Small business bond sale canceled because of COVID-19
Restrictions imposed to slow the spread of COVID-19 have now dealt a double blow to small businesses in Oregon.
A state bond sale intended to help small businesses has been canceled because Oregon Lottery funds have fallen too much to support it. Lottery revenues are down because restaurants, bars and other outlets have been closed or restricted to slow the spread of the virus.
The cancellation was announced by the Oregon Heritage State Historic Preservation Office on Friday, July 10. Previous recipients have included projects in the Alberta Arts District in Northeast Portland.
Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant funding was part of a 2019 bond package backed by lottery funds approved by the 2019 Oregon Legislature. Without the $5,000,000 expected from the sale or additional action by the Legislature, a new round of grants can't be awarded.
"This is a devastating blow to Oregon's 93 historic downtowns and organizations that participate in the Oregon Main Street Network. They have struggled these past several months to meet the challenges their communities are facing during the pandemic. They have been vital to the preservation of jobs, businesses and community resilience. Many have already been preparing for the application process slated to open in January 2021," the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office said Friday, July 10.
According to the announcement, the grant program was created during the 2015 legislative session, and placed with the historic preservation office. The grants fund building acquisition, rehabilitation, or construction projects that support community revitalization in Oregon Main Street Network communities. The program also requires that at least 50% of the funds go to rural communities as defined in the bill.
The first two grant cycles resulted in awards for 56 projects in 37 communities. Awards were spread all over the state, from Enterprise to Lakeview to Gold Beach to Astoria, and included 30 communities under 30,000 population, including Portland.
To learn more about the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant or the Oregon Main Street Network, visit oregonheritage.org.
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