June 29th 2020 Virtual Meeting with Economic Development Districts

TENTATIVE: July 13th 1:00 pm 2020 ZOOM with CASA/DHS Program Leadership 

“The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.”

Okakura Kakuzo

Summary Notes
Jefferson e Funders Forum
June 29th   1:00 pm
Virtual ZOOM Round Up

Jefferson Funders Forum brings together public and private philanthropic leadership to share information, perspectives and experiences; cooperatively explore and leverage resources to positively impact communities in southern Oregon and northern California.

Levels of Engagement: I. Communication and Information Sharing; II. Learning Together; III. Planning for Collective & Collaborative Action IV. Action

ZOOM Facilitator – Marie Simonds, Wild Rivers Coastal Alliance 

  • 17 Zoom Participants Included: Anne Golden, Threshold Foundation; Bill Thorndike, NW Health Foundation; Julia Beattie, Kathy Bryon, Larry Nicholson & Jennifer Staton, Gordon Elwood Foundation; Deborah  Ameen, All Care;  Jen Shafer, United Way of SW Oregon; Peter Salant, GAG Charitable Trust & Medford Schools Foundation; Matt Epstein, Epstein Family Foundation; Sara Stephens, South Coast Early Learning Hub; Gina Zottola, Wild Rivers Community Foundation; Steve Vincent, Avista; Alex Campbell, Oregon Solutions; Laura Williams, Advanced Health; & Guests, Theresa Haga, Executive Director, Coos/Curry/Douglas Co. Business Development Corp; Betty Riley, Executive Director, South Central Oregon Economic Development District Klamath/Lake Co.; Shaun Gibbs, Executive Director, South Coast Development Council, Inc. Coos/Curry/ W Douglas/Lane Co.; Kasey Bell, Program Director, Del Norte Economic Development Corporation, Del Norte, CA

I. Communication & Information Sharing: Everyone

Marie welcomed and initiated introductions-

  • A word that captures your personal weather today: Sunny (3), Blue skies, Pleasant, Cloudy, Stormy, Depressing-no windows in office, Humid, Thankful, Storm-Coming, Foggy, Green, Sunny with occasional clouds, Nourishing, Garden Fresh, 

II.  Learning Together and Dialogue: How are Rural Oregon & N. California Businesses & Economic Development Leadership Responding, Reframing, Retooling and Reshaping in the time of COVID-19. 

A Special Thanks to our guests who have generously offered to share their experience & perspectives with us today:

Theresa Haga, Executive Director, Coos/Curry/Douglas Co. Business Development Corp

Their office was able to provide a three-month deferment on loan payments and stop the interest on those three months as well. They were also able to create a $200,000 COVID-19 Loan Fund to provide up to $15,000 to businesses in good standing that could have a personal guarantor. 

Business Oregon offered a one to one match for $225,000 proposal, they have received $115,000 in requests for round two. Also involved with CDFIs and CCDs. All together they have collected $175,000 for the 2nd round. CDBG funds through Roseburg and Coos Bay may be the stream of funds to address fall impact or fallout. 

The PPP was a very important resource for businesses, although the tough part now is getting employees back to work. The additional $600 a week has caused some folks to stay out of work because they are making more than usual. 

Among employers there is fear of another closure; concern for the school situation since many people who are working depend on schools for their children’s childcare. There is still considerable shock from the entire issue, and so not enough energy is being spent on how to reform their business models or be prepared in the future. 

Theresa is working with her peer organizations on what to be ready for as we move into fall and the end of some of the federal support programs. They have plans to have a RARE intern from OU program to assist in the fall. They completed a Strategic Plan, but need to revisit that plan since so much has changed. 

There are a lot of Unknowns, so they need some time to evaluate what has been done and its impact in order to figure out what the “response” should be for the next time. Their CCD is looking at the issue of remote working and the dilemma of limited Broadband in rural areas. 

There were unexpected and increased costs for employers: cell phones, hot spots, lap tops. To provide online/remote learning to businesses and employers they need the materials-lap tops, broad band coverage etc. Many businesses have only enough working capital for a 45 day turn around, now they have to be prepared for a 90-day turnaround-a longer cycle. 

Julia Beattie, President People’s Bank, weighed in on the PPP and the forgiveness requirements that have shifted significantly and will be helpful to those businesses who offered individuals their jobs and they did not come back. 

First the PPP program has extended the time period from 8 weeks to 24. 

Julia also agreed that the 4th quarter will be the toughest with a convergence of issues and a potential short-term gap of support. She is expecting some additional accommodation for businesses to allow for this reality. 

Betty Riley, Executive Director, South Central Oregon Economic Development District Klamath/Lake Co.

Betty’s office, like Theresa’s offered a loan payment deferral and set up an emergency loan process with a $10,000 cap. The Klamath Chamber has been very active and coordinating a collective voice and message: Klamath Idea”

They are reopening an Entrepreneurial Summit on zoom for 115 participants. The greatest shut downs and closures have happened on Main Street since they are primarily the service industry location. They are not expecting a number of businesses to reopen. There has been a lot of confusion regarding the best source of COVID-19 information and reopening requirements. The Downtown Association is helping with this and beginning Phase Two. 

