WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, with Congresspeople Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader and Greg Walden, today announced that, following their letter to the Small Business Administration (SBA) supporting the governor’s request, Oregon has been declared an economic disaster, giving small businesses access to emergency resources.
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.
“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.”
“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.”
“Small businesses urgently need access to capital as soon as possible in order to manage through the economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” DeFazio said. “I’m grateful to the Small Business Administration for fast-tracking our request for an emergency declaration. These loans will help our communities’ small businesses pay employees and stay afloat during this crisis.”
“I am very pleased by the Small Business Administration’s swift approval of Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Oregon’s small businesses,” Schrader said. “This assistance will help our small business community weather this difficult and uncertain time and is critical for their survival. Oregon’s Congressional delegation will continue to stand behind and advocate for our small business owners and the thousands of people that they employ.”
“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.”
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.