November 29th, 2010 5:33 pm | by JESSICA LUTJEMEYER News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Activism, CLEAN UP

Rally in Portland to Urge Extension of Unemployment Benefits for Oregonians

Unemployment Benefits

The scary prospect for thousands of Oregon families not getting an extension of their federal unemployment benefits thanks to congressional inaction brought about a dozen unemployed Oregonians today to a rally in downtown Portland to protest.

"We are on the verge of disaster," said Eleyna Fugman, who's been sporadically employed for 18 months.

Fugman says she relies upon the weekly $257 she gets in unemployment benefits and that the money goes right back into the economy through her payment of bills. She says cutting off her money won't help to end the recession.

At the rally and news conference organized by the Sunnyside Self-Help Employment Group in advance of the deadline Nov. 30 for Congress to act, organizers said 7,500 Oregon families would immediately lose their money if Congress refuses to continue the benefits. And in another month's time, 7,500 more Oregon families would lose their unemployment benefits as well.

Francisco Holdman, a veteran and single parent, has been unemployed since 2008. He gets $195 per week and says he feels like he is drowning slowly, currently owing his friends and family thousands of dollars.

"I'm deeply troubled that we're not taking care of our needy," he said.

Fugman encourages unemployed Portlanders to visit the Sunnyside Self-Help Employment Group at Southeast Uplift at 3534 SE Main St. Portland, OR 97214 or e-mail the group at
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