Oregon’s new minimum wage law gives city-dwellers a bump in salary

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Oregon currently has one of the highest state minimum wage rates in the U.S. at $9.25 an hour. That’s still a tough amount to live on and state lawmakers have decided they can do better.

The Associated Press reports legislators approved a bill Thursday that would raise the Oregon minimum wage to as much as $14.75 in some areas by 2022. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said she plans to sign it into law.


The max rate for the bill of $14.75 would only apply to workers in Portland, which has seen a surge in housing prices in recent years while wages have remained flat.

While Portland will see the largest increase, the law actually has two other rates; $13.50 for smaller cities like Salem and Eugene, and then $12.50 for rural areas. Much of Eastern Oregon is farmland and legislators from that region felt the area’s lower cost of living warranted a lower minimum wage.


The new law, when fully enacted, will give Oregon the highest statewide minimum wage in the country, well above Massachusetts’ planned increase to $11 in 2018.

The passage of the bill was apparently a wild day at the Oregon Legislature, according to OregonLive. Multiple protesters were ejected from the chamber after calling for a higher $15 rate. Another group staged a sit-in in the governor’s office, chanting “black lives matter" and "restore local control,” according to OregonLive. Guess you can’t win them all.