Tigard Chamber Letter to Elected Officials on Save Small Business Coalition

 

 

 

March 30, 2020

Dear Congresswoman Bonamici and Senators Merkley and Wyden,

Thank you for your service and the important work you do, especially in difficult times as this. We are writing today to ask for your help to Save Small Business.

As a Chamber of Commerce, we view ourselves as first responders to the Business Community. During times a such as these, we are a reliable source of important information, have connections to important resources and have flexibility and agility to change as the needs of our community change. We are closest in touch with what information and help our businesses need. With the deluge of information everyone is experiencing, we serve as a sieve to disseminate and help effectively target necessary info for our businesses.

Our connections with our members brought to light how many businesses have had to reduce hours, layoff employees, and sadly, in some cases, close their doors for good. Many businesses do not qualify for disaster loan programs and some can’t afford to incur additional debt. As the voice of the business community, we need to take immediate action to assist business community to stay afloat during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

Together, with over 80 chambers of commerce and business associations, we joined the Save Small Business Coalition. The Save Small Business Coalition is committed to the survival of a vibrant business community as businesses across the US are feeling severe economic hardships as government mandates force restrictions and closures on business.

We know as our elected leaders you are aligned with our desire to keep our small business afloat, maintaining their employees, making recovery plans and be at the ready to do business as soon as possible and is allowed.

• This coalition is not about one single industry, this is about all small businesses across the nation.
• Small Businesses need funds right now to stay afloat, period. Getting small businesses, the funds to maintain the continuity of their business in the most expeditious way is of paramount importance. Many are in critical condition or on life support as it is.
• There is nothing in any business’s insurance that covers this unprecedented event of the Civil Authority of closing of businesses. Trying to reform the policy contracts after-the-fact will likely end up in protracted legal battles and debate while businesses fail and the families they employ suffer irreparable harm.
• We want to empower a potential solution for small businesses that works with the insurance industry backed by the federal government.
• We believe that with a federally funded backstop to cover the business continuity expenses through defined grants to business owners impacted, insurance carriers and agents could potentially act as a distribution center for funds and likely help define the terms of the grants based on their experience as claims payors and policy writers.
• We are advocating that Government funding be provided to the insurance carriers for a streamlined process without adversely impacting the overall insurance safety net.
• We are not asking our carriers to break or ignore contracts that are held by businesses with their current coverage. We are asking for extraordinary emergency action by the Government to empower an urgent solution that currently doesn’t exist.
• In addition to engaging you as our elected leaders we are seeking the collaborative support of not only Chamber of Commerce members across the country but many of the largest insurance industry associations representing carriers, agents and brokers including but not limited to: the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, the American Property and Casualty Insurance Association.
• We believe that the faster we can collaborate and work together to find a federally funded solution for small business continuity that can be dispersed immediately to small businesses the better we will be able to save this vital heartbeat of the American economy.

On a regular basis, the Chamber is a constant advocate for business. The work we do together is more important than ever.

We hope you’ll work with us on a solution to help the many businesses and nonprofits negatively affected by this crisis as we push for a Federal solution. Will you join us?

Debi Mollahan, CEO Tigard Chamber

Megan De Salvo, Chair of the Board, Co-Owner, Edge One Media


 

 

 

 


Distribution:
Tigard Mayor Jason Snider
Tigard City Councilors: John Goodhouse, Tom Anderson, Heidi Lueb, Liz Newton
Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington
Washington County Commissioners: Roy Rogers, Dick Schouten, Pam Treece, Jerry Willey State Representatives: Margaret Doherty, Courtney Neron
State Senators: Ginny Burdick, Kim Thatcher, Mark Hass, Rob Wagner
Oregon Insurance Commissioner Andrew Stolfi
Executive Branch: Governor Brown, Secretary of State Bev Clarno, Treasurer Tobias Read

PRESS RELEASE – TIGARD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE JOINS BUSINESS ASSOCIATIONS ACROSS THE NATION TO DEMAND CHANGE IN BUSINESS CONTINUITY INSURANCE TO SAVE SMALL BUSINESSES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2020
Contact: Nancy Hoffman Vanyek
nancy@sanfernandovalleychamber.com
(818)989-0300

TIGARD, OR – As many businesses have been justifiably anxious about how to keep their businesses afloat during this time of COVID-19, the Tigard Chamber of Commerce along with over 80 chambers of commerce and business associations across the nation created the Save Small Business Coalition (SSBC) to address exactly that concern. Businesses need cash now, period. The coalition, spanning 15 states, wants to empower a solution for both small businesses and the insurance industry, backed by the federal government.

In the past few weeks, communities across the nation have seen their local businesses make the difficult decision to reduce hours, lay off employees, and sadly, in some cases, close their doors for good. Many businesses do not qualify for disaster loan programs and some cannot afford to incur additional debt. There is nothing in any business’s insurance that covers this unprecedented event of the Civil Authority of closing of businesses. Trying to reform the policy contracts after-the-fact will likely end up in protracted legal battles and debate while businesses fail and the families they employ suffer irreparable harm. The SSBC believes that with a federally funded backstop to cover the business continuity expenses through defined grants to business owners impacted, insurance carriers and agents could potentially act as a distribution center for funds and likely help define the terms of the grants based on their experience as claims payors and policy writers. The coalition advocates that Government funding be provided to the insurance carriers for a streamlined process without adversely impacting the overall insurance safety net.

A member of the California State Assembly, Adrin Nazarian, supports the coalition’s efforts in California, stating that “Small business is the backbone of our economy and it is vital to rebuilding that economy once we defeat the COVID-19 virus.  However it is imperative that the insurance industry recognize the ‘business continuity’ claims of small business if this essential part of our economy is to survive.”

