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May-16-2007 05:51printcomments

State Urges Oregonians to Search for Unclaimed Property

$41 million was remitted to the state last year.

oregon state capitol

(SALEM) - More than 150,000 Oregonians had unclaimed property turned in to the Department of State Lands last year by businesses and organizations that were unable to locate them.

"Unclaimed property typically includes uncashed payroll checks, state tax refunds, utility deposits, stock proceeds, dormant bank accounts – any financial asset that has not been claimed by its owner, or that has not had any owner-generated activity for several years," said DSL's Unclaimed Property Section Manager Cyndi Wickham.

Each November, DSL receives reports from businesses and organizations; in 2006, over 10,000 reports with a value of $41 million were received. This unclaimed property has been added to current unclaimed property holdings of $253 million for more than a million people.

The funds are held in trust forever in the Common School Fund until claimed by the rightful owner.

Earnings from the fund are distributed twice yearly to Oregon's 198 K-12 public school districts. In 2007, distributions will top $50 million.

The State Treasurer, one of three members of the State Land Board, and the Oregon Investment Council invest the fund. The current market value of the CSF is more than $1 billion.

"No amount of money is too little for us to send to the rightful owners," said Wickham. "Last year's smallest claim was $1.20 and the largest was $1.02 million. We encourage everyone, including businesses, to check the DSL Web site to see if we're holding money for them."

In 2006, DSL processed more than 6,000 claims totaling over $9 million.

To search DSL's unclaimed property database, go to and follow the links.

Or ask DSL staff to perform a search by sending an email to or writing a letter to 775 Summer St. NE, Suite 100, Salem, OR 97301-1279. Be sure to provide the full name in addition to previous and current addresses.

DSL's claims staff of four replies to every inquiry, usually within 30 days or less.

"We all love our jobs," said Wickham. "Our program has been referred to as ‘Oregon's largest lost and found.' It's very rewarding to connect Oregon citizens to their money."

The State Land Board consists of Governor Kulongoski, Secretary of State Bill Bradbury and State Treasurer Randall Edwards.

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Dale Corvallis May 16, 2007 11:17 am (Pacific time)

Darn it! I didn't have any!

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