‘Vital’ small business relief available after January’s arctic blast

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Small businesses facing economic hardship from January’s arctic blast may be eligible for relief, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Commissioner Carmen Rubio announced Tuesday.

The city leaders unveiled several small business relief programs, including the Restore Grant Program, which can reimburse small businesses or nonprofits up to $25,000 in expenses that businesses incurred during the storm.

The deadline to apply for Restore Grant resources is Feb. 29.

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Additionally, the United States Small Business Administration issued a Disaster Declaration because of the impact of the storm. This allows small business owners in Multnomah County to apply for Disaster Assistance Loans, officials said – noting SBA advisors will be available to assist with loan applications.

Advisors from Prosper Portland’s Small Business Hub are also available to help small business owners access loans, grants, and other business programs.

“I’m pleased to announce that the current round of the Restore Grant has been expanded to include costs due to ice-storm-related impacts,” Commissioner Rubio said in a statement. “With this change, businesses can submit for operational expenses such as revenue loss, physical repairs, and inventory and equipment replacement due to storm damage. I want to recognize the team at Prosper Portland for their work to expand this program to assist small businesses.”

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Mayor Ted Wheeler added, “I want to thank the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management for working with the State of Oregon and the SBA to obtain this declaration.”

“We know that January and February are already a challenging time for many retailers. The ice storm brought added and unnecessary stress to business owners. The SBA loans, the Restore Grant, and technical assistance from the Small Business Hub represent a spectrum of assistance that’s available to small-business owners as they recover from the winter storm,” Wheeler continued.

Prosper Portland Executive Director Kimberly Branam said helping small businesses recover is a top priority, adding, “I encourage business owners to review these new resources and reach out to our Small Business Hub advisors for assistance. Whether it’s navigation, application assistance, or simply having a real person listen and help, across multiple languages, we are here to help our city recover.”

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“We appreciate Mayor Wheeler, Commissioner Rubio, and Director Branam for their swift and astute response in securing vital storm relief grant funding tailored to the unique challenges faced by our cherished independent restaurants, bars, and food trucks,” said Naomi Pomeroy, chef and founder of the Independent Restaurant Alliance of Oregon. “Your decisive action speaks volumes, recognizing the vital role our culinary community plays in Portland’s success. In this collaborative effort, we not only weather the storm but emerge stronger, proving that when leaders understand the distinctive needs of our establishments, the result is a recipe for resilience and recovery. Thank you for standing by us.”

This announcement comes after an initial damage assessment found January’s storm caused $72 million in damage across Oregon — including downed trees and powerlines.

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