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'Boots on the ground' to support 'backbone of America' affected by COVID-19 pandemic.

FILE PHOTO - Six business recovery centers have been established throughout Clackamas County to help local business connect with resources to weather the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses in Clackamas County are being invited to take advantage of resources made available to them by COVID-19 pandemic relief measures through the assistance of six newly established "Business Recovery Centers" scattered throughout the county.

The county's economic development division announced this week the implementation of the #ClackamasStrong Program which seeks to connect business to the recovery services and resources critical to helping them through the economic downturn caused by state-mandated restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19.

According to John Legarza, county economic development coordinator, the idea was sparked by efforts Washington County has taken to help its local business community through the pandemic, as well as programs implemented to help businesses on the East Coast following natural disasters such as hurricanes.

"A lot of the more progressive economic developments will have a backup plan to have these recovery centers, and they'll stand them up to help businesses go through these types of transitions," Legarza said. "So as we saw Washington County do that, we felt this is something we need to do to really have a cohesive way across all of the county to provide businesses with support."FILE PHOTO - Clackamas County

Legarza said they reached out to chambers of commerce in six communities strategically located in different parts of the county to ensure that every business has access to these recovery centers funded by the CARES Act. The idea is to have "boots on the ground" who can go into these businesses, help supply some personal protective equipment, connect business owners with grants and educational resources, help them find legal support and even connect them to a translator if they don't speak English and want to apply for a small business administration loan or any other type of assistance.

"What we're trying to do is connect them at this time to all the resources available, federal, state and local, to get through this transition phase," Legarza said. "By establishing these recovery centers, we're able to have staff in those areas, walking and talking to the businesses, going in and seeing the coffee shop on the corner or the nail salon, asking them what they need."

According to Legarza, the county has also partnered with Lewis & Clark College's small-business legal clinic to offer help to businesses who can't afford legal advice at this time despite it being crucial to their survival.

Although the roll out of the program just started on Monday, Dec. 7, Legarza said the county's economic development division is already hearing how appreciative business owners are that these recovery centers are being established.

"I think sometimes business owners are a little timid to take advantage of resources because it's from the government," Legarza said. "So this is about getting the word out onto the street to these business owners whose small businesses are the backbone of America. It's time to really step up and get awareness to them that there are programs and funding out there for them."

Visit the county's website for more information.

Canby Area Business Recovery Center

Jackie Liang, Business Outreach Coordinator 503-266-4600

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191 SE 2nd Ave. Canby, OR 97013

Lake Oswego & West Linn Area Business Recovery Center

Jen Petersen, BRC Program Coordinator 503-894-3087

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525 Third Street, Suite 233, Lake Oswego, OR 97034

North Clackamas Business Recovery Center

Angela Baker, BRC Administrative Assistant 503-654-7777

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8305 SE Monterey Avenue, #104, Happy Valley, OR 97086

Oregon City Business Recovery Center

Sam Munger, BRC Outreach Coordinator 503-656-1619

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615 High St. #102, Oregon City OR 97045

Sandy Area Business Recovery Center

Khrys Jones, BRC Program Consultant 503-668-4006

Shannon Givens, BRC Program Consultant 930-5445

Lisa Foster, BRC Outreach Coordinator930-5439

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39085 Pioneer Blvd. Suite 206, Sandy, OR 97055

Wilsonville Area Business Recovery Center

Dakota Hufford, Business Outreach Coordinator682-0411, ext. 2

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8565 SW Salish Lane Suite 150, Wilsonville, OR 97070


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