Jeff Rescues Family-Owned Business

When Echanis Distributing, a beer, wine, and water distributor in Ontario, Oregon, was approaching the verge of bankruptcy, the office of Jeff Merkley acted quickly to help save the company.

Echanis Distributing is close to 65 years old and employs about 15 people whose livelihoods were in jeopardy when the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) prohibited them from driving their distribution routes, effectively shutting down the business. The company had overlooked a technical requirement within some updated regulations for travel logs, and had also failed to supply some required safety reports.

Echanis Distributing made a good faith effort to supply all the necessary information to both agencies, and ODOT was satisfied with the company’s compliance, but USDOT was not. That’s when business owner John Echanis sought help from State Representative Cliff Bentz, who directed him to Jeff Merkley.

Oregon needs more local businesses, not fewer, so this case became a high priority for Jeff and his staff. Working with Mr. Echanis and USDOT, the senator’s staff obtained and relayed the necessary information. Two days later, the USDOT lifted the driving ban and the company was back in business.