A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Albany to consider emergency business aid

Written March 27th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

Waverly Lake Friday afternoon: Three anglers try their luck in the rain.

On Day Five of Oregon’s partial corona shutdown, the mid-valley weather made outdoor recreation less inviting, Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa indefinitely extended the city’s state of emergency, and the city announced that the council will be asked to consider a loan program to help local businesses until federal aid arrives.

The city Friday published the agenda for a council work session at 4 p.m. Monday. For the first time in living memory, the council will not allow the public to attend but invited people to watch online or listen via the telephone.

The short agenda includes a proposal by Economic Development Manager Seth Sherry to help small businesses in Albany. The city would commit $200,000 of its “economic opportunity fund” to a loan program run by Community Lending Works, a non-profit. Albany businesses could apply for loans of up to $15,000 to tide them over until they become eligible for assistance under the massive stimulus program passed  by Congress Friday.

The loans would require no payments for the first six months and interest-only payments for the next six months. Enterprises then would have four years to repay the loans at 2 percent interest, with an additional 2 percent paid by the city.

Albany’s economic development fund has about $1.65 million, left over from a settlement with the Pepsi Co. several years ago.

The mayor’s original declaration of emergency would have expired Friday. So she signed a new one that will remain in effect until it’s revoked. The council on Monday will be asked to ratify that as it did the first one. The action frees the manager to use city funds to meet the coronavirus contagion.

Friday was the fifth day since the governor issued her “stay home, save lives” order, which makes exceptions to leave the house. One of them is outdoor exercise as long as people stay 6 feet apart. On the bike, staying that far apart from others is no problem at all, especially on Albany’s nearly deserted secondary streets. Especially in the rain. (hh)

8 responses to “Albany to consider emergency business aid”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    I’m channeling Bernie right now, so I’m shouting and waving my arms at the computer screen as I type this.

    “Economic development” is a euphemism for corporate welfare. And this decision favors local corporations and their obscene profits over Albany workers.

    Wouldn’t it be better to give each Albany adult a $1,200 loan, with $500 for each child? They can pay it back when the real money arrives in about a month.

    Wouldn’t it be better to set up a cash window at city hall for people who don’t pay taxes or have a social security number? They may never get the real money the rest of us are about to get.

    Wouldn’t it be better to beef up unemployment benefits for Albany workers? This will happen in a future stimulus bill. Why not get ahead of the need and do it now on a local level?

    Wouldn’t it be better to provide increased food assistance to those on food stamps? This will happen in a future stimulus bill. Why not get ahead of the need and do it now on a local level?

    Local corporations already have CARA. Shouldn’t Albany just say NO to more corporate welfare?

    • My Real Name John Hartman says:

      The writer poses: “Shouldn’t Albany just say NO to more corporate welfare?

      Corporations are people too. John Roberts said so.

  2. Bill Kapaun says:

    How do we get “repaid” if a business received a “loan” and then failed?
    What vetting process would be in place to make sure we just aren’t throwing away money?

  3. Rich Kellum says:

    It is a LOAN program, LOAN…………. If they do not pay it back we can lose…..….. if we do not have a way for them to survive WE LOSE

    • Steve Reynolds says:

      Kind of like…

      “A fire hose lent to a neighbor to put out a fire, after which the hose is returned. “What do I do in such a crisis?” “I don’t say, … ‘Neighbor, my garden hose cost me $15; you have to pay me $15 for it’ … I don’t want $15 — I want my garden hose back after the fire is over.”

  4. Kenneth oberg says:

    I am a injured person with health issues I fix things for people for little or no money I don’t qualify to get any money from the government so it makes it hard for people like me to pay my bills and the homeless to be able to help out the small businesses too.

    • Mac says:

      Great to hear you are able to make some money. Why do you not qualify for SS or disability,?


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