VIM Clinic bats 1,000 in eyes of grateful patients

For Cindy Belender, it was the path to a prescription that put an end to years of stomach pain. For Joshua Martyn, it was a simpler post-accident option that averted surgery on his hand – and a hefty pile of debt.

For those two Bend residents, and more than 1,000 other Central Oregonians unable to afford or get health insurance, the 8-month-old Volunteers in Medicine Clinic of the Cascades has proven to be a godsend – a way to get (or stay) well that simply wasn’t available before.

In a sense, the clinic offers a service much like the laudable work done by the many volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. While some, looking at the huge problem of affordable housing, might call the relative handful of Habitat homes only a drop in the proverbial bucket, those involved are busy providing an answer, rather than sit around and wait for “the” answer to emerge (if it ever does).

And so it is with the daunting issue of skyrocketing health care costs and the response given quietly each day at the clinic (www.vim-cascades.org). It held an open house Wednesday so the public could tour the non-profit facility that opened last spring on the southwest corner of the St. Charles Medical Center-Bend campus, at 2300 NE Neff Road.

More than 250 volunteers, from doctors and nurses to lab techs, mental health counselors and interpreters (as well as lay volunteers) are donating about 2,000 hours a month. Since the clinic opened in April, more than 1,800 patient visits have taken place, and 2,400 medications dispensed to VIM patients. About 100 patients also have received dental care, through a partnership with local dentists and the Northwest Medical Teams’ dental van.

The brisk business at the clinic is a double-edged sword, of course. With recent cuts to the Oregon Health Plan, many low-income families are losing their benefits, said Christine Winters, the clinic’s executive director.

“That, coupled with the fact that many businesses cannot afford to offer health benefits to their employees, (means) we have over 12,000 low-income people in Deschutes County without access to affordable health care,” Winters said.

The open house also was a means to introduce the clinic to potential patients and supporters, as it seeks to raise more of the funds needed for facility maintenance, office and medical supplies and staff. “In addition to the many in-kind donations made by the medical and business community, we need to raise $500,000 a year to keep the clinic going,” Winters said.

To be eligible for medical care at VIM, applicants must be a county resident, uninsured, ineligible for the Oregon Health Plan or Medicare, and have a household income below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Once screening is done, patients typically can see a doctor within a week. While the visit with doctor and nurse is free, patients are asked to contribute toward the cost of lab tests, X-rays and medications. (To schedule a screening appointment, call the clinic at 330-9001).

Stomach pain gone, life restored

Cindy Belender, 22, was a bit surprised and overwhelmed to learn she was patient No. 1,000 a few weeks ago. Raised in Hood River, she worked as a nanny in the San Francisco area for a year, moving to Bend last August with her boyfriend. She works full-time at the Shilo Inn front desk, and is taking nursing courses at Central Oregon Community College.

She found out about the clinic from the Deschutes County Health Department.

“I’ve had stomach problems for several years, and have never really been diagnosed with anything,” Belender said. “I have had doctors tell me they think it’s an ulcer, this or that.”

“I’ve had this problem since I was a freshman in high school,” she said. “It got really bad at times. I’ve missed work and school before.”

But she also dreaded the idea of facing a big hospital bill, recalling how she was assaulted by a stranger a couple of years ago in Salem and told paramedics she didn’t want to go to the hospital, refusing an ambulance ride and going on her own to have a possible concussion checked. Belender said she applied years ago to get on the Oregon Health Plan and “never heard anything back – and now they’re not accepting applications.”

But then along came the VIM Clinic, where a doctor gave her the answer she had been seeking. “He said my stomach produces too much acid,” she said. “I never thought of that, because I never had heartburn. I guess all the acid sits in my stomach.”

The clinic doctor prescribed Prevacid, which has given Belender a new lease on life, in just a few short weeks.

“I think that place is great,” she said. “I’ve been so happy, ever since I’ve been there. My stomach hurt every single day. It was getting so bad, when I would eat anything, I’d feel sick. Now, I feel like I can eat – I feel fine, I have energy.”

Patient No. 1,000 actually represents the type of person the clinic has seen in its initial months, said Robyn Holdman, VIM’s development director. More than 60 percent of the patients are 40 or younger (and almost a third are 30 or younger), more than one-third are single, and more than 60 percent are women.

