The big challenge for Gov. Kate Brown in shepherding a minimum-wage hike through the Oregon Legislature is keeping up the enthusiasm of Portland advocates and labor unions while not alienating the rest of the state, which is still feeling the effects of the economic downturn.
Brown this morning announced a compromise aimed at doing both.
Under Brown's proposal, the Portland metropolitan area—everywhere within the urban growth boundary—could see its minimum wage raised to $15.50 an hour.
The rest of the state would see an increase to $13.50, with both increases phased in over the next six years.
Splitting the wage hike into two tiers could jeopardize the support of the 15 Now campaign, which is backed by labor unions. But the split is key to winning the support of powerful state Senate President Peter Courtney, who has in the past torpedoed $15-an-hour proposals.
"Portland has a powerful economic engine and deserves a much higher wage," Courtney told WW in November, "but this issue of one size doesn't fit all is real."