Friends of the Port
March 24, 2020
Business and Community News
THE COLUMBIA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE posted a letter today on Facebook that describes their continued level of service throughout this crisis. Click on the picture of the letter to read it.

THE GOVERNOR'S NEW STAY-AT-HOME ORDER is affecting even more businesses in Columbia County now. However, there are many businesses that qualify as essential and can continue to operate. Visit the Essential Businesses page to see if your business qualifies.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT BUSINESS RE-ENTRY PROGRAM: The Emergency Management Division of the State of Washington has a Business Re-entry Registration Program for businesses that need to access an area that has been declared a disaster. This is a voluntary program that allows a business to sign up, or register, to be listed on a state database that can then be accessed by local emergency management organizations making decisions on granting access to impacted areas. Visit the Washington State Emergency Management Division website for detailed information and to register.

NEW POTENTIAL RESOURCES for businesses to explore:

STILL WAITING to get more information on state micro-grant programs for businesses and for the federal government to decide what help they are going to provide. We will get any new information out as soon as it becomes available.

MATCHING LOCAL RESOURCES WITH NEEDS is a problem we are working to solve. We have businesses and non-profits in need of money to survive, laid off employees who need help to survive, and people and who would like to provide financial support. As soon as we have the connections figured out we will send out information.

ONE UNIQUE WAY TO HELP the community that the new WSU Football Coach came up with is having his staff order takeout dinner each night from a different restaurant in Pullman. The best part? He orders 20 extra meals and sends out a "code word" on social media for the first 20 people to use to pick up a free dinner. If you know someone that could use a free meal, you might consider ordering take out for them from one of our great restaurants that is struggling to survive. See the Devoted to Dayton poster for take out options.

COLUMBIA COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH has provided several new links to some great information and resources on the COVID-19 situation in our community and beyond:

UNEMPLOYMENT INFORMATION: We are hearing a lot of frustrating stories from businesses with laid-off workers about the bogged down unemployment system. We heard news today that the state Employment Security Department has hired 60 new employees to add capacity to their system. if you're having a hard time getting through, keep trying! Apply for stand-by pay, unemployment pay, or special sick-leave pay at this ESD link.

SBA LOANS: We've heard the same thing about the SBA loan website - not working due to overload of the system. If you do get through and you would like assistance applying for a loan, please contact the Port or the Chamber. Apply online here.

COLUMBIA COUNTY TRANSIT continues to operate free of charge and is working on a funding plan to provide more assistance for deliveries. Stay tuned, and contact CCPT at 382-1647 if you need a ride.

IN OTHER NEWS.... The City of Dayton will be starting an Alley Grading & Improvement project on March 30. They need help with the removal of personal items and garbage cans (right after delivery) from the alley, and sharing this news with your neighbors. Click here to read more about the project.
Bored While You're Stuck at Home? Fill Out Your Census Form Online Now!
Did you know that for every person that does not fill out a census form, Columbia County loses almost $2,000 in federal funding per year? During the last decade, Columbia County left a lot of money on the table due to uncounted residents. Census counts are used for things like county road funding, farm bill funding, congressional district boundaries, and so much more.

By now you should have received either a paper copy of the census form or a postcard with a code directly linked to your address on it. You can fill out the census form online, and it only takes about 10 minutes. If you don't have a postcard with a code, you can still fill it out just by putting in your address.

The first census response rates were released today, and Columbia County had the second highest response rate in the state - 19.6%! That is great....but we've still got 80.4% of the county to go. If you fill it out now, no one will come knocking on your door in April.