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Legal Aid Faces As Many As 20 Layoffs

The board overseeing Legal Aid services for Oregon has approved a series of staffing cuts.  Legal Aid is actually two non-profits: one funded federally, one by the state.  The groups both get money from filing fees and a special kind of interest income from legal trusts.

Each of the two groups faces a million dollar deficit due to declining revenue, according to Board chair Michael Mason. No offices will close, but as many as twenty jobs will be eliminated. Mason calls it a dark day.

Michael Mason “We closed the Klamath Falls office in 1997 after major federal cuts. And it had a huge impact. People who are unwilling to follow the law by all accounts ran amok.”

The union representing Legal Aid attorneys offered a package of wage freezes and furloughs that would have stabilized funding for a year.

Mason says the board appreciated the offer and acknowledged services will suffer. He says the board does not believe funding streams will stabilize by then.

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