The Chamber will be sharing the latest updates as we hear…Please share this page with as many as you can so we can get the information out in a timely manner!

Check back here for all of the latest updates…

For a list of restaurant operations in Union County:  Restaurant Status 03.27.2020
For a list of retail operations in Union County:  Retail Businesses 03.27.20

Employment and Economic Response to COVID-19:  Daily Digest: Thursday, April 2

This digest is a compilation of information and resources related to employment, commerce and economic development issues surrounding COVID-19. There are numerous online resources for those seeking health-related information, including daily COVID-19 updates from the Oregon Health Authority at https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19.

Governor Kate Brown Announces Statewide Initiative to Support Small Businesses: Governor Kate Brown announced the launch of the Coronavirus Small Business Resource Navigator, which will help connect small businesses to financial support and information they need to stay in business through the COVID-19 crisis. Read the full news release here.

Essential workers who have to continue working during the COVID-19 crisis can find childcare resources from the state here.
The state of Oregon is asking business owners to take a survey to learn more about how COVID-19 is impacting businesses around the state. Information gathered by this survey will be vital to policy-makers who are working to provide assistance to businesses during this crisis. The survey is open through April 15.
The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) and PBA Charities have created a new fund, the COVID-19 Relief Fund, and will provide $500 to licensed beauty professionals who are unable to work due to COVID-19.
The Institute for Disease Modeling released data Wednesday that suggests a slight increase in current COVID-19 infections in Oregon than previously estimated. However, the modeling also indicates that social distancing and the current stay-at-home order appear to be reducing the spread of transmission.
Oregon reports 2 new COVID-19 deaths, 90 new COVID-19 cases: COVID-19 has claimed 2 more lives in Oregon, raising the state’s death toll from 19 to 21, the Oregon Health Authority reported Thursday morning. The agency also reported 90 new cases of COVID-19. The state provides daily updates at https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19.
Governor Kate Brown Statement on Special Session: Governor Kate Brown today issued a statement on calling a special legislative session. Read the full statement here.

From the NEOJIC, 04/02/2020:  NEOJICPMUpdate_20200402

From the Oregon Farmers Market Association:  OFMA COVID 19 Resources

From the NEOJIC & City of La Grande, new Chief of Police announced, 04/02/20:  Press Release – Police Chief Selected 4-2-202

From the City of La Grande – Emergency Loan Program Information (04/02/20):  Press Release — City of La Grande Emergency Loan Program (1)
City of La Grande Emergency Loan Program Description
City of La Grande Emergency Loan Application

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Arts for All Cancelled
CONTACT:  McKayla Nitz, Recreation Supervisor 541-962-1352 or mnitz@cityoflagrande.org
Arts for All scheduled for April 18th has been cancelled. We look forward to holding the event next year!

From NEOJIC on 2 new confirmed COVID-19 cases:  Union County Covid-19 Release April 1 2020 and NEOJICPMUpdate_20200401

From Business Oregon:  coronavirus_aid_english_3.31.20 coronavirus_aid_spanish_3.31.20

Employment and Economic Response to COVID-19:  Daily Digest: Wednesday, April 1  Safety_Fund_flier

This digest is a compilation of information and resources related to employment, commerce and economic development issues surrounding COVID-19. There are numerous online resources for those seeking health-related information, including daily COVID-19 updates from the Oregon Health Authority at https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19.
Governor Kate Brown Issues Commercial Eviction Ban: Governor Kate Brown today issued Executive Order 20-13, placing a 90-day moratorium on commercial evictions for nonpayment, in light of the impacts on business owners caused by the COVID-19 crisis. The order also strengthens Governor Brown’s previous ban on residential evictions, and prohibits landlords from charging tenants late fees for nonpayment of rent during the moratorium.
Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) has issued a temporary order for Oregon’s manufacturing facilities in regards to the maximum hours employees in manufacturing are allowed to work. Specifically, the order removes overtime limitations in the manufacturing sector, allowing for up to a 91-hour workweek. This order is in effect from March 27, 2020 to September 22, 2020.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is postponing tax payment due dates and filing due dates for excise tax returns for 90 days for industry members affected by COVID-19.
Watch a Vimeo that walks through the details of the SBA grants and loan applications. The video is current as of Monday, March 31 and will be updated if the application changes.
The not-for profit State Accident Insurance Fund has money available to SAIF policy holders to promote employee safety, reduce injuries and decrease workplace exposures to COVID-19. This fact sheet has more information on the program.

