Minimum Wage

Full Report
Executive Summary


City Club of Portland members Maria Thi Mai and Ukiah Hawkins testified about the Minimum Wage report before the Oregon Senate Interim Committee on Workforce and General Government on Monday, Nov. 16. Watch their testimony below.


Research committee concludes
“Portland needs a higher minimum wage”

Oregon should restore to all communities the right to set a minimum wage
that meets their economic circumstances.

The City of Portland should take steps to set a higher local minimum wage and the Oregon Legislature should allow it to do so, a City Club of Portland research report released on Thursday recommends. The report is titled “Portland needs a higher minimum wage."

“The cost of living around Oregon varies significantly, and is much higher in Portland than other parts of the state. For this reason, it does not make sense to insist on a single minimum wage for the entire state,” the Minimum Wage Research Committee concluded in its report.

The committee’s 10 member-volunteers spent six months interviewing 21 witnesses and reviewing relevant data and studies. They concluded that a state law that prohibits communities from increasing their minimum wage above the state rate – called preemption – prevents them from addressing the needs of residents living at the lower end of the economic spectrum.

“More than a third of people working in the Portland area earn less than $15 per hour,” Committee Chair Maria Thi Mai said. “Unlike in the past, those people increasingly are not teenagers but middle-aged workers who do not earn enough to support themselves and their families even if they work full-time or more.”

City Club will devote its Nov. 6 Friday Forum at the Sentinel Hotel to discussing the report and the minimum wage. Those who wish to attend can reserve a seat online at

After a panel discussion, City Club members will vote whether to adopt the report. Those not in attendance will have an opportunity to vote online.

“With multiple minimum wage proposals in the works for 2016, this City Club report provides the unbiased, nonpartisan analysis that voters and lawmakers need to make informed decisions about whether to support particular measures or bills,” City Club Executive Director Mike Marshall said.

City Club of Portland brings together civic-minded people to make Portland and Oregon better places to live, work and play for everyone. For more information about City Club of Portland, visit or call 503-228-7231.

Minimum Wage Committee Members

Maria Thi Mai, Chair Ian McDonald, Lead Writer
Cezanne Miller, Vice Chair Matthew Tschabold
David Pagano Claire O'Neill
Jack MacNichol Alex Macfarlan
Ukiah Hawkins Frances Dyke
Caroline Harris Crowne, Research Adviser Patricia Farrell, Advocacy Adviser
Rob Brostoff, Research Adviser  

Friday Forum

On Nov. 16, 2015, City Club of Portland's Friday Forum was about the minimum wage and this research report. Watch or listen to the proceedings below. After the panel discussion, the membership debated and voted on the report.