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Quick—guess how much change is lurking in your couch cushions. Twenty-five cents? A dollar? Try $52 million. That’s how much money the State of Oregon found last year—and some of it could be yours. Businesses in Oregon are required to give unclaimed money to the state after a few years—be it in the form of stocks, mutual funds, dividend checks, pension plans, even that $4 refund check from PGE you never cashed. The Unclaimed Property Program in the Oregon Department of State Lands holds the loot in the Common School Fund, a trust established when Oregon became a state. The fund is now worth about $750 million. Currently, about one million Oregonians have money sitting in the fund. (To find out if you have any unclaimed dinero, visit Twice yearly, the fund’s interest earnings are distributed to the state’s 197 school districts; last year, the earnings totaled almost $56 million, or roughly enough to buy…

$56 MILLION = 37,583,892 packages of No. 2 pencils / 5,743,590 copies of homer’s odyssey / 577,320 desks

This article appeared in the June 2009 issue of Portland Monthly.
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