SBA economic injury disaster loans available to Oregon and Klickitat County small businesses

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Small, nonfarm businesses in eight Oregon counties and neighboring counties in Washington are now eligible to apply for low‑interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by the freeze in the following primary county that occurred November 13, 2014 – January 2, 2015, announced Director Tanya N. Garfield of SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center – West.

Primary Oregon county: Wasco;
Neighboring Oregon counties: Clackamas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jefferson, Marion, Sherman and Wheeler;
Neighboring Washington county: Klickitat.

“SBA eligibility covers both the economic impacts on businesses dependent on farmers and ranchers that have suffered agricultural production losses caused by the disaster and businesses directly impacted by the disaster,” Garfield said.

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.

“Eligibility for these loans 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 businesses and 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations, a maximum term of 30 years, and are available to small businesses and most private nonprofits without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship,” Garfield said.

By law, SBA makes EIDLs available when the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture designates an agricultural disaster. Secretary Tom Vilsack declared this disaster on June 24, 2015.

Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible for SBA disaster assistance. Agricultural enterprises should contact the Farm Services Agency about the U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance made available by the Secretary’s declaration.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at

Disaster loan information and application forms are also available from SBA’s Customer Service Center by calling (800) 659-2955 or emailing Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. For more information about SBA’s disaster assistance programs, visit

The deadline to apply for these loans is February 24, 2016.


Five ways to beat the heat: Tips from Pacific Power to stay cool, use less energy and save money

Five ways to beat the heat: Tips from Pacific Power to stay cool, use less energy and save money

PORTLAND, Ore. –With forecasts predicting triple-digit temperatures throughout the Northwest over the next week, Pacific Power wants to remind customers to stay safe and use these tips to beat the heat, use less energy and save money.

Be air conditioner smart
* Set your thermostat at 78 degrees. This will keep you comfortable and cooling your house below that temperature can increase your air conditioning bill as much as 8 percent.
* Don’t turn off the air conditioner when you’re gone; instead set it higher, at 85 degrees. That setting allows your air conditioner to use less electricity to cool the house than if the air conditioning has been off all day, but doesn’t shut down altogether.
* Use an air conditioner timer or programmable thermostat; set it to start bringing your home’s temperature from 85 degrees down to 78 degrees no more than 30 minutes before you get home.
* Replace air conditioner now before hot spell sets in, then once a month. The dirtier your filter, the less efficient it is.
* Lamps, televisions or any other appliance that creates heat needs to be kept away from the thermostat; they will impact its accuracy.
* Your air conditioner will operate most efficiently if you trim nearby foliage to allow adequate air flow around the unit.
* Don’t block inside distribution vents with furniture or other objects.

Don’t let the sun shine in
* On warm days, close blinds and drapes, especially in south-facing windows which allow in the most heat.

Open windows in the evening and circulate cool air
* Open windows in evening and early morning to let in cool air. Be aware, however, of any safety or security issues.
* Use fans to bring in and circulate cool air. Ceiling and window fans use less electricity than an air conditioner when the compressor is engaged. Running an air conditioner in fan-only mode can also be effective as outside temperatures drop.

Reduce the heat inside
* Use heat-producing appliances like ovens, dishwashers and dryers in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are cooler.
* Grill outside or use a microwave or toaster oven. A toaster oven uses one-third to one-half as much energy as a regular oven and releases less heat into the home.
* Turn off heat-generating devices when not in use, including lamps, televisions and computers.

Think for the long term
* Plant deciduous trees to shade the south side of your house. Well-placed trees can reduce cooling needs as much as 20 percent, and an air conditioner operating in the shade can use as much as 10 percent less electricity.
* Insulate floors, walls and attics to keep cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Seal and insulate air conditioning ducts that run through unconditioned spaces.
* Get your air conditioner tuned up annually.
* Consider a new air conditioner, heat pump and other appliances — new models are more efficient and may lower your electric bill. Look for ENERGY STAR appliances.

For more information and tips, visit

Keep trees watered during high temperatures

News Release from Oregon Dept. of Forestry:

The weather forecast is calling for high temperatures around most of the state through the weekend and even into the middle of next week. It’s a time to keep fire prevention uppermost in our minds, and also, to remember to protect the health of trees in yards and landscapes by deeply watering them.

“Summer temperatures can be hard on trees, especially landscape trees in our urban areas,” says Kristin Ramstad, an urban forester with the Oregon Department of Forestry. “If they aren’t well-watered, warm weather and prolonged drought eventually make trees more susceptible to insect and disease problems,” adds Ramstad.

Seems like a good time to remember that when temperatures in Oregon get warm and stay warm, it can take a toll on trees as well as people. The Oregon Department of Forestry suggests a few tips for keeping your trees healthy during times of heat stress.

Symptoms of drought
One of the first signs that a deciduous tree (i.e., trees like birches or maples that drop leaves in the winter) needs water is that its leaves begin to look dull, and sometimes, limp.

More advanced symptoms of needing water are browning of leaves, wilting, and curling at the edges. Leaves may also develop a scorched or burned look, turning yellow or brown on outside edges, or between leaf veins. Leaves may even appear smaller than usual, drop prematurely, or turn brown but remain on the tree.

When drought-stressed, the needles of conifers (evergreen trees such as Ponderosa Pine or Douglas-fir) may turn yellow, red, purple or brown.

Watering tips

Given their benefits, longevity, and contributions to the environment, give your trees higher watering priority than lawns. Keep in mind that if trees are only provided with shallow water every so often, they’re probably only getting a fraction of what they need. Watering trees for short periods of time encourages shallow rooting, which can lead to future health problems for the tree.

