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Home > State > Executive > Bureau of Labor and Industries > Commissioner Brad Avakian

Commissioner of Labor and Industries Brad Avakian

Commissioner of Labor and Industries Brad Avakian

Commissioner of Labor and Industries Brad Avakian

Brad Avakian, Oregon’s ninth Commissioner of Labor and Industries, was born February 4, 1961. He attended Beaverton’s public schools, received a B.S. degree in Psychology from Oregon State University in 1984 and a J.D. degree from Lewis & Clark Law School in 1990.

Prior to law school, Brad worked as a laborer, counselor and teacher’s assistant. After law school, Brad opened a civil rights law practice, serving people statewide who had suffered housing and employment discrimination. Brad was elected to the House of Representatives in 2002, reelected in 2004, and then elected to the Senate in 2006, serving northeast Washington and northwest Multnomah Counties.

During his legislative career, Brad was a strong advocate for public education, Oregon’s environment and workers’ rights. He served on the Joint Ways and Means, Commerce, Education and Rules Committees and chaired the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. Brad successfully passed the Oregon Renewable Energy Act, the expansion of Oregon’s landmark Bottle Bill, the Agriculture and Community Water Act, which will bring desperately needed water to Oregon’s farms and rural communities, and expanded the rights of workers to organize and

In the Legislature, Brad was named “Consensus Builder of the Year” for his ability to bring people together in resolving some of Oregon’s most pressing issues. Brad, and his wife Debbie and their children, Nathan and Claire, live in northeast Washington County.


Commissioner of Labor and Industries Brad Avakian
State Office Building, 800 NE Oregon St., Suite 1045, Portland 97232; 971-673-0761


Brad Avakian, Beaverton; nonpartisan; appointed April 2008; elected November 2008; term expires January 2013. The commissioner is chief executive of the Bureau of Labor and Industries. The commissioner also serves as chairperson of the State Apprenticeship and Training Council and executive secretary of the Wage and Hour Commission. The term of the commissioner is four years.

The commissioner enforces state laws prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation and vocational, professional and trade schools and has authority to initiate a “commissioner’s complaint” on behalf of victims of discrimination.

Through the Wage and Hour Division, the commissioner administers state laws relating to wages, hours of employment, basic working conditions, child labor and prevailing wage rates; and licenses certain industries to ensure quality professional services. The division administers the Wage Security Fund that covers workers for unpaid wages in certain business closure situations and enforces group-health insurance termination-notification provisions.

The commissioner also oversees the state’s registered apprenticeship-training system that gives workers the opportunity to learn a job skill while earning a living. The program benefits employers by providing a pool of skilled workers to meet business and industry demands.

Under the commissioner, agency administrative services include providing public education programs to help employers comply with the law and conducting administrative hearings. A hearings unit convenes administrative law proceedings in contested cases for wage and hour and civil rights determinations. Final orders in contested cases are issued by the commissioner.


Bureau of Labor and Industries