Portland unveils Small Business Relief Fund


Small Business Relief Fund to provide grants, no interest loans

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) β€” Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and other leaders announced the Small Business Relief Fund on Monday, an effort to provide economic relief for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The relief efforts Mayor Wheeler and other area leaders shared included details on funding for economic and housing relief. Due to the coronavirus, the local economy has taken a hit — and with rent payment for many due April 1, many people who were laid off or have seen their hours cut may not be able to pay.

Wheeler, along with other local leaders such as Prosper Portland Director of Economic Development Tory Campbell and Portland Housing Bureau Director Shannon Callahan, held a press conference to share their major emergency funding actions.

Campbell announced a Small Business Relief Fund, which will provide immediate relief by helping business owners retain their businesses and their employees in order to bridge the time between now and the time additional state and federal resources become available.

The Small Business Relief Fund will provide grants and no interest loans to support Portland small businesses experiencing hardships related to COVID-19.

“Watching everyone come together in pursuit of a common goal of supporting our critical small business economy has been inspiring and has served as a clear reminder that we truly are stronger together,” said Campbell.

More information on the Small Business Relief Fund

Prosper Portland hopes to offer $1 million of available funding to impacted community businesses through these emergency relief grants.

When Callahan approached the podium during the press conference, she made an announcement, as well: the Portland Housing Bureau has created an Emergency Household Stabilization Fund.

The fund will reallocate $1 million from the PHB’s budget to provide emergency support to households impacted by the pandemic.

“The Emergency Household Stabilization Fund will support between 1,800 and 2,000 households with up to $500 in direct assistance for food, medication, rent support and other urgent household needs,” announced Callahan. “The Bureau is working in close partnership with Multnomah County and Home Forward to rapidly and effectively deploy these resources into the hands of those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Callahan also reminded the community on some details of Portland’s rent moratorium in place. In order for renters to utilize these protections, they must notify their landlords on or before the day their rent is due and the reason must be due to the COVID-19 crisis. Find more information here.

Cort O’Haver, President and CEO of Umpqua Bank was also in attendance.

“Umpqua is making a $750,000 commitment to this fund,” O’Haver announced. “At a time when so many across our region are experiencing unprecedented financial disrupts it’s more important than ever that small businesses know Portland’s broader business community stands behind them. We’re all in this together and Umpqua and all the Oregon state charter banks are here to help.”

Other banks including J.P. Morgan Chase, UVA, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, Key Bank and Columbia made contributions to the fund, as well.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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