PORTLAND, Ore. — Amidst falling revenue and job cuts, state and city leaders held an online news conference Tuesday to talk about economic recovery.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler hosted the event and was joined by a coalition of regional partners to announce new and ongoing economic relief efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wheeler said funding will expand to help households suffering losses. Starting April 27, the Portland Housing Bureau will take applications from households needing assistance with essentials, groceries, utilities, and healthcare costs. Eligible households are those that lost employment or income due to the COVID-19 crisis and earned less than 50 percent of area median income before that. This requirement can be calculated with this City of Portland document.
Wheeler and other leaders acknowledged financial problems would likely impact people long after the economy reopens. He said expanding financial assistance further will be part of his budget discussion, which is set for release at the end of April.
Multnomah County chair Deborah Kafoury said local municipalities will need more help from the state and federal government.
The list of speakers also included mayors from Gresham, Beaverton, Hillsboro, and Eugene. Business and community leaders joined, too.
The discussion largely focused on programs helping small businesses. When asked about those businesses and employees struggling to connect with loans and unemployment insurance, Wheeler said he hopes the state legislature and federal government will work quickly to focus more on small business relief.
Other speakers included:
- President Lynn Peterson, Metro
- Yuri Sernande, Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, APACC
- Jan Mason, Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon, PACCO
- James Parker, Oregon Native American Chamber, ONACC
- Carmen Castro, Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, HMC
- Kimberly Branam, Prosper Portland
- Matt Miller, Greater Portland Inc
- Ashley Henry, Business for a Better Portland, BBP
- Andrew Hoan, Portland Business Alliance, PBA
- Jeff Miller, Travel Portland
- Skip Newberry, Technology Association of Oregon, TAO