• May 07, 2020 5:33 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    In a press briefing earlier today, Governor Kate Brown announced additional details for the Phase I reopening of Oregon. 

    The Governor will begin accepting applications for reopening counties on May 8th. Counties must meet certain criteria to reopen, including:

    1. Declining COVID-19 prevalence 

    2. Minimum Testing Regimen 

    3. Contact Tracing System 

    4. Isolation Facilities 

    5. Finalize Statewide Sector Guidelines 

    6. Sufficient Healthcare Capacity 

    7. Sufficient PPE Supply

    Should counties meet the prerequisites, they can enter into Phase I reopening on May 15th.  After 21 days in Phase I, counties continuing to meet the prerequisites may be able to enter Phase II. 

    Details on Restarting Oregon Public Life and Business


    Watch full press conference


  • May 06, 2020 3:41 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    PPP loans, EIDL advances, SBA loan subsidies not subject to CAT!

    The Oregon Department of Revenue has determined that certain federal assistance to businesses under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is not commercial activity under Oregon statute and will not be subject to the Corporate Activity Tax.

    The exempt assistance includes forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advances, and Small Business Administration (SBA) loan subsidies. More information can be found in the Beyond the FAQ section of the CAT page on the department's website.


    Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Allow Chambers to Apply for PPP Loans

    Representatives Chris Pappas (D-NH-01), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01), Gil Cisneros (D-CA-39), and Greg Steube (R-FL-17) introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 6697) to ensure local chambers of commerce and other nonprofits who support small businesses-and who are not currently eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)-can receive the federal assistance they need to navigate the devastating economic downturn of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    In a press release from the bill introducing Members, U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive vice president Neil Bradley was quoted:

    "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pleased to support the Local Chamber, Tourism, and 501(c)(6) Protection Act. Local chambers of commerce across the country play a vital role in assisting local businesses weathering the economic storm caused by the coronavirus. Including these organizations in the Paycheck Protection Program ensures they can continue with this important work in the weeks and months ahead. We will continue to work with Representatives Pappas, Fitzpatrick, and other members of Congress to include local chambers in this important program."


    See the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's coalition letter signed by over 3,700 non-profit organizations urging Congress to make this change.


  • May 06, 2020 3:36 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    The Oregon State Chamber of Commerce (OSCC) announced today that the Board of Directors has voted to join the Save Small Business Coalition.

    In a meeting held on Monday, May 4th, the Board unanimously voted to join the Coalition.
     Several local Oregon chambers were founding members of this effort. The Save Small Business Coalition has aligned their efforts with over 100 chambers and business associations nationwide to create America's Recovery Fund Coalition: americasrecoveryfund.org

    OSCC encourages chambers to learn more about the Save Small Business Coalition and how they can be part of this effort. 

    For more information about the Save Small Business Coalition, please contact:

    • Lorraine ClarnoPresident/CEO of the Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce at lorraine@beaverton.org 
    • Janet Steele, President/CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce at jsteele@albanychamber.com


  • April 25, 2020 11:00 AM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    Dear OSCC members and colleagues -

    The coronavirus crisis has had a devastating impact on our economy. Small businesses have been applying for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loans authorized under the CARES Act, as well as the Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) and Emergency Grants for support during this time. Due to the need for these programs, funds have been quickly exhausted.

    We need swift bipartisan action NOW to bolster these programs and help our most vulnerable small businesses survive.

    Also, Congress is in the final stages of negotiating additional funding for the CARES Act.  Inclusion of all non-profits in the Paycheck Protection Program remains an open issue. Please call your Senators to urge them to include 501(c)(6) non-profits.  

    • Senator Wyden - (202) 224-5244
    • Senator Merkley - (202) 224-3753


  • April 17, 2020 11:20 AM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

    Am I ELIGIBLE?

    HOW MUCH does the program pay and for how long?

    PUA pays the same weekly benefits as your regular state unemployment insurance (UI) program, but the benefits are 100% federally funded. PUA benefits are available for up to 39 weeks.

