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Emails sent to city employees explaining the new law and how it would affect employees' pay raised questions about how prepared the state and employers - including Oregon's most populous city - were in implementing the law.

KAYLEE DOMZALSKI/OPB - Police Chief Danielle Outlaw was affected by Portland's last-minute notification.Last week, the Portland Bureau of Human Resources sent emails to city employees detailing how a new state pay equity law would affect them. The law went into effect Jan. 1.

The bureau notified 518 city employees they would see a change in pay as a result of the Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017, while another 869 were told they would not.

But 1,219 city employees — including Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw and now-resigned Fire and Rescue Chief Mike Myers — were also told in an email that they were being "red circled."

That means they would, at least temporarily, not receive pay raises based on merit or even cost of living increases while the city attorney and human resources directors work with the City Council on how to remain compliant with the law. Employees whose rate of pay was found to be above "justified salary" — determined by comparing factors like seniority, experience, education and merit — were red-circled.

The city's human resources department stresses the pay freeze is just a temporary measure.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. You can read the rest of their story here.

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