Oregon Landscaper = No Vacation ???

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by mdvaden, Apr 25, 2008.

  1. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Today, I went to a meeting in Grants Pass, Oregon, where the Landscape Contractors Board Administrator and Board Chair, met with local Licensed landscape contractors to discuss the current license model and possible changes.

    Right now, a person in Oregon takes exams to get a license on the individual, and a second license for the business is purchased too, requiring having an individual employed. The individual may be the owner, or an employed person.

    I asked a question to review one aspect of our current license system in Oregon. It pertained to a REQUIREMENT for supervising all landscape contract projects, which included no less than being in phone contact at almost all times.

    Using my own self as an example for a question, I introduced the scenerio of taking one, two or three weeks off for a vacation, which in my case is typically hiking where cell phones don't reach.

    Currently, being the tested INDIVIDUAL for my company, my business would NOT be in compliance, if I left TRUSTED and TRAIINED employees for a period of a week or weeks, to perform DELEGATED specific tasks that they could easily do.

    For example, I could not leave them to prepare several landscape projects, to get the sites ready - say, sod cutting old sod on site #1, then digging a few trenches on site #2, ordering and spreading mulch around plants we planted together at site #3, etc..

    In fact, if I understand this right, we landscape contractors in Oregon, cannot be out of cell phone contact for maybe even a day.

    So, if you are an Oregon Landscape contractor, are you aware of these particular details?

    Personally, I support the board in much of what they do, and was on the board myself, for 6 years. But this is one aspect that I'd like to see modified. Even if I was on the board as a board member, this is one thing I would question.

    This may be integral to potential changes in the landscape model. And if you did not read your letter recently, this is related - directly or indirectly. If you have an Oregon landscape license, you should have received a letter about the proposed license models, and the meetings. A survey was included too.

    So, if I have my facts in order, an Oregon landscape contractor, who is the sole tested individual, can't have any business operations going on regarding landscaping, if not in immediate phone or radio range, at a moments beckon call.

    And honestly, when I want to go on vacation, dragging any business connections with me is not part of what I consider vacation. As a hiker, this means that a 3 week vacation would mean 3 weeks unemployment for any workers, unless they want a 3 week un-paid vacation.


  2. Scagguy

    Scagguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,522

    That's just another example of being over regulated. I would be tempted to go on vacation anyway. How well would this rule be enforced? What would be the fine? I guess you could have one of your guys get tested so he could keep you legal in your absense.
  3. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,778

    Oregon is amazing. I thought Massachusetts was bad until I spent some time in Oregon. They vote in politicians to save themselves from themselves. Everyone must have has a learning disability or they are thought of as stupid by the politicians.

    Self serve gas? No, the people are too stupid, so we must protect them by having a crack head at the mini-mart pump it for them (actually Oregon is full of Meth-heads from what I observed).

    Have a landscaper design a planting for you? Nope, they''ll screw it up and everyone will die unless they have a license. T-squares probably have warning labels on them.
  4. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,647

    Do they regulate all the wackey tabbaco ya'll grow and smoke?
  5. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    It's enforced. I heard of a local landscaper just recently being fined. Apparently he was driving out of cell tower range, and an investigator stopped by his job site after a sod delivery or something similar.

    The landscaper asked me about this, knowing I had been on the license board. I told him that the board could make mistakes, or one of their enforcers, but not knowing the facts, I had no idea if the landscaper was at fault.

    My suggestion was to involve a third party mediator who has no personal interest. Maybe even a local senator or representative who can understand laws and rules, in case the conflict did not get resolved easily.

    When I heard of this, it really caught my attention. Because in Oregon, you need a pesticide license to buy restricted chemicals. And I could easily imagine some other landscaper needing to leave cell phone range to go and buy chemicals. Or go and sign contracts, offer estimates, etc..

    Seems that requiring constant phone contact, could really pin-down a lot of landscape company owners, and possibly give an edge and advantage to larger companies.
  6. Scagguy

    Scagguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,522

    Here in Texas, you have to have a license to buy any kind of fertilizer or chemicals, restricted or not. But, I don't have to be in cell phone range for anything in this state.
  7. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    What I meant, was that a landscape business owner (the tested guy) probably has a myriad of reasons to leave a site, not being able to supervise the work for a while, even if by phone. The pesticide thing was just one of thousands of reasons to go out of phone range. But the need to leave will exist.

    And in Oregon, a apparently a fine could be issued if the person could not be contacted by phone, if an investigator showed up on the site and tested the phone line supervision potential of that company.
  8. carcrz

    carcrz LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,085

    It's no different than any other regulated industry. There always has to be someone left to be in charge. If something goes wrong, they want to make sure there is someone there to keep things in order.
  9. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Not really the same.

    When I worked at service stations, and some restaurants, the owners and managers would delegate the operation and closing to some of us employees at times, when they needed time off, or when needing to go on vacation.

    Likewise with country clubs I've been too, and other places.

    The point is, I have at least two workers in my own family, trained to a level that I can leave them there in charge if I want to leave. That would fit the scenerio you introduced.

    But since they have not passed Oregon tests and bought a license on themselves, they are negated from being left in charge.

    It's not a matter of leaving someone in charge who is competent - it's a matter of the landscape board preventing leaving someone in charge who is deemed competent by the landscape company owner.

    See the difference?

    And to cover the point you made about if things "go wrong", the Oregon landscape board prevents us from being out of supervision range for even the smallest stuff.

    Suppose I want to go on vacation for 2 weeks, and all that's left if applying barkdust to 2 near-finished projects, and moving paver blocks from Point A by the driveway to Point B by the back yard with a wheelbarrow for upcoming workdays when I get back. What really is going to become a real emergency with those?

    Especially since spreading barkdust is not regulated in Oregon among landscape maintenance companies who need no license. But if the barkdusting is part of my install contract, the fact I have a license stops me from leaving a trusted worker to finish that component, while a maintenance company could do it all day or go on a vacation and leave an employee since they would need no license.

    I see no parallel with other industries when supervision requirements are regulated to this degree.
  10. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,946

    Just to add:

    If this supervision thing were dealing with something like applying pesticides where significant environmental damage was a routine potential hazard, I'd view this a bit differently.

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