Paul Riggs to take the helm at Columbia Pacific Building Trades


Paul Riggs was elected executive secretary-treasurer of the Columbia Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council (CPBCTC) at a special business managers’ meeting held Aug. 30.

Riggs, a longtime member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 48, will fill the unexpired term of John Mohlis, who last month was elected executive secretary of the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council, following the retirement of Bob Shiprack.

Mohlis, a member of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1, assumes his new job Oct. 1, as does Riggs.

Riggs, 54, has been working as an electrical inspector for the City of Vancouver for the past two-and-a-half years. The city’s electrical inspectors are represented by Plumbers and Fitters Local 290, so Riggs also is a card-carrying member of that union.

“I would say I arrived here unexpectedly,” Riggs told the Labor Press. “It’s an election year, Everything is running a thousand miles an hour. It’s kind of like arriving at the fire station and the place is on fire.”

A Portland native, Riggs started in the electrical trade in January 1978 as a material handler before entering the apprenticeship program in mid-1979.

In addition to his experience as an electrician, electrical inspector, foreman, general foreman, and steward, Riggs was employed by Local 48 as a union representative, an organizer, and dispatcher, working under former business managers Keith Edwards, Grant Zadow, and Barry Mitchell.

Riggs twice ran for business manager of IBEW Local 48, most recently in July of this year, where he finished behind incumbent Clif Davis and Mitchell.

As head of the Columbia Pacific Building Trades Council, Riggs says he will place a major emphasis on public contracting.

Riggs told the Labor Press that while working at Local 48, he — with help from Shiprack, who also is a member of that union — researched public contracting laws extensively.

“Most new construction will be from public recovery dollars and stimulus money,” he said. “How that money is spent will be quite important.”

On the political side, Riggs has served as a Democratic Party precinct committee person and has helped coordinate union-backed political rallies in Salem and elsewhere.

In other developments, CPBCTC President Jim Pauley of Iron Workers Local 29 resigned his post effective Sept. 1. Vice President Tim Foster of IBEW Local 48 will fill the vacant position until Oct.1. Council bylaws say elected officers cannot be from the same trade, so Foster will have to resign as vice president as soon as Riggs is installed in office.

Riggs’ term as executive secretary runs until December 2011.


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