To make sure your tree gets the water it needs, saturate the soil within the drip line – that’s the circle that could be drawn on the soil around the tree directly under the tips of its outermost branches. Using a regular hose or a soaker hose, water deeply and slowly – slowly is important, so the water doesn’t run-off. To make sure it gets enough water, keep moving the hose around different areas under the tree.

For conifers, water 3 to 5 feet beyond the drip line on all sides of the tree. Also, if you have a choice, water trees during the cooler part of the day. Another way to water trees slowly is to put a nail hole in the bottom (near the edge) of a five gallon bucket. Fill the bucket with water, and leave the slowly leaking bucket under the canopy of the tree. Do this twice or three times per tree, moving the bucket each time.

Other tips: Use mulch
Using mulch is an excellent way to care for trees in warm weather, as it helps the soil below trees retain moisture and stay cool. Mulch can be made of bark, wood chips, leaves and evergreen needles.

Apply mulch within the drip line, at a depth of four inches, leaving a six-inch space between the mulch and tree trunk. Mulch will also help discourage weeds.

Lastly, don’t plant annual flowers or other ground covers under the canopy of your tree, as they’ll compete with the tree’s roots for moisture and nutrients.

Good tree care = a good investment

Trees and forests enhance quality of life in many ways, providing shade, wildlife habitat, clean air, wood and other products, raising property values, and providing clean, healthy streams. What’s more, on hot days, we all rely on the shade of the trees in our yards and communities. Therefore, it is a really good idea to keep our trees healthy and watered.

For more information about trees and tree care:

Oregonians should stay hydrated, limit sun exposure as temps top 100

As the state’s temperatures break into the triple digits by this weekend, health officials are recommending Oregonians take steps to prevent heat-related illnesses that can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

“Summers in Oregon are great and people want to be outdoors, but temperatures at or above 100 degrees can be dangerous,” says Bruce Gutelius, M.D., M.P.H., deputy state epidemiologist at the Public Health Division. “Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are real problems that can lead to death, so people need to take precautions to protect their health.”

According to the National Weather Service, the hottest weather of the year throughout Oregon so far is expected to arrive at the end of this week, and continue through the weekend and into next week. The hottest day in the Willamette Valley will be Saturday, when temperatures will reach 100 degrees in lower elevations and get above 90 in higher-elevation areas. Eastern Oregon temperatures will be between 100 and 110 degrees into next week.

The Oregon Public Health Division offers the following tips for staying safe and healthy during extreme heat conditions:

1. Stay cool
— Stay in air-conditioned places when temperatures are high, if possible.

— Limit exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when ultraviolet (UV) rays are strongest. Try to schedule activities in the morning and evening.

— Open windows to allow fresh air to circulate, especially during morning and evening hours, and close shades on west-facing windows during the afternoon hours.

— Use portable electric fans to exhaust hot air from rooms or draw in cooler air.
— Wear loose-fitting clothing to keep cool and protect your skin from the sun.

— Use cool compresses, misting, and cool showers and baths.

— Avoid hot foods and heavy meals; they add heat to the body.

— Never leave infants or children in a parked car. Nor should pets be left in parked cars – they, too, can suffer heat-related illness.

— Dress infants and children in loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.

— Use sunscreen with at least SPF 15 when going outside.

2. Stay hydrated
— Regardless of your level of activity, drink plenty of fluids, even if you are not thirsty and especially when working outside.

— Avoid alcohol or liquids containing large amounts of sugar.

People with a chronic medical condition such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, or kidney disease may be less likely to sense and respond to changes in temperature. Also, they may be taking medications that can worsen the impact of extreme heat. People in this category should be closely monitored to make sure they’re drinking enough water, have access to air conditioning and know how to keep cool.

Those who exercise or work outdoors in extreme heat are more likely to become dehydrated and get heat-related illness and should pay particular attention to staying as cool and hydrated as possible.

For more information, visit the Oregon Public Health Division Extreme Heat page at the CDC Heat Stress page at

Mayor issues challenge to would be barbecue kings

The Dalles Mayor Steve Lawrence has issued a challenge to backyard barbecue chefs. He recently joined the American Legion and has helped organize a “King of the ‘Cue” contest for Saturday, July 4th. Court Street next to the Legion Hall downtown The Dalles will be blocked off between First and Second streets for people to setup their own barbecue.

Lawrence says contestants can cook with electricity, gas, wood or charcoal briquettes, and meat will be provided in three categories – pulled pork, baby back ribs and chicken. Entry fee is $25 per meat, and those going for the grand prize as “King of the ‘Cue” will have to enter all three categories. People can enter as teams as well. Setup will take place early on July 4. Prizes are smokers, which have been donated to the cause.

The Legion is also looking for judges – they need nine of them. Contact Mayor Lawrence at 503-807-0724.

Health district trims positions, reduces clinic hours in light of Wasco County budget cut

Two members of North Central Public Health District were given layoff notices Tuesday following the final meeting of the fiscal year for the North Central Public Health District board. The board said layoffs were unfortunately needed due to the reductions in contributions from Wasco County, the largest in the three-county district that covers Sherman and Gilliam counties. Last year, Wasco County contributed a total of $376,000. This year’s contribution was $314,000, down 17 percent.

The district also announced it would reduce hours for its walk-in clinic in The Dalles from five days per week to one day per week, on Wednesdays. Staff said they chose that day because it was the one least affected by holidays.

Last December, Wasco County voted to withdraw from participation in North Central Public Health District, without notifying media or the public, without listing the subject on the meeting agenda and without providing a chance for public testimony on the issue. On adivice of the county’s attorney, the Wasco County Commission rescinded that vote. The county is committed now through the 2015-2016 fiscal year, and plans to vote on whether to stay in the three-county district in December.