SALEM — A $176 million jobs package aimed at combatting the highest unemployment rate Oregon has seen in decades won approval from the Oregon Senate today.

The package calls for borrowing money to pay for a host of maintenance projects as well as new projects, many of them at universities and community colleges.

Senate President Peter Courtney and other Democrats say the package represents the fastest way to put people back to work. They estimate it would create 3,000 jobs.

The Senate's minority Republicans call the package irresponsible, saying the state is taking on years of debt to pay for routine maintenance jobs.

The measure goes to the Oregon House.

— The Associated Press