From the NEOEDD, 04/01/20:  Business Foundations PRApr 20

From NEOJIC:  Press Release — Grants of $10000 and Loans of $2M 04012020 (1)

Employment and Economic Response to COVID-19: Daily Digest: Tuesday, March 31

This digest is a compilation of information and resources related to employment, commerce and economic development issues surrounding COVID-19. There are numerous online resources for those seeking health-related information, including daily COVID-19 updates from the Oregon Health Authority at https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19.
The CARES ACT established $349 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides relief to millions of small businesses to sustain their businesses and keep their workers employed. This news release from the U.S. Treasury Department explains the program, where business owners can go to a participating Small Business Administration lender, bank or credit union starting April 3, with funds approved the same day. Loans will be forgiven as long as the funds are used to keep employees on the payroll and for certain other expenses. View a list of approved SBA lenders in Oregon here.
The Oregon Department of Education released its school closure guidance and commitment to distance learning. School districts throughout the state should have distance learning plans in place by April 13.
The Office of Justice Programs is providing funding to states, local governments and tribes to prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus through the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program. Allowable projects and purchases include overtime, law enforcement needs, medical personal protective equipment (PPE), hiring, supplies, training and more. It also includes funding to address the medical needs of inmates in state, local and tribal prisons, jails and detention centers.
The Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs can help minority small businesses in identifying appropriate sources of financing for COVID-19 challenges.
The US Treasury has a good site that breaks down the CARES Act.
great 12 minute video that walks through applying for either grant or loan funding under the SBA.

From the NEOJIC 03/31:  NEOJICPMUpdate_20200331
2020 Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act:  2020 The Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act

For a list of restaurant operations in Union County:  Restaurant Status 03.27.2020
For a list of retail operations in Union County: 

 

03/31/2020:  From Business Oregon: A great 12 minute video that walks through applying for either grant or loan funding under the SBA:  https://vimeopro.com/user11779390/covid-19-grant…Very helpful for small businesses applying directly or for professionals assisting small businesses.

03/31/220:  From the City of La Grande:  Mayor Clements Message March 31 2020 City of La Grande Press Release (1)

03/30/2020:  From Oregon Rural Action:  ORA Press Release 3.29.20 (2)

03/30/2020 from Regional Solutions:  SBDC_Business_Crisis_Guide
2020 The Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act
OFMA COVID 19 Resources
Daily Digest 03.30.2020

Employment and Economic Response to COVID-19

Daily Digest: Monday, March 30

This digest is a compilation of information and resources related to employment, commerce and economic development issues surrounding COVID-19. There are numerous online resources for those seeking health-related information, including daily COVID-19 updates from the Oregon Health Authority at https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19.

The Oregon Small Business Development Center has created a guide for navigating a business crisis.
Governor Kate Brown announces Oregon progress on personal protective equipment acquisition, highlights urgent need for federal contribution. View the news release here.
The Oregon Community Foundation has two new active funds in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The foundation’s website has information on the Oregon Small Business Stabilization Fund and the Oregon Community Recovery Fund.
The recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes resources for small businesses, non-profit groups and other employers. This guide provides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available through the act.
The League of Oregon Cities has launched a new Resource Center with information about the COVID-19 pandemic, sorted by topic. Sections include public meetings, employment, business and economic development, workers compensation, sample policies and more.
The Oregon Farmers Market Association has released guidance around famers markets, many of which remain open around the state as essential businesses.
Read the Joint Special Committee on Coronavirus Response from the legislative committee tasked with responding to and making recommendations on COVID-19 in Oregon.

03/30/2020 from the NEOJIC:  NEOJICPMUpdate_20200330

03/28/2020 from the NEOJIC:  NEOJICPMUpdate_20200328.docx

2020-0178 Oregon COVID-19 SitStat 027_03272020_FINAL
Daily Digest: Friday, March 27:  This digest is a compilation of information and resources related to employment, commerce and economic development issues surrounding COVID-19. There are numerous online resources for those seeking health-related information, including daily COVID-19 updates from the Oregon Health Authority at https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19.

