• April 15, 2020 1:52 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    After the GEAC meeting, Andy Miller, Human Solutions, shared these links with us to share with the community so more people can get their COVID19 one-time payment from the federal government: 

    Access to a new web tool released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to provide a quick means of registering people who do not normally file taxes for the COVID-19 Economic Impact Payment. 

    https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here

    To view a list of temporary mailing addresses for use by people without bank accounts:

    http://www.navigateresources.net/info/MatchList.aspx?k;Portland,%20Multnomah%20County;40530;;N;0;1385181;Temporary%20Mailing%20Address;Temporary%20Mailing%20Address;Partial

    To view Oregon Housing Alliance's recent blog post with resources regarding the eviction and foreclosure moratoriums.

    https://www.oregonhousingalliance.org/eviction-and-foreclosure-moratorium-information/

    To read a one-pager provided on OregonLawHelp.org regarding Oregon tenant rights during COVID-19:

    Oregon Tenant Rights during COVID-19

    Free legal information from Legal Aid Services of Oregon & Oregon Law Center (updated April 9, 2020)

    • 1.      It is illegal for a landlord to give you an eviction notice or a notice of violation for non-payment of rent, non-payment of fees, or non-payment of utilities between now and June 30th. You need to tell your landlord as soon as possible that you cannot pay your rent. If you cannot pay your rent now, you will need to pay it after June 30, 2020.
    • 2.      It is illegal for a landlord to charge you a late fee for any kind of nonpayment between now and June 30, 2020.
    • 3.      It is illegal for a landlord to give you a no-cause notice between now and June 30, 2020.
    • 4.      It is illegal for your landlord to file for an eviction based on non-payment or a no-cause notice between now and June 30, 2020. Your local government may have protections.
    • 5.      Tell your landlord in writing if you've lost income due to COVID-19, and send written proof of loss of income as soon as possible.
    • 6.      If you live in subsidized housing, your landlord cannot give you an eviction notice based on non-payment until at least July 26, 2020. Your landlord has to give you at least a 30-day notice after July 26, 2020.

    Additional online resources

    For more information on tenant rights in Oregon visit:

    https://www.oregon rentersrights.org/ and

    https:// oregonlawhelp.org/classroom/public-health-and -coronavirus-covid-19/housing-protections

    Free legal help for low-income Oregonians

    If you are low-income and need legal help related to your housing, you may be able to get free legal assistance from a legal aid attorney. To find your local legal aid office, visit https://oregonlawhelp.org//resource/oregon-legal-aid-offices




  • April 14, 2020 3:47 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    The Oregon Employment Department is doing a tremendous amount of work in response to vast increases in claims and new programs designed to help unemployed workers.  

    The Oregon Employment Department continues work to address both the historic spike in unemployment insurance claims, and the dramatic expansion of eligibility criteria. We have some new information and can use your help to spread the word.

     1.            Oregon turned Federal law into real dollars in two weeks!

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 was signed into law on March 27. The CARES Act allows payment of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). The Oregon Employment Department has started issuing these payments to eligible individuals. Oregonians who are already eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance benefits and eligible for FPUC will receive two weekly payments; one for regular UI benefits, and an additional $600 payment. Individuals will be receiving FPUC benefits using the same payment method as their regular UI benefits for the week. FPUC payments will be paid for each week someone is eligible from March 29, 2020 through the week ending July 25, 2020. The $600 payments will be retroactive for those eligible for payments.

    More information about the upcoming PUA program and all benefits associated with the CARES Act can be found on the Employment Department’s COVID-19 page.

     2.            We’ve addressed the error message reported to us.

    We had a re-start claim error for a portion of claims received during the week of April 5 and again on April 12. We made an automatic fix for this issue last week, and nearly all affected should be able to continue to file weekly claims online. For those who have completed their initial claim, and continued to file weekly claims, your re-start error has been identified and fixed. If you tried Sunday the 12th, and got the re-start error for the first time, you can re-try now and it should work. You will not lose out on a week of benefits that you were eligible to receive because of a difficulty either getting through on our phone, or because of an online claim error.

    We know misinformation, especially coming from us, is frustrating and scary. We also know that as we rework our systems to keep pace with eligibility rules rewritten at the federal level, we will continue to face challenges with the system.

