Oregon governor proposes minimum wage hike (higher in Portland)

SALEM, Ore. — In an effort to stave off two potential ballot measures this fall and put to rest months of aggressive debate with a compromise, Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday proposed a phased, two-tiered hike to the state minimum wage that has the support of the legislature’s top two officials.

Under Brown’s proposal, Oregon’s statewide minimum wage of $9.25 an hour — previously the second-highest in the nation before dropping to eighth this year — would bump to $11.79 in metro Portland and to $10.25 in the rest of the state starting next year. In 2022, the Portland area’s minimum would rise again to $15.52 an hour and the remainder of the state to $13.50.

House Speaker Tina Kotek and Senate President Peter Courtney, both Democrats, called Brown’s proposal a much-needed compromise.

“I would want to do more, faster. But as a leader in this state, we have to meet as many needs as possible, and over the next six years low-wage workers would get an increase under this proposal and businesses would have predictability,” Kotek said at a news conference with Courtney.

Courtney, who opposed proposals to increase the minimum wage during last year’s legislative session, stressed his position that the issue be solved by lawmakers rather than voters.

“I don’t like making policy through the initiative process,” he said. “Everybody at this stage in the game is in a very testy, fragile situation. But they see this proposal for what it is, and that is a good-faith proposal to try and increase the minimum wage while also recognizing the economic engine of Portland.”

Whether it’ll be enough to dissuade coalitions “Oregonians for 15” and “Raise The Wage” from taking their own, separate proposals to the November ballot is unclear. Both groups are pushing for larger per-hour wage increases than Brown and on faster timelines. They also want to remove the state’s pre-emption law that prevents local districts from setting their own wage minimums, which Brown’s proposal would keep in place.

“A quick review shows that it has some positive elements — like a higher wage for some high-cost areas” but “it does not include lifting (the statewide) preemption and it lengthens the timeframe significantly, which is a concern,” Raise The Wage members said in a prepared statement Thursday.

Brown’s office said her proposal results from “conversations with stakeholders in both the public and private sectors.”

“The costs of essentials such as food, child care, and rent are rising so fast that wages can’t keep up,” Brown said in a statement. “Many Oregonians working full-time can’t make ends meet, and that’s not right.”

Brown’s proposal will be debated by the Legislature in a session that starts in February.

Talk to us

More in Local News

911 received multiple calls reporting a fire at Marie Anne Terrace apartments early Monday morning, Feb. 6, 2023 in Everett, Washington. There were no injuries or fatalities. (Everett Fire Department)
Fire damages Everett apartments, displaces 10

The fire at the Marie Anne Terrace apartments Monday night displaced four families and caused extensive property damage.

A rack with cards bettors can use to choose their own numbers to purchase lottery ticket on a counter at a market. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Been to Auburn lately? That’s where $754M Powerball ticket was sold

This is only the second time a Powerball jackpot has been won in Washington.

Granite Falls
Man shot near Granite Falls; assailants at large

Two suspects fled after shooting a 33-year-old man in a motorhome Tuesday morning, according to police.

Photo by David Welton
A federal grant will help pay for the cost of adding a charging station to the Clinton ferry terminal.
Federal money to help electrify Clinton ferry dock

The Federal Transit Administration awarded state ferries a $4.9 million grant to help electrify the Mukilteo-Clinton route.

Community Transit is leasing a 60-foot articulated BYD battery electric bus this year as an early step in the zero emission planning process. (Community Transit)
Community Transit testing 60-foot electric bus

The agency leased the BYD K11M for $132,000 this year as the first step in its zero-emission planning process.

Angelica Montanari and daughter Makena, 1, outside of the Community Health Center of Snohomish County Everett-Central Clinic on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Amid patient woes, CHC of Snohomish County staffers push for a union

Doctors and nurse practitioners are worried about providers being shut out from clinical decisions, which hurts patient care.

NO CAPTION. Logo to accompany news of education.
Public school enrollment still down, even as rural districts grow

Smaller districts in Snohomish County seem to be recovering more quickly — and gaining students — than their urban counterparts.

Snohomish home-invasion suspect had been released weeks earlier

Eleazar Cabrera, 33, is accused of breaking into a home and shooting a man three times. He has a lengthy rap sheet.

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
A holiday for Lunar New Year, a return of green and white license plates

It’s Day 29. Here’s what’s happening in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

Most Read