The state Construction Contractors Board is investigating 30 potential violations of law after investigators last week showed up at more than 200 coastal job sites looking for unlicensed contractors.

The findings:

* About half the 30 cases allege that people were working without a contractor's license.
* Another three cases allege contractors were working on homes built before 1978 without the proper license for handling lead-based paint.
* Other charges range from lacking workers' compensation insurance to hiring an unlicensed subcontractor.

As many as seven field investigators randomly visited job sites in different sections of the coast ranging from Bandon north to Astoria. Salem staff will now decide whether to issue warnings or fines based on the facts of the case and whether it is a first-time violation.
A typical first-offense penalty for working without a license is $1,000 with subsequent violations resulting in fines of up to $5,000. Working without a license is also a misdemeanor crime.

"Illegal activity hurts consumers and it hurts legitimate contractors by giving a competitive edge to outlaws," said Berri Leslie, interim CCB administrator. "We will continue our efforts to find and penalize those who are working illegally."

Anyone who repairs or remodels, as well as those who build new homes or businesses, must be licensed with the CCB. Contractors working on homes built before 1978 need special licensing and training to handle lead-based paint.

Licensed contractors have a bond and insurance that offer some financial protections to the public. Also, homeowners may be able to get help from the CCB to resolve construction-related disputes if they use properly licensed contractors.

Contractors and consumers can report unlicensed contractors and other illegal activity or verify licenses on the CCB's website. Or, call 503-378-4621 to verify a license.

Northwest Lending Group