    Bottom line, if a benefits seeker or employer receives a message that doesn’t seem right, we ask them to email us – allowing an Employment staffer to run the message to ground.

     3.            Employers reported receiving notices of unemployment for their employees that look like bills.

    Good news, it is not a bill. We provide this information to employers because we are required to; most likely, the information is part of the calculation of an employer’s future “experience rating.”  Ratings are computed annually, and look at the time period of July 1 – June 30.

    Because of the timing of the coronavirus, the impact of this is likely to be spread across multiple tax years, minimizing any sudden or drastic changes. The thinking right now is that it is not an indicator that employer “experience rating” will drastically change in the coming years!

     4.            Updated websites have dashboards and links to information, instructional videos, and a way to sign up for updates electronically:

    •             https://www.qualityinfo.org/covid-19

    •             https://govstatus.egov.com/ORUnemployment_COVID19

     5.            Thank you for continuing to advise your constituents to use one of the following email boxes with Employment Department team members dedicated to responding. Someone will email back or phone the person within the week.

    •             OED_COVID19_Info@oregon.gov

    •             OED_UI_Info@oregon.gov

     6.            Employment Department employees can’t all telework? What are you doing for their safety?

    The Employment Department promotes telework when possible. Privacy and security are very important to us, the Oregonians we serve, and is critical to our federal and state partnership. This work is essential and we maintain a safe workplace with that security at the forefront of helping Oregonians when they need us most, which has truly never been at a greater level than now.

    When people speak to us about their claims, they are providing private information, including their social security number, their earnings information, and when we get the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program up and running, new/private tax documentation we do not usually handle. We have to protect the private information of the people who need unemployment benefits from us. Using unsecured phone lines or allowing inadvertent access to those pieces of private information poses quite a risk.

    As early as March 4th, we provided Employment Department team members with information and resources about best practices to stay healthy and safe. Our efforts have continued as the best practices and advice has evolved including:

    •             Cleaning building per CDC protocols daily

    •             Soap and water for hand washing, disinfecting wipes, and hand sanitizers are available

    •             Signage for social distancing

    •             Individual staff seated at least 6 feet away

    •             Worksource centers remained open to the public by appointment only to promote social distancing and later went to providing services virtually through email, phones, and skype

    •             Work spaces that weren’t six feet apart were organized into split shifts; no sharing of work spaces (so the people on different shifts are not using the same space as another employee)

    •             All staff, including the team members in the contact centers have the use of Skype and email to message each other instead of having to ask each other questions face to face

    •             Our contact centers do not accept walk-ins. The only way to file a claim is online or by phone. 

    •             We have also been opening up vacant spaces in our existing contact centers and other buildings to make additional, socially distanced spaces for taking claims as we bring in new staff

    •             Through the letters of agreement for represented state employees, which includes employees in contact centers, the Oregon Employment Department also has the same leave options available as all state agencies.

    We are continuously adjusting our protocols to keep our work spaces and team members safe and we count on one another to help us do that.

     7.            We’ve dramatically increased our staffing levels in response to the wave of claims.

    We started with 106 employees dedicated to taking claims during the week starting March 8. In two weeks’ time, we doubled the number of employees taking claims, primarily by switching existing OED staff from their area of expertise to taking claims. That means we could use existing work spaces.

    As we have continued to hire employees, we have been utilizing spaces that were vacant so we can bring them into a properly distanced environment. Of the initial, record-shattering surge of claims we received, our talented and amazing employees have processed more than half of them. So far, on average, we’re still processing claims in about the same time frame of a few weeks from initial filing to payment as would be the standard in non-pandemic times. That is truly impressive.

    As of today, we have 450 team members dedicated to processing claims and we are continually recruiting.

     8.            We are prioritizing COBOL programming

    Oregonians are already getting enhanced unemployment benefits under the CARES Act, which Congress passed two weeks ago. Where provisions of the CARES Act call for additional coding or computer work, the department is working to implement those changes in its mainframe COBOL system.

