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Oregon and Washington share a border, and as an attorney practicing in both states, I can attest that they share a lot of business as well. It’s quite common for contractors and suppliers to work across those state lines, with Washington folks frequently furnishing to areas like Portland, Oregon, and Oregon folks frequently furnishing to Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Vancouver, Washington.

The two states present an interesting case study in the differences in mechanics lien and bond claim laws between different states.

I’ve talked ad nausea here on the Construction Payment Blog that these lien and bond claims laws differ from state-to-state, and this may have little impact on companies that supply to or work in a single state. But there are many companies like those in the Pacific Northwest where working across state lines is a way of life.

If you’re on a state, county, municipal or public project in Oregon or Washington, the rules that govern your bond claim are vastly different depending on where you are.

The Time to File Your Bond Claims is Different

In Oregon, bond claims must be filed within 180 days from your last furnishing of labor or materials to the project. That’s a very easy deadline to calculate, and gives each claimant the same amount of time to file their claim.

In Washington, however, not only is the number of days different, but the entire calculation is different.  Instead of counting from the claimant’s last day of furnishing, the lien period starts to count at the end of the project when the contracting authority “accepts” the project.  Then, claimants only have 30 days to file their claim.

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Rules About When The Claim Is Considered Filed Is Different

Another difference between the two states is rooted in the nuances of lien and bond claim law, and that has to do with determining when the surety bond claim is actually filed.

In Oregon, ORS 279C.605 provides that the bond claim must be sent within 180 days from last furnishing. This implies that the claim need not be received by this date – only sent.  Therefore, if a claim is sent within this period, but received after the period, the claimant would have a good argument that their lien claim was sent on time.

The situation in Washington may be completely opposite to this (although, depending on interpretation of the law, it may not). RCW 39.08.30 provides the written bond claim must be “present[ed] to and file[d] with” the appropriate office within 30 days of the acceptance of the work.

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