All About HOURS

HOURS is the name of the local currency system that is being used in Corvallis, Oregon and our surrounding region.  The basic premise of our program is that by printing and circulat­ing a local currency, we can help keep local businesses thriving, support entrepre­neurs, and build a robust network within the community to find local goods.

HOURS  local currency notes are a legal form of paper money. Their value originates in our region with real people and the goods and services we offer in the network. An inherent advantage of this regional boundary is that the local currency will stay in the area continually enhancing the local economy.

Are HOURS real money?

Yes, they are as valid as U.S. dollars. There are numerous rules that must be followed for script money to be legal, for example: it has to be a different size than federal notes; it must not say “dollar” anywhere on the currency; and every note must be worth at least one dollar. HOURS are issued locally by people in our region rather than by a national government. They are just as taxable as U.S. Dollars, and it is illegal to counterfeit them.

What is an HOUR worth?

There are four denominations of HOURS in circulation: One HOUR is worth one hour of basic labor or $10, ½ HOUR = $5, ¼ HOUR = $2.50, and 1/10th HOUR = $1.00.  Each note is embossed with a raised seal to ensure against counterfeiting.

Why are they called “HOURS”?

They are called HOURS to remind us that the real source of money’s value is created by people — our time, skills, and energy. By encouraging people to think about the value of everyone’s time, HOURS can help bring about fair compensa­tion for the work we do. We always refer to local currency HOURS in caps to help differentiate from hours, the reference to time.

Does this mean that I should never pay more than an HOUR per hour of services received?

Not at all. Sometimes the cost of providing a service is not always relative to the time it takes to provide a service. In addition to the service provider’s time, there may be overhead, years of education, or background costs involved. Exchanges involving HOURS are entirely negotiated to whatever fee or price is agreeable between the people involved.

How can I spend HOURS?

HOURS are accepted by any of the businesses or individuals listed in the directory.  Many people who aren’t listed may accept HOURS if you explain how the local currency system works. Just show them the directory of participants with whom they can spend HOURS. The best way to learn if you can pay with HOURS is to ask!

How are HOURS placed into circulation?

When you become a participating member you help expand this community enriching system. The value of the currency is derived from our network of people who create a pool of resources available in exchange for the “HOUR” currency. New currency notes are placed into circulation when an individual or business places an ongoing offer in our directory. This slowly increases the currency in circulation based on available goods and services.

Members placing an ongoing listing of goods and/or services into our online and/or print directory are eligible to receive HOURS by mail to get started. New members receive 3 HOURS; renewing members receive 2 HOURS.

How can I join?

It’s easy. Just fill out the registration form to get started.  By registering you will have access to our network and will be able to create an individual profile on our online directory. From this platform you will be able to add, edit and remove listings at any time. As an online user you will be able to network with others through our site and review others who you have had exchanges with.

We invite you to become a member of the HOUR Exchange by making an annual membership donation.

What are the benefits of being a member?

  • Unlimited posting in our online directory
  • Listings in our Annual print directory
  • Vending opportunities at events
  • Low cost advertising in our print directory
  • One vote at Annual Membership Meeting
  • Hands on participation in building a strong local economy
  • Members placing ongoing offers in the online/print directory are eligible for start up HOURS.

What are the membership fees for?

Member fees help to support the organization in hosting community events, the printing additional currency, and continuing to develop networking tools for the community!  This organization is 100% run by volunteers. Oversight of all of our operations is done by our membership elected volunteer Board of Trustees.

What is a sliding scale? How much should I pay?

We offer membership dues on a sliding scale, based on your ability to pay. The basis of a sliding scale is to make the program available to different income levels. Please pay what you can afford to help support our organization and our services. The suggested membership contribution is $25.

I’ve been listed in past issues of the HOUR Trader, does this mean I’m a member?

We ask members to renew their membership each year. If you have had a lapse in your membership please take the time to renew now.

What is the difference between a directory listing and a for sale listing?

When you become a member and place an ongoing offer of goods and/or services into our directory you become the “gold” that backs our currency. An ongoing directory listing is one than you would offer over the span of a year. An item placed in the for sale section is for one time offers, or items available for a short period of time, such as a bumper harvest out of your garden.

I don’t have an ongoing offer. Can I still participate?

Yes, we welcome members who cannot actively participate but would like to become members. As a supporting member you will be able to create a profile and interact with others in our network. Those who only list in the wanted or for sale will not receive the start up HOURS offered to those who place ongoing offers in our directory.

How can I get more actively involved with the HOUR Exchange?

We invite and encourage members to join us at meetings and our quarterly gatherings. Volunteerism is the cornerstone of our organization. There are several committees responsible for various operations:  Community Outreach, HOURS Disbursement, Events, Membership, and the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees is vital to the operation of our organization. Elections are held in March each year for new Board members. We are always looking for team players to help us grow in the community. Email us for more information of how to get involved!