    • The top priority has been to get the supplemental $600 payments out the door as quickly as possible, and the first payments began late last week.
    • The second priority is to prepare Oregon’s unemployment system to provide benefits to those not usually eligible for unemployment insurance benefits, such as self-employed Oregonians. The department is already preparing its systems for this significant expansion of benefits.
    • The third priority is implementing the numerous other programs outlined in the CARES Act, including the new federal extension program called the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, the federal-state shared Extended Benefits program, the Workshare program allotting federal reimbursements (instead of employers reimbursing the trust fund), and the coding necessary to eliminate the “waiting week.”

    There is significant work required to make changes in our mainframe systems, and making these changes will impact how quickly we can get benefits to people. Therefore, we prioritize by looking at both the feasibility and risk of the changes compared to the impact of the changes.

    9.            And the independent contractor (PUA) progress?

    We are working on implementing the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for people who are not usually eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. We may be able to start taking applications before all of the computer programming is done, but we do not yet know if that is the case. PUA benefits will be retroactive to February 2, 2020.  As soon as we know how the program will work in Oregon, we will be getting the information out as quickly as we can. It will take us time to take the federal legislation, and the guidance from the US Department of Labor, and from that create and start implementing the programs. Our UI application process really is geared towards employees, as that is who the unemployment insurance program was designed to assist. We are advising that people not apply for this program until we create it.  Thank you. Jeannine

    Many of the questions we are getting are asking for a confirmation of a claim going through. We ask that constituents with claim specific questions use our dedicated email box address (below). This gets them into a queue to have their specific question answered as the email box is staffed with trained and dedicated employees. This email box is backlogged, but someone will get back to the person.

    Rep. Jeff Reardon, District 48

    (503) 986-1448 (office)

    P.S. Want to stay in the know? Sign up for our email updates at https://govstatus.egov.com/ORUnemployment_COVID19

    For questions about your claim, remember we have an email box dedicated to respond to your specific questions. They are back logged, but will get back to you  OED_COVID19_info@oregon.gov


  • April 14, 2020 12:03 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    Business Oregon, in partnership with Travel Oregon and Small Business Development Centers, would like to help assess how COVID-19 is impacting businesses. Information gathered by this survey will be vital to policy-makers who are working to provide assistance to businesses during this crisis. Individual responses to this survey are completely confidential and will not be shared publicly, only aggregate information will be shared. 

    We are working to target businesses specifically to capture estimated revenue impacts as well as information around canceled events, employee impacts, and more. We recognize that you may be receiving survey requests from multiple agencies and organizations. The intention of this short survey is to serve the needs of businesses impacted by COVID-19. Information gathered by this survey will be vital to policymakers who are working to provide assistance to businesses during this crisis.

    Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. In the event you receive this questionnaire more than once, please provide only one response.

    Please find the survey below: The survey will remain open through April 15.

    https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BusinessOregon


    Also, resources for businesses impacted by COVID-19 can be found on the websites of Business Oregon, Travel Oregon, and Oregon Small Business Development Center here: 

    http://www.oregon4biz.com/Coronavirus-Information/ 

    https://traveloregon.com/things-to-do/covid-19-resources-updates/ 

    https://bizcenter.org/covid-19/ 


  • April 09, 2020 1:38 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    The OSCC Board of Directors convened on Wednesday, April 8th to take stock of problems arising with the implementation of the Federal CARES legislation and other disaster relief and to make recommendations, based on available information (which is frequently changing), that would get federal resources to where they are needed most in the small business community.

    To date, OSCC's recommendations are as follows:

    1. Restore the initial intent of the SBA Disaster Loan (EIDL) that every eligible small business be eligible for $10,000.  Subsequent changes in rules appear to have limited eligibility to $1,000 per employee for a maximum of $10,000. This reduces critical assistance for our smaller businesses.
       
    2. Revise the rules of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) so that employers can demonstrate 8 weeks of restored payroll by September 30th.  The current deadline of June 30th limits the ability of small business to receive forgiveness on their PPP loan because (1) there is uncertainty on when loan applications will be funded, and (2) some industries, such as the hospitality industry, have already laid off workers who are currently collecting enhanced federal and state unemployment benefits.
       
    3. 501(c)(6) non profit organizations should be added as employers that qualify for PPP loans.  Current rules allow some non-profits to qualify for PPP loans (such as 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(19) organizations), but others, such as 501(c)(6) organizations, are excluded.  Most Chambers of Commerce are 501(c)(6) organizations and have been critical in keeping their local business communities informed and helping them access benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Excluding these organizations is discriminatory.