    This program expires on December 31, 2020.

    Through July 31, 2020, recipients of unemployment compensation will receive an additional $600 per week on top of the state-calculated benefit.

    According to the Department of Labor: “An individual who works as an independent contractor with reportable income also may qualify for PUA benefits if he or she is unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work because the COVID-19 public health emergency has severely limited his or her ability to continue performing his or her customary work activities, and has thereby forced the individual to suspend such activities” is eligible.

    NOTE: Receipt of a PPP loan may impact your ability to collect unemployment insurance.

    Oregon Unemployment Insurance Program

    General Information about the Unemployment Insurance Program:

    https://www.oregon.gov/EMPLOY/Unemployment/Pages/default.aspx

    To file a UI claim online:

    https://secure.emp.state.or.us/ocs4/index.cfm?u=F20161026A115006B48721263.5255&lang=E

    To apply by phone:
    http://findit.emp.state.or.us/ocs/ui-center-lookup/
    To check the status or get information on your claim:
    https://ssl8.emp.state.or.us/ocs4/index.cfm?u=F20090409A135628B981286.346099&lang=E

    Coronavirus update: Oregon is providing updates on Unemployment Insurance changes related to COVID-19 here:
    https://www.oregon.gov/employ/Pages/COVID-19.aspx


    SBA ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOANS (EIDL)

    HOW DO I APPLY?

    Apply for an EIDL loan at SBA.gov/disaster

    Am I ELIGIBLE?

    What are the loan TERMS, CAPS, and PARAMETERS?

    How can I access  an emergency  $10,000 GRANT?

    You are eligible to apply for an EIDL loan as an independent contractor or self-employed person. NOTE: As of April 15, 2020, the EIDL program was running out funds, so loans were only being approved up to $15,000, and emergency grants were limited to $1,000 per employee up to $10,000. Congress may replenish funding, in which case this guide will be updated.

    • The maximum EIDL is a $2 million working capital loan at a rate of 3.75% (up to a 30-year term) Payments on Coronavirus EIDL loans are deferred for one year Up to $200,000 can be approved without a personal guarantee Approval can be based on a credit score and no first-year tax returns are required Borrowers do not have to prove they could not get credit elsewhere No collateral is required for loans of $25,000 or less For loans of more than $25,000, general security interest in business assets will be used for collateral instead of real estate The borrowers must allow the SBA to review its tax records

    Eligible applicants for an EIDL may receive up to a $10,000 emergency grant within three days of submitting their application (through Dec. 31). There is no obligation to repay the grant. Applicants who are denied an EIDL loan are still eligible to receive the $10,000 emergency grant. If you secure a PPP loan, the $10,000 grant will be subtracted from the forgiveness amount NOTE: The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created by the CARES Act prohibits borrowers from taking out two loans for the same purpose.

    Prepared by the U.S, Chamber of Commerce


  • April 17, 2020 11:00 AM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    If you are an independent contractor or self-employed individual, you may be eligible for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans/grants, SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and/or Unemployment Compensation for losses of income related to the coronavirus pandemic.

    If you are an independent contractor or are self employed and don't have any employees, here's what you need to know about each program.     

    Am I eligible?

    • You are eligible to apply for a PPP loan as an independent contractor or self-employed individual who has been or will be harmed by the pandemic if all of the following are true:

    1. You were in operation on February 15, 2020,

    2. Your primary place of residence is the United States

    3. You filed or will file a Form 1040 Schedule C for 2019 showing self-employment income.

    NOTE: The SBA will issue additional guidance for those individuals with self-employment income who were not in operation in 2019 but were in operation on February 15, 2020. NOTE: As of April 16, 2020, the PPP program was running out funds. Congress may replenish funding; in which case this guide will be updated.

    What will lenders BE LOOKING FOR?

