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COVID-19 Small Business Resources

Columbia County Economic Team (CCET) is working to assist businesses in responding and navigating through the Coronavirus pandemic and resulting in economic disruption….and help plan for recovery.

Business survival and retention is a top priority. We all want to emerge from the other side of this with the ability o restore our businesses, livelihoods, and economy.

Reaching out countywide, Columbia County Economic Team will be communicating with you regularly.

Please bookmark us and visit often for updates.

Small Business Grant

December 2, 2020 

Round 4 Emergency Small Business Grant award notices have been sent. If you received a grant, you have also received an email notifying you. CHECK YOUR EMAIL, CHECK YOUR JUNK FOLDER. This ain’t junk, it’s the next step to get your check. Complete and sign the documents and send them back ASAP. We have just a few days before we have to send the money back to the state. CHECK TODAY and return your acceptance and certification documents to grants@columbiacountyoregon.com

$55 million being distributed to Counties

December 2, 2020 

The Columbia County Board of Commissioners is establishing a new small business grant fund using an allocation to be received from the state of Oregon. The program is still being developed but will be rolled out very soon. Public notices, advertising and promotion of the grant application period will begin as soon as possible. Watch for that, and regularly check CCET’s website: smallbizhub.columbiacountyoregon.com for more information and to apply.

 

Governor Brown also announced that the state will commit $55 million in financial assistance to support Oregon businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. These funds will be allocated to counties to distribute to businesses who have been financially impacted, with a priority for the hospitality industry, businesses impacted by the freeze, small businesses, and women, Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and Tribal-owned businesses.
The $55 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds will be allocated to counties, with each county receiving a base of $500,000 plus a per capita allocation of the remainder of the funds. The counties will be responsible for deciding how businesses apply to receive funds and communicating the application process to businesses.
The Governor’s Office anticipates that funds will be distributed to counties within the next several weeks. Businesses who are interested in applying should contact their county for more information. 

Advocacy

Support Port Westward Re-Zone

The CCET Board of Directors has unanimously voted to support the Compatibility Remand component currently before the Board of County Commissioners, as the final step in the Port of Columbia County’s Port Westward Re-Zoning application. You may recall, this application has been in consideration for seven years. On behalf of the CCET Board we have sent our letter of support (attached) to the Board of Columbia County Commissioners and we strongly encourage you to do the same.

After withstanding all challenges – including LUBA and state Appellate Courts – it is down to one issue, “compatibility” and the County Commissioners will soon make a decision on that. We have 21 days to submit written comments BY December 7th, and CCET strongly urges you to do so – and encourage others to join you.

Here’s how:

  • Submit your letter of support to the Board of County Commissioners’ by email to normine@columbiacountyor.gov — right away, but definitely before December 7th.
  • Use a Subject line like: “We Support your approval of Port of Columbia County’s Compatibility conditions for Port Westward Re-Zoning – to make certain it’s collected into the proper file
  • Craft your own support letter or use the customizable sample letter attached. Or simply send the other template. Feel free to use the attached CCET Board support letter for reference.
  • Keep it simple and straightforward: This is about Land Use Compatibility between the lands to be re-zoned and adjacent agricultural lands. All other issues have been resolved through years of process, legal challenges, etc. It’s down to this one thing, compatibility, which has been addressed through the Port’s actions.
  • When you email to the Board of Commissioners, please Cc CCET at advocacy@columbiacountyoregon.com. We’ll be gathering and tracking letters of support. Also, please consider copying it to at least 3 others from your address book, urging them to join you.
  • If you’re active in local organizations or public bodies, request a vote and resolution or letter in support.
  • If you have questions, please go to the Port’s website for background, history, and FAQs. Do any research you need to but please make sure your letter of support is received at the County BY December 7th.
  • If you need more samples or key discussion points, contact us at CCET, or go to click on the link above for a sample letter.


Here’s why:

