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Local Currency or Scrip in Oregon

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Thank you to the Lane County Law Librarian for her help in compiling this information. (And check out her great Oregon legal research guides, too.)

SCRIP and LOCAL CURRENCIES

Questions about scrip or local currencies vary. For example:

1) Can our neighborhood, neighborhood association, or local business association issue scrip?
2) Can our non-profit organization issue scrip?
3) Can my small business issue scrip?
4) How do we create a local currency?

LEGAL MATTERS

A word to the wise: Please consult an attorney if there is any risk of liability for a fine or a lawsuit, if there are possible tax obligations, or if you plan to do any creative “money-making,” financing, or fundraising.

There are several sources of free or low-cost legal assistance available in Oregon:

1) Nonprofits: Start with TACS and then the Oregon Attorney General, Nonprofits Law: Statutes and Rules Governing Oregon Nonprofits website.

2) Small Businesses: You can start with the Lewis & Clark Small Business Legal Clinic or check out suggestions listed in previous Oregon Legal Research blog posts on legal assistance for small businesses.

3) If you need to find an attorney: Oregon State Bar Legal Information and Referral Services

SO WHAT ABOUT SCRIP OR LOCAL CURRENCIES?

Here are some ideas for further research:

1) First, run this search in Google or other search engine: define scrip

2) Run a Google search using the search words < Oregon local currency > for examples of how various organizations use scrip and local currencies.

3) There is always (or for a while) Wikipedia Scrip

4) Scrip can be used in several different ways, e.g. Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) on use of scrip to purchase stock in a savings bank.

5) Scrip can be used in charitable activities, such as Casino nights or card cards. These activities are restricted and may require a license from the state before a nonprofit may engage in them. See, for example, the Oregon Attorney General’s FAQ page on use of scrip in Texas Hold’Em events.

6) In addition, there are for-profit organizations that use scrip as part of their non-profit activity. For example, see a Whole Foods New School Scrip Program.

7) Read an article about the use of “local currency”, particularly in hard economic times

8) If you need more specific, rigorous, or scholarly information on scrip and local currencies, check out the subscription articles databases at your local libraries. They index newspapers, magazines, journals, and other research resources.

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2 responses to “Local Currency or Scrip in Oregon”

  1. Hi,
    thanks for putting all of this great information online. We are talking to our city council about local currency. We already have a local currency cooperative here. The question I received from the city manager is whether a local government is allowed by Oregon Statues to accept and use local currency. Can you tell me where I can find this info? Is there a statute which deals specifically with this issue?
    Thank you,
    Theresa

  2. Laura Orr says:

    Theresa:

    Most towns, cities, and counties have either their own in-house counsel or contract with a private attorney, so I would definitely find that person and get a legal opinion that would be consistent with local and state law and your specific situation.

    As I tell our law library patrons, “I know what I'm doing in a law library, and can research the heck out of most legal questions, but I consult attorneys when I need legal advice.” They are the specialists – and can keep us out of trouble and save a lot of money in the long run.

    Of course I do a lot of my own legal research homework ahead of time so I can ask lots of questions!

    Laura the Law Lib

    Laura the Law Lib

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