The Institute for Disease Modeling released an in-depth analysis of the impact of social distancing measures on COVID-19 rates of infection. The model predicts a decrease in the number of active infections in Oregon by May 8, with health care systems likely to be overburdened by late April without sustained interventions to keep the number of infections under control. Read the full report and analysis here.

The State of Oregon has created a simple business quiz that can help owners determine if their business is essential for purposes of complying with Governor Kate Brown’s recent executive order.

The Small Business Administration has approved Oregon’s request for a disaster declaration, making Oregon businesses eligible for favorable loans under the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

The Oregon Department of Revenue announced an extension for Oregon tax filing and payment deadlines for personal income taxes, among other taxes. The state changes closely follow the IRS extension declaration. The department has created FAQs to explain the changes for taxpayers.

The Oregon Health Authority released its statewide action plan to dramatically bolster the state’s ability to treat people with COVID-19 illness who need hospital care.

The Oregon Employment Department continues to respond to questions related to layoffs, work-hour reductions and unemployment claims. As conditions change daily, the department encourages people to visit its COVID-19 employment page for the most current information.

Oregon licensed healthcare professionals looking to volunteer in the fight against COVID-19 can find more information on this Oregon Health Authority site. The site also has information on how out-of-state medical professionals can register to help.

The U.S. Small Business Association and the Outdoor Industry Association are holding a webinar at 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on Tuesday, March 31. Webinar details and registration is available here.

The Oregon Community Foundation provides funds through the Oregon Small Business Stabilization Fund to nonprofit organization in Oregon that provide loans or grants to small businesses affected by COVID-19. Grants will be awarded to community lending organizations or other nonprofit intermediaries. Small businesses are not eligible to receive these funds.

Restaurant workers impacted by COVID-19 can apply April 2 for a one-time, $500 grant to use towards housing, transportation, utilities, child-care, groceries, medical bills and/or student loans. These grants will be administered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Oregon Health Authority’s latest Oregon COVID-19 Situational Status Report tracks a wide range of state data on the pandemic.

03/27/2020 from the NEOJIC:  NEOJICPMUpdate_20200327

03/27/2020 from OED:  COVID Employee FAQ – Employment Department

03/25/2020 from the NEOJIC:  NEOJICPMUpdate_20200325

03/25/2020 from Union County LAW ENFORCEMENT:  Law Enforcement 3-25-20

03/25/2020 from USDA:

USDA Rural Development Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities that are Affected by COVID-19

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2020 – USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep our customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America.

EXTENSION OF APPLICATION DEADLINES

USDA is extending the application window for the following programs

Rural Business-Cooperative Service

  • USDA extended the application deadline for the Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) program to no later than April 15, 2020. Contact the Rural Development office for the deadline in your state. USDA announced the extension in an Unnumbered Letter posted March 19, 2020.
  • USDA extended the application deadline for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to April 15, 2020. For additional information, see page 16925 of the March 25, 2020, Federal Register.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMMEDIATE RELIEF

Rural Housing Service

Single-Family Housing

Effective March 19, borrowers with USDA single-family housing Direct and Guaranteed loans are subject to a moratorium on foreclosure and eviction for a period of 60 days. This action applies to the initiation of foreclosures and evictions and to the completion of foreclosures and evictions in process.

Guaranteed Loan Program:

  • Guaranteed Loan borrowers who are in default or facing imminent default due to a documented hardship can have payments reduced or suspended by their lender for a period not to exceed 12 months delinquency. Once the hardship is resolved, the lender can modify the loan to cure the delinquency or make up the missed payments based on the borrower’s individual circumstances.
  • Guaranteed Loan servicing questions should be directed to: program@usda.gov.

Direct Loan Program:

  • USDA has waived or relaxed certain parts of the application process for Single-Family Housing Direct Loans, including site assessments, and has extended the time period that certificates of eligibility are valid.
  • A Direct Loan borrower who is experiencing a reduction of income by more than 10 percent can request a Payment Assistance package to see if he/she is eligible for payment assistance or for more assistance than currently received.
  • Moratorium Assistance is available for Direct Loan borrowers experiencing medical bill expenses (not covered by insurance) or job loss because of COVID-19. Qualifying borrowers can receive a moratorium on house payments for a period of time, repaid at a later date.
  • Direct Loan questions should be directed to USDA’s Customer Service Center at 800-414-1226 (7:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Eastern Time Monday-Friday) or https://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/loan-servicing. Call volume and wait times are high at this time.

