PORTLAND AP) - Oregon workers' compensation insurance rates will not increase in 2005, Gov. Ted Kulongoski said Tuesday.

The announcement marks the third straight year without an increase following 12 consecutive years of rate reductions that began with a major reform in 1990 that has saved Oregon businesses a total of about $10.1 billion, the governor said.

"No other state can equal our 15-year record," Kulongoski said at a news conference at the Northwest Container Services Inc. shipping yard near the Port of Portland docks at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers.

He noted that both neighboring California and Washington are considering increases in their workers' compensation insurance rates next year.

The "continued strength of our workers' compensation system is a key competitive advantage to attracting business opportunities that will move Oregon forward to an economically secure and prosperous future," the governor said.

Kulongoski said the state ranked sixth nationally for administrative costs of its workers' compensation system in 1990 before reforms began, and now ranks 35th, a reduction in overhead that shows "we did the right thing 15 years ago."

The governor also announced that one of the fees that pays for workers' compensation and safety programs will be reduced next year, saving Oregon businesses $2.6 million.

State officials say workers' compensation insurance premium costs have fallen 57.4 percent since 1990.

The state sets the so-called "pure premium" rate every year, which reflects the actual cost of workplace injury and illness claims.

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