Regarding raising Portland’s minimum wage: One point is that a two-bedroom apartment in Portland averages $1,000, requiring full-time employment at $20 an hour. But is a person earning minimum wage shopping for a two-bedroom apartment?

Cheaper alternatives include one-bedroom apartments, roommates or living in a nearby town. Those options might not be ideal, but it is possible to lower living expenses by using creative thinking, with minor inconveniences.

The real problem is the lack of higher-paying local jobs. Most minimum-wage jobs are not meant to be permanent career choices, and should not be expected to support a family. Ideal candidates for minimum-wage jobs include people without job experience, young people living with family or attending school, part-time workers or people without existing job skills.

These jobs can be excellent for building a resume or supplementing income. However, it is not reasonable to expect every employee to be able to support themselves by working a minimum-wage job.

There are more qualified people for minimum-wage jobs than any other type, which is why employers can fill the positions at low pay rates. Employees are paid based on their skills and value to the employer, not on the employee’s personal circumstances.

There are businesses making huge profits that could share more revenue with employees via better wages, but I do not think this is the primary problem in Portland. Creating well-paying jobs, and using minimum-wage jobs to gain experience and training for a more lucrative job in the future, or as supplemental income while taking classes, etc., would make the minimum wage amount less crucial.

Joanne Ingrao