  • Creating much-needed family wage jobs and addressing a critical shortage of marine industrial sites on the Columbia River, were goals of the Port of Columbia County when it purchased approximately 837 acres of land next to the Port Westward Industrial Site from a willing seller in 2010.
  • After public comment, Columbia County Commissioners are expected to make a final decision in January.
  • This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are still others, mostly outside the county, that who will oppose this action once again – and try to make it about things it’s not.
  • This is about uses the Port has proven are compatible through its actions, application modifications, and the compatible uses that are there today.
  • Compatibility is working already. The singular issue remanded is for compatibility with adjacent or surrounding agricultural uses. The Port has overwhelmingly demonstrated that in multiple ways.
    • The Port has worked together with interested parties and signed agricultural leases on the very land in question.
    • The Port has implemented plans for large agricultural buffers around future industries.
    • The Port has worked out agreeable and approved limitations on the type of industries to be located on the property – which further addresses “no adverse impact”.
  • Large agricultural operations, small family farms, and rural homes have existed compatibly alongside military and industrial usage at Port Westward for eighty years.
  • Industries at Port Westward already pay over 20 percent of all the property taxes received by Columbia County. Those taxes support public services including our Sheriff’s Office, County Roads & Parks, 9-1-1, 4-H/Extension, Vector Control, Soil & Water Conservation, plus the Clatskanie School District, RFPD, Park & Rec, Library, and Rainier Cemetery District. Making this land more developable will attract and enable investment that creates jobs and contributes even more to our communities and services.

Please join us by voicing your support and urging our County Board of Commissioners to approve the final Compatibility Remand component of the Port Westward Re-zoning Application. Time is urgent, send to: jacyn.normine@columbiacountyor.gov on or before December 7th.

PPE for Small Business

The State of Oregon to provide
FREE SUPPLIES FOR
SMALL BUSINESS AND CHILD CARE PROVIDERS
Wednesday, 9/16, a new program went live to provide masks and gloves to small business at no charge until resources are depleted. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees that are headquartered in Oregon with principal operations in Oregon are eligible. In addition to the small business program, the Early Learning Division is providing supplies such as gloves, disinfecting wipes, masks and more to child care providers around the state as part of the effort. The order form is online and is now accepting orders. Businesses and child care providers can access the form here: https://supplyconnector.org/states/oregon/free-ppe/
OR

Get PPE for your small business here. Order Today!! Masks, Gowns, Sanitizer and Gloves

Keep your employees and customers healthy and safe – at an affordable price. Download your PPE order form here and send it back immediately to info@columbiacountyoregon.com. If received by 5 p.m. Thursday, your order will be available on Friday the next day, anytime between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. at CCET Office at the St. Helens Library. 

Free disposable masks (limit 200 per week, per business) and quality anti-microbial masks, plus sanitizer and gloves.

This program brought to you as a service of Columbia County Board of Commissioners, CCET – Columbia County Economic Team, and the Columbia County Fair Board.

FAQ 

Daily Updates

LOCAL

December 2, 2020

Enews

STATE

Masks, face shields and face coverings are currently required statewide for indoor public spaces (for example, grocery stores, pharmacies, public transit, personal services providers, restaurants, bars, retail stores, and more). In addition, face coverings are required in outdoor public spaces when physical distancing is not possible.

Children age 5 and up are required to wear a face covering. People with a disability or medical condition may request accommodation from the business if they cannot wear one.

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Governor Kate Brown Releases School Health and Safety Metrics

Metrics set strict health and safety standards for in-person instruction, with accommodations for young learners, remote and rural schools   

(Portland, OR) — Given the reality that COVID-19 will continue to impact Oregon students, schools, and communities throughout the 2020-21 school year, Governor Kate Brown today released new metrics to guide school district decisions about when it is safe to resume in-person instruction, and when a transition to comprehensive distance learning is necessary.

“The metrics released today will give our public schools, private schools, and communities the opportunity to make sound decisions based on the latest science and health data,” said Governor Brown. “They make a clear connection between the spread of the disease in a community, and statewide, and when a school may resume, or must halt, in-person instruction. 

“We are taking a cautious and careful approach that protects public health, just as we have over the past five months in responding to this disease. If we don’t do this right, then the impacts of COVID-19 on students and the very functioning of our schools could deepen existing disparities in opportunity and outcomes for our children, and widen racial and socioeconomic inequality in our society.”

Oregon school districts are currently developing plans for the coming school year using ODE’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance. The following metrics were developed by doctors and health experts at the Oregon Health Authority, working with education experts at the Oregon Department of Education and the Early Learning Division.