    • First, you will need to fill out the PPP application available on the Treasury’s Website (click here). You also will need all of the following:
    • 1. Your 2019 1040 Schedule C (even if you haven’t filed it with the IRS yet)
    • 2. A 2019 1099-MISC, invoice, bank statement, or book of record that shows you were self-employed in 2019
    • 3. A 2020 invoice, bank statement, or book of record establishing that you were in operation on or around February 15, 2020       

    How much can I BORROW?
    • For most independent contractors, calculating your PPP borrowing limit is a 3-step process:
    • Step 1: Find line 31 on your 2019 IRS Form 1040 Schedule C  (If you haven’t filed yet for 2019, go ahead and fill it out).  If the amount on Line 31 is over $100,000, write $100,000.
    • Step 2: Divide the amount from Step 1 by 12.
    • Step 3: Multiply the amount from Step 2 by 2.5. For most borrowers, this will be your maximum PPP loan amount NOTE: If you received an EIDL loan between January 31, 2020 and April 3, 2020 you can refinance that as part of your PPP loan (minus any amount received as an EIDL grant).
    How can I use my PPP LOAN?
    • You can use your PPP loan to do any of the following:
    • 1. Replace your compensation (based on your 2019 income)
    • 2. Pay interest payments on a mortgage or loan (such as an auto loan) you use to perform your business*
    • 3. Make business rent payments*
    • 4. Make business utility payments*
    • 5. Make interest payments on any other debt incurred before February 15, 2020 (but such amounts are not eligible for loan forgiveness) * You must have claimed a deduction on your 2019 taxes for expenses described in 2, 3, and 4 above.
    How much CAN BE FORGIVEN?
    • Borrowers are eligible to have some, or all of their loan forgiven.
    • How much? An amount equal to how much you spent in the eight weeks following receipt of the loan for:
    • Owner compensation replacement, but not to exceed eight weeks of your 2019 compensation up to $100,000  (8/52 of the 2019 net profit up to $100,000)
    • Plus Interest on mortgages on real or personal property incurred before February 15, 2020 to the extent deductible on the 1040 Schedule C
    • Plus Rent on lease agreements in effect before February 15, 2020 to the extent deductible on the 1040 Schedule C
    • Plus Utility payments under service agreements dated before February 15, 2020 to the extent deductible on the 1040 Schedule C
    • Equals Potential Forgiveness Amount
    • NOTE: Not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-compensation
    What lenders will NOT LOOK FOR
    • • • That the borrower sought and was unable to obtain credit elsewhere.
    • • • A personal guarantee is not required for the loan.
    • • • No collateral is required for the loan

    Loan Terms

    • Payments deferred for six months
    • 1.00% fixed interest rate
    • Loan is due in two years

    IMPORTANT Because many independent contractors do not have deductible expenses for interest, rent, or utilities, their loan forgiveness will be limited to eight weeks’ worth of their 2019 net profit (replacement compensation).

    However, they can borrow 2.5 months’ worth of their 2019 net profit. That is, if an independent contractor borrows the full amount, they may have a loan balance that needs to be repaid.

    Prepared by the U.S, Chamber of Commerce

  • April 16, 2020 12:11 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    Eligibility and Timeline:

    • The application will go live on 4/20/20 at 12:00 PM PT/3:00 PM ET. • Visit savesmallbusiness.com for more details and to get an email reminder when the application launches. • To qualify, a business must: o Employ between 3 and 20 people o Be in an economically vulnerable community o Have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic • Grants will be distributed on a weekly, rolling basis until all funds have been allocated.

    General Overview: • To extend a helping hand to small businesses suffering from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation – in partnership with Vistaprint and a coalition of supporting companies, foundations, and philanthropic donors – is working to provide financial relief through the Save Small Business Fund. • The Save Small Business Fund is a grantmaking initiative to offer $5,000 grants that provide short-term relief for employers across the United States and its territories. • A recent poll conducted by the Chamber and MetLife found that more than half of small businesses (54%) have closed at least temporarily or will close in the next two weeks. One in four (24%) are two months or less away from permanently closing. They need resources and relief — and they need it now. • That’s why the Save Small Business Fund is providing $5,000 grants to help as many businesses as possible meet their most pressing needs -- from rent, making payroll, or for overall business operations. 