    More information will be posted as received from the OSCC.


  • April 01, 2020 4:25 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    Please join OSCC for a call at 10am this Thursday to learn more about SBA loan information and resources for business during the current COVID-19 health crisis. Congressman Kurt Schrader will be joining to give a Congressional update. This is an update you won't want to miss and is open to chambers and your chamber members.   

    AGENDA:

    Welcome and Intro – Vonnie Mikkelsen, OSCC Board Chair

    Congressman Kurt Schrader Congressional update

    Small Business Administration - Martin Golden,District Director SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans and resources

    Small Business Development Center - Rob Campbell, Executive Director SBDC Resources for business

    Closing Remarks – Vonnie Mikkelsen  

    OSCC All Member COVID-19 calls

    Conference call: +1 (571) 317-3122

    Access Code: 350-753-021

    Please mute your phones


  • March 23, 2020 12:43 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    Governor Brown just issued an Executive Order on "shelter in place" - 
    Executive Order 20-12
    . Please note the guidance for professional offices, non profits, and which businesses are immediately ordered to be closed.  Also the guidance for government buildings. 
     

    About the order: 

    • All non-essential social and recreational gatherings of individuals are prohibited immediately, regardless of size, if a distance of at least six feet between individuals cannot be maintained. Gatherings of members of the same residential household are permitted.
       
    • It closes and prohibits shopping at specific categories of retail businesses, for which close personal contact is difficult to avoid, such as arcades, barber shops, hair salons, gyms and fitness studios, skating rinks, theaters, and yoga studios.
       
    • It requires businesses not closed by the order to implement social distancing policies in order to remain open, and requires workplaces to implement teleworking and work-at-home options when possible.
       
    • It directs Oregonians to stay home whenever possible, while permitting activities outside the home when social distance is maintained.
       
    • It closes playgrounds, sports courts, and skate parks, among other types of outdoor recreation facilities. Those that remain open are required to strictly adhere to social distancing guidelines.
       
    • It outlines new guidelines for child care facilities, setting limits and rules on amounts of children allowed in care, and outlining that child care groups may not change participants.

    Retail businesses closed by Executive Order 20-12 include:

    • Shopping: Outdoor and indoor malls and retail complexes, although individual types of businesses not subject to the measures may stay open.
       
    • Fitness: Gyms, sports and fitness centers, health clubs, and exercise studios
       
    • Grooming: Barbershops, beauty and nail salons, and non-medical wellness spas
       
    • Entertainment: Theaters, amusement parks, arcades, bowling alleys, and pool halls

    Other retail businesses will not be able to continue to operate unless they can implement strict social distancing measures and designate an employee or officer charged with ensuring compliance. Retail businesses able to adapt to take-out style shopping experiences can also remain open. If businesses can have employees work from home, then they must do so. Many of the businesses outlined in the order have voluntarily closed their doors already, to do their part to protect Oregon's communities.

    In addition, non-retail businesses like manufacturers and the construction industry must ensure that their employees are maintaining social distancing measures. Restaurants are still permitted to offer take out, and delivery.  They are required to maintain the social distancing guidelines. 


    These are extraordinary circumstances. We'll do our best to let you know of additional developments.


  • March 20, 2020 9:29 AM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    The Portland City Club is having a debate today LIVE on several different feeds. For those of you who didn't attend our meeting on the 11th, here's a chance to get information on the candidates so you can make an informed vote. For those of you who did attend the meeting, you may learn more about them.

    One of the many things emphasized by the current crisis is the importance of who is in elected office. That's why we are committed to bringing you important candidate debates and election-related information.

    Perhaps now more than ever: We are all in this together. That means providing substantive, truthful information from trusted sources.

    All of our events, including primary debates, will be LIVE in virtual spaces via KGW, our websiteTwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

    We encourage our audience to participate in real-time by asking questions via social media and email:

    #CITYCLUBDEBATE
    Questions@pdxcityclub.org 

    Democracy does not stand still.



