• Report: #732498

Complaint Review: City Of Eugene Building Department

  • Submitted: Tue, May 24, 2011
  • Updated: Wed, June 01, 2011

  • Reported By: one voice — Eugene Oregon United States of America
City Of Eugene Building Department
125 E 8th Ave, Eugene OR 97401 Eugene, Oregon United States of America

City Of Eugene Building Department Mark Whitmill approved and revised residential building plans at 255 Baxter Street, Eugene, OR 97402 without calling for engineered roof changes. All inspections passed, then reversed, then passed retroactively 2 Eugene, Oregon

*Author of original report: Even More Photos

*Author of original report: More Photos

*Author of original report: The Contractors protected by the City Actions

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October 10, 2008, the home at 255 Baxter Street burned in an accidental total loss fire.

April of 2009, Plans were approved for construction of a new home.  Plans were approved by engineers, and included a set of engineered truss plans for the roof, as required.

May of 2009, During Demolition, Damage was found to be more extensive than initially known.

June of 2009, Supplementary information was submitted to the city of Eugene, outlining further areas of damage.

July of 2009, City approved Supplementary information, revising wall widths, sheathing methods, and required blocking.  Plans were released on July 7th.  At no time did the city take into account that the previously engineered truss plans would not fit the new revised plans with the wall width changes that were required.

Per Mark Whitmill - they just 'forgot'.

At the time the plans were picked up, the clerk informed the homeowner that all inspections must be reset, to allow for inspections to be done to the new requirements. [continued below]....

The inspections were never reset, as Kyle Richardson commented that construction was 'good quality'.

The foundation inspections that should have taken place over several days did not take place. (the city records show that they all took place on one morning, (Mark Whitmill explained this is not proper protocol)  There was photo evidence proving a lack of rebar, metal reinforcements and no gravel compaction provided to the Building Department, along with the electrical ground bar being located in the wall of a shower, yet these inspections were defended by Mark Whitmill and Kyle Richardson.  Missing pier pads that were crucial to structural support are still missing, clearly visible from the street.  Mark Whitmill and Kyle Richardson refused to discuss this 'mistake' on behalf of the inspectors.

The underfloor framing inspection failed 6-23-09, due to lack of continuous support. 
No work was done that day, the morning of 6-24-09, Home Insulation came at the builders request, insulated the underfloor, covered up the many defects, and around noon that day, and inspector arrived.  In front of 3 witnesses, the inspector stopped in front of the house, didn't put his vehicle into park or turn it off, and signed off on both the underfloor framing inspection and the underfloor insulation from the drivers seat of his city vehicle.

The framing inspections passed, even though the roof trusses did not fit the revised plans, and the contractor took the trusses apart and scabbed them back together.  Photo documentation and visual inspection was provided to the city inspectors and Mark Whitmill, Kyle Richardson and Rachelle Nicholas, and it was pointed out that the city plans on file as public record prove this.  The inspection results were altered from 'passed' to 'needs review. (Rachelle Nicholas heads up Building Code Enforcement and Dangerous Building Reports in Eugene). 

The city initially approved the framing and building inspections prior to July 7th, 2009.  When the revised plans were released to the homeowner, the structurally unsound home was already built.

In Mid July, regardless that Eugene City Code requires all new or reconstructed utilities be underground (Stamped in RED on front page of plans), Frank Casebolt, Electrical Inspector, passed the roughed in electrical inspection.  Missing electrical boxes, 2 branch circuits that not only didn't exist but the trenches were not even dug didn't matter.  Overhead power lines didn't matter.  Mr Casebolt passed it.

When evidence of the missing branch circuits, and a licensed home inspector report describing more than 17 fire hazards in the home was brought to Mark Whitmill's attention, the electrical permit was cancelled.

When photo documentation and OLHI reports showing structural instability including :
Trusses cracked end to end, house cracked in half from foundation to foundation, floors dropping away, subfloors lifting and allowing visibility into crawlspace, crushed rimboards, missing permanent bracing, ceiling in living room falling, electrical wires running through metal truss plates, and so very much more,
the city refused to comment, stating that it was the 'homeowners responsibility'.

