Washington County chambers join coalition, ask Congress for funds
Business chambers in Washington County are coming together to support a national recovery fund for businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
On May 5, the Tigard Chamber of Commerce announced it joined America's Recovery Fund Coalition, an alliance of than 100 trade associations and business organizations, including the Save Small Business Coalition, advocating for a grant-based federal assistance program to power the resilience of American enterprise.
"We have joined the America's Recovery Fund Coalition and support the implementation of the recovery fund as it will be vital for the continued re-opening and recovery of our business and our communities across the nation," said Megan De Salvo, who is the board chair of the Tigard Chamber of Commerce. "Small businesses and their owners are at the heart of all communities."
According to the coalition's website, the group represents 45% of the U.S. workforce — more than 58 million workers. This includes more than 100 members across retail, restaurants, theaters, gyms and salons.
The group is asking Congress for more support to help businesses, workers and communities recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
"The Paycheck Protection Program and the Main Street lending facilities (are) well intentioned," said Sabrina Siddiqui, a spokesperson for America's Recovery Fund Coalition. "They're making an effort to help fray the impact of the COVID-19 economic crisis, but absolutely, more must be done."
The Paycheck Protection Program, a $349 billion emergency loan program created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES, gives forgivable loans up to $10 million to small businesses left financially distressed by the COVID-19 crisis. The loans can be used to meet payroll and day-to-day operating expenses.
"We need something that's more broad-based," Siddiqui argued. "We need something efficient — a recovery that doesn't pick winners or losers, but instead creates a fund where our members and businesses across the country are able to immediately get access to this liquidity."
Siddiqui said the coalition is seeing a need across various industries. She hopes that businesses engage with members of congress and the community to explain their needs to make the fund a reality.
"It's going to be really bad," Siddiqui said, if the fund isn't supported by Congress. "We need this fund now. We need it to help businesses reopen. … For a lot of these businesses, if they're not able to access this additional capital and this additional support, we fear that they won't be able to keep their doors open and that they won't be able to come back."
Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce President Lorraine Clarno said the fund is vital to help small businesses long term. Clarno added that it's important for chambers in the area to come together to support the coalition.
"The more folks we have on the same song sheet and helping people on the Hill understand what it's going to take to truly get our communities back up and going is vital," she said.
Other chambers that are part of the America's Recovery Fund Coalition include the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, the Tualatin Chamber of Commerce, the Wilsonville Chamber of Commerce and the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce.
Several other Oregon chambers are involved as well.
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