FAQ - Craigslist & Verifying Architectural Registration

I haven't had too many questions lately, but these two regarding Craigslist and architectural registration have come my way more than once.

I’ve been looking for a job via craigslist and have noticed that some potential employers don’t reveal their names.  I’m concerned whether or not I should I apply to them?

I can think of two reasons for this - both somewhat negative. One is that the company in question has a bad public reputation and doesn’t want prospective applicants to be dissuaded from applying. The other reason is that the company is looking to replace currently employed staff and doesn’t want the person (or persons) they are trying to replace to be alarmed. If it were me, I would generally avoid those companies and instead look for companies that aren’t afraid to put their name out there. Most states have a dedicated AIA employment webpage that you might find more useful (and less vague or anonymous) than Craigslist. In the case of Oregon, that page can be found at the Portland AIA.

How do I know if my architect is licensed (registered)?

By definition all architects (and architecture firms) must be licensed. It is a violation of Oregon state law to practice architecture without a license either as an individual or as a firm operating under an assumed business name. That being said, there are individuals and firms in existence that skirt the law by implying registration where none exists.

Locally, the Cascade Business News publishes an annual list of architectural firms. Their list usually appears in one of the January or February issues. I think it only appears in the physical issues of the paper as I've never seen it online. It's a nice resource, but it's rarely complete and there are occasional inaccuracies.  This year's list included a builder and a design firm (neither licensed).

The definitive database of licensed architects and architectural firms is maintained by the Oregon Board of Architectural Examiners (ORBAE). To access it, navigate to their homepage (seen below) and click the image of a magnifying glass at the lower left on that page.

That brings up the Registration Search page...

As it says, you can search by individual/firm name, license number, or location. I have found "location" to be a useful option. Type "Bend" in the search box. I've included two results below.  The first one (on the left) shows what happens when you type slowly. As soon as you start to type, the database starts to filter results. If after you've typed "Bend," your results look similarly chaotic, click the "search" button and the results should look more like the image on the right.

As you can see from the image on the right (above), there are six pages of results. You can jump to any page by clicking the page number buttons under the search box. You are also only seeing the top half of the page. You can see the rest by moving the slider on the right of the page.

The results are alphabetical and are listed first by firm name and then by individual. Click the "Filter by type:" button just to the right of the "search" button. By default it's set to "all," but you can also choose "Firm" or, as seen below, "Individual."

The number in parentheses after each name is the license number.

The next column shows license status. The following are the common notations for this column (there may be others that I'm not aware of).

  • "Active" means the individual or firm is currently licensed.
  • "Inactive" means they aren't (i.e. the licensee hasn't renewed their license prior to the expiration date).
  • "Forfeited" means exactly that. This usually applies to firms that are no longer in business.
  • "Revoked" applies to firms and/or individuals who have had their license suspended by the Board - usually as the result of a disciplinary hearing.
  • "Emeritus" applies to individuals who apply for and meet the requirements for it.
  • "Deceased" applies to individuals who are no longer with us. :(

Address shows the city, state, & zip code of the licensee.

Issued/Expired is the date the license was issued and when it is due to expire (if not renewed).

The Board's database includes non-registered firms & individuals who have had action taken against them by the board, however the searchable public database only includes entries for those who are or have been licensed in Oregon.

If you have you have further questions regarding registration of a firm or individual that isn't clarified by searching the database, you can contact the Board directly