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Portland Studio Wins a Grammy


By Oregon Small Business Association

Mr. Rogers died in 2003, but his music lives on—and even won a Grammy this year for a Portland company that reissued a compilation of his songs. Omnivore Recordings won the award in the Best Historical Album category for It’s Such a Good Feeling: The Best of Mister Rogers, which featured Fred Rogers singing songs aired on his children’s program during its three decades on television. Omnivore’s collection beat Bela Fleck’s Throw Down Your Heart: The Complete Africa Sessions, the super-deluxe edition of Prince’s 1999, and Nat King Cole’s Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936 – 1943). According to Willamette Week, Cheryl Pawelski, whose husband Audrey Bilger is president of Reed College, founded reissue label, which next plans to release the earliest recording of poet Allen Ginsberg reading his famous tome “Howl” in 1956 at Reed College.

Beaverton Restaurant Cheated 39 Workers on Payroll

By Oregon Small Business Association

The U.S. Labor Department has ordered the owners of a Beaverton restaurant to pay more than $400,000 in back pay to its 39 employees.

Buffet Palace paid a flat monthly wage to its employees, no matter how many hours they worked, resulting at times in an hourly wage of $5, which is below the federal $7.25 minimum wage. The restaurant also paid no overtime for people working more than 40 hours a week, according to the Portland Business Journal.

An investigation by the Labor Department Wage and Hour Division discovered that the owners falsified payroll records.

The $417,737 judgment against Buffet Palace includes $16,000 in civil penalties.

Restaurants Slow to Re-Open Despite Lifted Rules

By Oregon Small Business Association

Although Multnomah County restaurants area can reopen to serve customers indoors, many owners and operators hesitate to invest in rehiring workers and restocking kitchens when a spike in coronavirus cases could force them to shut their doors again. The uncertainty for restaurant owners, who have been forced twice in the past year to close to indoor dining, has them wondering whether they’ll earn enough by serving a reduced number of customers to cover their expenses, according to the Portland Business Journal.

Gov. Kate Brown stated that Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties are all now at the moderate risk levels, meaning they can soon boost indoor dining capacity to 50 percent.

Annie Cuggino, chef at the high-end downtown Q restaurant, recently opened the restaurant for the third time. Rather than reopening now, the owners of Le Pigeon and Canard plan to keep operating in a popup tent at the Jupiter Next hotel until April. As case counts keep plunging and vaccinations increase, they’ll hire and train workers and then reopen as long as it’s safe for both customers and employees.

The owners of Holler, Bullard and Abigail Hall restaurants won’t reopen until it’s safe and, noting the slim margins in the restaurant business, want to make certain limits on seating will enable them to cover all their costs. They said they can’t justify the expense of opening a 70-seat restaurant at 25 percent capacity. They might survive at 50 percent capacity, but they don’t want to lay off employees again if the state orders another shutdown.

The RingSide restaurant created a backup plan to reopen the dining room gradually while continuing to fulfill to-go orders. The restaurant also has created an outdoor dining area to use if the state orders more closures.

Vanessa Preston, owner of Café Nell, told KPTV said her restaurant is ready for whatever happens, taking safety measures, limiting the number of customers, and sanitizing each table after every use.

Olympia Provisions nearby isn’t allowing customers inside the restaurant but only outside or in the atrium until all staff members are vaccinated. Executive chef Katherine Roe said they’re keeping maskless people away from their employees.

Although Multnomah County restaurants area can reopen to serve customers indoors, many owners and operators hesitate to invest in rehiring workers and restocking kitchens when a spike in coronavirus cases could force them to shut their doors again. The uncertainty for restaurant owners, who have been forced twice in the past year to close to indoor dining, has them wondering whether they’ll earn enough by serving a reduced number of customers to cover their expenses, according to the Portland Business Journal.

Gov. Kate Brown stated that Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties are all now at the moderate risk levels, meaning they can soon boost indoor dining capacity to 50 percent.

Annie Cuggino, chef at the high-end downtown Q restaurant, recently opened the restaurant for the third time. Rather than reopening now, the owners of Le Pigeon and Canard plan to keep operating in a popup tent at the Jupiter Next hotel until April. As case counts keep plunging and vaccinations increase, they’ll hire and train workers and then reopen as long as it’s safe for both customers and employees.

The owners of Holler, Bullard and Abigail Hall restaurants won’t reopen until it’s safe and, noting the slim margins in the restaurant business, want to make certain limits on seating will enable them to cover all their costs. They said they can’t justify the expense of opening a 70-seat restaurant at 25 percent capacity. They might survive at 50 percent capacity, but they don’t want to lay off employees again if the state orders another shutdown.

The RingSide restaurant created a backup plan to reopen the dining room gradually while continuing to fulfill to-go orders. The restaurant also has created an outdoor dining area to use if the state orders more closures.

