By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Salem, Ore – The Oregon House on Feb. 18 voted to increase the state’s $9.25 minimum wage to almost $15 an hour by 2022—but only for workers in the city of Portland. The bill sent to Gov. Kate Brown would raise the minimum every July for the next seven years, but would split the increases into three regional tiers by region.
Workers in Portland would get a jump to $11.25 in July 2017 and $14.75 in 2022. Those in mid-size counties, such as Portland’s suburbs and the city of Eugene, would get a raise to $13.25 in 2022, and those in rural counties, such as Harney and Malheur in the state’s east, would get $12.50. Protesters demanding a bigger increase jammed the state capitol, banging on the walls outside the House chamber and occupying Brown’s office for a sit-in. “We're really happy to see the Legislature has stepped up and provided Oregonians a much-needed raise,” said Heather Conroy, executive director of Service Employees International Union Local 503, but she added that the increases might not be enough to stop pushing for a state ballot initiative that would raise the minimum to $13.50. Read more