Oregon man fined $500 for calling himself engineer in email to state

By reader acclaim: “In September 2014, Mats Järlström, an electronics engineer living in Beaverton, Oregon, sent an email to the state’s engineering board. The email claimed that yellow traffic lights don’t last long enough, which ‘puts the public at risk.'” The board fined him $500 for “practicing engineering without a license” and for referring to himself as an engineer in correspondence with the state despite his unregistered status. The Institute for Justice is in court on his behalf. [Jason Koebler, Motherboard]


  • Maybe he meant he was a train engineer, or an on site satellite maintenance engineer or a building maintenance engineer!!!

  • I’m a software engineer… Choo choo…

  • Apparently to engage in any thought processes involving scientific or mathematical concepts in Oregon, one must be a licensed engineer in that state. Who knew. I wonder if they are going after all the law enforcement officers and lawyers who routinely evaluate the speed or stopping distance of vehicles.

    • 1/2mv squared.
      c=3×10 to the 8th m/s
      Go ahead Oregon, arrest me.

  • When you read the complaint that was filed, it doesn’t seem to me that any of the statutes or regulations they fined the man for was broken.

    In no way, shape or form was he being compensated for being an engineer. He has the degree for engineering which in anyone’s book, makes him an engineer.

    I hope that Oregon is ready to fine those pesky military units – you know, the US Army Corps of Engineers. Not many of the people actually doing the work are actual, accredited engineers. They are just the people who pour concrete, drive equipment, etc, but clearly they are passing themselves off as engineers.

  • Shouldn’t this story be posted in a round-up next to the Orleans Parish prosecutors handing out fake subpoenas? I mean, they look so good next to each other.

  • I’m surprised that Beaverton wasn’t so embarrassed by the bad publicity that they rescinded the fine. Oh, wait! That would cost them money. Never mind. That’s the whole reason they require a license; to make money.

    On a personal note: I’d be ashamed to attach my name to such a document.

  • Now I’m worried. I’m an engineer (mechanical) and I sometimes work in our Portland office.

  • In case anyone is wondering, there is a $360 fee to be registered as an engineer in Oregon and a $150 bi-annual renewal fee.


    “Gentlemen, we have to protect our phoney baloney fees!”

  • There is a massive looming “engineering” problem that has not seen much “ink.” To be a certified, registered engineer, a “Professional Engineer” you have to work for a number of years with a currently registered PE. As a PE is expensive (high salary) companies are getting rid of high cost engineers. So there are fewer people left to aid in the certification process, diminishing the “availability” of training. The numbers are hard to come by, but there may not be enough engineers left to sustain the population, let alone permit growth. Having spent the bulk of my career in mechanical engineering software, between lack of PE co-workers and frequent job changes, PE was unavailable.

  • They say an idiot is a man who does not vote. In such cases, I think the term should apply to those who do.

    Think of it. The man has done pro bono work to improve the system. He should be rewarded and assigned to similar work. Laws are meant to protect, not harass. There is no terrorism worse than bad laws.

    In India, the police hide behind corners to nab suspected perpetrators. We campaign against them, including charging them with dereliction of duty if they stray too far from a crossing to hide.

    At Umbergaon railway station, a lawyer was caught crossing the tracks. A cop would post himself on the other side and round up a couple of dozen every day. At a summary trial at the station itself they would be fined; and let go to attend work. The lawyer, however, argued thus: I am at fault, he said and must pay the fine. But the policeman should stand on the launching platform, not the receiving one. He should stop the errant crossing, rather than wait for the deed to occur.

    The Magistrate had the moral courage to return the fines AND THEN PROCEEDED TO TEAR INTO THE COP!

    THAT IS JUSTICE, seen and believed.

    Bapoo M. Malcolm, Advocate, Bombay High court, India.