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News Release
Northern Coast 10-digit Dialing Takes Effect for Coastal Residents
April 23, 2008 (2008-011)
Contacts:  Lee Beyer, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Ray Baum, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; John Savage, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Affairs Specialist, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR –In case you haven’t heard, seven-digit dialing will no longer work for local telephone calls for customers in fourteen north Oregon coast telephone exchanges beginning this coming weekend.
On Sunday, April 27, 2008, to complete local calls, callers must dial the either the 503 or the new 971 area code prefix plus the 7-digit telephone number in order for calls to be connected.
The change to ten digit dialing is driven by a growing demand for new phone numbers. In order to ensure enough phone numbers are available to meet future demand, the Oregon Public Utility Commission approved a new 971 prefix that will serve the same geographic area. 
“With people already being used to dialing ten digits on their cell phones, I’m optimistic this change will go smoothly,” Commission Chairman Lee Beyer said. “If someone forgets to dial the area code first, they will hear a recorded message that directs them how to successfully complete the call.”
In 1999, when the Commission approved the 971 overlay for the 503 area code in the Portland and Salem areas, the Commission delayed requiring the northern coast to change to 10-digit dialing.  However, growing demand for new telephone numbers fueled the decision to implement ten-digit dialing. An overlay option was chosen rather than a geographic split which would have caused thousands of customers to change their phone numbers.
The 14 coastal exchanges to join the 503/971 area code overlay in 2008 are: Qwest Corporation’s Astoria, Cannon Beach, Seaside, and Warrenton exchanges; United Telephone Company of the Northwest/Embarq’s Bay City, Beaver, Cloverdale, Garibaldi, Pacific City, Rockaway, and Tillamook exchanges; CenturyTel’s Jewell  and Knappa exchanges; and Nehalem Telecommunications, Inc.’s Nehalem exchange.  
In preparing for the change, the Commission held Open Houses to distribute educational materials to customers along with the phone companies.