When the homeowner called for new inspections, a new correction memo was issued by the city for lack of continuous support in the underfloor framing.  Sound familiar?

The city refused to complete any other inspections, cancelling them due to inspector unavailability, either they were out sick or just 'not available'.

In July of 2010, Homeowner brought in a reputable Builder and local Engineer to determine what repairs could be made.  After less than 10 minutes under the house and 15 minutes in the attic, the builder and engineer determined and informed owner that they had never seen anything like this building, and the only way to repair it would be to raze the home and start over.

Bankrupt at this point, the owner walked away and let the bank have it, after providing the city with a summary 'dangerous building report', and the offer of numerous Oregon Licensed Home Inspector's reports illustrating defects was made to the Code Enforcement Office.  All details and information was declined.  The City was not interested in the proof of how dangerous this building is.

8 Months have passed, and while all this information is public record and available on the city website - inspection dates, results, permit issue dates, plans review dates - all out there is black and white, the city has now gone back and RETROACTIVELY PASSED the original inspections.

It can only be assumed that the city has done this in order to allow the investment buyer of the forclosed dangerous building (while quite beautiful is structurally dangerous) to complete some cosmetic repairs, hide the defects, and sell the home to an unsuspecting family.

255 Baxter Street in Eugene Oregon, 97402 IS A DANGEROUS BUILDING.   The structural defects, shoddy workmanship and corrupt officials who are simply trying to cover their own backsides are putting human lives at risk by facilitating residential homes like this one through nonexistent inspections, and the refusal to do their job in keeping Eugene Residents Safe.

The Mayor of Eugene, Ms. Kitty Piercy, made this comment in reference to the situation at 255 Baxter Street Eugene, OR 97402
'I cannot make a judgement about this....I believe you have pursued concerns with City Employees.'

In Eugene, Oregon, the corruption within the Building Department that allows officials to put lives at risk is understood, accepted, and apparently, rewarded. 

Mark Whitmill Building Administrator of Eugene
2575 Lincoln Street
Eugene, Or 97405
Building permit for 2575 Lincoln Street 05-03151-01 issued in 2005 remains open, repairs still underway for 'interior remodel' at a total license fee of $712.47.  (based on dollar amount of repairs, the fees for a 1200sf house are in the thousands of dollars, Mr. Whitmill seems to have gotten a discount)

Kyle Richardson Building Inspection Supervisor at City of Eugene
Home Address highly protected and not public....

Seda Collier - Building Plans Examiner
485 E 32nd Avenue
Eugene, OR 97405
3 permits issued to her home, all fees paid in full (and relative to work, unlike M Whitmills) and all work completed.  A thread of honesty in her life, it seems, unless it pertains to other peoples construction plans.

Rachelle Nicholas - Dangerous Building Official in Eugene
86604 S Nicholas Drive
Eugene, OR 97402

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/24/2011 05:41 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/City-Of-Eugene-Building-Department/Eugene-Oregon-97401/City-Of-Eugene-Building-Department-Mark-Whitmill-approved-and-revised-residential-building-732498. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Author of original report

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AUTHOR: one voice - (United States of America)

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The Contractors protected by the City Actions

AUTHOR: one voice - (United States of America)

As this report evolves into a complete picture, it is only fair to include the contractors who actually did the work - accountability is shared, after all.  The officials at the city of Eugene did not actually swing a hammer, pour the foundation, or create this unsafe building.  They facilitated the process, and were the authority responsible for overseeing that the structure was built to regulated code..  The government regulated process of building safe residential homes charges money for building permits and inspections, and is the ONLY authority over the contractors who do the building.  When they refuse to regulate, the system is encouraged to run amok.

McKenzie Taylor Construction was the preferred insurance contractor, aka contractor #1. [McKenzie Taylor Construction 3771 Olympic Street, Springfield, OR 97478  541-747-5413] 
This contractor installed a temporary power pole installed to accommodate the homeowners insurance provided trailer (temporary living).  The temporary power pole contained a 30 amp breaker on a 20 amp circuit, discovered only after power cords were shorting out and breakers in trailer were constantly resetting.  (Inspected and passed city inspection by Stuart Ramsing  87300 Gypsy Lane, Eugene, OR 97402  541-345-9500)  McKenzie Taylor was fired by homeowner on the grounds they put the homeowners family at risk of electrical fire just 8 days after the homeowners family escaped the total loss house fire.  It was 9 months later that homeowner was provided a copy of their bill, and this company is now under investigation for insurance fraud.

