Loans available for businesses affected by wildfires

The U.S. Small Business Administration has made federal disaster loans available to Oregon small businesses impacted by wildfires that began July 26, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management said in a news release.

Assistance is available in Deschutes, Josephine, Jackson, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Harney, Jefferson, Lake, Klamath, Lane and Linn counties.

The availability follows the lightning-sparked Douglas, Big Windy, Whiskey, Labrador and Brimstone fire complexes Oregon. To date, more than 100,000 acres of forestland have been burned, impacting rafting and lodging industries, among others. Gov. John Kitzhaber called the wildfires the worst in a decade.

Recreation businesses along the Rogue River estimated in mid-August that their industry was losing about $100,000 daily.

"The fires changed the economics of our region this summer, from the smoke and evacuations to river and road closures, local businesses were impacted," Josephine County emergency manager Jessica Schwartz said in the release. "I hope local businesses utilize the resources of the federal disaster loans to help recover from the financial impacts of the disaster."

Eligibility for the loans is based on the financial impact to businesses from the fires, not property damage. The loans have a 4 percent interest rate for small businesses and 2.875 percent for private nonprofit organizations. Both loans have terms of up to 30 years. The loans are restricted to small businesses who cannot offset the financial impact themselves.

For more information, visit Online applications are available at Interested parties can also call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955.

— Ryan Pfeil

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