Vanessa Preston, owner of Café Nell, told KPTV said her restaurant is ready for whatever happens, taking safety measures, limiting the number of customers, and sanitizing each table after every use.

Olympia Provisions nearby isn’t allowing customers inside the restaurant but only outside or in the atrium until all staff members are vaccinated. Executive chef Katherine Roe said they’re keeping maskless people away from their employees.

Survey: 81% Businesses Witnessing Crime Increase

By Oregon Small Business Association Foundation

A survey by the Oregon Small Business Association Foundation has revealed that roughly 81% of the small business community is witnessing an increase in criminal activity.

This crime wave on top of a pandemic and lockdown makes it unbearable for small business.

For one Farmers Market Owner, crime is an everyday problem as he stated, “My business catches thieves every day.”

In the survey a Portland Resident said, “Both crime and homelessness are way up in my city.” Recent data from the Portland Police Bureau back up those facts, as Portland has seen a 47% increase in vandalism and 32% increase in burglaries.

The survey represented the thoughts of over 400 small business owners, leader and advocates across Oregon from the period between December 2020 and January 2021.

$100M Set Aside for Business Rent Relief

By Oregon Small Business Association

Business owners who have fallen behind on their rent payments during the coronavirus pandemic may receive help from Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency, which is managing the $100 million set aside by state lawmakers for rent relief.

But receiving the money may take four to six weeks as the agency builds a program to distribute the money, according to the Portland Business Journal.

Business owners will need to apply for the funding allocated Jan. 8 by the Legislature’s joint emergency board. It may be set up as a grant to pay delinquent lease payments for small businesses falling behind because of COVID-19. Businesses might receive $100,000 or $200,000, perhaps distributed by lottery.

A state moratorium preventing eviction of delinquent residential and commercial tenants expired at the end of 2020. In December, Oregon legislators provided $200 million in December to help residents and landlords cover their rents.

Landlords Sue Portland, Multnomah Cty and State

By Oregon Small Business Association

Multifamily Northwest, a group of landlords contending that renters are between $800 million and $900 million behind in payments, filed a lawsuit in federal court against Oregon State, Multnomah County, and the city of Portland.

The suit was filed after the Oregon State Legislature approved more money for landlords whose tenants are behind in rent payments because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Oregonian/Oregon Live. The legislation extended the moratorium on evictions until June 30.

The state set aside $150 million in a fund for landlords with delinquent renters, and added another $50 million to rental relief programs, but to qualify for the money, landlords must agree to waive 20 percent of the rent owed.

An attorney for several landlords said lawmakers failed to responsibly address the housing crisis created by state and local leaders.

No Cases Tied to Gyms. Time to Re-Open

By Oregon Small Business Association,

Citing a University of Oregon study, the owners of Planet Fitness have urged Gov. Kate Brown to reopen gyms because they pose fewer risks of spreading coronavirus than bars or restaurants. While accepting the need for some restrictions, the owners say Oregon is one of only five states to close gyms during the latest attempts to curtail the spread of the virus, according to the Portland Business Journal. The UO’s Consulting Group study, commissioned by a group representing fitness centers, found little correlation between gym attendance and COVID cases. Planet Fitness said among the 1.2 million members who checked into its gyms through Nov. 30, only 0.00119 percent tested positive. Oregon’s COVID restrictions have closed 20 Planet Fitness locations, forcing the layoff of 260 employees.

70,000 Oregonians face Christmas Day Expiration of Jobless Benefits

By Oregon Small Business Association

While Scrooge may tear unemployment benefits from up to 70,000 Oregonians the day after Christmas, when the federal CARES Act expires, most may be given a 13-week reprieve with a shift to a new program.

Congress extended the unemployment benefits awarded under the CARES Act passed in March from 26 weeks to 39, meaning most recipients will receive their last unemployment assistance check Dec. 26, according to the Oregonian/Oregon Live. Congress also created the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for self-employed workers who normally don’t qualify for help.

The Oregon Unemployment Department said many workers will receive 13 additional weeks of payments under an Extended Benefits program. Those who qualify will receive a letter notifying them of the shift in programs.

Nationally, the CARES Act provided helped 12 million Americans through 2020. Congress hasn’t indicated yet whether an additional financial relief package will be forthcoming.

Gresham firm to make millions of N95 masks

By Oregon Small Business Association

The global spike in coronavirus cases is paying off for a manufacturing company in Gresham, which has switched from creating recycled containers to making N96 masks and face shields. Read more »

Metro wage tax to hit 70% of all workers

By Oregon Small Business Association

One of the biggest businesses taxes is before METRO-area voters this week. It is Ballot Measure 26-218, and it is a wage tax that will hit larger employers, which represent nearly 70% of all workers in the Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas County.

Read more »