Unemployment law renewal explained

Nearly 35,000 Oregonians will benefit from an unemployment compensation program enacted by Congress Tuesday.

The law continues the federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, which was due to end Dec. 29. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 also averts tax increases on most Americans and delays large spending cuts for government programs.

The new law will bring about $320 million into Oregon’s economy in the form of federal unemployment benefits. These funds are used to support families and communities and keep workers in their labor market, ready to return to work as the economy improves.

The Oregon Employment Department reports that claimants currently claiming EUC benefits should continue filing weekly, and that those claimants who become potentially eligible will be notified by mail.

Due to interest in this new law, traffic to the unemployment insurance call centers is high. Oregonians can always inquire about the status of their claim by going to www.WorkingInOregon.org/ocs.

The new legislation allows people who have not yet exhausted all tiers of EUC benefits to continue receiving benefits from that program. No new benefits are provided. Filing for EUC will now end Dec. 28, 2013.

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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive

The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge



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