Treasurer Read Praises Inter-Agency Team Working to Move Unclaimed Property and Estates Programs to Oregon State Treasury

Oregon’s Unclaimed Property and Estates Administration programs will move from the Department of State Lands to Oregon State Treasury on July 1.

Salem, OR – State Treasurer Tobias Read today praised months of behind-the-scenes work by employees preparing for Oregon’s Unclaimed Property and Estates programs to move from the Department of State Lands to Oregon State Treasury on July 1, 2021.

The transfer, initiated by Senate Bill 454 and approved by the Oregon Legislature in June 2019, will move oversight of the two programs to Treasury while continuing to protect Oregonians’ assets. Oregon’s Unclaimed Property Program holds more than $773 million in unclaimed funds and other property for owners to claim in perpetuity. The Estates Administration Program safeguards personal estates when Oregonians die without a will and known heirs.

“These programs are vital to reuniting Oregonians with their lost property, and I appreciate the inter-agency team working hard to complete the transfer without any interruptions or hiccups for people claiming or reporting funds,” said Treasurer Read. “I’m especially impressed by the collaboration and attention to detail despite the fact that many employees are working remotely during the pandemic.”

Most U.S. states house their unclaimed property programs in state treasuries. In 2019, Oregon legislators determined that moving Oregon’s Unclaimed Property Program to Oregon State Treasury would better align with other states’ programs. The transfer will integrate unclaimed property program staff with the Treasury team responsible for investing and managing unclaimed funds until they are claimed by their rightful owner. Treasury’s investment staff oversee the $2.2 billion Common School Fund in a diversified portfolio of investments.

The Oregon Department of State Lands will retain responsibility for distribution of investment earnings income to public schools. Two disbursements per year go to public schools across Oregon; in 2020, nearly $55 million was distributed.

Vicki Walker, Director of State Lands, applauded her team for carefully preparing for the move while also overseeing the program’s day-to-day responsibilities. “Our goal all along has been for the program transfer to be as seamless as possible for the people who rely on it,” said Director Walker. “I’m proud of the staff who have done an excellent job of overseeing the operations of the program while working on program transfer logistics.”

A total of 16 staff from both programs will become Oregon State Treasury employees on July 1; all existing positions were retained by the Legislature. “We look forward to officially welcoming the unclaimed property and estates staff to our team,” said Treasurer Read.

Following the transfer, most people using the program will see no difference in their experience submitting or following up on a claim, and the main portal for searching for and claiming unclaimed property will remain the same: Businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies that report and remit unclaimed property should continue to meet the annual reporting deadline for unclaimed funds.