2017 ORS 279C.580¹
Contractor’s relations with subcontractors

(1) A contractor may not request payment from the contracting agency of any amount withheld or retained in accordance with subsection (5) of this section until the contractor has determined and certified to the contracting agency that the subcontractor has determined and certified to the contracting agency that the subcontractor is entitled to the payment.

(2) A dispute between a contractor and first-tier subcontractor relating to the amount or entitlement of a first-tier subcontractor to a payment or a late payment interest penalty under a clause included in the subcontract under subsection (3) or (4) of this section does not constitute a dispute to which the contracting agency is a party. The contracting agency may not be included as a party in any administrative or judicial proceeding involving such a dispute.

(3) Each public improvement contract awarded by a contracting agency must include a clause that requires the contractor to include in each subcontract for property or services the contractor enters into with a first-tier subcontractor, including a material supplier, for the purpose of performing a construction contract:

(a) A payment clause that obligates the contractor to pay the first-tier subcontractor for satisfactory performance under the subcontract within 10 days out of amounts the contracting agency pays to the contractor under the public improvement contract.

(b) A clause that requires the contractor to provide a first-tier subcontractor with a standard form that the first-tier subcontractor may use as an application for payment or as another method by which the subcontractor may claim a payment due from the contractor.

(c) A clause that requires the contractor, except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, to use the same form and regular administrative procedures for processing payments during the entire term of the subcontract. A contractor may change the form or the regular administrative procedures the contractor uses for processing payments if the contractor:

(A) Notifies the subcontractor in writing at least 45 days before the date on which the contractor makes the change; and

(B) Includes with the written notice a copy of the new or changed form or a description of the new or changed procedure.

(d) An interest penalty clause that obligates the contractor, if the contractor does not pay the first-tier subcontractor within 30 days after receiving payment from the contracting agency, to pay the first-tier subcontractor an interest penalty on amounts due in each payment the contractor does not make in accordance with the payment clause included in the subcontract under paragraph (a) of this subsection. A contractor or first-tier subcontractor is not obligated to pay an interest penalty if the only reason that the contractor or first-tier subcontractor did not make payment when payment was due is that the contractor or first-tier subcontractor did not receive payment from the contracting agency or contractor when payment was due. The interest penalty:

(A) Applies to the period that begins on the day after the required payment date and that ends on the date on which the amount due is paid; and

(B) Is computed at the rate specified in ORS 279C.515 (Conditions concerning payment of claims by public officers, payment to persons furnishing labor or materials and complaints) (2).

(4) A public improvement contract that the contracting agency awards shall obligate the contractor, in each of the contractor’s subcontracts, to require the first-tier subcontractor to include a payment clause and an interest penalty clause that conforms to the standards of subsection (3) of this section in each of the first-tier subcontractor’s subcontracts and to require each of the first-tier subcontractor’s subcontractors to include such clauses in the first-tier subcontractors’ subcontracts with each lower-tier subcontractor or supplier.

(5)(a) The clauses required by subsections (3) and (4) of this section do not impair the right of a contractor or a subcontractor at any tier to negotiate, and to include in the subcontract, provisions that:

(A) Permit the contractor or a subcontractor to retain, in the event of a good faith dispute, an amount not to exceed 150 percent of the amount in dispute from the amount due a subcontractor under the subcontract without incurring any obligation to pay a late payment interest penalty, in accordance with terms and conditions the parties to the subcontract agree upon, giving such recognition as the parties consider appropriate to the ability of a subcontractor to furnish a performance bond and a payment bond;

(B) Permit the contractor or subcontractor to make a determination that part or all of the subcontractor’s request for payment may be withheld in accordance with the subcontract; and

(C) Permit such withholdings without incurring any obligation to pay a late payment interest penalty if:

(i) A notice that conforms to the standards of subsection (8) of this section has been previously furnished to the subcontractor; and

(ii) A copy of any notice a contractor issues under sub-subparagraph (i) of this subparagraph has been furnished to the contracting agency.

(b) As used in this subsection, “good faith dispute” means a documented dispute concerning:

(A) Unsatisfactory job progress.

(B) Defective work not remedied.

(C) Third-party claims filed or reasonable evidence that claims will be filed.

(D) Failure to make timely payments for labor, equipment and materials.

(E) Damage to the contractor or subcontractor.