  • April 15, 2020 1:52 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    After the GEAC meeting, Andy Miller, Human Solutions, shared these links with us to share with the community so more people can get their COVID19 one-time payment from the federal government: 

    Access to a new web tool released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide a quick means of registering people who do not normally file taxes for the COVID-19 Economic Impact Payment. 

    https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here

    To view a list of temporary mailing addresses for use by people without bank accounts:

    http://www.navigateresources.net/info/MatchList.aspx?k;Portland,%20Multnomah%20County;40530;;N;0;1385181;Temporary%20Mailing%20Address;Temporary%20Mailing%20Address;Partial

    To view Oregon Housing Alliance's recent blog post with resources regarding the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums.

    https://www.oregonhousingalliance.org/eviction-and-foreclosure-moratorium-information/

    To read a one-pager provided on OregonLawHelp.org regarding Oregon tenant rights during COVID-19:

    Oregon Tenant Rights during COVID-19

    Free legal information from Legal Aid Services of Oregon & Oregon Law Center (updated April 9, 2020)

    • 1.      It is illegal for a landlord to give you an eviction notice or a notice of violation for non-payment of rent, non-payment of fees, or non-payment of utilities between now and June 30th. You need to tell your landlord as soon as possible that you cannot pay your rent. If you cannot pay your rent now, you will need to pay it after June 30, 2020.
    • 2.      It is illegal for a landlord to charge you a late fee for any kind of nonpayment between now and June 30, 2020.
    • 3.      It is illegal for a landlord to give you a no-cause notice between now and June 30, 2020.
    • 4.      It is illegal for your landlord to file for an eviction based on non-payment or a no-cause notice between now and June 30, 2020. Your local government may have protections.
    • 5.      Tell your landlord in writing if you've lost income due to COVID-19, and send written proof of loss of income as soon as possible.
    • 6.      If you live in subsidized housing, your landlord cannot give you an eviction notice based on non-payment until at least July 26, 2020. Your landlord has to give you at least a 30-day notice after July 26, 2020.

    Additional online resources

    For more information on tenant rights in Oregon visit:

    https://www.oregon rentersrights.org/ and

    https:// oregonlawhelp.org/classroom/public-health-and -coronavirus-covid-19/housing-protections

    Free legal help for low-income Oregonians

    If you are low-income and need legal help related to your housing, you may be able to get free legal assistance from a legal aid attorney. To find your local legal aid office, visit https://oregonlawhelp.org//resource/oregon-legal-aid-offices




  • April 14, 2020 3:47 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    The Oregon Employment Department is doing a tremendous amount of work in response to vast increases in claims and new programs designed to help unemployed workers.  

    The Oregon Employment Department continues work to address both the historic spike in unemployment insurance claims, and the dramatic expansion of eligibility criteria. We have some new information and can use your help to spread the word.

     1.            Oregon turned Federal law into real dollars in two weeks!

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 was signed into law on March 27. The CARES Act allows payment of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). The Oregon Employment Department has started issuing these payments to eligible individuals. Oregonians who are already eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance benefits and eligible for FPUC will receive two weekly payments; one for regular UI benefits, and an additional $600 payment. Individuals will be receiving FPUC benefits using the same payment method as their regular UI benefits for the week. FPUC payments will be paid for each week someone is eligible from March 29, 2020 through the week ending July 25, 2020. The $600 payments will be retroactive for those eligible for payments.

    More information about the upcoming PUA program and all benefits associated with the CARES Act can be found on the Employment Department’s COVID-19 page.

