his recommendations to add more noise protection measures. Would those changes have been necessary if his original work was adequate?  Why isn't he being fined for inadequate engineering if the protection of the public's welfare is truly the engineering Board's highest objective?

  •  Rat Fxckxng. (0+ / 0-)

    there's no such thing as a Board of Engineering in Oregon.

    And the PE system doesn't support any such licensing.

    Audio and acoustic engineering are job categories, based on Federal standard and the DoL list. But there is no NCEES exam for any part of it as a specialty.

    For any licensing:

    -- Earn a degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program.
    -- Pass the FE exam.
    -- Gain acceptable work experience (typically a minimum of four years). In most cases, this must be completed under the supervision of a P.E.
    -- Pass the PE exam in the appropriate discipline.

    There ain't no such exam. Fergeddaboudit.

    Wing nut BS ??? You betcha.

    "I hesitate to agree with Ted Nugent...."

    by waterstreet2013 on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 11:16:20 AM PST

  •  Anything to repress the truth (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093, Tonedevil

    and anything to repress the free expression of (in this case expert) opinion.

    Assholes. They will never stop.

    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:05:00 PM PST

  •  Is there an audio tape of this public hearing? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093

    If the charge is based on minutes, it may be important to have the exact wording. If a minute taker improperly  identified someone as an engineer because he sounded so knowledgeable, that could be the source of the problem.

    •  Hi Coastrange (0+ / 0-)

      We are digging through that box in our attic for the audio tape, thanks for the suggestion.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 12:28:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unless there are some really bizarro (0+ / 0-)

    definitions on your law books, he did no engineering. Even the toadies themselves allege no more than

    "(He) ... provided engineering analysis and calculations consistent with the practice
    of acoustical engineering."
    . Did he ever contract to perform engineering services for compensation, or even for free?

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 04:14:12 PM PST

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