In-Person Instruction or Hybrid Instruction Model: All Grade Levels and School Districts

In order to resume in-person instruction in any form, including hybrid instruction models when students are only sometimes in the classroom, the following conditions must be met:

County Metrics (Must be Met Three Weeks in a Row)

10 or fewer cases per 100,000 people over 7 days

Test positivity of 5% or less over 7 days

Statewide Metrics (Must be Met Three Weeks in a Row)

Test positivity of 5% or less over 7 days

In-Person Instruction or Hybrid Instruction Model: K-3 Students and Remote and Rural School Districts

Under some conditions, in-person instruction can resume only for K-3 students and remote and rural school districts with fewer than 100 students. Younger students get the virus at lower rates, get less sick, and spread the virus less than older students and adults. Younger students also need more in-person instruction to build the literacy and math skills critical for lifelong learning. Schools in remote and rural communities are less likely to contribute to the community spread of COVID-19 cases that cannot be traced and contained. The following conditions must be met for in-person instruction for K-3 students or for remote and rural students:

Fewer than 30 cases per 100,000 over 7 days

Test positivity of 5% or less over 7 days

COVID-19 is not actively spreading in the school community

School districts are in compliance with sections 1-3 of Ready Schools, Safe Learners Guidance

Transition Planning for Comprehensive Distance Learning
For school districts where in-person instruction is occurring during the school year, planning for a switch to comprehensive distance learning should take place, including training for staff and notification of the community, if one or both conditions are met:

20 cases or greater per 100,000 over 7 days

Test positivity of 7.5% or greater over 7 days

Comprehensive Distance Learning
All school districts must implement comprehensive distance learning if the following conditions are met:

30 or more cases per 100,000 over 7 days

Test positivity of 10% or greater over 7 days

Based on these metrics, with the increasing spread of COVID-19 in both rural and urban Oregon this summer, many, if not most, Oregon students live in school districts that will begin school in the fall by focusing on online distance learning or will have a hybrid model that combines remote online education and in-person classroom time. Districts across the state have been developing plans to provide high quality education to all students, including students of color, low-income students, students experiencing disabilities, and rural students––all students who were disproportionately impacted by the institution of comprehensive distance education last spring.

With more time for school districts to develop a planned response to COVID-19 for the coming school year, Oregon schools will be expected to work to address the diverse needs of students and their families and provide the best possible education for every Oregon student.

A recording of the Governor’s press conference from Tuesday, July 28, is available here.

A full transcript of the Governor’s remarks from Tuesday, July 28, is available here.

Updated guidance will be posted to coronavirus.oregon.gov.

NATIONAL

Coronavirus Funding Options

Small Business Association Funding Options

We know business owners have suffered significant economic loss during this pandemic, and we want to help by providing timely and relevant funding information Here’s an updated list of resources for loans and grant funding that are available during COVID-19. We encourage you to explore all options and to let us know how we can help.

For specific questions, please reach out to the local small business specialist here in Columbia County, Mark Ellsworth – ellsworth@portofcolumbiacounty.org.

Grants

Northwest Oregon Works – This is an additional funding option for businesses that can make PPEs, masks, or something essential in addressing the COVID-19 health and economic pandemic, and/or if you need more workers to do that.

Oregon Small Business Stabilization Grants

Finder.com – Local, State, Federal and Private Grants for Small Business Owners

Facebook Small Business Grant Program – Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate. The application process is not open yet and we will share more details as they become available.

Pamplin Media Marketing Grant – Pamplin Media has established a $1million marketing grant fund to assist local businesses with their advertising during these challenging times.

Restaurant Employee Relief Funds

The Restaurant Employee Relief Fund (“Fund”) was created to help restaurant industry employees experiencing extraordinary hardship in the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Through this Fund, grants will be made to restaurant industry employees who have been impacted by COVID-19, including a decrease in wages or loss of employment.

Guidance for Businesses and Employers

Small Business Navigator

Small Business Solutions Video Series courtesy of the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce

SBA Guidance & Resources

Health and government officials are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people. Small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep their employees, customers, and themselves healthy.

Guidelines for Businesses and Employers

SBA Products & Resources

SBA Local Assistance

Join the SBA Relief Efforts

SBA Government Contracting

Small Business Development Center Resources

The PCC SBDC is available to assist you in assessing the appropriate actions for your business. Please email: sbdc@pcc.edu if you need assistance in this planning process, or if you have any questions regarding the guidelines.

SBDC COVID-19 Business Resources

SBDC Guide to Navigating a Business Crisis

SBDC PPP Factsheet

SBDC EIDL Factsheet

Information for Employers

This is an ongoing list of resources and guidelines for employers during COVID-19. We want to provide you with the most timely and relevant information to keep your employees safe, and to ensure that you are following guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority.

State of Oregon Employment Department-  The health and safety of workplaces is of utmost importance to the Oregon Employment Department. This information provides general guidance to employers, workers, and job seekers who may be impacted by the COVID-19 virus.

This web page will be updated as more information becomes available. The Oregon Employment Department is working with partner agencies nationwide and the U.S. Department of Labor to ask for additional unemployment benefits options related to COVID-19.

Columbia County Worksource Office: 503-397-4995.
Please note: The office is currently staffed to receive phone calls but the lobby is not open to the general public.

