EUGENE, Ore. - Ten-digit local dialing is coming to the 541 area code.
The Public Utilities Commission acted based on a projection that Oregon will run out of telephone numbers in the 541 area code by 2011.
This brings to four the number of area codes in Oregon, divided into two zones: the 503/971 area codes in and around Salem and Portland, where 10-digit dialing is now required; and the 541/458 for the rest of Oregon.
The new area code takes effect in 2010. After a six-month grace period, all local calls will require 10 digits.
“After weighing the options, we believe this solution is the least disruptive option and will meet the demand for new telephone numbers more than 20 years into the future,” Commission Chairman Lee Beyer said. “I’m confident customers will have enough time to make any programming changes before the new area code takes effect.”
The PUC approved Oregon’s second area code in 1995, when it created the 541 area code for southern and eastern Oregon, and retained the 503 area code for the northwest part of the state. In 2000 the Commission added a 971 concentrated overlay to the 503 region and the northwest coast became part of the overlay in early 2008.