The U. S. Small Business Administration said Thursday it offering low-interest working capital federal loans to small businesses economically impacted by the Pole Creek Fire that burned for more than a month this fall south of Sisters.
SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills said the agency acted under its own authority to declare a disaster following a request received on Tuesday from Gov. John Kitzhaber.
The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available in Crook, Deschutes, Harney, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Lane and Linn counties.
"The U. S. Small Business Administration is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist Oregon's small businesses with federal disaster loans. We will be swift in our efforts to help these small businesses recover from the financial impacts of this disaster," said Administrator Mills.
"Small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private, nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred," said SBA Oregon Acting District Director Robert DuCote.
"These 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. Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing," DuCote added.
Eligibility is based on the financial impact of the disaster only and not on any actual property damage. These loans have an interest rate of 4 percent for small businesses and 3 percent for private, nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years, and are restricted to small businesses without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.
Applicants may apply online using SBA's secure Web site at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
The Oregon Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Bend is offering free, personalized counseling to help affected business owners in their recovery. Business owners may call the SBDC at (541) 383-7290 Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.
For owners of these impacted small businesses, disaster loan information and applications are available from SBA by calling SBA at (800) 659 2955, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting SBA's Web site at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call (800) 877-8339.
The filing deadline to return economic injury applications is September 12, 2013.