Help is on the way for Portland small businesses.

How much and when remains in question.

By executive order, Portland Mayor John Boggs established the Small Business Resilience Grant program Wednesday. The grant is designed to help alleviate local businesses’ deficit during the coronavirus pandemic.

Boggs plans to ask Portland City Council at its meeting Monday to appropriate $250,000 from the city’s rainy day fund for the grant program. That amount would fund up to 200 grants for Portland businesses.

Each business in the Portland tax district may be eligible for a grant up to $1,250, which is encouraged to be spent in the city. Those grants will be administered through the city’s economic development income tax (EDIT) advisory committee.

Boggs’ office recently sent out a survey to local businesses asking how much they have spent in cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment, property taxes and other costs not covered by state and federal assistance in recent months.

Twenty-nine businesses responded to the survey and reported an average expenditure of $4,787, according to results compiled and provided by the mayor’s office.

According to data released by the Small Business Administration earlier this month, Portland businesses received at least $8 million for COVID-19 relief through the paycheck protection program (PPP) funded by the $2 trillion federal CARES Act.

Boggs said his order is meant to go toward losses beyond what can be paid for by the PPP and said in some cases state and federal assistance failed to fully account for financial losses associated with the pandemic or wasn’t readily available.

Grants administered at the local level will be rapid for the businesses that need it, Boggs said.

The application, which the mayor said is one page long, will require each business to itemize its deficit during the pandemic, he added.

The order does not limit what the handout is used for but listed paying employees’ wages, rent or property tax expenses as possible uses for potential grant money.
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