Multi-Family Housing

Multi-Family Housing is taking several steps to help owners, management agents and tenants maintain quality housing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Specifically, three immediate steps are effective for Section 515 Multi-Family properties:

  • Tenant certifications due March 31, April 30 and May 31 for Multi-Family properties have been extended to June 30 with no late fees or overage charges, as allowed in Multi-Family guidance (HB-3-3560, Chapter 4, Section 4.11). This extension will allow for additional time to complete needed certifications while avoiding face-to-face meetings as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Late fees on Section 515 mortgages will be waived, subject to waiver authority in 7 CFR 3560.403 (c)(3).
  • Section 515 Annual Financial Statements due March 31 will be extended 30 days, as per Multi-Family guidance (HB-2-3560 Chapter 4, Section 4.16-H). USDA is exploring whether a longer extension is appropriate and will provide further guidance.
  • Current policy states that owners must process an interim recertification at the tenant’s request if there is a change in income of $50 or more per month. The owner should already have this policy in writing and apply it consistently. To the maximum extent possible, we encourage all owners to work with all tenants with impacted income to adjust rent payments.
  • USDA encourages all owners to work with impacted residents and families to adjust rent payments, enter into forbearance agreements, and lessen the impact on affected residents. At this time, no additional subsidy funding has been made available. If borrowers are temporarily unable to make loan payments, the Agency may waive late fees and enter into an official workout plan.

Rural Utilities Service

  • On March 20, 2020, USDA extended for 60 days the deadline for Telecommunications and Electric Program borrowers and grantees to submit their annual CPA audit. In most cases, such audits are due to the agency by April 30, 2020.
  • USDA is waiving borrower covenant requirements for loan agreement financial ratios for the period from Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020. Additionally, USDA is waiving all financial reporting requirements associated with existing Rural Utilities Service (RUS) loan and grant covenants beginning Jan. 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020.
  • The RUS Administrator has delegated authority to the RUS Telecommunications, Electric, and Water and Environmental Programs to consider requests to waive certain site inspection requirements during the current COVID-19 National Emergency.
  • Applicants will be able to use alternative methods to notify the public, such as through videoconferences, teleconferences and public notices on websites and in local newspapers, as a substitute for the public meeting notification requirement for water and waste projects.
  • On a case-by-case basis, USDA will help Electric Program borrowers gain access to obligated funds more quickly at current low interest rates by considering extensions of loan terms (within statutory limits); considering requests to move obligated funds between the Electric Program’s six budget purposes where the new purpose has cleared environmental review; and by considering Temporary Normal Inventory (TNI) requests.
  • For assistance, please contact:
  • Electric Program: Christopher McLean, mclean@usda.gov, 202-407-2986
  • Telecommunications Program: Laurel Leverrier, leverrier@usda.gov, 202-495-9142
  • Water and Environmental Programs: Edna Primrose, primrose@usda.gov, 202-494-5610

Rural Business-Cooperative Service

  • Beginning immediately, through July 31, 2020, USDA Business and Industry Loan Guarantees (B&I) and Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Guaranteed lenders may assist borrowers experiencing temporary cash flow issues by deferring payments for a period no longer than 120 days. The lender must notify The Agency in writing of any payment deferments. Written notification to the Agency will meet the standard for concurrence until July 31, 2020. A response from the Agency is not required. This guidance applies to ALL borrowers that had a current repayment status as of March 1, 2020.
  • If the guaranteed loan has been sold on the secondary market, the secondary market holder and lender must agree to the deferment actions being taken. The Agency will expect a written agreement from both parties in these instances.
  • RBCS intermediary borrowers continue to have authority to service loan portfolios independent of USDA. Intermediary borrowers participating in these programs may approve loan payment deferrals may to their borrowers without USDA approval. These programs are:
    • Intermediary Relending Program (IRP)
    • Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG)
    • Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDL and REDG)
    • Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP)
  • For existing Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) and Rural Economic Development Loan (REDL) borrowers, the Agency is committed to maintaining well-capitalized intermediary lenders and will work with you on loan servicing requests on a case-by-case basis to make sure you remain a pillar in our rural business communities.

