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Public Employees Rally At Oregon Capitol

Members of AFSCME rally on the front steps of the Oregon Capitol Friday.
Chris Lehman
/
Northwest News Network
Members of AFSCME rally on the front steps of the Oregon Capitol Friday.

One of the largest state workers unions rallied in front of the Oregon Capitol Friday. Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said budget-balancing discussions by Oregon lawmakers unfairly target public employees.

Brenda Johnson came to the rally from Lakeview, Oregon, where she works as an executive support specialist in a state prison. Johnson told the crowd she doesn't think state workers should shoulder the blame for the state's budget crunch.

"Once again we are expected to do more with less,” she said. “The budget cannot be balanced on our backs."

Oregon lawmakers are looking at ways to bridge a $1.6 billion gap between expected revenue and what it would take to provide state services at their current levels.

A legislative committee that's expected to examine potential revisions to the state's business tax will hold its first meeting on Tuesday.

Copyright 2017 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.