Business owners in Portland can apply for help through $2M small business relief fund

PORTLAND, Ore. — Small businesses in Portland that have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic can begin applying for financial aid through a $2 million small business relief fund starting today.

Portland City Council allocated $1 million and another $1 million was provided by Prosper Portland, the economic development arm of the city of Portland. There will be $1 million made available through emergency relief grants and another $1 million will be available through zero-interest loans.

Business owners can start applying for the $1 million in grants starting today. The application deadline is Wednesday. Apply here

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“This fund is a critical stop-gap measure designed to aid the most vulnerable businesses in our community until additional funding becomes available,” said Prosper Portland Economic Development Director Tory Campbell.

The fund will be able to support approximately 200 local businesses. Campbell said grant recipients will be selected on April 7 and selected business should expect to get grant funds by April 10.

Learn more about the grant program here

The loan program is expected to open soon.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he knows this small business relief fund won’t be enough to help all the impacted businesses, and that this is just the start.

“This is what we are doing right now, but this is not everything we’re doing,” Wheeler said. “We’re thinking about ways we can expand opportunities to help. … I fully expect we will have to do more. This is just the beginning.”

WATCH: Monday’s press conference with Mayor Ted Wheeler, other leaders

City’s financial partners provide more relief

A group of businesses and financial institutions brought together by the Portland Business Alliance has pledged an additional $1 million (and counting) to help small businesses.

Donations and grants will be invested into the Small Business Stabilization Fund at Oregon Community Foundation, and in collaboration with Prosper Portland, OCF will give the funds to community development financial institutions in the region that will distribute the money to small businesses in need.

Initial donations and grants include:

  • Bank of America: $40,000
  • Columbia Bank: $10,000
  • JPMorgan Chase: $50,000
  • Key Bank: $35,000
  • Umpqua Bank: $75,000 (grants); $675,000 (loans)
  • U.S. Bank: $50,000
  • Wells Fargo: $125,000

“At a time when so many across our region are experiencing unprecedented financial disruption, it’s important that small businesses know Portland’s broader business community stands with them, and that we’re all in this together,” said Cort O’Haver, president and CEO of Umpqua Bank.

For more information, click here.

Emergency Household Stabilization Fund

Last week, the city council also authorized a $1 million emergency household stabilization fund to help families impacted economically by COVID-19.

The emergency household stabilization fund will provide up to $500 in direct assistance to 1,800-2,000 families for help with rent, food, medication and other urgent household needs.

“We know there’s a greater need than that in the community,” said Portland Housing Bureau Director Shannon Callahan. She said people can reach out to the city’s social service hotline at 211, which “can help more broadly with this fund or other funds.”

Eviction moratium

Early on in the coronavirus crisis, the city of Portland adopted an eviction moratorium. Callahan said in order for renters to take advantage, they must notify landlords on or before their rent is due and the reason must be due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Housing Bureau website has a lot of help for renters, including sample letters and information about what kind of documentation renters can show to prove economic hardship from COVID-19.

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