#

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

03/25/2020 from the Eagle Cap Excursion Train:

PRESS RELEASE
For immediate use: March 24, 2020
Contact: Janet Dodson, 541.786.8006 or janetd@eoni.com
Excursion Train Announces 2020 Schedule
A message from the President of the Friends of the Joseph Branch:
The Friends of the Joseph Branch Board of Directors has been agonizing over whether to cancel the Mother’s Day Brunch, Sunday, May 10. The concern over the COVID-19 virus has led to an aggressive social distancing policy in the State of Oregon. Only time will tell whether this strategy reduces the spread of the virus, but it has been successful in other countries so we can hope things will improve in the month of April. With this in mind, the Mother’s Day train has been cancelled. A majority of our passengers are of the most vulnerable to the virus and it would be difficult to keep the social distance parameter during the trip. We hope things improve and the statewide restrictions are removed by late May and we will be able to continue with the rest of excursion train season, as planned. Thanks. Ed Spaulding ELGN, OREGON__The Eagle Cap Excursion Train has an expanded schedule for the upcoming season, building on the success of 2019, which saw an average of over 100 passengers per ride.  The schedule was approved by the Wallowa Union Railroad Authority and reservations can be made through the online booking service at www.eaglecaptrainrides.com or by calling the Elgin Depot, 541.437.3652, during business hours.  The schedule is full of fun opportunities for a train ride beside the Grande Ronde and Wallowa Rivers on the Wallowa Union Railroad, historically known as the Joseph Branch Railroad. Season highlights include train robberies, rides that feature regional wine, chocolates and cheese, a search for Bigfoot, a few mid-week runs and many wonderful chances to enjoy the colorful fall foliage.  New in 2020 is the opportunity to reserve a ride in the cab of the engine during the return leg of the trip. This is available to only one passenger each train ride and by reservation, only. Get the unique perspective from sitting high above the track, in the engine and talk with the engineers for the entire ride back to Elgin. Your cab ride includes a special railroad cap, along with lunch and a seat in the passenger car during the first leg of the trip. Cab rides are the cost of a ticket for the specific train ride, plus $200. You must be 18 years or older.  “Passengers have so much fun with the Gold Rush Bandits train robberies, we have included four in the schedule,” said Ed Spaulding, president of the Friends of the Joseph Branch, the non-profit organization that manages the excursion business for the railroad. “The beautiful horses and trainstopping action provide lots of photo opportunities.”  And, it was an easy decision to bring Scot & Hannah Violette of Blue Mountain Bigfoot Research back for two trips this July. Fitting the trips into Scot and Hannah’s busy schedule was a challenge, as they travel extensively, making presentations and researching the legendary creatures.  Spaulding noted that, regardless of the theme for the day or when they are riding, passengers always have high praise for the scenery, the food, and the fun, relaxed atmosphere. Members of the Friends of the Joseph Branch serve as the all-volunteer crew of engineers, conductors and car hosts. Ten Depot Street, a La Grande restaurant, prepares the popular boxed lunches served on Two Rivers and Two Rivers Bonus trips and splits catering responsibilities with Chuckwagon Sisters catering of Enterprise on the runs with special themes.  Following is the schedule. Go to www.eaglecaptrainrides.com for the full descriptions and to purchase tickets. Call the Elgin Depot, 541.437.3652, if you have questions.
May 23 Two Rivers Bonus
June 6 Wine & Chocolates Train
June 20 Gold Rush Bandits Robbery
June 21 Father’s Day Gold Rush Bandits Robbery
June 26 Summer Train Dinner Train
July 3 I Love America! Veterans’ Train
July 8 Two Rivers, mid-week
July 15 Finding Bigfoot, mid-week
July 18 Finding Bigfoot
July 25 Two Rivers Bonus
July 29 Two Rivers, mid-week
August 5 Two Rivers, mid-week
September 5 Two Rivers
September 13 Sunday “Champagne” Brunch
September 19 Wine & Cheese Train
September 26 Fall Foliage
October 3 Gold Rush Bandits Robbery
October 10 Gold Rush Bandits Robbery
October 17 Two Rivers Bonus
October 24 Season’s Bounty Train
The Friends of the Joseph Branch is a non-profit organization that operates the excursions train for the Wallowa Union Railroad Authority, the owner and governing body of the railroad. To become a member of the Friends or learn about volunteer opportunities, please contact Peggy Weishaar, 541.786.0094 or weishaar73@gmail.com.
# # #