Homeowner oversaw the removal of debris from the home, as mold doesnt wait. David Platz Construction was hired to assist with plans and moving forward on repairs.  [David Platz 170 SE Woody Ct Myrtle Creek, OR 97457 541-863-4663, has a very clean State issued CCB license] 2 months passed, and plans submitted to the city for approval in early February.  The plans were rejected by the city building departments Mr Bob Grafe, as they were drawn on the wrong tax lot one across the street and 2 doors down.  Dave Platz was then terminated.

Tracy Smith Construction 2615 Third Street, Springfield, OR 97477 541-741-0042 was hired for the plans and design phase.  2 months later, a beautiful set of plans were submitted to the City Building Department, complete with correct tax lot, and were approved in mid April, 2009.  As Mr Smith did not have time to participate in the demolition, the plans did not capture the full extent of the fire damage,
requiring revisions once construction began.

Tyson Booher of Booher Builders Inc 81211 Jackson Road Creswell, OR 97426-9377 (541) 942-3300 & Adam Imbler of Imbler Construction [87885 Misty Lane, Veneta, OR 97487 541-517-3446]  Were hired to excavate the damaged foundation, and pour the replacing foundation.  The excavated area was overdug by Tyson, and as they prepped the site with gravel, they chose not to compact it.  Imbler neglected to pour the foundation per the plans, and the old and new foundation were not tied together as required.  As described in the report above, the inspection process didnt catch this, and it is was only in reviewing extensive photos of the foundation pour that confirms this. One picture shows Adam imbler using a hand rake to level tire marks in the gravel while concrete is poured in the same area.  All inspections passed by the city, although the handwriting on the inspection card is much like the Adam Imblers handwriting on the Foundation Contract.  Both Imbler and Booher were paid in full for their services, and it was understood that services met code (as they passed city inspections).  It was only later when photos were reviewed in detail that the true nature of the work was discovered.  It was also later discovered that Tyson Booher was using his brothers company license, after his own CCB license was revoked. 

Adam Imbler was the referring contractor for Chris Latini.

Wood Fellas Construction aka Chris Latini aka Latini & Lyman, aka Chris Latini Construction 1530 Holly Ave Eugene Oregon 97408 Phone:541-868-7096 & Noah Lacey Construction, 2535 Jeppesen Acres Rd Eugene, OR 97401 541-337-9307

Chris Latini of Woodfellas was hired to Frame my home, even though he submitted the highest framing bid.  He was chosen for the professionalism conveyed in the bid and contract he provided.  He brought Noah Lacy onsite, and began construction of the underfloor in mid June. (Lacey was unlicensed subcontractor at the time. In September of 2010, Lacey admitted in Small Claims Court that he accepted a cash payment (payment was made by homeowner under threat of physical harm by Latini) of $6,900.00 for his work, unreported to the IRS and the money was spent.  Latini stood up in court and stated that since it was cash, technically, the homeowner owed this money again.)

Plans were revised with supplementary information and provided to the city, as the damage was more intensive than reflected on the plans and permit. 

Chris (and Lacey) did not build the house to the plans specifications. The Underfloor framing inspection failed on 6-23-09, as he used thick stacks of asphalt roofing shingles to shore up and level the underfloor, on top of areas that were completely unsupported.  A Correction Memo was issued by the City of Eugene detailing the areas of failure to meet code. Instead of correcting this, Latini called (without authorization or permission to do so) Home Insulation CO [2540 Highway 99 N, Eugene, OR 97402] to have them cover up the work the same day.  He then called for a re inspection of the underfloor framing the next day, after the failing work was covered up - and the inspector passed the work. (as detailed in primary report- from the front seat of his city vehicle Inspector Stuart
Holderby 999 W 7th Place, Junction City, OR 97448 541-998-1997)