Almost two-thirds of the clinics 1,025 eligible patients hail from Bend, while more than 13 percent are from Redmond, almost 8 percent are from La Pine and about 2.5 percent are from the Sisters area. Almost 18 percent are Hispanic.

Surprisingly to some, the most diagnosed ailment has been depression, followed by hypertension, diabetes, low back pain and anxiety.

Hand heals, big bill avoided

None of those problems are what brought Joshua Martyn calling. The 30-year-old husband and father of two, a Website developer (www.virtualnative.com), “sliced my right hand open” atop the knuckles in an accident in his garage about six weeks ago.

The self-employed COCC graduate had cut three tendons, completely severing the tendon on his ring finger, which he couldn’t move. Like many with or without insurance – “I never get sick,” he said – Martyn rushed to the St. Charles Medical Center emergency room for treatment.

“While I was in there, they were looking at it, testing it, having me apply pressure – that’s when it really struck home,” Martyn said. “I did not have health insurance – it (medical expenses) all went to my credit cards. It really struck home when I learned I needed to have surgery.”

“The ER doctor didn’t have the comfort level or whatnot to sew up the tendon, so he said he was sending me to a specialist,” he recalled – and dollar signs started swimming in his head.

Then Martyn remembered reading an article about VIM, “so I thought I would see if I would qualify. I called them up, asked what I needed. I took in three months of income” records, and soon had an appointment – “quicker then I did for a specialist.”

“Ultimately, what I was after was consultation, more information, without having to pay $300 a visit for (a doctor) talking to me,” Martyn said. “My wife does work – it (a big bill) wasn’t going to be the end of the world, but definitely a huge setback.”

Martyn said clinic volunteer Dr. David Thayer told him he had “a couple different options – one the surgical route, which they (the clinic) don’t do, and the second, based on where the tendon was cut, there was a very good chance the tendons would reattach themselves. I showed him exactly where the cut happened, and I chose to go down the non-surgical option.”

The doctor braced Martyn’s hand open seven weeks ago, and it was in the brace for four weeks. He was “basically out of commission” for about a month, in terms of using his right hand. But in the end, things turned out well.

“My tendons did reattach without surgery,” he said. “It completely healed back up, amazingly enough, without surgery.” Martyn is sure a surgeon would have recommended the surgery, to guarantee healing.

“I can’t say enough good about VIM,” Martyn said. “All those people are wonderful. They gave me great advice, treated me. They braced me, removed my stitches.”

“They are very friendly people,” he added. “They volunteer their time, without pay, to go and help other people. … One thing I really appreciate about VIM is they provided me an opportunity to move forward, rather than backward. The (surgery) bills would have been about $8,000, which would have gone on my credit card, which would have set me back further” on paying for health insurance for himself and his wife.

Also, Martyn said, “Not only did they give me a little boost, to get out of the position I was in, so I’m able to recover from it, but dealing with all those super people over there encouraged me to volunteer to work” on the clinic’s Website. “I did donate money, what I could afford, to the organization” as well, said Martyn, who in the past has worked at a hospice with dying patients and helped the disabled go skiing.

“This really re-harvested that sense (of volunteerism) in me,” Martyn said.

High Cascade Snowboard Camp at Mount Hood

MT. HOOD – High Cascade Snowboard Camp (HCSC) will present freestyle snowboard camps at Mt. Hood Meadows this season. HCSC has earned an international reputation for high quality camps on Mt. Hood, primarily in the summer. The winter camps are designed for intermediate and expert snowboarders age 12 and older who want to improve their freestyle and big mountain riding technique.

Mt. Hood Meadows Vice President Dave Riley expects great things from the partnership. “High Cascade provides exceptional coaching and on-snow experiences for teenage snowboarders. We are excited about this unique partnership which will unite the experience and expertise of HCSC coaches and proven program with the terrain and freestyle offerings at Mt. Hood Meadows.”
HCSC Executive Director Kevin English says the partnership with Mt. Hood Meadows fits perfectly into HCSC’s mission to, “Provide and inspire the most fun, safe, educational and professional snowboard and skateboard programs in the world. Our coaches are stoked to use Hood Meadows as a playground for helping young snowboarders improve their freestyle riding. The terrain at Meadows is a natural park and is enhanced by Meadows’ superior freestyle terrain grooming. It’s a great place to ride!”