(F) Reasonable evidence that the subcontract cannot be completed for the unpaid balance of the subcontract sum.

(6) If, after applying to a contracting agency for payment under a public improvement contract but before paying a subcontractor for the subcontractor’s performance covered by the application, a contractor discovers that all or a portion of the payment otherwise due the subcontractor is subject to withholding from the subcontractor in accordance with the subcontract, the contractor shall:

(a) Furnish to the subcontractor a notice conforming to the standards of subsection (8) of this section as soon as practicable after ascertaining the cause for the withholding, but before the due date for payment to the subcontractor;

(b) Furnish to the contracting agency, as soon as practicable, a copy of the notice furnished to the subcontractor under paragraph (a) of this subsection;

(c) Reduce the progress payment to the subcontractor by an amount not to exceed the amount specified in the notice of withholding furnished under paragraph (a) of this subsection;

(d) Pay the subcontractor as soon as practicable after the correction of the identified subcontract performance deficiency;

(e) Make such payment within:

(A) Seven days after correction of the identified subcontract performance deficiency unless the funds for the payment must be recovered from the contracting agency because of a reduction under paragraph (f)(A) of this subsection; or

(B) Seven days after the contractor recovers the funds from the contracting agency;

(f) Notify the contracting agency upon:

(A) Reduction of the amount of any subsequent certified application for payment; or

(B) Payment to the subcontractor of any withheld amounts of a progress payment, specifying:

(i) The amounts of the progress payments withheld under paragraph (a) of this subsection; and

(ii) The dates on which the withholding began and ended; and

(g) Be obligated to pay to the contracting agency an amount equal to interest on the withheld payments computed in the manner provided in ORS 279C.570 (Prompt payment policy) from the 11th day after receiving the withheld amounts from the contracting agency until:

(A) The day the identified subcontractor performance deficiency is corrected; or

(B) The date that any subsequent payment is reduced under paragraph (f)(A) of this subsection.

(7)(a) If a contractor, after paying a first-tier subcontractor, receives from a supplier or subcontractor of the first-tier subcontractor a written notice asserting a deficiency in the first-tier subcontractor’s performance under the public improvement contract for which the contractor may be ultimately liable and the contractor determines that all or a portion of future payments otherwise due the first-tier subcontractor is subject to withholding in accordance with the subcontract, the contractor may, without incurring an obligation to pay a late payment interest penalty under subsection (6)(e) of this section:

(A) Furnish to the first-tier subcontractor a notice that conforms to the standards of subsection (8) of this section as soon as practicable after making the determination; and

(B) Withhold from the first-tier subcontractor’s next available progress payment or payments an amount not to exceed the amount specified in the notice of withholding furnished under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.

(b) As soon as practicable, but not later than 10 days after receiving satisfactory written notice that the identified subcontract performance deficiency has been corrected, the contractor shall pay the amount withheld under paragraph (a)(B) of this subsection to the first-tier subcontractor, or shall incur an obligation to pay a late payment interest penalty to the first-tier subcontractor computed at the rate specified in ORS 279C.570 (Prompt payment policy).

(8) A written notice of any withholding must be issued to a subcontractor, with a copy to the contracting agency, that specifies:

(a) The amount to be withheld;

(b) The specified causes for the withholding under the terms of the subcontract; and

(c) The remedial actions the subcontractor must take in order to receive payment of the amounts withheld.

(9) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, this section does not limit or impair any contractual, administrative or judicial remedies otherwise available to a contractor or a subcontractor in the event of a dispute involving a contractor’s late payment or nonpayment or a subcontractor’s deficient performance or nonperformance.

(10) A contractor’s obligation to pay a late payment interest penalty to a subcontractor under the clause included in a subcontract under subsection (3) or (4) of this section is not an obligation of the contracting agency. A contract modification may not be made for the purpose of providing reimbursement of a late payment interest penalty. A cost reimbursement claim may not include any amount for reimbursement of a late payment interest penalty. [2003 c.794 §151; 2005 c.103 §34; 2012 c.4 §2]

Notes of Decisions

Under Former Similar Statute (Ors 279.445)

Surety’s right to be paid from specific proceeds of publicly funded project is superior to interest of contractor’s secured creditor. In re Comcraft, 206 B.R. 551 (Bkrtcy. D. Or. 1997)

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 279C—Public Improvements and Related Contracts, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors279C.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 279C, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano279C.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.