The hardest follow through on masking is in the restaurant industry due to the heat in the kitchen and general costs of PPE. They are looking into shields vs masks for reducing heat. Her office was able to collect $440,000for Klamath & Lake Counties in grant funding. They are sending out 375 fliers to businesses in the two-county area. They expect to have 180 checks go out by July 20th, which will be a feat unto itself. 

They are also securing a RARE intern through UO for their office this fall to work on the tourism issue and the impact on the large fundraisers that benefit their area that have been shut down. Ride the Rim, Ross Ragland Theater are among those hard hits. Food trucks did well along with those businesses who innovated, selling online through the internet and Chamber. Restaurants just do not have the kind of capital that helps them hold the course. 

On a positive note, businesses are now a lot savvier and more willing to use the internet if they have connectivity. There is definitely need for more training on how to use and the variety of programs that could be helpful. Some business models have shifted to create new products related to the virus. 

What we have learned is that there more Financial literacy needed among small businesses especially those in outlying communities. 

Many small businesses didn’t have their financials together enough to apply for support; some haven’t paid taxes; so, the EDD is looking at how can they help build that capacity. Building continued and was even busier than usual, although building materials were harder to get initially, now that has changed. There is no crystal ball for this situation and it feels like a lot of funds are being THROWN at the issue, but not a lot of strategic thinking or reflecting and asking…is this really helping?

Klamath and Lake Counties have never really recovered from the timber industry change in the 80’s and the 2008 recession that hit companies hard. Adequate housing is an issue. Broadband brings up an equity issue around education, bandwidth is currently very hard to access and stay on Chiloquin is not connected, so how to have remote home school education? How do we help those with small children also work when school is remote? How do we accommodate working mothers with no to very limited childcare? 

We will need to improve SKILLS & RESILIENCE. Support those who are good at making and doing stuff, but not good at financial requirements and computer programs.  

Shaun Gibbs, Executive Director, South Coast Development Council, Inc. Coos/Curry/ W Douglas/Lane Co.

Shaun’s office is not an Economic Development District so they were not in the position to lend funds to businesses. Instead they focus on leveraging relationships, connecting people, collaboration. Initially they focused on their usual partners, larger businesses and employers, but then pivoted to the Main Street small businesses. His sense is the worse is not behind us but in front of us.”

July 1st will determine the next wave of unemployment and whether it is renewed for this time. It’s hard to know where we are at this time as others have said. They are trying to focus on business retention and expansion in new ways, remote worker issues. 

Regarding Broadband, there is a fiber group looking at private/public options and how they can work together to improve this situation. How to find larger employees without boardband available? There is a lot of collaboration going on in the south coast on this issue, weekly meetings asking what can we do together to make the situation more bearable. The Chambers of Commerce have disappeared in our coastal areas. Lottery Funds have funded business development and economic development in Oregon, and there are less people playing the lottery, so significant impact will be felt. 501c4s & 5s are not eligible for grants and loans, so the Homebuilders Association may be lost and they provide a lot of training for the next generation. 

Wayne Patterson, Executive Director, Umpqua Economic Development Partnership Douglas Co. was unable to attend due to a last minute meeting with the county. 

Kasey Bell, Program Director, Del Norte Economic Development Corporation, Del Norte, CA

Kasey is the only staff for her office, new to the position as of earlier this year, so it has been a wild ride. She is very familiar with Del Norte county having grown up there. She feels she is on a big learning curve and is grateful to listen to the others on this zoom about their strategies during this time. 

Her office offered 30-90 day deferments to their borrowers, but continued to accrue interest. She has been getting some thought support from Ross Welch in Arcata, the closest economic development partner to her in N. CA. College of the Redwoods may host an SBDC soon. 

Financial Literacy is a significant issue in her area; a stabilization program would be of great support although as others suggested many of the small businesses in her areas don’t have their financial information all together. No Profit/Loss statements, not computerized accounting, using pen and paper, which could be enhanced by just an excel spreadsheet. An economic summit that was planned for northern California was cancelled, which because of her new position was a big loss in learning and relationship building. 

The Chamber of Commerce of Del Norte is active and they are doing a greatest need survey of small businesses. The have a small business loan fund.

There is a fear of debt among small businesses; lack of PL and tax returns are not submitted. All these have been obstacles to applying for federal support. 

Big questions that are looming in the minds of businesses in the area:
How will people be employed in the future? 
What might be the opportunity for using Employee Leasing? (Most of the guests were not aware of this strategy. Shawn mentioned this strategy potential for short term employees.)
Where is the innovation now?

There is no safety net for Gig workers. 

Remote work may be an opportunity for additional training and employment opportunity, but again sufficient WIFI and bandwidth will be critical. 

Some employers are grabbing employees laid off from other companies. Many people have been staying on their unemployment for the additional $600 they receive, which is greater than their usual salary. Hotels and restaurants are the hardest hit service industry. 

Salesforce is not longer requiring travel and reducing the need for commuting to work. 

Benefits is a huge request of employees. 

Small companies do not have the skills for vetting and training candidates. 

In Closing   – Marie

Marie thanked our guests and shared our learning community’s appreciation for their time and passion for their work with small businesses particularly in our rural communities at this time. 

Notes respectfully submitted by 
Kathy Bryon, Gordon Elwood Foundation
Jennifer Staton, Gordon Elwood Foundation