English describes a day in camp as both exciting and fun. “Campers are placed in groups with others of similar ability and a coach takes them out riding. Getting as much on-snow time as possible and logging miles really helps the coach to pass on tips to the riders. And since the camps are part of Meadows’ EpiCenter participants will receive lift line priority when with their coach.” HCSC prides itself on assembling a staff that can coach by example when it comes to freestyle. According to English, “Our coaches do more than just talk about how a trick should be done. They demonstrate. That makes it much easier to get someone who has never hit a jump or been in a half-pipe to landing 180’s or even 360’s.”

Camps will be presented in two different formats – multi-week sessions combining four consecutive Saturdays or Sundays will be offered each month from January through April; and consecutive day holiday camps will be presented during Christmas and Spring Break. While HCSC hosts an international audience in the summer, these formats have particular appeal to Oregon and Washington riders considering the convenient location and affordable price.

Information on the HCSC Snowboard Camps at Mt. Hood Meadows can be found on-line at www.skihood.com or www.highcascade.com .

HIGH CASCADE SNOWBOARD CAMP (HCSC)
WINTER CAMPS at MT. HOOD MEADOWS

3 Day Holiday Camps
3 consecutive days
December 27, 28, 29, 2004
March 21, 22, 23, 2005
Pricing:
o $225 Lift Ticket and Coaching
o $120 Meadows Season Pass Holder price for Coaching
o Bus from Portland add $60
o Snowboard Rental Gear add $75

Multi-Week Sessions
Four consecutive Saturdays or Sundays
Session 1: 4 consecutive Saturdays January 8, 15, 22, 29
Session 2: 4 consecutive Sundays January 9, 16, 23, 30
Session 3: 4 consecutive Saturdays February 5, 12, 19, 26
Session 4: 4 consecutive Sundays February 6, 13, 20, 27
Session 5: 4 consecutive Saturdays March 5, 12, 19, 26
Session 6: 4 consecutive Sundays March 6, 13, 20, 27
Session 7: 4 consecutive Saturdays April 2, 9, 16, 23
Session 8: 4 consecutive Sundays April 3, 10, 17, 24
Pricing for 4 week session
o $300 4 Week Lift ticket and Coaching
o $160 Meadows Season Pass Holder price for Coaching
o BUS from Portland add $80
o Snowboard Rental Gear add $100

Information on the HCSC Snowboard Camps at Mt. Hood Meadows can be found on-line at www.skihood.com or www.highcascade.com

Tobacco Quit Line offers free patches to uninsured

The Oregon Tobacco Quit Line (877) 270-STOP (877-270-7867) would like to help uninsured Oregonians quit smoking or quit chewing tobacco.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of premature death and disability, killing more than 7,000 Oregonians every year. The uninsured are more than 80 percent more likely to smoke than those with private health insurance. For a limited time only, uninsured adults who call the Quit Line (877) 270-STOP (877-270-7867) will be offered at least two weeks of free nicotine replacement patches and two free counseling calls.

Promotional coupons for the uninsured for free nicotine replacement patches will be provided locally by the Deschutes County Health Department, please call 388-6616.

The patch giveaway is funded through Measure 44 tobacco taxes, and evaluated through funds from the Centers for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/ . The offer will continue until these funds are exhausted.

For five years, the Oregon Department of Human Services Tobacco Prevention and Education Program has operated the Quit Line. Professionals motivate callers, helping them develop skills and a plan for quitting. For the patch giveaway, the Quit Line also will send patches to the caller’s home. Patches help smokers cope with the physical withdrawal from nicotine addiction. Evidence shows that patches and professional counseling can double or triple a smoker’s chances of successfully quitting.

For more information please call the Deschutes County Health Department at 388-6616.

Cascade Telecommunications partners on VoIP

Cascade Telecommunications, Inc., an industry leader in telecommunications, announced today that the company has formed a strategic partnership with Kentrox, a leading manufacturer of high-quality network access solutions, to deliver state-of-the-art access routers for VoIP systems to small and medium size companies.

“Customer demand for VoIP is at an all-time high because more and more companies view the technology as a way to eliminate long distance costs, increase employee productivity, and obtain greater flexibility and functionality from their telecommunications system,” said Sandy Morse of Cascade Telecommunications.

“However, as businesses consider VoIP, they are often concerned with quality degradation of their voice calls. This quality can easily be adversely affected by other traffic running on the same line, such as web downloads or email. In order to ensure voice quality and proper function, the system must be connected to a high-performance access router.