Latini then continued to build on top of the unstable flooring, building the walls different widths than the plans.  Premium lumber was paid for, and is reflected upon receipts, but the lumber actually used in construction was mostly factory 'outs' as confirmed by Weyerhaeuser Corp, and 2 other authorities.  All Lumber was purchased from Gene Stringfield Lumber Company, (Lumber Condition evident in photo documentation)  [Gene Stringfield Lumber Co, 2540 Roosevelt, Eugene OR 97402 541-689-8014] When Lacey built a wall too tall, a chainsaw was then used to 'cut away' more than 4 feet of the wall.  Chris spent most of the time off fishing while others did the work, only showing up literally screaming about payments.  Constant intrusions upon homeowners workplace with threatening behavior by Latini resulted in Homeowners job loss.

The engineered roof trusses arrived on 6-30-09, they did not fit the framing due to the inconsistent wall width.  The Truss Company 29336 Airport Road, Eugene OR 97401 delivered and then worked with Latini to correct the problem.  The solution?  Latini had his guys take them all apart and 'scab' them together.  Photo Documentation proves this.

It was not until the homeowner was contacted by the city building department and the revised plans calling for major changes were picked up and permits reissued on JULY 7th 2009. (Latini represented that these were picked up and followed)  Latini & Lacey did not take into account the revised plans, and the building department passed all inspections without noticing how different the structure was from the plan specifications. 

4 Weeks after Latini was hired, he was terminated on the grounds of broken contracts and unauthorized work.  The house was 'framed' - with windows, doors, roughed in plumbing, electrical, HVAC and roof.  The contract that was signed did not give Latini authority to choose the details of the house, yet he did When materials were delivered and rejected by homeowner, Noah Lacey installed them, ignoring homeowners request. 

Mid Valley Glass & Millwork 2630 W 7th, Eugene OR  97402.  541-687-1192 provided Chriss choice of doors and windows,  including doors that did not fit the wall widths. 

RS Plumbing 86878 Baily Hill Road, Eugene, OR 97405 provided Chriss choice of a bathtub, and plumbing fixtures.

The contract for the HE Gas HVAC system signed by homeowner was broken (by Chris) and an electric 'air handler' was installed in its place for about the same cost - without the heat pump.  (HVAC Contractor Climate Control went bankrupt during court proceedings).


Sprinter Electric 82924 Florence Ave,Creswell, OR 97426.  541-895-2207 provided electrical wiring at Latinis direction, even though Sprinters bid was outright rejected by the homeowner.  (4 bids were provided, homeowners choice was disregarded.) The wiring was NOT to code, the permit requirements not met, and documented fire hazards were laughed at by Jeremy Cooper, the owner of Sprinter when discussion attempts were made by homeowner.  Latini Hired Sprinter directly, total cost of the roughed in wiring that didnt meet the permit specs?  More than 8 thousand dollars, complete with fire hazards, NO WIRING DIAGRAMS, and once again, paid in full under threat of physical harm by Latini. (bill was 2 times as much as the homeowners electrical preferred quote) Frank Casebolt of Eugene Building department approved all electrical inspections, and permits were canceled when homeowner reported several branch circuits didnt exist, but had passed inspection. Frank
Casebolt 2487 19th Street, Springfield, OR 97477.

Somehow, the city inspections passed, initially.  (All inspections were reversed when it was pointed out to the city that the plans were not approved until 7-9-09 yet the house was built by then, and the engineered roof was never updated to fit the revised wall widths).  As the inspections were passed by the city (the only authority over the contractors), Contractors were off the hook hiding behind the city inspections.  Multiple requests made to the city to re-inspect, along with pictures of failing work with Kyle Richardson and Mark Whitmill responding by assuring homeowner of the superior workmanship.

Keating Engineering 156 E 16th Avenue, Eugene OR 97401. 541-242-0613 was retained to evaluate the symptoms of deterioration of the structure in December of 2009. Steve Keating visited the home, and wrote a report concluding that homeowner could confidently occupy the structure.  At the time, Steve Keating, a licensed Structural Engineer, declined to look at the plans available and in homeowners hand, instead giving his authoritive opinion on the construction methods.

