PLF argues at Oregon Supreme Court: people have a right to compete

January 10, 2017 | By ANASTASIA BODEN

Today I’ll argue this economic liberty case on behalf of David Hansen at the Oregon Supreme Court.

David studied architecture at the University of Idaho.  After college, he worked at various architectural firms doing design work.  Later, David and a partner started their own firm—Twist Architecture—to use their skills while pursuing licensure in Oregon. His partner was licensed in Washington at the time, and David was not yet licensed anywhere. Aware that they couldn’t practice architecture in Oregon without a license, they limited their work to making marketing drawings.  These drawings were meant to help a property development company attract retailers to developments by imagining different possibilities for the project.  The drawings were not “plans,” and could not be used for construction.  If any development moved forward, the retailers would hire their own licensed architect to draw the actual plans for the project.

After receiving a complaint from a licensed architect, the Board fined David and his partner $10,000 each for purportedly practicing architecture without a license.  The Board contends that “anything done in contemplation of constructing a building” is the practice of architecture and requires a license.

We argue that the Board’s interpretation is unconstitutional.  Any restriction on a person’s right to earn a living must bear a rational relationship to protecting health and safety.  Overreaching prosecutions like the one at issue here do not protect public safety, and are often bare attempts to keep individuals from competing with licensees.  The Board cannot wield its power to insulate architects from competition by others for ancillary services that are not themselves the practice of architecture.