OR Leaders Respond to Call to Support Small Business

Thanks to Gov. Brown and Legislative Leaders for Taking Action!

We’re heartened that the Oregon Legislative Emergency Board yesterday allocated $10 million to support small businesses affected by the pandemic. The funds will go to small businesses with no more than 25 employees that have not received support under the Paycheck Protection Program or other provisions of the federal CARES Act. 

The decision follows an unprecedented coalition building and advocacy effort by BBPDX.  You can see here the 45-organization sign on letter we organized with rural, suburban, urban and culturally specific business and economic development organizations.  While this crisis has been challenging for our members and our staff, our spirits were lifted to connect with so many aligned voices around the state. 

Business Oregon will be contracting with non-profit Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) across Oregon to operate the program, and businesses will apply directly to the CDFIs for grants or loans to help meet costs incurred during the current emergency. 

We at BBPDX want to extend our heartfelt appreciation to Governor Kate Brown for pledging $5 million from Business Oregon. We’re particularly grateful to Speaker Tina Kotek for her leadership with the Emergency Board action.  Thank you also to Sen. Lew Frederick, Rep. Christine Drazan, Rep. David Gomberg, Rep. Susan McLain and Rep. Rob Nosse for taking the time to meet virtually with our members and coalition partners to hear their concerns and then take this action. 

We will be monitoring the implementation of this $10 million initiative and will let you know in the days ahead how to connect with the lenders implementing this program.

Next Round of Federal Relief Begins to Address Problems with PPP

While the last round of PPP seemed more like a trip to Vegas, we’re glad to report that the new federal relief bill signed into law today includes several set-asides intended to reach underserved businesses, including $60 billion that will go to smaller lenders including CDFIs and other microlenders who often serve rural, and women and minority-owned companies. For more detailed information, visit Senator Jeff Merkley’s Main Street website. Click on the lottery image for the source of that member-inspired satire.

All of our federal delegation have been working overtime, hearing your concerns as business owners and attempting to incorporate those lessons into the legislation.  After sending an email expressing his frustration with the program, BBPDX member Lyf Gildersleeve of Flying Fish Co. received a phone call from Congressman Earl Blumenauer with a promise to help small businesses like his in Portland. We were heartened to hear from Lyf that his fresh fish sales are going well and that he’d like to see other businesses struggling more than his be prioritized for emergency relief.  We’re so grateful for our generous BBPDX members who are living their community-centered values even amidst the crisis.

And for the latest on what’s happening at the City of Portland level, be sure and subscribe to Prosper Portland’s email list where you will receive great overviews of what’s available like this latest email.

Property Owners and Tenants Launch Cooperative Response to COVID-19

BBPDX is encouraged by a new initiative, United for Relief, a campaign including businesses, renters, and property owners together looking for solutions to the impacts of COVID-19 on commercial real estate mortgage payments and foreclosures. 

They are calling on the state to adopt a moratorium on mortgage default proceedings for commercial property owners that would include commensurate relief for tenants as well.

They are gathering information in a six minute survey to better understand how property owners are assessing their position. Several surveys are in the field right now. Everyone’s trying to get their arms around our evolving health and economic crisis. This survey is specifically focused on the ability of Oregon landlords to make commercial real estate mortgage payments between May and August.
Take the Commercial Mortgage Survey

Donate to Support Local Small Businesses

Some of our members are asking us where they can donate some of their federal stimulus check proceeds directly to a small business here in Portland. We encourage you to support XXcelerate Fund, which provides a uniquely powerful combination of business education, peer support and a pathway to financing to woman-owned businesses.

Another option for your stimulus check is to donate to the Oregon Small Business Stabilization Fund, managed by the Oregon Community Foundation.  Portland contributions will serve Portland businesses through Prosper Portland’s grant program. Donate to Small Business Stabilization Fund
Donate to Women Entrepreneurs
If you aren't a part of the Business for a Better Portland's community of over 400 member businesses and organizations, you can find out more and join us here!  We encourage you to use the BBPDX Switchboard to post your requests, share resources, find answers, and build community through these uncertain times.
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