OREGON — The day before a two-week freeze went into effect statewide, closing some businesses and limiting the operation of others, Gov. Kate Brown announced $55 million in funding to be allocated to counties to support businesses. The day after the freeze began, a $20 million grant program from Business Oregon started taking applications.
According to a press release from the governor’s office, each county will receive at least $500,000 of the $55 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds, with the remaining $37 million to be allocated per capita. Counties are responsible for deciding how businesses apply to receive funds, which the governor’s office anticipates will be distributed in the next several weeks. The hospitality industry, businesses impacted by the freeze and minority-owned businesses are to be prioritized.
The Oregon Legislature’s Joint Emergency Board recently approved $20 million from the Coronavirus Relief Fund for grants to businesses. Four previous rounds of emergency board funding have used intermediaries such as community service organizations and municipalities to distribute funds, while the latest aid will be distributed directly by the state economic development agency, Business Oregon, which began taking applications Thursday.
Also distinct from previous rounds, the latest funding is available to businesses with up to 100 employees, rather than 25, as well as firms who already received CARES Act funds. According to a Business Oregon press release, applications are open to “businesses with one to 25 employees that have already received anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million,” and “businesses with 26 to 100 employees are eligible regardless of the amount of federal resources they received up to $1,000,000 if they meet other program requirements.”
To be eligible to receive up to $200,000, businesses must show they were prohibited from operations by executive order or demonstrate a 25 percent reduction in sales during a 30-day period in 2020 compared to 2019. The application and additional information can be found at oregon4biz.com/Coronavirus-Information/ESBA/
Dave Price, vice president of engagement and entrepreneurship at Oregon Coast Community College and director of its Small Business Development Center, said he expects the grants to go fast and for Lincoln County businesses to make a strong showing.
The small business development center’s clients have secured almost $4 million in grants since the beginning of the pandemic. Its coronavirus resource page (tinyurl.com/yyrymtbt) is a clearinghouse of links with information and assistance for employers and employees, and the center continues to provide confidential businesses counseling services at no charge.