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 http://www.oregon.gov/DSL/UP/index.shtml) 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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