Building Officials Unite to Strengthen Eastern Oregon’s Voice

By on Wednesday, November 1st, 2023 in More Top Stories Northeastern Oregon News

BAKER CITY — In a strategic move to enhance their influence, building officials from various counties in Eastern Oregon have come together to form a united front, representing over 40% of the state. Led by Adelaide Schaffel, the building official in Malheur County, this collaboration aims to tackle legislative challenges and provide a more cohesive approach to issues affecting the region.

The effort, officially recognized as an alliance, seeks to address the impact of state-level legislation on local building codes. Building officials often face challenges arising from legislation that may not consider the practical implications of its mandates. One such example discussed was the potential consequence of allowing unlicensed professionals to perform rural plumbing work, leading to increased risks, insurance costs, and potential code violations.

The alliance, connected through the International Code Council (ICC), plans to act as a collective voice to provide valuable input during legislative discussions. By leveraging the expertise of building professionals and fostering communication among Eastern Oregon counties, the alliance aims to influence decisions that align with the needs of their communities.

One of the primary benefits highlighted is the ability to resist legislation that could drive up building costs without significant benefits to homeowners. The collaboration also emphasizes the importance of free education for building professionals, as the ICC offers additional educational resources to support the alliance’s objectives.

Dawn Kitzmiller, the building official for Baker City and Baker County, emphasized the positive impact the alliance could have on legislation and the ability to collectively address challenges faced by the building industry. The collaboration is expected to streamline communication, enhance problem-solving abilities, and provide a unified front against potential red tape.

The news comes at a crucial time when housing development, especially in rural areas, faces unique challenges. The alliance could potentially serve as a model for other regions, demonstrating the strength that comes from collaboration and a united voice in addressing legislative issues affecting local building codes and construction practices.