Construction projects in Portland affected by shortage of workers


In the midst of a construction boom, Portland is experiencing a glaring shortage of skilled laborers to do the work.

According to local developers, there are shortages across the board, in every major trade, from carpenters to electricians.

As a result, construction projects are more expensive, and take longer to finish.

"Not only are the bids coming in higher than what we're used to seeing, but the subcontractors are so busy that we're sometimes not getting bids," said Jim Aarhus, a project manager for James E. John Construction. "You can only do so much if you don't have the guys to do the work."

Dan Corcoran, a sheet metal and roofing contractor with McDonald and Wetle, said the worker shortage can be partially explained by a glut of projects in the pipeline, but also believes it's a product of fewer young people choosing to enter the trades.

"We don't teach people to build things," said Corcoran. "We don't teach people to get into wood shop, auto shop, metal shop."

Aarhus said there is no sign of demand for new construction slowing down, so his company and others will be doing their best to keep up, with the workers that are available.

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