     2.            We’ve addressed the error message reported to us.

    We had a re-start claim error for a portion of claims received during the week of April 5 and again on April 12. We made an automatic fix for this issue last week, and nearly all affected should be able to continue to file weekly claims online. For those who have completed their initial claim, and continued to file weekly claims, your re-start error has been identified and fixed. If you tried Sunday the 12th, and got the re-start error for the first time, you can re-try now and it should work. You will not lose out on a week of benefits that you were eligible to receive because of a difficulty either getting through on our phone, or because of an online claim error.

    We know misinformation, especially coming from us, is frustrating and scary. We also know that as we rework our systems to keep pace with eligibility rules rewritten at the federal level, we will continue to face challenges with the system.

    Bottom line, if a benefits seeker or employer receives a message that doesn’t seem right, we ask them to email us – allowing an Employment staffer to run the message to ground.

     3.            Employers reported receiving notices of unemployment for their employees that look like bills.

    Good news, it is not a bill. We provide this information to employers because we are required to; most likely, the information is part of the calculation of an employer’s future “experience rating.”  Ratings are computed annually, and look at the time period of July 1 – June 30.

    Because of the timing of the coronavirus, the impact of this is likely to be spread across multiple tax years, minimizing any sudden or drastic changes. The thinking right now is that it is not an indicator that employer “experience rating” will drastically change in the coming years!

     4.            Updated websites have dashboards and links to information, instructional videos, and a way to sign up for updates electronically:

    •             https://www.qualityinfo.org/covid-19

    •             https://govstatus.egov.com/ORUnemployment_COVID19

     5.            Thank you for continuing to advise your constituents to use one of the following email boxes with Employment Department team members dedicated to responding. Someone will email back or phone the person within the week.

    •             OED_COVID19_Info@oregon.gov

    •             OED_UI_Info@oregon.gov

     6.            Employment Department employees can’t all telework? What are you doing for their safety?

    The Employment Department promotes telework when possible. Privacy and security are very important to us, the Oregonians we serve, and is critical to our federal and state partnership. This work is essential and we maintain a safe workplace with that security at the forefront of helping Oregonians when they need us most, which has truly never been at a greater level than now.

    When people speak to us about their claims, they are providing private information, including their social security number, their earnings information, and when we get the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program up and running, new/private tax documentation we do not usually handle. We have to protect the private information of the people who need unemployment benefits from us. Using unsecured phone lines or allowing inadvertent access to those pieces of private information poses quite a risk.

    As early as March 4th, we provided Employment Department team members with information and resources about best practices to stay healthy and safe. Our efforts have continued as the best practices and advice has evolved including:

    •             Cleaning building per CDC protocols daily

    •             Soap and water for hand washing, disinfecting wipes, and hand sanitizers are available

    •             Signage for social distancing

    •             Individual staff seated at least 6 feet away

    •             Worksource centers remained open to the public by appointment only to promote social distancing and later went to providing services virtually through email, phones, and skype

    •             Work spaces that weren’t six feet apart were organized into split shifts; no sharing of work spaces (so the people on different shifts are not using the same space as another employee)

    •             All staff, including the team members in the contact centers have the use of Skype and email to message each other instead of having to ask each other questions face to face

    •             Our contact centers do not accept walk-ins. The only way to file a claim is online or by phone. 

    •             We have also been opening up vacant spaces in our existing contact centers and other buildings to make additional, socially distanced spaces for taking claims as we bring in new staff

    •             Through the letters of agreement for represented state employees, which includes employees in contact centers, the Oregon Employment Department also has the same leave options available as all state agencies.

    We are continuously adjusting our protocols to keep our work spaces and team members safe and we count on one another to help us do that.

     7.            We’ve dramatically increased our staffing levels in response to the wave of claims.

    We started with 106 employees dedicated to taking claims during the week starting March 8. In two weeks’ time, we doubled the number of employees taking claims, primarily by switching existing OED staff from their area of expertise to taking claims. That means we could use existing work spaces.

