State of Oregon v. City of Salem

Marion County Circuit Court Judge Mary Mertens James issued a decision favorable to our client, the Salem Urban Renewal Agency, in the Salem Conference Center case. The Salem Urban Renewal Agency was sued by the state Bureau of Labor and Industries for failure to require payment of prevailing wages on the Grand Phoenix Hotel, a hotel that is located adjacent to the publicly-owned Salem Conference Center. The Bureau contended that the timing of the construction of the hotel, its proximity to the conference center, certain development requirements imposed by the Agency and the interconnectivity between the operations in both buildings (which include the Agency’s leasing of some space in the hotel) created an obligation of the Agency and the hotel general contractor to pay prevailing wages. Based on the private ownership, financing and operations of the hotel we argued that there was not sufficient public involvement in the hotel to require payment of prevailing wages. After reviewing the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment, Judge James agreed with our position, holding that state laws regarding payment of prevailing wages do not apply to the hotel.