  • March 19, 2020 10:54 AM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    In an effort to prepare for the upcoming special session to address the coronavirus pandemic and ensure we’re communicating the needs of our constituents as efficiently as possible I wanted to reach out. I would like to ask each of you to work together with your respective jurisdictions to provide any requests for assistance, suggestions for policy changes, or any useful idea you have that could be implemented at the legislative level related to the coronavirus response.
     
    For example, we’ve shared with Governor Brown’s office some issues we’ve seen where certain funding formulas could incentivize the kind of in-person contact we now need to limit. After hearing from a number of legislators who were hearing similar concerns from their constituents there was a change in rule that provided some flexibility for local jurisdictions. Just off the top of my head; I can imagine there are issues you all might have related to conducting business using virtual channels that might need to be addressed and debated so that we might balance openness and public safety to provide needed policy changes.
     
    Since idea generation as well as efficient and effective use of resources are key to ensuring the best possible results please feel free to include any idea, no matter how far afield. I think it is encouraging for us all that leaders from every corner of the state are coming together to ask for and provide solutions.  I’m reaching out to each of you to ensure that my office is working with a similar sense of purpose and duty. Please, also feel free to call either my chief of staff, Jason, at 503-473-5633 or myself at 503-901-6052 on our mobile numbers should you have any more immediate questions are concerns. We’re in contact with the Governor’s office and the Oregon Health Authority on daily conference calls to ensure we have the latest possible guidance.
     
    Thank you all for the work that you are doing to meet the needs of your community. Take care of yourselves as well, we need you!
     
    ~Chris
     
    State Representative Chris Gorsek
    503.986.1449 | District 49 - Troutdale
    Pronouns I respond to: he/him/his

  • March 17, 2020 4:44 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    OSCC is keeping chambers up to date on information that has an impact on the business community as a result of COVID-19. 

    • Yesterday, Governor Brown announced a new Executive Order prohibiting on-premises consumption of food and drink, as well as gatherings of more than 25 people for the next four weeks. She also announced plans for a special session in relation to COVID-19 in the next couple of weeks.
       
    • The Governor also announced the formation of a Coronavirus Economic Council to discuss workforce and small business needs during this crisis. OSCC is part of that conversation and has provided feedback about the need for certainty and cash flow during this disaster, particularly to help local communities and families recover from the recession.
       
    • The Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response will be meeting tomorrow at 10 am to discuss needed supports for working families and local businesses as a result of COVID-19. The business community put forward an initial letter of requests. OSCC members are encouraged to listen to the legislative conversation through this link:
       
      https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2019I1/Committees/JSCVR/Overview

    OSCC is keeping chambers up to date on information that has an impact on the business community as a result of COVID-19. 

    • Yesterday, Governor Brown announced a new Executive Order prohibiting on-premises consumption of food and drink, as well as gatherings of more than 25 people for the next four weeks. She also announced plans for a special session in relation to COVID-19 in the next couple of weeks.
       
    • The Governor also announced the formation of a Coronavirus Economic Council to discuss workforce and small business needs during this crisis. OSCC is part of that conversation and has provided feedback about the need for certainty and cash flow during this disaster, particularly to help local communities and families recover from the recession.
       
    • The Joint Committee on Coronavirus Response will be meeting tomorrow at 10 am to discuss needed supports for working families and local businesses as a result of COVID-19. The business community put forward an initial letter of requests. OSCC members are encouraged to listen to the legislative conversation through this link:
    • If you want to submit local testimony before the hearing to be posted online, you can at  https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2019I1/Committees/JSCVR/Overview 
    • We also encourage you to follow up directly with your legislators about needed support for local businesses.


  • March 16, 2020 2:04 PM | Connie Shipley (Administrator)

    In our Chamber's efforts to keep you informed be aware that Sunshine Division is available to those who need food:

    • We remain open at both of our locations for clients to continue receiving emergency food. Food boxes are served near the entrances (outside) in a manner that ensures the safety and necessary precautions to thoughtfully care for our clients, volunteers, and staff.
    • Clients are able to receive a food box 1x per week with this current method of distribution. These do not count toward their regular visit allotment as this is a unique situation.


JOIN US NEXT:

New Members

Gold Sponsor

SILVER SPONSORS

BRONZE SPONSORS

Become a Sponsor!

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software