Oregon Passes First-of-Its-Kind Minimum Wage Law With Rates Varying by Region

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

UPDATE: Governor Kate Brown signed the bill into law on March 2, 2016.

February 22, 2016

Oregon's legislature has passed a new minimum wage bill, under which the minimum wage will vary depending on where an employer is located.

Many cities and counties around the nation have adopted their own local minimum wage rates, resulting in a patchwork of requirements for employers that operate in more than one location. But Oregon is the first state to establish regional variations at the state level.

Under the bill, which Gov. Kate Brown has said she will sign, the minimum wage will be higher for Portland and its immediate surroundings and lower for certain rural counties. The minimum wage will increase every year on July 1 for the next seven years. After that, it will be adjusted for inflation each year.

Base Minimum Wage

Portland Area

Certain Rural Counties





July 1, 2016




July 1, 2017




July 1, 2018




July 1, 2019




July 1, 2020




July 1, 2021




July 1, 2022




July 1, 2023, and every July 1 thereafter

Adjusted for inflation

Adjusted for inflation; no less than $1.25 more than base minimum wage

Adjusted for inflation; no less than $1.00 less than base minimum wage

The bill directs the Bureau of Labor and Industries to adopt rules for determining an employer's location.

The rural counties were selected based on a demographic analysis that accounts for how much income families would need to make ends meet without public or private assistance.