A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Crocker nearly done; what next?

Written December 26th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

Looking south on Crocker Lane on Dec. 22, when work remained on the landscaping.

The longer-than-expected reconstruction of part of Crocker Lane in North Albany is nearing completion. But residents can look forward to at least two other road projects nearby in the next couple of years.

One is the rebuilding of Gibson Hill Road from Scenic Drive to North Albany Road. Benton County plans to fix the base and completely repave Gibson Hill before turning the road over to the jurisdiction of the city of Albany. On its website, Benton County Public Works says it will design the work in 2018 and then do the construction between 2019 and 2021.

The other is doing something at the intersection of Gibson Hill and Crocker, though exactly what is still up in the air. In 2016, the city council decided to install a full-size roundabout at the T-intersection in 2020-21. But in May 2017, largely in response to complaints from adjacent property owners, the council reversed itself and voted to put in traffic signals. It left open, though, whether the signals would be combined with turn lanes, and if so to what extent.

At the northern end of Crocker, meanwhile, contractor Carter & Company, Salem, is close to completing the construction of 2,100 feet of a full city street. The $1.8 million job started in June and was supposed to be done Nov. 3. That date was pushed back to Nov. 13, and since then the contractor has been assessed “liquidated damages” for a total of $32,000 so far. (Exactly how the city was “damaged” is not clear, at least to me.)

Chris Cerklewski, the city engineer overseeing the project, says the remaining work includes landscaping, plus striping at two concrete intersections. “That work will continue over the next couple of weeks as weather allows,” he adds.

What about the rest of Crocker, you may be wondering, the 3,418 feet that remains in its rural and much-patched shape all the way to Gibson Hill. I have no word on when or indeed whether that section will ever get repaved. The main reason the northern section got such expensive treatment was that the city years ago had wrangled “waivers of remonstrance” from developers of nearby subdivisions, and those waivers were about to run out. (hh)

15 responses to “Crocker nearly done; what next?”

  1. Grace Peterson says:

    The construction team did a nice job.

  2. Mary Brock says:

    Thanks for all the good “detective” work; uh, I mean reporting. You are much appreciated, Hasso.

  3. DaleS says:

    Were the “speed bump” intersections and lowered speed limit part of the original project? It’s interesting that Gibson Hill received the same “full street” treatment (maybe it was half street, since it didn’t get sidewalks on both sides) a few years ago, yet has no speed bumps, and maintained the same speed limits.

  4. ean says:

    “(Exactly how the city was “damaged” is not clear, at least to me.)”

    The city spent way more than 32k in staff time and consulting fees for the extra days that were required to complete the job. The damage was financial.

  5. Bill Kapaun says:

    “…and since then the contractor has been assessed “liquidated damages” for a total of $32,000 so far….”
    And WHERE does this money go?
    Maybe Ray can explain how they will launder it?

  6. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    (Exactly how the city was “damaged” is not clear, at least to me.)

    Liquidated damages are compensatory (not punitive), so the amount must reasonably relate to the anticipated or actual harm to the city caused by Carter’s breach of contract.

    The LD amount can’t be arbitrary and the city has the responsibility to show how the amount relates to the consequences.

    If Chris Cerklewski can’t identify the consequences and show you how the city is being damaged, then he probably can’t show a judge either.

    If I’m Carter I’m talking to my attorney…

    • John Hartman says:

      First, and foremost, the Contractor signed the agreement which clearly outlined the provisions in question. That fact alone makes Hering’s and Shadle’s point moot. However, neither Shadle or Hering bothered to explore, other than from the safety of their couch, the possible costly arrangements the City might have had to shuffle around the construction-complete date, which, we remind you once again, the Contractor failed to meet.

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        Once again, a liquidated damages clause will generally be considered unreasonable, and, therefore, unenforceable, if the city can’t show a reasonable relationship between the amount of damages and the harm alleged.

        The city can’t escape this responsibility by alleging “the contractor signed the agreement.” Again, if the city can’t identify the harm to Hasso, they probably can’t identify it to a judge. This puts the city at a huge disadvantage should Carter decide to challenge the LD’s in court.

        And neither Hasso or I deny that Carter is in breach. Not sure how you came to that conclusion.

        • ean says:

          You really advocate to go chasing people to court over 32k on a 1.8 million dollar contract? That would all go to lawyers if you did that. Kind of says a lot about you. But like I say the delay has costs the city more than 32k anyway so they could easily prove the damages if they had to.

  7. centrist says:

    I recollect from earlier posts that the terms were part of the contract. There was a monetary incentive for finishing earlier than a scheduled date. There is a monetary penalty for late completion.
    No need for lawyers, proof of damage unless someone wants to void the contract. Since the work scope is nearly complete, that would be like annulling a marriage after the 5th child.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Your use of the word “penalty” reveals your complete ignorance of the topic.

      • centrist says:

        Throttle back there G. Be careful what you assume.
        The inventive/penalty concept is involved in many a large-scale fixed-price concept. Worked with it many times over 40 years.

      • John Hartman says:

        I guess signing a contract does’ mean the same under Shadle’s interpretation.

      • Bob Woods says:

        For Gordon Shadle to talk about ignorance is the pot calling the kettle black.

  8. centrist says:

    Will Rogers once ssid something like
    It’s not what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we think we lnow that ain’t so


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