Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Scappoose denies skatepark contractors request to waive fees

Council votes 5-2 to retain $30,500 payment due to contract breach


by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: ROBIN JOHNSON - The new park opens today. A grand opening for the skatepark will likely be held before the Sauerkraut Festival, city officials say.Scappoose City Council voted 5-2 Wednesday, Sept. 3, to deny a request made by Grindeline Skateparks Inc. — the company contracted to construct the city’s new skatepark — to waive liquidated damages payments to the city for missing its targeted completion deadlines.

The skatepark was contracted to be completed May 31.

Grindline began paying the penalty for missing its completion deadline June 25 in the amount of $500 per day. Grindline brought the park to substantial completion on Aug. 30. The total amount of assessed liquidated damages is $30,500.

City Councilor Donna Gedlich was one of the five councilors opposed to waiving the liquidated damages. “We had chosen Grindline for their expertise and for their qualification, as we understood it, but I think that if we were to waive and grant this request, we would be showing other contractors that just because they think we’re small town that they can get away with all kinds of things,” Gedlich said.

Grindline’s chief financial officer, Emily Giaquinta, argued in email correspondence with City Manager Jon Hanken that the company was trying to provide a well-designed park for Scappoose and, according to Hanken, called the liquidated damages “nothing more than a witch-hunt against her company.”

“I would have been willing to sit and talk with them if they had come to us in a little bit more conciliatory tone,” said councilor Mark Reed, adding that he didn’t like being accused of initiating a witch hunt. “Their posture was to stick it back in our lap and make us the bad people.”

Council President Larry Meres, one of the two councilors—along with councilor Jason Meshell — who voted against not waiving the liquidated damages, said, “I think they’re probably running on a pretty thin margin and you’re talking about $30,000. As long as I’ve been on this council, you know what, everybody’s come to this council and said, ‘I need $50,000 more...’ We have never stuck it to anybody, we’ve never denied it, we’ve always said, ‘OK, I wish we would have saw it before, but we’ve always approved it.’”

“To say that we’ve never stuck it to a contractor, per se, since I’ve been on council is inaccurate,” said Mayor Scott Burge, citing contractors who have been penalized for miscalculations on various city projects.

Burge said his main issue with the company’s request is captured in the contract, which states that once the company finds something wrong with its original approach to the project it was to notify the city within three days, which Grindline did not do.

The gates to the park will open today.

“Kids are already getting in through the fence,” Hanken said on Wednesday. “You’d think that a fenced-off thing means to keep out. I guess kids don’t understand that anymore.”