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Apr-21-2008 13:30printcomments

Oregonians Worry Their Paychecks Won`t Cover Basic Costs in 2008

Yet they stay hopeful of local improvements, and eight of 10 people say they will take their concerns to the voting booth this November.

Poverty, Oregon

(ST. PAUL, Minn.) - Nearly one-third of Oregonians worry most of the time that their total family income will not be enough to meet their family’s expenses and bills in 2008, bringing the struggle to make ends meet to a very personal level, according to a nationwide survey released today by the Northwest Area Foundation.

Whether due to the depressed housing market, record numbers of home foreclosures, mounting debt or a wavering stock market, more than half of the state’s residents rated the local economy as fair or poor. Two-thirds say they are worried the economy will get worse this year. The poll numbers show:

* Thirty-two percent worry most or all of the time their total family income won’t be enough to meet bills.

* Fifty-two percent rate the local economy as fair or poor.

* Sixty-five percent say they are worried the economy might get worse in the next year.

The reality of these survey numbers is felt across many different sectors.

“Many families are just one paycheck away from disaster. They are being hit with skyrocketing gas prices and higher food and utility bills. There’s a lot of concern about the future,” said John McArdle, mayor of Independence, Ore. “People are working, yet not getting ahead.”

An overwhelming number of Oregonians say their concerns about people struggling to make ends meet will be an issue in this year’s elections:

* Ninety-one percent say they will probably vote in the November election.

* Eighty-six percent think it is important for elected officials to help those who are struggling.

* Eighty-one percent say they will take that belief with them to the voting booth.

Yet, Oregonians hold out hope. For three straight years they have said they believe that the number going through hard times can be reduced.

“Responsible elected officials are always working to reduce poverty and increase local confidence by recruiting or helping to create quality sustainable jobs, because jobs are the best antidote to poverty,” said McArdle.

Northwest Area Foundation has seen communities make progress in moving from poverty to prosperity.

“People are fully aware that the struggle to make ends meet has become harder and more pervasive all around this country and in all kinds of communities – urban, rural and American Indian reservations,” said Gary Cunningham, vice president of programs and chief program officer for the Northwest Area Foundation. “As significantly, the hope and drive we’ve seen in communities to reduce poverty, build prosperity and take back their destinies, is also borne out in this national poll.”

A likely reflection of the rising cost of living, more people say it takes twice the federal poverty threshold, $21,027 to meet basic needs for a family of four:

* Sixty-seven percent in 2008 vs. 62 percent in 2007 say it takes at least $40,000 for a family of four.

* Thirty-six percent in 2008 vs. 33 percent in 2007 say it takes more than $40,000 for a family of four.

For the third year in a row, a vast majority in the state, 90 percent, said they know someone who is working full time, yet is still struggling to make ends meet. Fifty percent said they know people who are working two or more jobs and are struggling.

Despite their own personal financial worries, 87 percent of Oregonians report they would like to do more to help those who are struggling to make ends meet. Among the steps they are willing to take, 64 percent say they would pay $50 more per year in taxes if it would go to people in their community.

For full details on the national poll, including actions people are willing to take to help others, priorities for lawmakers, and optimism for the future, visit

The Northwest Area Foundation is dedicated to helping communities in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington reduce poverty for the long term. These states were served by the Great Northern Railway, founded by James J. Hill. In 1934, Hill’s son, Louis W. Hill, established the foundation. To learn more, visit

The Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF) commissioned Lake Research Partners (LRP) to conduct a national tracking survey to explore the public’s perception of poverty in one’s own community, attitudes toward the roles of local elected officials, and ways in which to address the issue. The survey was conducted among 4,000 Americans age 18 and older, from February 8-29, 2008. Eight hundred interviews were conducted nationally, and oversamples of 400 were conducted in each of the following eight states: Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The oversamples were weighted down to reflect their true proportion in the country. The margin of error is +/-3.5 percentage points for national and +/-5.0 points for state results. This is the third survey of its kind, replicating studies NWAF and LRP released in March 2006[1] and April 2007.

Source: Northwest Area Foundation

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Charlie April 23, 2008 6:22 pm (Pacific time)

rjerryc has the most practical way of handling our current financial situation. Money and resources are tight, close all water-tight doors and take care of our own until we improve our situation. There will be time later to deal with those who need dealing with.

Henry Clay Ruark April 23, 2008 11:18 am (Pacific time)

To all: SO why not get on with action already set up in Congress for impeachment, adding additional perpetrators as needed ? Founders built in the strong process precisely for purpose of protection vs such as this cabal. We must set solid precedent for clearing away such malign s...[read "stuff" if stomach weak !) to prevent takeover of imperial presidency sought by neocon cabal. See my previous Op Eds at Staff-"Written by..." HCR

Sue April 23, 2008 7:13 am (Pacific time)

Vic has the best idea! I am not sure about the hanging and viewing part, but stopping the war and prosecuting the war criminals is a must!

Vic April 22, 2008 3:25 pm (Pacific time)

I have an idea....stop the war for oil and Greater Israel,thereby saving about a billion $$ a week, arrest Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Powell, Feith, Zakheim, and the rest of the crime family...give em a fair trial and then put the hangings on pay-per-view....we could probably pay off the national debt with the proceeds.

rjerryc April 22, 2008 6:58 am (Pacific time)

All of this and our "officials" still plan to bring several ballot measures in that will ask us for millions of dollars. If the school districts, transit districts and all government agencies want the support of the people, all they have to do is say that they are going to live within their current budgets for the coming year or until the economy gets better. Tjhose of us struggling to pay mortgages and buy food cannot afford more bond measures asking for our grocery money! We have to live on a very tight budget and the schools and others should do the same. Tighten your belts and live within a reasonable budget. You really do not need all that you are planning on asking for. You merely want it.

conservative April 21, 2008 5:27 pm (Pacific time)

I have an idea. Why don't we finally cut off all the fundings for the Illegals and give some extra help to the American People who deserve it? But no, that would use common sense and our Politicians sure don't have that. They need the votes from the Illegals.

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