Oregon Legislature Passes Historic Investment in Public Safety Workforce

Salem, Oregon - Oregon's 82nd Legislative Assembly passed HB 4045, the Public Safety Workforce Stabilization Act, an historic investment in Oregon's public safety workers.. HB 4045 received overwhelming bipartisan, bicameral support, marking a significant step forward in prioritizing the dedicated workers who serve on the front lines of public safety by allowing them to retire with enhanced benefits.

HB 4045 creates a new "Hazardous" category within the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) for 911 operators as well as nurses and physicians at Oregon State Hospital (OSH) who are members of the Tier 3, Oregon Public Service Retirement Plan (OPSRP). The Public Safety Workforce Stabilization Act also allows all OSPRP members in the Police & Fire category to retire five years earlier with full benefits, changing the retirement age from 60 to 55. This change impacts thousands of workers at the Stabilization and Crisis Unit (SACU) and Department of Corrections (DOC) who day in and day out, experience heightened levels of stress and injuries due to the high levels of physical demand.

"This bill is a game-changer for public safety workers across Oregon. By recognizing the unique challenges and hazards faced by public safety workers, HB 4045 sends a clear message of appreciation for the indispensable contributions 911 operators make to our communities. This change will also make the field more attractive to prospective employees at a time when public safety agencies across the state are facing staffing crises” said Fred Yungbluth, 911 Operator in Clackamas County and President of Oregon AFSCME

"The passage of HB 4045 is what happens when workers who have been physically and mentally drained by harsh working conditions come together and fight for change,” said Joe Baessler, Executive Director for Oregon AFSCME. “Today, we celebrate this policy change that will start to positively impact the lives of thousands of workers who selflessly dedicate themselves to protecting and serving our communities," added Baessler.

With its passage through the Oregon Legislature, HB 4045 now advances to the desk of Governor Kotek, where it is expected to be signed into law.