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July 17, 2007

Jobs tax hike will replenish Wage Security Fund

The state Bureau of Labor and Industries is ready to step in and pay some 130 workers who unexpectedly lost their jobs July 5, when Maco Wood Products of Clackamas closed. Unpaid Maco workers are eligible to recover lost wages from the state's tax-funded Wage Security Fund, which compensates employees when their company closes without enough money to cover the final paychecks.

The fund receives a small slice of employment taxes paid by Oregon employers. Claims can be filed at any Labor and Industries office. For information, call 971-673-0761 or 503-378-3292, or check the labor bureau's Web site.

Maco President Jerry MacDuffee did not return a call today seeking comment on the company's situation. Earlier this month, MacDuffee said he was forced to close the company on short notice after his lender, Bank of the West, called its loans and refused to extend additional credit.

Aaron J. Bell, an attorney representing the bank, said Maco was in default on two loans and had exceeded its line of credit.

It is unclear if Maco will be able to remain in business. A court-appointed receiver is taking stock of equipment and other company assets that secure the bank's loans.