03/24/2020 from the City of La Grande:

Additional Help for Small Businesses –
Can you stay open?
If you are a small business wondering if you can stay open, contact the Small Business Advocacy team in the Secretary of State’s office.  Oregon Small Business Advocates
Additional Ideas for your Small Business
Contact your lender – If you have a commercial loan for your business, contact your lender to find out if they are offering forbearance or “skip payment” options.  Likewise, if you own your property, contact your commercial real estate lender to see what options are available to you.
Talk to your Landlord – If you have a lease or rent your space, contact your landlord and see what options are available.  Some local landlords have indicated that they are willing to offer reduced payments or even no payment options during the COVID-19 outbreak.

03/24/2020 from Northeast Oregon Joint Information Center (JIC):

For Immediate Release:
Contact: NE Oregon JIC (541)963-1098
March 23, 2020
La Grande, Oregon – Today, Governor Kate Brown enacted Executive Order 20-12, Stay Home, Save Lives:
Ordering Oregonians to stay at home, closing specified retail businesses, requiring social distancing measures
for other public and private facilities, and imposing requirements for outdoor areas and licensed childcare
facilities. The order can be read in entirety by following this link: http://union-county.org/wpcontent/uploads/2020/03/Oregon_20-12.pdf. Local officials will be developing plans and procedures for
addressing the many items contained in the order.
Union County has established and activated an Incident Management Team (IMT) to help with the county’s
COVID-19 response. By utilizing established partnerships from within the county, the IMT structure has been
staffed and developed to further assist the citizens of Union County.
The Wallowa County Board of Commissioners declared a state of emergency this morning within Wallowa
County as a local response to the coronavirus enabling the county to stand ready to take further action if
needed.
Many agencies, businesses, and organizations throughout Union and Wallowa County are available by phone
and appointment only. If you have any questions about the open status of an agency, business, or office,
please call and check with them before attempting to meet in person.
Union County continues to have only one confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) case which was announced last
week by Union County Public Health. Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and Union County Public Health
continue to work on identifying and isolating any individuals who may have been in close contact with the
person while they were contagious. The individual with COVID-19 had a recent history of international travel
and is not considered to have acquired it from community spread. Health officials are urging citizens to band
together to protect and support family, friends, and neighbors who may be at higher risk of becoming ill while
maintaining social distancing. Wallowa County does not have any confirmed cases of COVID-19.
### 

03/24/2020 from BUSINESS OREGON: 

If a business is requesting to or inquiring on ability to stay open we are recommending that they contact the Small Business Advocacy team in the Secretary of State’s office. This would be the best place to make a case:  https://www.oregon.gov/smallbusiness/Pages/default.aspx

03/24/2020 at 2:00 p.m. from EASTERN OREGON WORKFORCE BOARD:

Greetings,

The Eastern Oregon Workforce Board has funding to help area businesses that are at risk of laying off employees due to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. The flexibility allowed for this money is unprecedented for federal funds, as they may be used for any activities to prevent, or minimize the duration of, unemployment resulting from layoffs. For example, the money could be used for a deep clean to keep employees safe and healthy, laptop computers that enable employees to work remotely, or any other supplies or services that qualify.

Please complete the attached application and return it with a completed W-9 to info@eowb.org, by 12 noon (PDT) each Wednesday. Applications will be accepted until funds have been depleted. Applications will be reviewed, and successful applicants announced weekly.

Please call 541-963-3693 and leave a message for Brenda or myself during regular business hours with your questions. Voicemail is checked frequently, and calls will be returned promptly.

Regards,

Erin

Erin Carpenter, SHRM-SCP

Project Coordinator

Eastern Oregon Workforce Board
EOWB COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Funds APP fw9

 

03/24/2020 at 2:00 p.m. from COOK MEMORIAL LIBRARY:

Cook memorial library 2006 Fourth Street

La Grande, OR  97850

Phone  541.962.1339

Press Release

Contact: Kip Roberson

Phone: 541.962.1339

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

03/23/2020

 

How to Enjoy the Cook Memorial Library When the Library Is Closed

A Library Card Opens the Portal to a Vast Virtual Library, For Free

(La Grande, Oregon, March 23, 2020)  – With every public activity cancelled and many businesses closed to the public, including the Cook Memorial Library, you may be wondering how you can still have fun while passing the time away at home. There’s one easy answer to that question, visit the Cook Memorial Library’s online eLibrary! It’s open 24/7 and it’s never crowded so you don’t have to worry about social distancing or coming into contact with the coronavirus! With your Cook Memorial Library card number and PIN, you can access eBooks and eAudiobooks; streaming movies, TV shows, and music; and dozens of research databases. You’ll also find on the Library’s homepage a link to our curated list of “Things to Do When Bored.”