As a company, we conducted a thorough analysis of the various types of solutions in the marketplace and found that the Kentrox Q-Series is providing businesses with the highest performance and greatest customer satisfaction.”

With the Q-Series, Cascade Telecommunications’ customers will receive the functions of an IP router, Quality-of-Service (QoS) appliance, Virtual Private Network (VPN) appliance, firewall, WAN access device and Ethernet switch – all in a single and cost-effective device.

Integrating six devices into a single unit significantly reduces capital outlay and management and maintenance expenses over the life of the product. The Q-Series router guarantees that VoIP traffic maintains precedence over non-real-time applications. Additionally, the routers are designed to be easy enough for less experienced staff to install and set up.

The router uses an embedded, Web-style graphical user interface (GUI) that is simple, intuitive and requires no special training. The Q-Series are interoperable with Cisco routers, integrating easily into existing networks.

“The performance of the Q-Series has surpassed all of our customers’ expectations and they are reaping the benefits of their investment on a daily basis,” said Dan Murray, vice president of marketing at Kentrox. “We’re excited about this new partnership with Cascade Telecommunications because their customers will now have access to excellent voice quality, even at busy locations. Q-Series routers can control network conditions by automatically giving voice priority over data to ensure consistent, business-quality voice connections every time.”

About Kentrox

Kentrox is a supplier of high-speed network access equipment, including QoS access routers, DSU/CSUs, ATM Access Concentrators, and performance management solutions. Their extensive customer base includes carriers, government entities and enterprise businesses worldwide. Based in Hillsboro, the company is located at 20010 NW Tanasbourne Drive, Hillsboro, OR 97124. Contact the company at 800-733-5511 or 503-643-1681 or via the Web at www.kentrox.com.

Kentrox is a registered trademark and Q-Series is a trademark of Kentrox, LLC.

About Cascade Telecommunications, Inc.

Cascade Telecommunications is locally owned and operated and is Central Oregon’s business owner’s first choice for over 14 years. Cascade Telecommunications goal is to provide each client a custom designed telecommunications solution that not only enhances their customer’s experience, but also provides increased profitability and a competitive advantage. Cascade Telecommunications is a single source contact for all voice, data, and video needs.
Cascade Telecommunications provides industry-leading products with Factory Certified Technicians, Sales and Customer Service Staff, to ensure customer satisfaction by maximizing system performance.

Cascade Telecommunications provides around the clock service to ensure system reliability with mission critical nature of the telecommunications.

Cascade Telecommunications offers comprehensive service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and emergency service guaranteed within 1 hour.

For more information on Cascade Telecommunications, call 541-388-5158 or visit www.cascadetel.com.

Coalition backs feds on hydro-fisheries plan

PORTLAND – The federal government on Tuesday unveiled its new plan to protect Columbia and Snake River salmon and steelhead listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The plan, known as a biological opinion (BiOp), guides operations of the federal hydro-electric system to benefit fish and identifies measures to improve hatchery operations and habitat work. It replaces a plan released in 2000, and updates it with the latest scientific findings and information. In the last four years, many of the salmon runs that the Biological Opinion is meant to protect have more than doubled.

“Thanks to the work that has been done in the region and good ocean conditions, we continue to see huge returns of fish,” said Shauna McReynolds, spokesperson for the Coalition for Smart Salmon Recovery. “The new plan builds on these successes with the best and latest science.”

The new plan addresses concerns raised by U.S. District Court Judge James Redden over actions in the 2000 Biop that NOAA could not predict were “reasonably certain to occur.” It calls for the continued investment of around $600 million each year, much of which comes from the pocketbooks of the region’s electricity ratepayers.

Among the measures featured in the plan are an increased emphasis on predator control, and the installation of removable spillway weirs at federal dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. The first of these “fish slides”, installed at Lower Granite Dam in Idaho, has increased juvenile salmon survival through the project to around 98%. The new biological opinion also introduces a greater focus on performance measures and accountability.

“This plan provides even greater protections for salmon, and it includes a measure of accountability,” said Steve Eldrige, General Manager and CEO of Umatilla Electric Cooperative, in Hermiston. “Our members want to know their dollars are being used effectively when it comes to saving salmon, so it is critical that flexibility and accountability remain important parts of this document.”

