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News Release
Investigation Opened to explore establishing toll-free Southern Oregon Calling Region
 
August 20, 2002 (2002 - 024)
 
Contacts:  Roy Hemmingway, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Lee Beyer, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962; 
 
Salem, OR – Today the Oregon Public Utility Commission opened an investigation to determine whether to establish a Southern Oregon EAS (toll-free) calling region.
 
In recent months, the idea has been gaining significant support. In late April, the Rogue Valley Council of Governments (RVCOG) sent a letter to the Commission asking it to consider linking up Jackson and Josephine counties into one calling area.
 
Ashland (R) State Senator Lenn Hannon hosted a meeting attended by PUC staff August 14, 2002 to discuss the idea of establishing a region. At the roundtable meeting, PUC staffers explained the pros and cons of establishing a region.
 
Commissioner Lee Beyer said, " We are more than willing to work with the Southern Oregon region to establish this region if it is something they clearly want to do."
 
An EAS region is a unified calling area that allows all areas within the region to call one another without incurring long-distance charges.
 
PUC staff is neutral regarding the size of such a region. The Commission will establish an EAS Citizens Advisory Panel that will propose potential boundaries to the Commission. "We want the people of Southern Oregon to suggest to us how large the region should be rather than having Salem dictate to them," Commissioner Lee Beyer said.
 
The Commission may accept, modify or reject the proposal put forth by the advisory panel. After boundaries are established the investigation will proceed through the standard EAS procedure. Once proposed rates are determined the Commission will hold a series of public meetings to determine whether citizens still want to go forward with establishing the region.
 
Currently Portland has the only EAS calling region in the state with 32 separate exchanges.
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