Highlights from our eLibrary collection include:

  • Library2Go (OverDrive/Libby) – Download eBooks and eAudiobooks of bestselling and classic titles anytime and anywhere to your computer, eBook reader, or mobile device. Cook Memorial Library patrons have exclusive access to more than 90,000 titles which are always available with no holds, no wait.
  • Hoopla – Thousands of free streaming movies, TV shows, music, eBooks, eAudiobooks, and comics
  • Kanopy – Kanopy film streaming service features classic and world cinema, indie films, top documentaries, the Criterion Collection, and The Great Courses
  • Freading – A collection of eBooks from small and independent publishers for all ages; you’ll definitely recognize many of the authors. The titles in this collection are always available with no holds, no wait.
  • Freegal – Enjoy up to 3 hours of streaming music each day. You can download 3 free songs each week and they’re yours to keep.
  • MyHeritage – Discover your roots with this genealogy database and start growing your family tree today.

If you already have a Cook Memorial Library card, you’re good to go! The 14-digit barcode number on the reverse side of your card is your library card number and in most cases your PIN is the last 4-digits of your phone number. If you’ve misplaced your library card or have forgotten your PIN, please call the Library M-F between 9am and 5pm for staff assistance or email us at libdirector@cookmemoriallibrary.org and we’ll get your account updated.

If you don’t have a Cook Memorial Library card, you can apply online to get an eCard. Online registration for a Cook Memorial Library card is open to La Grande residents and residents of Union County who do not receive library services from another city within the county. To get started, go to www.CookMemorialLibrary.org and click on the “Request Library Card” link right on the homepage. Requests for eCards are generally filled within 24 hours, longer if you apply over the weekend. If you already have a regular library card, you do not need an eCard.

Other Library News

The Library remains closed to the public until further notice; however, staff are available to assist you with many of your library-related needs. Do you have a reference question or need a reading recommendation? Do you need technical assistance connecting to one or more of our online services? Do you need technology assistance with a device? Whatever your library need may be, we’re here to help. You can reach us by phone at 541.962.1339 Monday thru Friday between the hours of 9am and 5pm. You can email us your question at libdirector@cookmemoriallibrary.org. Or you can submit a comment form on our website or message us on Facebook.

All library materials currently checked out have been renewed until the Library reopens. During this time, no overdue fines will be assessed.

The Library’s book returns are closed. We ask that patrons keep all library materials safely in their possession until the Library reopens.

All expiring library accounts will not expire until the Library reopens.

Any library account that was suspended for reaching the fines & fees threshold limit has had that suspension lifted temporarily to allow for eLibrary access.

The Library’s WiFi (LGPLWiFi) has been turned on for 24-hour access. The signal reaches to the building’s entrances and the parking lot.

For more information about this and other library services, please contact the library at 541.962.1339.

READ, LEARN, DISCOVER @ your Cook Memorial Library, 2006 4th St., La Grande, OR, call 541.962.1339 or visit the library online at www.cookmemoriallibrary.org.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: McKayla Nitz, Recreation Supervisor 541-962-1352 or mckayla.nitz@cityoflagrande.org

Hey La Grande! Do you need help running errands or getting groceries? While we’re practicing social distancing, we can help you do the same! If you need help with something, send us an email with details or give us a call, and if it’s within our ability, we’ll help you out! Emails should be sent to mckayla.nitz@cityoflagrande.org, and calls placed to 541-962-1352

03/23/2020 at 12:00 p.m.:  Newest Executive Order from the State of Oregon’s Governor’s Office has been released:  Executive Order 20-12.
03/23/2020 at 2:15 p.m.:  City of La Grande Parks & Recreation Office has issued the following press release:  COVID-19 Press Release Parks_20200323

 

FROM 03/20/2020:

Employment and Economic Response to COVID-19
(Resources found here:  COVID-19, Small Farms, and Local Food FAQ Biz OR Business Survival Tips OR-RD_Directory-External-03.12.2020)

Daily Digest Friday, March 20

This digest is a compilation of information and resources related to employment, commerce and economic development issues surrounding COVID-19. There are numerous online resources for those seeking health-related information, including daily COVID-19 updates from the Oregon Health Authority at https://govstatus.egov.com/OR-OHA-COVID-19.