    As we have continued to hire employees, we have been utilizing spaces that were vacant so we can bring them into a properly distanced environment. Of the initial, record-shattering surge of claims we received, our talented and amazing employees have processed more than half of them. So far, on average, we’re still processing claims in about the same time frame of a few weeks from initial filing to payment as would be the standard in non-pandemic times. That is truly impressive.

    As of today, we have 450 team members dedicated to processing claims and we are continually recruiting.

     8.            We are prioritizing COBOL programming

    Oregonians are already getting enhanced unemployment benefits under the CARES Act, which Congress passed two weeks ago. Where provisions of the CARES Act call for additional coding or computer work, the department is working to implement those changes in its mainframe COBOL system.

    • The top priority has been to get the supplemental $600 payments out the door as quickly as possible, and the first payments began late last week.
    • The second priority is to prepare Oregon’s unemployment system to provide benefits to those not usually eligible for unemployment insurance benefits, such as self-employed Oregonians. The department is already preparing its systems for this significant expansion of benefits.
    • The third priority is implementing the numerous other programs outlined in the CARES Act, including the new federal extension program called the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, the federal-state shared Extended Benefits program, the Workshare program allotting federal reimbursements (instead of employers reimbursing the trust fund), and the coding necessary to eliminate the “waiting week.”

    There is significant work required to make changes in our mainframe systems, and making these changes will impact how quickly we can get benefits to people. Therefore, we prioritize by looking at both the feasibility and risk of the changes compared to the impact of the changes.

    9.            And the independent contractor (PUA) progress?

    We are working on implementing the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for people who are not usually eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. We may be able to start taking applications before all of the computer programming is done, but we do not yet know if that is the case. PUA benefits will be retroactive to February 2, 2020.  As soon as we know how the program will work in Oregon, we will be getting the information out as quickly as we can. It will take us time to take the federal legislation, and the guidance from the US Department of Labor, and from that create and start implementing the programs. Our UI application process really is geared towards employees, as that is who the unemployment insurance program was designed to assist. We are advising that people not apply for this program until we create it.  Thank you. Jeannine

    Many of the questions we are getting are asking for a confirmation of a claim going through. We ask that constituents with claim specific questions use our dedicated email box address (below). This gets them into a queue to have their specific question answered as the email box is staffed with trained and dedicated employees. This email box is backlogged, but someone will get back to the person.

    Rep. Jeff Reardon, District 48

    (503) 986-1448 (office)

    P.S. Want to stay in the know? Sign up for our email updates at https://govstatus.egov.com/ORUnemployment_COVID19

    For questions about your claim, remember we have an email box dedicated to respond to your specific questions. They are back logged, but will get back to you  OED_COVID19_info@oregon.gov


  • April 14, 2020 12:03 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    Business Oregon, in partnership with Travel Oregon and Small Business Development Centers, would like to help assess how COVID-19 is impacting businesses. Information gathered by this survey will be vital to policy-makers who are working to provide assistance to businesses during this crisis. Individual responses to this survey are completely confidential and will not be shared publicly, only aggregate information will be shared. 

    We are working to target businesses specifically to capture estimated revenue impacts as well as information around canceled events, employee impacts, and more. We recognize that you may be receiving survey requests from multiple agencies and organizations. The intention of this short survey is to serve the needs of businesses impacted by COVID-19. Information gathered by this survey will be vital to policymakers who are working to provide assistance to businesses during this crisis.

    Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. In the event you receive this questionnaire more than once, please provide only one response.

    Please find the survey below: The survey will remain open through April 15.

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BusinessOregon


    Also, resources for businesses impacted by COVID-19 can be found on the websites of Business Oregon, Travel Oregon, and Oregon Small Business Development Center here: 

    http://www.oregon4biz.com/Coronavirus-Information/ 

    https://traveloregon.com/things-to-do/covid-19-resources-updates/ 

    https://bizcenter.org/covid-19/ 


JOIN US NEXT:

New Members

Gold Sponsor

SILVER SPONSORS

BRONZE SPONSORS

Become a Sponsor!

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software