April 17, 2020
Business and Community News
My disappointment in the promised programs from the Federal Government is overwhelming, to say the least. The programs are completely underfunded, and the money appears to have gone to other states, larger businesses, airports, and who knows where else. Even though Washington State was the first to be declared a COVID disaster area, we are 16th in funding received. Texas is number one. I know very, very few small businesses that have actually been approved for funding, even though our businesses were among the first to apply. I have no further wisdom or advice to give at this point other than to urge you to contact our federal congresswomen, Senators Murray and Cantwell, and Representative McMorris Rodgers, and urge them to stop the gridlock and approve a package that will truly fund our small businesses.

DAYTON TOWN HALL - SBDC & Public Health Info
The Port has set up a Dayton Town Hall Zoom meeting for next Tuesday, April 21 from 2 - 3 pm with Judy Jones from the Small Business Development Center and Martha Lanman, our Public Health Director. Judy works with businesses in our community and will provide updates on the EIDL and PPP loans, provide ideas for ways small businesses can survive this crisis, and answer questions from the public. Martha Lanman has been participating in daily calls with the Governor's office and will share information she's gathering on how we can start opening our community and economy back up while protecting the most vulnerable citizens.

All Citizens and Businesses of Dayton and Columbia County are invited to participate. Just click on the link below just prior to 2 pm Tuesday and it will allow you to join the meeting.

I sat in on a call with Employment Security Department Commissioner Levine today and learned that the program to award unemployment benefits to self-employed businesses and contract workers will be ready this Sunday, April 19th. Their site will be closed on Saturday as they make the necessary technological updates to prepare for this new class of claimants. They say that the base amount you will be paid will be gleaned from your tax return (which you will need to submit when you make your claim) PLUS an additional $600 per week. They also say they are adding new staff and will have 1,000 people ready to process claims starting Sunday. The commissioner recommended you take the following four steps in preparation for applying on Sunday:
  1. Go to https://esd.wa.gov/ and sign up for COVID-19 email alerts. New information will come to you through that channel.
  2. Use the eligibility checker to see what you will qualify for.
  3. Use application checklist to understand what documents and information you will need to have ready when you make your claim.
  4. Sign up for a Secure Access Washington (SAW) account and make sure you save your password! This is the account you will use to apply.
The commissioner said that your businesses unemployment rating for the future will not be affected (increased) if you apply, and that direct deposit is the method to use to receive funds quickly.
A new toll-free phone number has been added just for unemployment claim questions:

We've been successful in getting another round of funding for Project Timothy! The Innovia Foundation awarded an additional $20,000, bringing the total available to $45,000. These funds are for rent, utility, and food assistance as well as other needs on a case-by-case basis for people affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Innovia also awarded funds to The Club to cover the wages of their employees who are providing important childcare services for first responders.
  • PROJECT TIMOTHY - Call 382-2943.
  • DRIVE THRU FOOD BANK - At the Fairgrounds now on Tuesdays from 2 - 4 pm.
  • CAN'T GET TO THE FOOD BANK? Call 529-3561 and Columbia County Transit will deliver!

The Port sent 30 applications from businesses to the State of Washington today for funding consideration. We should have results within 4 to 6 weeks. The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Federation of Independent Business are advocating for an additional $45 million to be added to the original $5 million grant fund. Our downtown is part of the Main Street Program served by the Washington Trust. Click here for a letter template you can personalize and send in to help with this advocacy effort.

A community member brought up the idea of using volunteers to pick fruit from backyard trees that may have more fruit than the owner can use, and sending the excess to the food bank. Send me an email and let me know if you think this is a good idea and we'll get something started.

Are there needs in the community that are not being met? We'd like to know so we can try to pull together assistance where needed. Send me an email and let me know.

We're so lucky to live a community with wide-open spaces. Enjoy the sunshine this weekend.
The updated document to the left indicates that City Lumber is now able to be open regular hours. Remember that shopping local has a multiplier effect as dollars circulate in our community. Keep those dollars here as much as you can!
Still Need Census Forms Filled Out
Even if your household did not receive a code in the mail to use on your census form, you can still fill the form out just by putting in your address. We are only at about 50% completion rate. Please complete your form today!