Oregon was recently designated as eligible for Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance. This is an important declaration because it makes SBA loans available statewide to small businesses and private, nonprofit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by COVID-19. Loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for non-profits. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, and applicants can apply online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants can also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information.

Business Oregon has an extensive list of resources for businesses related to COVID-19, including information on financing, childcare, free and discounted business coaching and more.

Oregon is seeing a very large number of new unemployment insurance claims, with long wait times both in person and over the phone. While WorkSource offices remain open across the state, people should strongly consider applying online for benefits through the Oregon Employment Department.

The state has set up a Rapid Response task force designed to promote economic recovery and help businesses respond to layoffs and the dislocation of workers. The team will work directly with businesses and their employees to assist in layoff aversion strategies, help affected workers apply for unemployment benefits and find access to health care resources and training so they can get back to work rapidly.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created a Coronavirus Small Business Guide, with a range of resources for employers.

 USDA Rural Development announced today that the agency is entering remote operational status, meaning the agency will continue to serve customers remotely. The agency serves many communities throughout Oregon, and is a primary funder of loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. With staff working remotely, communities might find it helpful to have an agency directory to ensure that communication about current and future funding opportunities continues seamlessly. You can find your regional representative in the staff directory here.

 State guidance for small businesses…While restaurants, bars and other establishments that offer food or beverages for sale are restricted to carry-out or delivery, the state has guidance for other types of small businesses. The state urges these businesses to assess their practices, implement strong social distancing measures, and close their doors temporarily if they cannot put the new guidance in place. The state also urges businesses to keep the health and safety of Oregonians at the forefront as they make hard business decisions. Updated and current information from the state on coronavirus can be found here.

The Family First Coronavirus Response Act  was signed into law March 18. The FFCRA requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick or family leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from April 2, 2020 through December 31, 2020. The law is applicable to private employers with fewer than 500 employees, as well as all government employers. Summary of details here.

The Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems at Oregon State University have COVID-19 information related to small farms and food safety.

 Business Oregon has developed Business Survival Tips During a Pandemic, viewable here.

Wyden Introduces $17B Bill to Relieve Small Business Loan Payments for 6 Months. Read more here.

Wyden, Merkley Announce Senate Passage of Families First Coronavirus Act. Read more here.

Courtney Warner Crowell

Regional Solutions Coordinator, Eastern Oregon

Office of Governor Kate Brown

 

From WORKSOURCE, 03/20/2020:

Dear Oregon Business,

You are not alone.

WorkSource Oregon is here for you now and in the future.

We want to make sure you are aware of all the programs and resources that could provide support for your immediate needs during the COVID-19 coronavirus situation. We have compiled information related to common concerns, and we are reaching out directly to businesses to make sure you are connected with accurate information.

While we recognize your focus is likely to be on immediate needs, we want you to know that WorkSource Oregon Business Services is pulling together ideas on how to support you in the long term. If that concern is on your mind, know that we intend to help through this current crisis and onto our future economic prosperity.

Here are some key resources/information:

  • Workers can initiate filing an Unemployment Insurance claim by applying online or by calling 877-345-3484. Our video resources can help explain Unemployment Insurance.
  • WorkShare Oregon is a key program that helps you keep skilled employees during slow times by providing partial Unemployment Insurance benefits to supplement employees’ reduced hours.
  • Another resource for small businesses and employers planning and responding to the impacts of COVID-19 is the National Business Emergency Operations Center.
  • The Employment Department is committed to the health and safety of our customers and the public and has created a COVID-19 Resource Guide.
  • The State of Oregon offers COVID-19 information.
  • If your business or employees have questions related to COVID-19, please email us.

We will make it through this together and we will continue to support business success in Oregon.

OR-RD_Directory-External-03.12.2020 Biz OR Business Survival Tips COVID-19, Small Farms, and Local Food FAQ