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Offices Closed with Reduced Services at Some Locations
CONTACT:  Tom Fuller
WorkSource Oregon Employment Department

On Friday, November 27, Oregon Employment Department administrative offices will be closed due to state budget reductions.  This includes Unemployment Insurance Centers. Most WorkSource Oregon Centers will also close or have reduced services. The closures are at the direction of the Department of Administrative Services.
What does this mean for Oregonians seeking services from the Oregon Employment Department?  Below is an outline of basic services provided by the department and the effects of the closures.
Filing a weekly claim for benefits
The filing of weekly claims will not be affected by the closure. Claimants may either call the Employment Department weekly claim line, or go online to file their weekly claim on Sunday or any day thereafter as usual.  There will be a one day delay in payment of benefits due to the Thanksgiving Holiday for those filing their weekly claim. 
Filing a new claim or re-starting an existing claim for unemployment benefits
Oregonians may file a new claim for benefits online at www.WorkingInOregon.org/ocs no matter the day or the time.  However, new claims filed online Friday, November 27 will not be processed by Employment Department staff until the following week. 
Oregonians without Internet access can still call the Employment Department on November 27 to get the process for their new claim started. Here are the specifics of that process:
  • Call your local unemployment insurance center
    o 503-451-2400 or toll free 1-877-877-1781 (Portland area)
    o 541-686-7800 or toll free 1-877-728-7970 (Eugene and southwest Oregon)
    o 541-388-6207 or toll free 1-800-663-7914 (Central and Eastern Oregon)
  • Answer some basic questions using your telephone keypad
  • You will be given a date by which to call back and complete your claim
The advantage to calling the Employment Department to get your claim started is
  • It establishes the date of your claim as November 27, which would mean you would receive your payment sooner, and
  • When you do call back, your process on the phone will go faster
Filing for an unemployment extension
Individuals will not be able to file for any of the unemployment insurance extension programs on November 27.  In order to file for an extension (Emergency Unemployment Compensation, or EUC, High Extended Benefits, or HEB, or Oregon Emergency Benefits, or OEB), individuals must call and speak to a claims taker.  They will be able to do so beginning Monday, November 30.  Backdating an application for an extension to November 27 will be considered based upon individual circumstances. 
Correspondence from the Employment Department asking for a reply by November 27
Anyone who received correspondence from the Employment Department asking for a reply by November 27, 2009, will have those deadlines extended to Monday, November 30, 2009.  This would include filing a request for hearing.
For questions regarding unemployment benefits
Many questions regarding unemployment benefits may be answered on the Employment Department’s Web site:  www.WorkingInOregon.org.  By clicking on “unemployment insurance” in the left-hand menu, then scrolling down to the heading “General Information,” individuals will find a list of resources including a Frequently Asked Questions section.  In most cases, claimants may find answers to unemployment questions here and would not need to call the unemployment insurance center.
What level of service can Oregonians expect on Monday, November 30?
The Employment Department has taken measures to ensure the best service possible to Oregonians once offices re-open.  The department has aggressively investigated problems in the telephone and automated systems, and has identified ways to increase call capacity to the unemployment insurance call centers.  The department also has increased capacity of its online claims system to take more claims simultaneously.
During the week ending November 6, 2009, for instance, the Employment Department handled claims for 178,796 Oregonians, paying out more than $57 million. 
Which WorkSource Oregon Centers will be closed?
The following WorkSource Oregon Centers will be closed November 27, 2009:

Baker City
Canyon City
Coos Bay
Grant Pass
Hood River
La Grande 
Lincoln City 
North Portland 
Oregon City 
St Helens
The Dalles 
Klamath Falls

The following WorkSource Oregon Centers will be open November 27, 2009 with limited service available to the public: