The Douglas County Board of Commissioners wants Gov. Kate Brown to consider halting the COVID-19 pandemic’s enhanced unemployment benefits.

In a letter to the governor last week, the commissioners argued that local businesses are having trouble finding the workforce they need to fill the jobs they have available. According to the commissioners, unemployment benefits are to blame.

Many businesses have closed or shortened hours due to a lack of willing workers, the commissioners said.

That’s also costing the state, the commissioners argued, because payroll taxes are lost and extra money spent on the benefits.

They wrote that a study by the Southern Oregon Workforce Investment Board found that employers would have to start workers at $19 per hour for a 40-hour work week to match the pandemic benefits recipients are receiving to stay at home.

The commissioners referred to the Open Air Job Fair, held earlier this month, and said 28 businesses were seeking employees for 438 open positions. A total of 150 job seekers attended the event, they said.

Having only one-third the number of job seekers as job openings leaves local employers feeling helpless, they wrote.

“This is a no-brainer,” the commissioners wrote. “There should be no incentives to keep people from working while there are jobs to be had.”

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Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

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(19) comments


You go, Commissioners!

The enhanced unemployment benefits end September 4th. So you have only *79* days to try to inflict maximum pain on people who live on a tiny fraction of what you have.

Yeah, I know: the cruelty is the point.

But do you have to be so obvious?

Employers can get the employees they need if they pay sufficiently, and treat employees as if they were human beings. This has been repeatedly demonstrated in the last few months--and it's not a new concept in economics: a shortage of workers in the 14th Century led to the end of feudalism.

The other strategy, of course, is the lash--the preferred tool of conservatives, the advocates, really, of feudalism. And plantations.


[thumbup]To Joe.


Wow . . . when will this County be sick and tired of these idiot Commissioners? Each one of them receives a monthly paycheck of $7,400 a month – that’s almost $50 an hour, with absolutely NO REQUIREMENT TO SHOW UP FOR WORK, and this doesn’t even count the fact that Boice has two businesses on the side, Kress owns Waldron’s and Freeman’s sitting on who knows what

“This is a no-brainer,” the commissioners wrote. “There should be no incentives to keep people from working while there are jobs to be had.” Seriously? We’re going to stop helping families

where neither Mom or Dad can stand on their feet all day serving or cooking hamburgers or mopping the floors or loading a truck, or running a chain saw because those are the only jobs available?

How many families on unemployment will it take to equal the monthly paychecks of the three stooges? Let's see $19 an hour for 160 work hours in a month that’s $3,040. The rent for a two-bedroom house is over $1,300 on Mill Street in Roseburg. Food, clothing, medical, insurance, gas, and other living expenses gets the rest. $19 an hour isn’t even a living wage for a family of four in this county. Have any of the Commissioners been to the grocery store lately? Wonder what Big O employees or Waldron’s workers make an hour? Can they afford to even have a family?

Maybe if we cut the salaries for Commissioners back to $19 an hour and required them to show up, they’d be telling a different story. Maybe if we had some intellect at the courthouse, we would diversify our economy instead of proliferating the natural resource exploitation and "get back into the woods," mentality that is stuffing money in the mill owners’ pockets while they whine about not finding someone to work for less than $19 an hour with no hope of owning a home. Have you seen the prices on a standard double-wide in Myrtle Creek? How long has it been since you’ve seen a log yard so full of logs and lumber and the retail prices so high YOU can’t even afford a 2 x4 to fix your fence.

If there are any dollars to be cut it is the handout salaries for Boice, Kress and Freeman, our double dipping do nothing County Commissioners. Oh, and not just a big fat paycheck, they get a county vehicle, free gas, and expense accounts to buy lunch and dinner out while other people are standing in line at the food pantry. And let's not forget their PERS Retirements that we’re all paying for as well. On a positive note . . . sorry . . . nothing comes to mind about these three freeloaders.



st paddy





"Wow . . . when will this County be sick and tired of these idiot Commissioners?"

They are Republicans. They don't care a whit about people. They care about suppressing the vote, scaring people, and giving tax breaks to rich people and rich corporations.




Simple-mined thinking about a complex problem. Trying to blame a complex problem on one issue.

There are many reasons why people are not jumping at the opportunities. Here's a few I can think of off the top of my head.

Child care- A person can't go to work if there is no one to take care of the kids and, as we know, affordable child care has been hard to come by during the pandemic.

School kids at home during the school year and, now, for the summer.

Inadequate tips for bartenders and servers- with restaurants operating intermittently, going out of business, or operating at restricted capacity, bartenders and servers who rely on tip income do not earn enough to survive. This problem is exacerbated, of course, by the refusal of many in this county to get vaccinated (Thanks to Dallas Heard and his followers), which, in turn, keeps the restaurateurs caught in this vicious cycle.

Lousy wages- the article cites that it would take $19 at 40 hours for people to go to work. That's a whopping $760 a week.

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology living wage calculator, that amount fall far short of a living wage for Douglas County.

The data: For a household with 1 adult and 2 children, the living wage in Douglas County is $38.36; with 2 adults (1 working) and 2 children, it's $34.39; with 2 adults (both working) and 2 children, it's 21.25.

But the commissioners, as they typically do, want to blame the governor. At least they are consistent.



st paddy



Low wages, lack of benefits, fear of infection, and poor child care choices are the reasons that folks aren't rushing back to work. People not wearing masks and ranting to employees making $11 also add to the problem.







st paddy



Today's Douglas County Commissioner's press release reported 2 more coronavirus deaths in Douglas County, bringing the total to 82.


As much of the country emerges from masking and social distancing, undervaccinated pockets in the U.S. still threaten to bring the virus roaring back.


This partly shows wages are too low and not keeping up with costs.

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