Homeowners continued requests - via phone and e-mail for repairs and warranty work were ignored, until Latini simply changed his phone number.  A break in that left the HVAC unit and ducting seriously damaged; was determined to be civil by the Eugene Police, and a report was not taken.  All attempts to report ongoing threatening behavior from contractors was also deemed Civil by Kathy Flynn, EPDs Sergent of violent crimes.  Ms Flynn Encouraged Homeowner to 'work out her problems with the City'.

When homeowner legally picketed the City of Eugene and Areas around Latinis home, homeowner was served with a 'stalking citation' for unwanted phone calls & e-mails to Latini.  Homeowner was also accused of being present at a school.  When allegations were disproved in court, Judge Mitchell of Eugene Circuit Court promptly threw out the citation.  Judge Mitchell ordered Latini and his attorney to provide Homeowner with the name of a business representative.  Instead, a letter from his attorney that states homeowner will be 'seriously injured or killed' if She came into Chris's presence or the presence of 'others' was received by homeowner the day following the court hearing.

When this letter was presented to the CCB of Oregon who was managing multiple complaints against contractors, it was deemed out of their jurisdiction, and homeowner withdrew all complaints in fear of her families safety.

Walls cracking, roof trusses cracked end-to-end, ceilings dropping as the trusses failed were ongoing symptoms, as were walls dropping where the tar had melted and support was gone.  More than 5 thousand pictures tell the story many tried to hide, as the house cracked in half (Latini blamed the drywall contractor), the foundation cracked in more than 20 places from unbalanced loads, the Facia broke away and the electrical wires were pulled so badly they shorted in places. 

Contractors personal attacks on homeowner included texts and phone calls calling homeowner 'crazy' 'nuts' and stupid.  Threats of personal harm to homeowners family, poisoned family pets and outright property damage became the norm.  At no time have any contractors addressed the licensed home inspection building reports on the unsafe workmanship, shoddy construction practices or flat out fraud these contractors practice.  No warranty work was ever addressed or completed.  The e-mail below is evident in these types of contractor-homeowner communication. 

From: Chris<woodfellas@comcast.net>
Date: September 28, 2010 11:45:04 AM PDT
Subject: Re: Directive

Please be advised that all future contact is unwanted. With yesterday's legal outcome the comunication between the two of us is at an end. Any further comunication will be grounds for legal action as this email is to notify you that I have no wish to speak with you again. Please stop emailing, texting or calling.
Thank you,

On Sep 28, 2010, at 12:08 PM, xxxxxxxxxxx

Mr Latini,
Until you follow the orders of judge mitchell, and provide me with a representative authorized to act upon your behalf in dealing with the business we engaged in, Oregon law requires that as a business, youbmust address my concerns. Your unwillingness to honor your own contracted warranty and services do not negate the business laws of Oregon.

Kind regards,

On Sep 28, 2010, at 12:18 PM, Chris wrote:

We have no business, it's no longer your home. The funds were not yours and your lawsuits are at an end. You are not in a position to ask for funds(as they are NOT yours and if I gave them to you I would be in direct violation of ors) or to ask for work to be performed at 255 Baxter( as it is not in your legal
posession). It's over, move on

Sent Chris Latini/Woodfellas Construction's iPhone

In July of 2010, when consulting with a Reputable Construction Company and their Engineer, it took less than an hour of onsite inspection and plans review before they sat down and gave homeowner the bad news.  The only way to fix the home was to raze it and start over.  Homeowner spent 210k to rebuild this home (the insurance was only 140k) and it was unsafe, structurally unsound, and again, a total loss.  After 2 years of trying to take Her family home, Homeowner walked away and let the bank have it.  The brutal tactics were simply to much for the single female parent & homeowner to handle.  With the City Officials also attacking homeowner or ignoring pleas for help, the reality that this family could not return to a safe home prevailed.

In total, this family survived a total loss house fire only to be traumatized repeatedly by the governing system in place within Eugene, OR.  With a combined loss of more than $400,000.00 owner faces bankruptcy.  More than 2 years of fighting to return home brought the bitter reality that in Eugene, homeowners have little hope of expecting safe residential building practices.

This is the System in place within Eugene, OR.
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