September 21, 2017
Port of The Dalles
3636 Klindt Drive, The Dalles, OR 97058 541.298.4148
Contact: Andrea Klaas
Businesses throughout the Columbia Gorge have experienced impacts as a consequence of the Eagle Creek Fire and resulting closures of Interstate 84, including loss in business, increased transportation costs, difficulty getting supply deliveries and challenges getting products to market.
“If your business has been affected, you can take steps to help minimize the impact,” said Andrea Klaas, executive director of the Port of The Dalles.
Klaas hosted a meeting Sept. 19 to discuss collaborative strategies with economic development-oriented organizations including Wasco County, City of The Dalles, the Small Business Development Center at Columbia Gorge Community College, Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, The Dalles Main Street and Gov. Kate Brown’s Regional Solutions.
A number of avenues for assistance can be explored.
Complete an SBA interest form to help unlock potential federal relief
The U.S. Small Business Administration may be able to provide low-interest loans to small businesses and private nonprofit organizations in the wake of the Eagle Creek Fire. To activate the program, the SBA must receive a request from Governor Brown and completed worksheets (http://bit.ly/2jOeiH3) that show sufficient interest. Please complete the online form and use Sept. 2, 2017, as the impact start date. Email the form to Juston Huffman at Wasco County Emergency Management, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Connect with your Small Business Development Center to design a strategy
Meet with a Small Business Development Center counselor who can help you plan the best strategies for moving forward. They can assist with:
- budgeting, forecasting and cash flow recovery strategies;
- support for insurance claims and disaster assistance application; and
- access to short-term credit assistance programs that may be available.
Contact Rick Leibowitz at 541-506-6120 or email@example.com.
Contact the Oregon Employment Department to stabilize and maintain a relationship with workers
Employees affected by the Eagle Creek Fire can file an unemployment insurance claim. Those laid off as a consequence of the fire may be eligible for retroactive benefits. To learn how to file an wildfire-related unemployment insurance claim, call 800-436-6191 and identify yourself as being impacted by the Eagle Creek Fire. You can also get more information on how to file an unemployment insurance claim online at www.employment.oregon.gov.
Oregon Work Share helps fill gaps while allowing an employer and employee to maintain a relationship and avoid a layoff. Your employer must apply for a work Share plan by contacting the Unemployment Insurance Special Programs Center at 800-436-6191 or learn more about the program online at www.OregonWorkShare.org.
Employers and employees can also access these services in person at their local WorkSource Center (worksourceoregon.org/home/worksourcecenters.
Talk with your lenders and explore public lending resources
Private and public lenders will often be flexible in disaster situations to help businesses meet their obligations. Talk to your commercial lending officer.
Other lending resources:
- Mid-Columbia Economic Development District has loans available, including working capital to assist businesses affected by natural disasters. Contact Eric Nerdin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-296-2266 for information. Existing MCEDD and Oregon Investment Board loan clients should be in contact with Nerdin to discuss options for their existing loans.
- Business Oregon also offers flexible loan products. Call Tom Schnell at 541-280-1631.
Check in regularly with your fellow business owners, chambers of commerce, business organizations and networks for information and ideas. Small business owners are a resilient community. Often the best ideas come from the business community itself. For example, businesses in the community hardest hit by the Eagle Creek Fire, Cascade Locks, have already banded together through the Cascade Locks Strong campaign, https://www.cascadelocksstrong.com.
Federal, state and local partners continue to look at a variety of routes to help stabilize businesses and people during and after this significant statewide fire season. Recovery will be a long-term process, and we will continue to share information as it becomes available.
Klaas urged area residents to help businesses through this difficult time by shopping locally.
“These are the businesses that help support our Little League teams, fill our service clubs and do so much more in our community — and assure that we have convenient local access to goods and services,” Klaas said. “Without our support, especially in trying times like this, we risk losing all of that.”
The Port will continue to collect information about fire impacts and share it with the governor’s office. Businesses that have been negatively impacted by the wildfires are asked to share their stories by contacting the staff at the Port of The Dalles, 541-298-4148 or email@example.com.