Unlicensed contractors working illegally

Salem – Homeowners in Eastern Oregon should be on the alert for unlicensed contractors working in their area.

Construction Contractors Board (CCB) investigators recently found about two dozen potential violations of contractor laws and rules as they conducted enforcement sweeps in nine Eastern Oregon counties from Hermiston east to the Idaho border, and south to the Burns area.

CCB investigators spent Sept. 26-30 checking construction sites as part of the agency’s ongoing effort to root out unlicensed contractors.

“With limited exceptions, it is llegal in Oregon for anyone to do construction work for hire without a CCB license,” Enforcement Manager Stan Jessup said.

Why use licensed contractors?

  • To protect consumers, licensed contractors must be bonded and carry liability insurance.  
  • They also are responsible to carry workers’ compensation insurance if they have employees, ensuring coverage for job-related injuries. 
  • Licensed contractors can get required project permits. 
  • Also, the CCB offers Dispute Resolution Services  to help resolve disputes between homeowners and licensed residential contractors.

Homeowners can look up a contractor by visiting the CCB website at and entering a license number or name in the orange "Search" feature. Verify that the license is "active" and that the name on the license matches the contractor in question.

Homeowners who hire unlicensed workers may be considered employers. If this happens, the homeowner may be responsible to buy workers’ compensation insurance, obtain required building permits and meet other duties of employers. Homeowners that fail to do so could face penalties and even lawsuits.

Job site checks

During the recent visits to 72 job sites, the CCB checked for contractor, as well as plumber and electrician licenses. Contractors from Idaho or other states that work in Oregon need an Oregon CCB license even if they are registered or licensed in another state. The agency also looks to see if contractors obtained required permits.

These were the most common violations:

  • People working without a contractor’s license or contractors that hired unlicensed subcontractors (15 alleged violations)
  • Contractors that failed to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees (three alleged violations)
  • Contractors that worked on homes built before 1978 without the special license needed to handle lead-based paint (two alleged violations)

Investigators visited another 59 sites involving construction work but found no workers present.

“We suspect that in many of those cases, the workers heard the CCB was in town and abandoned the project, at least temporarily,” Jessup said. “We hope that legitimate contractors, as well as homeowners, report suspected illegal activity.”    

CCB compliance staff in Salem will now review investigators’ reports and decide whether to issue fines to contractors suspected of violations. The CCB posts monthly reports of contractors it penalizes here

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.

Report unlicensed contractors or other illegal activity 

Contractors and consumers can report unlicensed contractors and other illegal activity on this website or by calling 503-934-2246.


Media contacts
Administrator Jim Denno

Enforcement Manager Stan Jessup