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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon's Minimum Wage Increases As Of July 1

Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries
Oregon's minimum wage goes up July 1 to $9.50 per hour in rural counties and $9.75 in the rest of the state.

Tens of thousands of Oregonians will get a raise Friday when the state's minimum wage goes up for the first time in 18 months.

The amount of the increase depends on where you work. The wage goes up 25 cents per hour in rural counties and 50 cents per hour everywhere else. Full-time minimum wage workers will see their paycheck go up $20 per week before taxes.

"It's okay because it will make a little difference, but we still need more of that,” said Kasil Kapriel, who works at Portland International Airport. She helps people in wheelchairs get to and from their flights.

Kapriel said she does get tips sometimes, but only enough to pay for her light rail ticket back home. Next year, Oregon moves to a three-tiered system which gives workers in the Portland metro area a higher rate than the rest of the state.

The minimum wage will automatically go up each July for the next six years. At that point it will return to the old system of being adjusted based on the Consumer Price Index.

The wage hike was narrowly approved by Oregon lawmakers in March as an attempt to head off a potential ballot measure that would have increased the minimum wage more rapidly. Business groups and Republicans in the legislature opposed the measure, which they say will cause small business to lay off employees.