Reduced Hours via Workshare. Work Share provides an alternative for larger employers who may be facing the prospect of a lay off situation. With Work Share, instead of reducing staff, an employer reduces the hours of work for a group of workers. Partial Unemployment Insurance benefits are then paid to supplement workers’ reduced wages.

Permanent Layoffs: Rapid Response Assistance – If you are considering a long-term or permanent layoff of workers, contact the WorkSource center for rapid response assistance. Local Rapid Response teams can help you navigate through this challenging process and assist with the development and implementation of a transition strategy.

CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Guidance for Businesses & Employers

Below are the recommended strategies for employers to use now:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Separate sick employees
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps
  • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel.
  • Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from designated countries with risk of community spread of Coronavirus, and information for aircrew, can be found on the CDC website.

Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19:

  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
  • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Local Partners & Resources

Count on your local partners to be there for your business during these unprecedented times and to provide additional support as needed.

Northwest Oregon Works

On-the-job-training is a business service provided through the Northwest Oregon Worksource centers.
The Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) On the Job Training (OJT) program beneficial to employers in Columbia County. On the Job Training (OJT) services are provided at no cost to the company. Info, FAQ and contacts here…

Local Credit Unions & Loan Assistance

Wauna Credit Union. – Wauna Credit Union is an SBA-approved lender. Click here to apply for the SBA PPP Loan.

Wauna is currently providing a variety of low-cost borrowing options, which may help contribute to your ability to cope and maintain the necessities of life for you and your families during and following the coronavirus pandemic:

 

InRoads Credit Union. – InRoads Credit Union is an SBA-approved lender. Current credit union members are eligible to apply through InRoads.

SBA Payroll Protection Loan Program – Round Two Applications

  • The SBA PPP loan program will again begin accepting applications Monday, April 27.
  • We expect this round of funding to again be depleted quickly.  Current InRoads business members should send an email to payrollprotection@inroadscu.org to receive a link to a secure application.
  • Completed applications will be processed in the order received although we cannot guarantee funding due to high demand nationwide.

Member Assistance

During this unprecedented time, InRoads continues to be a resource for our members and our communities. To help you navigate through any financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve put new programs in place including*:

  • Emergency Assistance Loans: A zero interest loan up to $2,500 and no payments for 90 days to assist existing InRoads members to pay bills, rent, cover groceries, or other financial needs. Click here to apply. 
  • Personal Loans: We’ve lowered the rates on new personal loans to help those who may be seeking a little extra security in their wallets right now. We’re also offering no payments for 90 days. Click here to apply. 
  • Skip Payment: If you have an existing InRoads loan that qualifies, you may be able to skip payments for two months with no skip payment fee.
  • Pay loans by phone: We are currently waiving all pay by phone fees.
  • Rewards Checking requirements: We will waive the 10 debit card purchases per cycle requirement to receive rewards during this time.
  • Business Assistance Loans: Email us at business.assistance@inroadscu.org to request assistance with your current InRoads business loan(s) during this time.

We are here to work with you. Have a need that’s not listed? Reach out via email at member.service@inroadscu.org, by phone at 503.397.2376, or our LIVE app and we’ll talk more.

Local Business Advocacy and Chambers of Commerce

Local Goverment Resources

Utilities

NW Natural Business Continuity Plan. NW Natural has activated its business continuity plans. Residential and small businesses will not be disconnected if they can’t make payments due to the impacts caused by COVID-19. Customers will continue to receive bills and past-due notices. But NW Natural will not send a final shut-off notice and disconnect service.

State Resources

Here’s a list of relevant state resources to help navigate your business through this crisis. We’ll keep this page updated and add or remove relevant and timely information as needed.

We encourage you to explore your options, and don’t hesitate to reach out with additional questions. We are here for you – let us know how we can help!

Governor Kate Brown COVID-19 Resources for Oregonians

Oregon Health Authority

Oregon State Chamber of Commerce

Business Oregon

Travel Oregon

Oregon Community Foundation

Oregon Economic Development Association

Northwest Grocery Association Guidelines

 Ready to reopen? Here’s what you need to know – From SAIF

 

 

National & International Resources

Here’s a list of national resources to help navigate your business through this crisis, and to help you stay informed about COVID-19 at the national level  We’ll keep this page updated with timely and relevant information as we receive it.  

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the most up-to-date information on COVID-19. This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). For updates from the CDC, please see the following:

U.S. Government Resources

International Resources

Reach Us

P.O. Box 1653
St Helens, OR 97051

(503) 805-5139

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