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SALEM, OR- A week after being fired as general contractor of the state’s uninhabitable $21-million emergency operations center, McCarthy Building Cos. responded last week by filing a $4 million lawsuit against the state in Marion County Circuit Court.

The state is withholding the final $1-million payment of McCarthy’s $17.33-million contract pending the outcome of the lawsuit. A hearing is scheduled for the morning of Aug. 7, a court clerk tells GlobeSt.com.

The project, scheduled for completion four months ago, is rising at then corner of State Street and Hawthorne Avenue NE. The Oregon Military Department has oversight over the project. McCarthy’s firing stems from an alleged lack of earthquake protection in the building.

Col. Mike Caldwell, the Military Department’s deputy director, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Loren Collins, the state’s attorney on the case, also was unavailable. A spokesperson for St. Louis-based McCarthy declined comment but promised to fax GlobeSt.com a copy of the lawsuit, which did not arrive in time for this story.

The project is supposed to consolidate 120 emergency response personnel for forest fires, floods, domestic attacks and earthquakes. The primary problem is apparently the building’s seismic bracing. Specifically, the state is claiming that some pipes in the ceiling have not been adequately protected to withstand the heavy shaking that might occur during and earthquake.

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