Robert Zollna | Independent
                                Ryan Kurts, who rents a home on Southeast Serenade Way damaged by the Port Orchard tornado Dec. 18, says a tree contractor failed to finish a job cutting massive tree trunks and limbs into manageable pieces. Kurts said the man was paid $2,180 to do the work.

Robert Zollna | Independent Ryan Kurts, who rents a home on Southeast Serenade Way damaged by the Port Orchard tornado Dec. 18, says a tree contractor failed to finish a job cutting massive tree trunks and limbs into manageable pieces. Kurts said the man was paid $2,180 to do the work.

Make sure contractors are licensed before you sign contract

Due diligence is critical before hiring a contractor to clean up tornado damage

PORT ORCHARD — When Ryan Kurts and his landlord contracted with a Pierce County tree clearing contractor to lop off and cut fallen trees on their Serenade Drive property after the Tuesday tornado made it a disaster zone of sorts, they were dismayed with the contractor’s final product.

After shelling out $2,180 to the contractor, he reportedly left the scene with the job only partially completed. A huge tree trunk sat next to Kurts’ dented trailer (he said it was damaged when one of the tree branches struck it as the contractor was maneuvering the tree). An attempt had been made by the hired hand to chainsaw the massive tree section, but it remained there — still in one piece — after the contractor apparently left because he didn’t have the necessary tools to carry out the work.

But Kurts’s next-door neighbor Katie Schroedle, shared some good news, courtesy of another tree service contractor. Schroedle, who was without power after the tornado, had borrowed a power generator from a Tacoma-based contractor, Maple Wood Tree Service, to get her by until power was restored.

But in a kind gesture befitting the holidays, the contractor presented her with a gift on Christmas Eve: a new gas power generator.

The contractor proved that the bad actors in the business — a minority — spoil the reputation of the majority of reputable business people. Still, it’s nonetheless in a homeowner’s best interests to conduct due diligence anytime when looking to hire someone to do work you can’t do, especially in an emergency situation.

Rob Putaansuu, Port Orchard’s mayor, reminded area residents that even though time is of the essence in getting their homes repaired and buttoned down to protect it from the weather, it’s crucial that they feel comfortable with who they’re entrusting repairs to, which can cost thousands of dollars.

“My advice to anyone in any situation would be to make sure you’re dealing with licensed and bonded contractors and reputable people,” Putaansuu said.

“These are challenging times and you need to get the work done as quickly as possible, of course, but you still need to take the proper steps.”

Tim Church, public affairs manager with the Washington State Labor and Industries Department, said general contractors in this state are required to be licensed, bonded and registered with the state.

“Homeowners should verify the contractor they’re considering has the proper credentials,” Church said.

He said Labor & Industries, or L&I, has a page on its website (www.lni.wa.gov) where citizens can verify details about any contractor in question. The web page confirms whether a contractor or tradesperson has an active license, is certified or has a record of safety citations or lawsuits.

“If someone walks up with just a business card and says they’re a contractor, I’d be really skeptical of that,” Church said. “We do not want people to be taken advantage of in a time of desperation.”

Ryan Kurts contracted with a Graham tree removal contractor for $2,180 to cut down broken tree trunks and limbs on his property into manageable pieces. Kurts, however, said the contractor failed to finish the job and left a huge tree trunk uncut. (Robert Zollna | Kitsap Daily News)

Ryan Kurts contracted with a Graham tree removal contractor for $2,180 to cut down broken tree trunks and limbs on his property into manageable pieces. Kurts, however, said the contractor failed to finish the job and left a huge tree trunk uncut. (Robert Zollna | Kitsap Daily News)

Residents who suffered damage from the Dec. 18 tornado are advised to carefully check the credentials of individuals who claim to be licensed and bonded contractors capable of performing repair and cleanup duties to homes and businesses. (Robert Zollna | Kitsap Daily News)

Residents who suffered damage from the Dec. 18 tornado are advised to carefully check the credentials of individuals who claim to be licensed and bonded contractors capable of performing repair and cleanup duties to homes and businesses. (Robert Zollna | Kitsap Daily News)

More in News

Petty Officer 3rd Class Lewis Beck and Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Houvener, both marine science technicians at Coast Guard Sector Juneau, look through federal regulations during a container inspection in Juneau, Alaska, June 19, 2015. Coast Guard inspectors follow rigid, standardized regulations to ensure maritime operators across the country are held to the same rules. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst.
Government shutdown could have effects on ferry service

USCG inspectors left shorthanded amid government shutdown

Former California Governor visits Olympia to push renewable energy

By Emma Scher WNPA Olympia News Bureau Former California Governor Jerry Brown… Continue reading

Lawmakers propose plan to reduce food waste by 50 percent

By Madeline Coats WNPA Olympia News Bureau Three representatives from the Democratic… Continue reading

Search for new police chief begins

Marti to retire this year; salary boost expected to increase recruitment pool

State AG: Navy released ‘50 dump truck loads’ of toxic pollutants into Sinclair Inlet in 2017

Attorney General Bob Ferguson threatened a citizens’ lawsuit if the Navy does not address its alleged “ongoing violations” of the Clean Water Act.

Downtown Poulsbo restaurant to offer free meals to federal workers

The Burrata Bistro will be serving lunch on Jan. 27 to workers affected by the government shutdown

Bremerton girls located after scare

The three children were reported “missing and endangered” Tuesday.

Siliqua patula, a clam native to the Northwest, could become a very special mollusk in Washington. Photo courtesy Wikipedia Commons.
Bill could see razor clam recognized as Washington’s state clam

If passed Washington would become the first to officially designate a state clam

Most Read