Bend City Council Candidate Doug Knight is facing possible revocation of his engineering license after an investigator with a state licensing board found he did not tell the truth on a license renewal form.
Knight, who has held an engineering license in Oregon since 1997, was informed July 9 by the board of its intent to revoke his license and assess two civil penalties, totaling $2,000, according to a letter sent to Knight by the board.
The board, called the State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying, found that Knight had lied about taking 30 units of continuing professional development courses after a random audit of his most recent renewal paperwork, according to a legal notice of intent drafted by the board this summer.
“Being truthful is an issue that the board takes really seriously,” said JR Wilkinson, an investigator with the licensing agency overseen by the board.
Knight, who is running for council position 2 against three other candidates, certified on the form that he had taken the classes and even listed their names. Wilkinson said he did not actually take any of the courses.
Knight, who is a local developer and the current chair of the Bend Planning Commission, is the first engineer to face legal action and potential revocation of his license since the agency revamped its renewal certification requirements in the last few years.
In an interview with the Source on Tuesday, Knight said the agency’s recent changes to its renewal form requirements led to confusion, which he hopes to clear up in an upcoming hearing conducted by the Oregon Office of Administrative Hearings. No date has been set for that hearing.
“This is a simple matter regarding continuing education credits,” said Knight. “I will say that they haven’t been applying [rules] consistently.”
Of the 12,000 engineers in Oregon who renew their licenses every two years, Knight was part of the three percent also chosen for an audit in 2008, said licensing agency staff.
At that time, Knight had also certified he had taken his required continuing education credits, but had not done so. He was granted leniency to take the credits after the 2008 audit discovered the discrepancy, said licensing agency staff. Knight said he was under the impression that he could, again, take the credits if he was audited.
“That precedence that was created in 2008 was what predicated my actions,” said Knight, who added that he is also licensed in New York, California and Idaho. “I don’t consider it to be a big deal because it’s continuing education. It’s difficult to keep up with these licensure requirements in four different states.”
Knight said he would still be an effective councilor despite this issue.
“This doesn't change me doing good things for Bend,” he said.
After the upcoming hearing, a recommendation will be made to the licensing board about whether to, indeed, pull the license and assess the fines, said Allen McCartt, also an investigator with the state agency.
Knight then has the option to appeal the decision through the Oregon appellate courts.
A revocation of his license would be permanent, said licensing agency staff.
Bulletin Brass Hands Out Pink Slips
After informing subscribers last week that monthly home delivery rates for the paper would be jumping by more than 50 percent, The Bulletin announced a stinging round of layoffs at Bend’s century old daily newspaper on Tuesday.
The Bulletin’s parent company announced on its website that the company was laying off just less than 10 percent of its 400 person workforce. The company, Western Communications, also owns six other papers in Oregon and California, including the Redmond Spokesman. It was unclear as of press time how many layoffs will come locally.
Bulletin Editor in Chief John Costa could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
“Saddest day of my career today,” wrote music and arts reporter David Jasper, on Facebook after the layoffs.
Longtime photographer Pete Erickson, who has been with the paper for roughly 12 years, said he got a call from Costa on Monday night summoning him to a 8 a.m. meeting the next day. One of just a handful of people who traced their employment back to the Bulletin’s downtown office, Erickson said he knew that layoffs were coming but assumed that he and others in the newsroom would be kept on through the year, or at least through the presidential election.
Erickson said he didn’t wait for Publisher Gordon Black to finish his prepared remarks to the staff before sending a text to his fiancée letting her know he had been laid off.
“I started imagining in my head what I had to do to keep moving forward,” Erickson said.
Black was quoted on the Bulletin’s website as saying the paper had avoided the cuts through the recent recession but was forced to make concessions as a result of a significant loss of revenue from legal notices, specifically foreclosure notices, which have dried up due to recent legal and political developments around the process.
However, the paper’s financial woes predate the current wrangling over foreclosure notices. Last year, the company filed for bankruptcy protection after its chief creditor, Bank of America, called in the paper’s loan, doubling the interest rate after it failed to meet earnings benchmarks that were written into the loan. The company successfully emerged from bankruptcy in July, but had continued to keep its employees on mandatory furlough days to cut costs. (EF)