Oregon declared an ‘economic disaster’ as SBA announces emergency loans

Oregon’s Congressional delegation on Friday announced the Small Business Administration (SBA) has declared Oregon an economic disaster, giving small businesses access to emergency resources.

Representatives Greg Walden, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader and Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, said the designation was made following their letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA) supporting the governor’s request.

The Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides critical resources to small businesses that are facing closures and layoffs in the effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.

“Small Businesses provide countless jobs across our state and play a critical role in the economy and community,” Walden said. “During these challenging times, we must do all we can to support our small business. I am grateful to the Trump Administration and the SBA for quickly approving our state’s request from Wednesday night for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for every county in Oregon. This will greatly help small businesses across our state.”

“With thousands of Oregon small businesses and workers under extraordinary economic strain, it is crucial that there is some relief available from the Small Business Administration,” Blumenauer said. “But make no mistake, this is only a small fraction of what is needed. I am fighting for universal basic income, direct financial assistance for local businesses to continue paying their employees, and strong worker protections as a condition for any federal funding impacted industries.”

“I’ve heard from dozens of small businesses and non-profits that have already been devastated by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Small businesses and non-profits employ thousands of workers in NW Oregon, and they drive a significant portion of our economy,” Bonamici said. “I’m glad Congress funded these low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration, and relieved to hear that they are available now in Oregon. But we must do more for workers, families, health care workers and first responders, and our economy. I will continue fighting for more assistance as Congress works on the third coronavirus relief package.

“I have heard the fear and anxiety from small business owners throughout the state who have been impacted by COVID-19,” Merkley said. “In this unprecedented time, our small businesses—the lifeblood of our state economy—need all the help they can get. I encourage small business owners throughout the state to apply for these loans. Know this: I will continue to fight for the resources we need to combat coronavirus, and recover from this crisis.”

“I am gratified that small businesses in our state and the Oregonians who work in them can start to get emergency help recovering from the ongoing economic devastation rippling out from the coronavirus public health crisis,” Wyden said. “While today’s news is a welcome step, it’s clear much more must be done to provide urgently needed help to all Oregonians. I am pulling out all the stops to get that vital assistance quickly so small businesses in our state remain viable and Oregonians’ health and well-being are safeguarded.”

Already, the state of Washington and parts of California and Nevada have been declared economic disasters. As a result, both counties in those states and Oregon counties adjacent to the declaration areas have access to low-interest federal disaster loans from the SBA. Gilliam, Hood River, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla and Wasco counties were already eligible to apply because of Washington’s declaration; Curry, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath and Lake counties were eligible because of California’s; and Harney County was eligible because of Nevada’s.

With a statewide declaration for Oregon, the delegation encourages affected small businesses in all counties across the state to apply for the SBA loans.

SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist Oregon small businesses with federal disaster loans. We will be swift in our efforts to help these small businesses recover from the financial impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” said Administrator Carranza.

SBA Customer Service Representatives will be available to answer questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and explain the application process.

“Small businesses, private non-profit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises that have been financially impacted as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) since Jan. 31, 2020, may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred,” said Carranza.

“These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,” Carranza added.

Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.

The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 21, 2020.

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