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Small businesses impaired by COVID-19 eligible for grant funding through Col-Pac, CCET

PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Small businesses in downtown Clatskanie may be among those that could benefit from a new grant program.Small businesses in Columbia County can now apply for grants of $2,500 to $25,000 if they've been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant funds will be distributed by Columbia-Pacific Economic Development District and Columbia County Economic Team.

The state has allocated $150,000, while Columbia County is contributing $100,000 to the pool of grant money.

Columbia County applied for $100,000 in state funding and received $70,000 last month.

Col-Pac also applied for funding and received $80,000 from the state.

"Our County Board of Commissioners originally seeded this grant fund and we were fortunate to successfully receive matching funds from the state through a collaborative effort with Col-Pac," said Paul Vogel, Interim Executive Director of CCET.

The funding was announced last month, but distribution and coordination took weeks. Grant applications opened Wednesday, June 24.

According to an announcement from the county, Columbia County was one of 46 applicants to receive funding through Business Oregon's "comprehensive process to adhere to the intent of the Legislative Assembly and Governor to distribute the $2.5 million available during this application round to support business needs statewide."

The COVID-19 response funding is being distributed in three cycles, using $5 million from the state's general fund, allocated by Gov. Kate Brown and the state Legislature, plus $5 million redirected from other Business Oregon programs.

Applications are due by Friday, July 3. Grant funds are expected to be distributed to recipients by the end of July. Businesses can apply online.

The grants will go to small businesses with fewer than 25 employees. The program "also encourages efforts to provide access to sole proprietors and historically disadvantaged businesses," according to Business Oregon.

"We hope that these grants as well as other important services will help our business owners and communities continue to find their footing through this public health and economic crisis," Mary McArthur, Executive Director of Col-Pac, said in a press release announcing the open application.

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