Portland Brings Help To Small Businesses

On Monday, March 30, 2020, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler was joined by Prosper Portland Director of Economic Development Tory Campbell, Portland Housing Bureau Director Shannon Callahan and Cort O’Haver, President & CEO, Umpqua Bank representing the Oregon Bankers Association (OBA), to announce joint economic relief action to help small businesses and households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The public-private partnership between the City of Portland and the coalition of businesses, members of the OBA and the Portland Business Alliance (PBA) aims to help citywide economic and social resilience and recovery with funding for those who need it most.

“I am incredibly proud of how Portlanders are looking out for each other during these unprecedented and challenging times,” Mayor Wheeler said. “The actions, generosity and willingness of our private partners to join the City in our effort to generate emergency funding is helping bring immediate relief to those in our community who are struggling during this pandemic.”

Through the partnership, millions of dollars have been allocated and pledged to help small businesses and the most vulnerable households weather the storm, and more is on the way. On March 25, Portland City Council passed an ordinance to establish a $3 million initial emergency incident budget for emergency economic and housing relief, as well as emergency response. Prosper Portland provided another $1 million to create a $2 million dollar Portland Small Business Relief Fund (SBRF). The coalition of businesses and financial institutions united by the PBA is pledging an additional $1 million (and counting) to help small businesses in our region.

Donations and grants will be invested into the Small Business Stabilization Fund at Oregon Community Foundation (OCF). In collaboration with Prosper Portland, OCF will provide these funds to community development financial institutions in our region that will disburse the funds to small businesses during this challenging time.

“Small businesses are the heart of Portland and Oregon’s economy, and they’re experiencing unprecedented disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic," said Cort O’Haver, President & CEO, Umpqua Bank. "As Oregon’s bank, Umpqua cares deeply about helping small businesses across Portland and the state. At a time when so many across our region are experiencing unprecedented financial disruption, it’s important that small businesses know Portland’s broader business community stands with them, and that we’re all in this together.”

Initial contributions are from the following: *

  • Bank of America - $40,000
  • Columbia Bank - $10,000
  • JPMorgan Chase - $50,000
  • Key Bank - $35,000
  • Umpqua Bank - $75,000 (grant) $675,000 (loan)
  • U.S. Bank - $50,000
  • Wells Fargo - $125,000

*The generosity of these companies extends beyond this city initiative, both nationally and here in Oregon. Further details on the many ways they are supporting our community can be found here: portlandalliance.com/COVID19.

The $1 million allocated by City Council for small business relief will be combined with an additional $1 million provided by Prosper Portland to create the $2 million SBRF. $1 million will be available through emergency relief grants, while the other $1 million will be in the form of no-interest loans. The city’s economic development agency will use specific criteria to prioritize support for the most vulnerable businesses. For more information visit www.prosperportland.us/relief

“The Small Business Relief Fund we’re launching today will provide interim relief for local small business owners,” said Prosper Portland Economic Development Director Tory Campbell. “This fund is a critical stop-gap measure designed to aid the most vulnerable businesses in our community until additional funding becomes available. I want to thank Mayor Ted Wheeler, City Council, and Executive Director Kimberly Branam for their leadership during this unprecedented time.”

The City’s emergency incident budget also reallocates just over $1 million in Portland Housing Bureau resources to support the bureau’s COVID-19 Emergency Housing Stabilization Fund that will support 1,800 to 2,000 households with direct cash assistance for rent, food, medication and other urgent household needs.

“Our priority is to get emergency support into the hands of Portlanders who are struggling to maintain housing and meet their basic household needs in the midst of this crisis,” said Portland Housing Bureau Director Shannon Callahan. “We are working closely with Home Forward and Multnomah County to determine the best way deploy these resources quickly and effectively.”

Source: City of Portland

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