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Federal Judge Rules Oregon Law Defining 'Engineer' Violates Free Speech  

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MightyMoe
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January 1, 2019 5:22 pm  

I never understood the board's obsession with this guy. He is similar to my BIL who couldn't call himself an electrical engineer in this country because he didn't have the prerequisite interpretive dance class or whatever US universities wanted him to have that would allow him to take the PE. He was an administrator at the UK central power authority before coming here, but what the heck, can't do that without the Shakespeare class from Uni. The amazing part of the story is that Mats Järlström stuck it out and took it as far as he did. He must be an engineer to get that worked up over $500.


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Mark Mayer
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January 1, 2019 6:25 pm  

The Oregon Board is taking a pounding here, but I do not think it should be. The board enforced the letter of Oregon Statutory Law.

The court ruled the law, as written,  unconstitutional.  Note that relevant state law, reproduced below, defines the simple use of the word "engineer" as equivalent to "Professional Engineer". Significantly, it does not similarly consider "Surveyor" to be equivalent to "Professional Land Surveyor" or any of it's variants.  So any person can go about in Oregon calling themselves a Surveyor, but not - until now - Engineer.  Note that this is the statutory law, passed by the legislature, and not administrative rules promulgated and interpreted by the board.

So let's give the board a break. They were just doing their job. The wording of the law will have to change.   

672.002 Definitions for ORS 672.002 to 672.325. As used in ORS 672.002 to 672.325, unless the context requires otherwise:

(2) “Engineer,” “licensed engineer,” “professional engineer,” “registered engineer” or “registered professional engineer” means a person who is registered in this state and holds a valid certificate to practice engineering in this state as provided under ORS 672.002 to 672.325.

(5) “Land surveyor,” “professional land surveyor” or “registered professional land surveyor” means an individual who is registered in this state and holds a valid certificate to practice surveying in this state as provided by ORS 672.002 to 672.325.

 

EDUCATION, n. That which discloses to the wise and disguises from the foolish their lack of understanding.

EXPERIENCE, n. The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.


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thebionicman
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January 1, 2019 7:51 pm  
Posted by: MightyMoe

I never understood the board's obsession with this guy. He is similar to my BIL who couldn't call himself an electrical engineer in this country because he didn't have the prerequisite interpretive dance class or whatever US universities wanted him to have that would allow him to take the PE. He was an administrator at the UK central power authority before coming here, but what the heck, can't do that without the Shakespeare class from Uni. The amazing part of the story is that Mats Järlström stuck it out and took it as far as he did. He must be an engineer to get that worked up over $500.

Or perhaps it has to do with the laws on comity licensure. For a long time there has been a stand-off between some State boards and the UK licensing authority. They are radically different systems. There has been some good movement on that in the last few years, but the issue isn't even remotely as you paint it. 

Developing a comity process between title and credential systems isn't easy. The people working on it also have to convince the professional societies, legislatures and executive branches of both jurisdictions that whatever they work out will be equivalent and protect the public.

 

 

CFedS, PLS ID-OR-WA-UT-NV


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MightyMoe
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January 2, 2019 7:11 am  
Posted by: thebionicman
Posted by: MightyMoe

I never understood the board's obsession with this guy. He is similar to my BIL who couldn't call himself an electrical engineer in this country because he didn't have the prerequisite interpretive dance class or whatever US universities wanted him to have that would allow him to take the PE. He was an administrator at the UK central power authority before coming here, but what the heck, can't do that without the Shakespeare class from Uni. The amazing part of the story is that Mats Järlström stuck it out and took it as far as he did. He must be an engineer to get that worked up over $500.

Or perhaps it has to do with the laws on comity licensure. For a long time there has been a stand-off between some State boards and the UK licensing authority. They are radically different systems. There has been some good movement on that in the last few years, but the issue isn't even remotely as you paint it. 

Developing a comity process between title and credential systems isn't easy. The people working on it also have to convince the professional societies, legislatures and executive branches of both jurisdictions that whatever they work out will be equivalent and protect the public.

 

 

but the issue isn't even remotely as you paint it.

How I'm painting it is that he couldn't get comity, which is what you are saying, so I'm confused how what I said is different from what you said.

He ended up taking humanity courses at a school in the US, mostly correspondence classes, to fulfill US requirements for an engineering degree, then later actually took engineering courses for a masters. It took him quite a while to do all of it, he is now working for a power company. 

His comment was that the English classes were way easier than what he took in the UK prior to Uni. 

That all started over 20 years ago so much may have changed.

The law and enforcement in Oregon was clearly a problem. I never understood why they had such a burr about that guy, of course I'm always dubious when I hear these stories that there may be other issues going unreported.

However, that being said, he won and the judge viewed it exactly as many of us did years ago when it first became news. 


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Dave Karoly
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January 2, 2019 7:44 am  

He poked the bear repeatedly and P-O'd enough people that they took action.  I'm not saying that's right, wrong, or indifferent but it is politics.

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? -1 Corinthians 15:55


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RADAR
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January 2, 2019 8:05 am  

So any person can go about in Oregon calling themselves a Surveyor

I've told people that I am a Surveyor; and they've asked me if I go door to door asking stupid questions...

An 'engineer' is pretty obvious, but a surveyor could be a lot of different things.

I was working on a boundary in a residential neighborhood the other day and the neighbor came out and asked what I was doing. I told him I was surveying the neighbors property and he asked what that was.

