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July Brings A Pay Increase For Oregon's Minimum Wage Workers

Roger Jones

Tomorrow (July 1st) minimum wage workers across Oregon will see a hike in their hourly pay.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.  

The increase is because of Senate Bill 1532, passed during the last legislative session.  In Portland, the wage goes from $9.75 an hour, to $11.25.  In Eugene, the increase goes to $10.25 an hour…while rural areas will see $10.

Critics say the minimum wage hike will stress companies, including small business owners.  But Catherine Reinhart, co-owner of Sweet Life Patisserie in Eugene, disagrees.

“The more money people have in their pockets, the more they spend, locally," says Reinhart.  "They’re willing to spend a little bit more if we have to increase prices, so it basically just boosts everybody up. It doesn’t seem to be a problem, so the more we can give people a good wage, and make them feel secure, the more our economy is going to do well.” 

Incremental increases in Oregon’s minimum wage will continue through 2023.  Afterwards, it’ll be adjusted annually for inflation.

Copyright 2017, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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