Monthly Archives: August 2011

Compact with Tribes Could Decrease Road Funding

In an era of diminishing funds for infrastructure funding, each year tens of millions of gas tax dollars are being siphoned out of the state highway fund and potentially used for non-transportation purposes in violation of the State Constitution’s 18th Amendment.

That’s the essence of the construction industry’s concern for the State’s compact with local Tribes regarding the state gas tax.  In 2007 the Governor, authorized to do so by legislation, entered into agreements with Native American Tribes providing payments to the tribes of 75 percent of the state tax rate, or approximately 28 cents per gallon for every gallon sold out of a tribal station. Since 2007, those payments to the tribes out of the Motor Vehicle Fund (MVF) have exceeded $70 million.

Automotive United Trades Organization (AUTO), an organization of gas station operators, filed suit. Members of the group are concerned that Tribes may be using the gas tax “rebate” to reduce the price of gas at Tribal stations, undercutting other operators.  AGC filed, on behalf of itself and several other construction associations, a motion and amicus brief. AGC requested amicus standing and for the State Supreme Court to accept direct review of the case of AUTO v. the State of Washington. On August 15, AGC and its construction industry partners were granted amicus standing in the case.

AGC’s concern is the potential loss of millions of dollars in infrastructure funding – and the amount of the loss could grow considerably in the future should Tribal gas station operations continue to expand.

If the Tribes were putting the money into roads and highways, that would be one thing. But there’s great concern that is not happening. The compact between the Tribes and the Governor precluded any real transparency. There are no independent audits conducted regarding the use of the funds, and even the minimal reports that the Tribes are supposed to provide to the Department of Licensing are not always forthcoming.

AGC is troubled not just because of the loss of transportation-related dollars in an era of already diminishing transportation dollars, but also because of the distrust the lack of transparency creates. Future efforts to increase transportation revenues could be thwarted if the general public loses confidence that the taxes are being spent as promised.

AGC is not a party to the lawsuit, but the amicus motion and brief it filed requests that the State Supreme Court accept direct review of AUTO’s appeal. AGC filed the motion and brief on behalf of AGC of Washington as well as fellow AGC chapters Inland Northwest and Oregon-Columbia and the local chapters of MCA, NUCA, ACEC, ABC, WAPA, NECA and WACA. Other business groups have filed their own amicus motions and briefs, including NFIB, the Association for Washington Business, Washington Oil Marketers Association and the Washington Policy Center.

Emergency exit signs recalled

About 450 LED emergency exit signs have been recalled by Best Lighting Products because they can fail to illuminate during power outages. That could make it hard to find the exit.

There have been 10 reports of malfunctioning signs but no injuries.

The Chinese-made signs were sold and distributed by Lithonia Lighting for $100 to $200 from January through May. They were installed in commercial buildings such as hotels and offices.

Affected model numbers are: LHQM LED G M6, LHQM LED R M6 and LHQM LED R HO M6.

Affected models have the following date codes inside the fixture housing: 1003S10, 1004S10 or 1005S10. Dates on the packaging carton include March, April or May 2010.

Lithonia Lighting is providing free replacements. Contact the company at (800) 334-8694 during business hours or visit

Lease Crutcher Lewis raising $125K to mark 125 years

More than 130 Lease Crutcher Lewis employees and family members recently gathered on the Lakeside School campus to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the firm.

Lease Crutcher Lewis has set a lofty goal to celebrate its 125th anniversary: raise $1,000 for every year it has been in business.

CEO Bill Lewis had this to say: “One of the founding principles of the company was community involvement. It’s clear to us that, while we have an incredibly talented group of folks who make great things happen every day, we’re not much without our community. A group of our people came up with the idea of charitable giving instead of a party as a more meaningful way to honor our years of success in the community.”

To get its employees on board, the company is giving an additional 25 percent match for their contributions made this year. That amounts to a 125 percent match, up to $500 per worker. So far, about 25 percent of the workforce has donated more than $15,000 under the program.

The company also sent donation cards to clients and community partners offering to donate money in their names.

The campaign is already approaching its goal: $95,958 has been donated at last glance. A running donation tally can be found at:

Some of the beneficiaries of the program are the YMCA of Greater Seattle, The Seattle Parks Foundation and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Excellent job!


The Construction Industry is Invited to the 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
6737 Corson Avenue, Seattle WA
Western Washington Masonry Trades Training Center

With thousands of years of proven performance, masonry construction has produced the world’s most enduring structures from the pyramids in Egypt to our local schools and homes in every neighborhood. Craftsmen have perfected this trowel trade by mastering building techniques passed down from generation to generation providing building owners with lasting projects of the highest quality in a timely manner. The time has come to put those highly honored skills to the test and prove who “The Best Bricklayer in the Puget Sound” is!


The SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500® Competition is a masonry competition that highlights the skills of true journeymen masons, QUALITY WORKMANSHIP where the winner will receive cash and prizes as well as a trip to the World of Masonry in Las Vegas, Nevada, to compete in the National Competition where the winners will take home more than $100,000 in cash and prizes.

Each of the competing teams will consist of one bricklayer and a mason tender. Teams must exhibit skill, speed and stamina to build a 26-foot double-wythe wall, laying as many brick as they can in 60 minutes. With a strict set of rules and guidelines, competitors will be judged on meeting the quality standards of the contest as well as the total number of bricks installed.

Colman Residence tower support shafts finishing up


DBM Contractors on Wednesday expects to finish what will now total 116 drilled shafts at the Colman Residence project across the street from the Journal Building.

The concrete and rebar filled shafts will support the 16-story, 208-unit apartment tower. Crews are now digging the grade beam foundations that will sit atop the shafts. They also have installed the rebar that will strengthen the concrete box that will support the project’s tower crane.

The project team is: Goodman Real Estate, owner; Turner Construction, general contractor; Weber Thompson, architect; and Magnusson Klemencic Associates, structural engineer.