Related image

There's a lot of people out there that are clueless...

This post was modified 3 weeks ago by RADAR

I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun.--Thomas A. Edison

Citius, altius, fortius


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Norman Oklahoma
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January 2, 2019 8:37 am  
Posted by: RADAR

So any person can go about in Oregon calling themselves a Surveyor

I've told people that I am a Surveyor; and they've asked me if I go door to door asking stupid questions...

An 'engineer' is pretty obvious, but a surveyor could be a lot of different things.

I was working on a boundary in a residential neighborhood the other day and the neighbor came out and asked what I was doing. I told him I was surveying the neighbors property and he asked what that was.

There's a lot of people out there that are clueless...

I hold that the term "Engineer" is a least as inexact as "Surveyor".  In fact the ruling in this case refers to that inexact meaning. An "Engineer" can also be the guy who drives the train. Or the guy down in building maintenance. 

Our state law needs to be changed by eliminating a single word from ORS 672.002(2). BTW- Washington Law contains very similar language which equates "Engineer" with "Professional Engineer":

RCW 18.43.020
Definitions.
The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Engineer" means a professional engineer as defined in this section.
(2) "Professional engineer" means a person who, by reason of his or her special knowledge of the mathematical and physical sciences and the principles and methods of engineering analysis and design, acquired by professional education and practical experience, is qualified to practice engineering as defined in this section, as attested by his or her legal registration as a professional engineer. 

"Convention is like the shell to the chick, a protection till he is strong enough to break it through." Learned Hand


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thebionicman
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January 2, 2019 9:25 am  

Your post implied the the hangup was that our universities demanded he take some useless class. It doesnt work that way.  Applications are not reviewed by educational institutions, they are reviewed by boards under the laws imposed by thier legislatures. If those boards begin issuing licenses outside those laws they will lose thier jobs and possibly the ability of the board to regulate.

I have no doubt there were hoops to jump through, but still believe it better to frame it with the history and facts.

IMO the Oregon board was in defense mode over the current trend to eliminate regulation. The over-reaction backfired and the courts ruled properly. 

CFedS, PLS ID-OR-WA-UT-NV


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Norman Oklahoma
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January 2, 2019 10:04 am  
Posted by: thebionicman

....IMO the Oregon board was in defense mode over the current trend to eliminate regulation. The over-reaction backfired and the courts ruled properly. 

10 years ago, when things were slow, I attended several meetings of the board as an observer for PLSO. I got put on the boards mailing list for sub-committee meeting agendas, minutes, and such, and am still on it. 

I was there enough to be on a first name basis with the board members of that day. The makeup of the board has rolled over a couple of times since then, so none of the current members are known to me, or me to them. I do have some personal knowledge from outside the boardroom of the personality who was the board chairman at the time this "engineer " ruling was issued. I will say that the board was always very concerned with the letter of the law, and their duty to enforce the law, as written.  Every discussion included a word by word dissection of the relevant passage of ORS and OAR. And that personality I referred to - an air force brat and a career DOT department head- is a person very much inclined to go by the book. I'm quite satisfied that what drove this decision was a careful reading and literal interpretation of ORS 672.002 et. seq. , and nothing more.    

"Convention is like the shell to the chick, a protection till he is strong enough to break it through." Learned Hand


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A Harris
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January 2, 2019 10:04 am  

Texas went thru the change to reflect surveyors as Registered Professional Land Surveyors about 30± years ago to clerify the distinction between what we do and what Engineers, layout crews and pipeliners, DOT and others do.

We even got our license certificates upgraded with our new graphics to reflect the change.

For the rules and laws to reflect the political correctness of reality, the wordings of the law need to be changed to describe those changes.

There ain't no common sense hardly ever used pertaining to what legal dogs sniff around and come of with. Mostly their time is spent finding cracks in the law to explain things to suit their needs per day and event.

This post was modified 3 weeks ago by A Harris

RPLS NE Texas
d[-_-]b


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MightyMoe
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January 3, 2019 3:35 pm  
Posted by: thebionicman

Your post implied the the hangup was that our universities demanded he take some useless class. It doesnt work that way.  Applications are not reviewed by educational institutions, they are reviewed by boards under the laws imposed by thier legislatures. If those boards begin issuing licenses outside those laws they will lose thier jobs and possibly the ability of the board to regulate.

I have no doubt there were hoops to jump through, but still believe it better to frame it with the history and facts.

IMO the Oregon board was in defense mode over the current trend to eliminate regulation. The over-reaction backfired and the courts ruled properly. 

I didn't imply it, that's exactly what happened, except I didn't say useless courses, I did said courses he already had with more rigor in the UK prior to Uni. 

Of course the university didn't drive the board's actions, but the board wouldn't accept the UK degree so he had to get a stateside engineering degree without needing to take any STEM classes, if I remember correctly he had to take bowling, it was the one gym class he could do at night after work. 

If the boards wish to change the rules to allow foreign degrees and work experience to count for comity, at least to take the PE, that's up to them, if not, no big deal to me. 

 


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Wendell
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January 11, 2019 12:28 am  

OSBEELS has since halted the investigation and placed the investigator on leave.

https://www.oregonlive.com/news/2019/01/state-board-halts-inquiry-into-allen-alleys-use-of-word-engineer-places-investigator-on-leave.html

This post was modified 2 weeks ago by Wendell

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MightyMoe
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January 11, 2019 6:06 am  

Well that brings into focus what is going on.


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