“Clearly the investments we’ve made are making a difference,” said Glenn Vanselow, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association. “The record numbers of fish we’re seeing year after year show this. It’s time to get to work, and put the new, improved plan into place.”

“This is a good plan and a step in the right direction. It will be a shame if others in the region decide to drag it into lawsuit limbo, and put its new protections on hold,” said McReynolds.

Local United Way helps out homeless shelters

Homeless individuals and families in Deschutes County got a lift Tuesday when United Way of Deschutes County announced it will provide grants to three local shelter programs to extend the availability of emergency shelter services.

The grants, totaling $24,000, were awarded to the Bethlehem Inn, Nancy’s House, and The Loft.

Bethlehem Inn, which recently made the move from a seasonal program to year round operation, will receive $15,000. The award will help support the expanded operating costs associated with going full time for the 72-bed emergency shelter located in the former work release center on Bend’s north end.

Nancy’s House, operated under the auspices of COCAAN, opened one year ago as an emergency shelter for up to five homeless families with children. It will receive $7,500, for direct assistance to clients.

The Loft (Living Options for Teens), a runaway and homeless youth program operated by Cascade Youth & Family Center/J Bar J Youth Services, received $1,500 for direct assistance to clients.

“In Deschutes County, the number of individuals and families that are homeless or facing homelessness is on the rise and has been on the rise for several years. United Way believes that anyone who is homeless or living in an unsafe situation in our community must have access to a warm and safe place to lay their head at night,” said Anne Carlson, Co-Chair of the United Way of Deschutes County’s Community Impact Committee.

United Way of Deschutes County is committed to building community by changing people lives. The organization recently reported that it is more than halfway to meeting its annual fund raising goal of $1.25 million to help meet basic needs, get kids off to a great start in life, keep youth on track for success and keep children and families safe from violence and abuse.

People interested in making a donation to the current United Way campaign can call 389-6507.

About the UWDC: United Way of Deschutes County (www.deschutesunitedway.org) is committed to investing in local agencies and programs that get results that matter, changing lives. For more information about the programs and services our agency partners provide, call 389-6507.

Impressive Events prez advances in Toastmaster

Barbara Malcom, President of Impressive Events, has just completed her ATM Silver in Toastmaster. (ATM is Advance Toastmaster Silver.) She has presented 32 speeches from Toastmaster International-approved manuals. Each speech delivers a purpose. Among the topics covered: The Speech to Inform, A Fact-Finding Report, Resources for Informing, Storytelling, The Folk Tale, The Touching Story, The Abstract Concept, among others. Barbara is a member of the Highnooners Toastmasters which meets on Tuesday’s at 12:00 pm at Clear Choice Health Plans. For information regarding Toastmaster contact Barbara Malcom at 383-8268.

Oregon’s share of flu vaccine arrives

Oregon’s share of the nation’s available flu vaccine, about 92,000 doses, has arrived at the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) and will be distributed around the state by the end of the week.

Grant Higginson, M.D., state public health officer in DHS, said Tuesday that the vaccine will be sent to some private providers and local health departments.

“The doses have been allocated within each county based on a formula that is intended to make vaccine supplies equitable throughout the state,” Higginson said. “This formula was established in consultation with local health departments, who have been and will continue to work with vaccine providers in their communities.

“This offers plenty of time for high-priority people to get vaccinated against influenza,” said Higginson. “We strongly encourage these folks to be persistent in seeking a flu shot.”

Higginson cautioned people not to start calling for vaccination information until next week, to allow time for doses to be transported out from DHS to the rest of the state.

Beginning next week, people should call their health care provider to see if they will have additional vaccine. If not, they can call the state Flu Hotline at (800) 978-3040 statewide or (503) 872-6900 in the Portland metro area to find a clinic in their area.

The arrival of the 92,000 doses brings Oregon’s allotment of flu vaccine this year to about half of what was originally ordered, but is about what public health officials expected due to the national vaccine shortage, according to Higginson.

An additional 33,000 doses of national flu vaccine has been earmarked for Oregon and could be delivered in January. However, DHS will order the vaccine only if there continues to be a demand for it into 2005, Higginson said.

The attached chart shows how much vaccine each county has already received and the number of additional doses they will soon receive.

