PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ There was money to burn - literally - today in Portland.

An early morning fire in a vault at the city's Federal Reserve Bank branch damaged an undisclosed amount of currency. But sorry, bargain hunters: There will be no damaged $20s marked down to $15.

Welders working in an upper vault Monday apparently let some hot slag fall through a vent into another vault below, said Neil Heesacker, Portland Fire Bureau spokesman. The fire broke out early today.

Fire crews had to use a torch to cut their way into the vault, which was sealed by a time lock. The burning money was removed from the vault and doused, Heesacker said.

Robin Rockwood, spokeswoman for the Federal Reserve branch, said a relatively few bills were singed. She declined to give the amount.

''It was some new currency, some 20s,'' she said. ''It was a real small percentage of our normal holdings.'' The $20s would be destroyed and replaced, so there was no actual cash loss, she said.

Heesacker said the government estimated damage to the building at only $500.