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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 »

Oregon’s famous doughnut chain, Bluestar, enters bankruptcy

By Oregon Small Business Association

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge bite out of Blue Star Doughnuts, forcing the Portland bakery into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Blue Star owners announced the company is restructuring after permanently closing four of its eight Portland outlets this year because of COVID-19, according to the Portland Business Journal. After shutting down in March, the company laid off most of its employees. The company permanently closed stores on 23rd Avenue, downtown, at Multnomah Village and at Progress Ridge. Only stores on South Gaines, North Mississippi Avenue, Southeast Division Street and at the Portland Airport remain open. Blue Star also owns three Los Angeles area stores.

Read more »

Small business comes to rescue of wildfire victims

Photo: Left: Bar West, Portland, Right: Ruddick Wood, Newberg

By Oregon Small Business Association

As wildfires rage across Oregon, restaurants—already struggling after shutdowns from the coronavirus pandemic—have stepped forward to feed firefighters, evacuees and others in need.

Read more »

List of business, home lootings during fire

By Oregon Small Business Association,

– In Molalla a man was arrested for breaking into a towing company and then stealing a utility terrain vehicle from a local school.

Read more »