To ensure those people at greatest risk of serious complications from the flu are covered, Oregon’s vaccine prioritization plan allows vaccination only for those in the following groups:

Children ages 6-23 months;
Adults ages 65 and older;
Anyone ages 2 to 64 with underlying chronic medical conditions;
Women who will be pregnant during influenza season;
Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities;
Children ages 6 months to 18 years on chronic aspirin therapy;
Health-care workers who deliver direct patient care;
and Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children under 6 months.

Pet adoption fair seeks loving homes at holidays

A pet adoption fair will be held Thursday and Saturday, Dec. 2 and 4, at the downstairs conference rooms in the new Deschutes Services Center, 1300 NW Wall St. in Bend (located off the Parkway at the Lafayette exit).

“Furry Friends in Need” is jointly sponsored by the Humane Societies of Redmond and Central Oregon. The Deschutes Services Center location will provide pet shoppers a comfortable location to visit with many animals from the shelters and foster homes.

Both adoption events will feature kittens, cats, puppies and dogs and other small critters – all needing loving homes this holiday season.

The event times are as follows:
Thursday, December 2, 5:00pm to 8:00pm
Saturday, December 4, 10:00am to 4:00pm

Pet adoption fees include a vet wellness exam, spay or neutering, first set of vaccinations, a pet supply “goodie bag” and more!

If pet lovers are not seeking a new “best friend”, they may also drop by on one of the event days to donate any of the following items:
• quality kitten and puppy food
• kitty litter
• milk replacement formula (for orphaned kittens and puppies)
• monetary donations for the winter dog house program, cat cages, basic medications, educational literature and supplies

In addition, if anyone is interested in fostering cats, kittens, dogs, puppies and other shelter animals – especially young, orphaned, pregnant or special needs animals that require extra attention – information on the fostering program will be available.

For more information, please call:
Humane Society of Redmond, 923-0882
Humane Society of Central Oregon, 382-3537
Adoption Event Volunteer Contact, 388-6572

Amy’s Kitchen expanding operations to Medford

SALEM – Amy’s Kitchen officials announced their decision Monday to expand their Santa Rosa, Calif. operations to Medford. The company expects to complete a land purchase in Medford later this month, at which time they will announce their final plans for expansion.

Amy’s, with annual sales of more than $100 million, has grown nearly 25 percent this year, forcing the company to expand its manufacturing space sooner than expected. The new facility in Medford, when built, could create more than 200 jobs for the area.

“Amy’s decision reveals that, not only can Oregon compete for business with any state in the Northwest, but our state has distinct advantages that many companies seek,” said Gov. Ted Kulongoski. “Amy’s Kitchen espouses corporate values that align perfectly with Oregon’s, such as a clean and healthy environment, livability, and product/service quality. It’s a perfect match, and we expect businesses with similar values will soon be considering Oregon.”

The Oregon Economic and Community Development Department (OECDD) has been working with Amy’s Kitchen since April, 2003. While the OECDD holds details of its negotiations and incentives confidential until the company makes its formal announcement later this month, the agency is eager to share the Amy’s Kitchen story with other businesses considering relocation or expansion.

“It’s a win-win for Oregon and California,” said Marty Brantley, director of the OECDD. “California will retain Amy’s headquarters operation in Santa Rosa and Oregon will have the opportunity to host the company’s expansion facility.”

A report by the Tax Foundation in Washington D.C. released this week rated Oregon one of the most business-friendly states. Oregon ranked 10th best in the nation for a combination of factors, including lack of a sales tax, low “sales and gross receipts” taxes, a beneficial corporate income tax structure, and low unemployment insurance levels. According to the 2003 Cost of Doing Business Report by the North American Retail Dealers Association, Oregon’s cost of energy is lower than 40 other states, another benefit for Oregon businesses.

In October, Governor Kulongoski announced that the average “pure” premium rate for Oregon workers’ compensation insurance will remain flat in 2005, marking three years of stable rates after twelve consecutive years of rate reductions. “Businesses that relocate to Oregon from neighboring states often tell us that our low workers’ comp rates are one of the primary reasons they choose to come here,” said the Governor.

The Oregon Economic and Community Development Department works to strengthen the state’s economy and put more Oregonians to work in good jobs. By partnering with private sector organizations and working closely with local communities, the Department creates opportunities for business expansion, creation and relocation. For more information on doing business in Oregon, call the OECDD at 1-(866)-4OREGON (1-866-467-3466) or visit http://www.Oregon4biz.com/.