In addition to engaging the government, SSBC is seeking the collaborative support of not only Chamber of Commerce members across the country but many of the largest insurance industry associations representing carriers, agents and brokers including but not limited to: the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies; The Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers; The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America; and the American Property and Casualty Insurance Association. The faster all of these organizations can collaborate and work together to find a federally funded solution for small business continuity that can be dispersed immediately to small businesses, the quicker the vital heartbeat of the American economy can be saved.

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The Save Small Business Coalition is committed to the survival of a vibrant business community as businesses across the US are feeling severe economic hardships as government mandates force restrictions and closures on business.

Oregon

  • Albany Chamber
  • Bandon Chamber
  • Beaverton Chamber
  • Eugene Chamber
  • Hillsboro Chamber
  • North Clackamas Chamber
  • Roseburg Area Chamber
  • Sherwood Area Chamber
  • The Chamber of Medford/Jackson County
  • Tigard Chamber
  • Tualatin Chamber
  • Wilsonville Area Chamber

Arizona

  • Buckeye Valley Camber
  • Carefree Cave Creek
  • Lake Havasu Chamber

California

  • Bakersfield Chamber
  • Brea Chamber
  • Carlsbad Chamber
  • Century City Chamber
  • Corona Chamber
  • Culver City Chamber
  • Encino Chamber
  • Exeter Chamber
  • Fortuna Chamber
  • Fresno Chamber
  • Greater Coachella Valley Chamber
  • Greater Riverside Chambers
  • Greater Riverside Chambers
  • Greater San Fernando Valley
  • Green Public Affairs & Campaigns
  • Hollywood Chamber
  • LAGLCC
  • Lake Elsinore Chamber
  • Lancaster Chamber
  • Livermore Chamber
  • Lodi Chamber
  • Long Beach Chamber
  • Los Angeles Area Chamber
  • Los Angeles Area Chamber
  • Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber
  • North Valley Regional Chamber
  • Oceanside Chamber
  • Oxnard Chamber
  • Pleasanton Chamber
  • Rancho Mirage Chamber
  • San Luis Obispo Chamber
  • Santa Maria Chamber
  • Santa Monica Chamber
  • Santa Monica Chamber
  • Simi Valley Chamber
  • Sonoma Valley Chamber
  • Tahoe Chamber
  • The Silicon Valley Organization
  • Torrace Chamber
  • Tulare Chamber
  • Victory Valley Chamber
  • Vista Chamber
  • West Hollywood Chamber
  • West Valley Warner Center Chamber

Colorado

  • Basalt Chamber
  • Glenwood Springs Chamber
  • Gunnison Country Chamber
  • Lyons Chamber
  • Vail Valley Partnership

Indiana

  • Madison Chamber

Iowa

  • Marshalltown Chamber

Louisiana

  • Broussard Chamber

Mississippi

  • Petal Area Chamber

Nebraska

  • McCook Chamber

Nevada

  • Boulder City Chamber

New Hampshire

  • The Falls Chamber

Ohio

  • Mason Deerfield Chamber

Oklahoma

  • Johnston County

South Dakota

  • Pierre Area Chamber

Texas

  • Kaufman Chamber
  • Kyle Chamber
  • Longview Chamber
  • Lubbock Chamber
  • Montgomery Area Chamber
  •  

Wyoming

  • Campbell County Chamber

Save Small Business Coalition

As the Tigard Chamber of Commerce, we view ourselves as first responders to the Tigard Business Community. As we continue deeper into this time of uncertainty, the Chamber knows that the one thing you need right now to keep your business afloat is cash, period. To do something about this, we, along with over 80 chambers of commerce and business association, have joined the Save Small Business Coalition (SSBC).

Many businesses do not qualify for disaster loan programs and some can’t afford to incur additional debt. The SSBC believes that with a federally funded backstop to cover the business continuity expenses through defined grants to impacted business owners, insurance carriers and agents could potentially act as a distribution center for funds and likely help define the terms of the grants based on their experience as claims payors and policy writers. The coalition advocates that Government funding be provided to the insurance carriers for a streamlined process without adversely impacting the overall insurance safety net.

In addition to engaging the government, SSBC is seeking the collaborative support of not only Chamber of Commerce members across the country but many of the largest insurance industry associations representing carriers, agents and brokers. The faster all of these organizations can collaborate and work together to find a federally funded solution for small business continuity that can be dispersed immediately to small businesses, the quicker the vital heartbeat of the American economy can be saved.

TriMet to adjust schedules, preserve safety and service, as community responds to COVID-19

Demand and ridership dropping due to closures and area residents joining together to stay apart

TriMet service will continue during the unprecedented challenges facing the world and our community to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, beginning April 5, TriMet will adjust schedules to reflect the reality of dropping ridership, while preserving safety and service coverage across the tri-county area.

“In the past 50 years, TriMet has been moving people during times of joy, such as the celebrations in 1977 and 2015 for Portland’s champion basketball and soccer teams. And, we’ve kept you going during times of heartbreak, following the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986 and none of us will or should forget 9-11. This unprecedented time we are living today as people around the globe, including our corner of the world, join together to stay apart to stop an invisible killer will also mark TriMet’s history forever.”

–TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey


Ridership is down dramatically due to COVID-19. Governor Brown’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy executive order and other closures and restrictions to stop the spread of COVID mean most people do not need to take transit right now. Some 1,003,336 trips were taken on TriMet buses and trains during the week of March 15, down from 1,901,445 average weekly trips in February 2020. That’s a 47.2% decline as schools and other locations closed. Ridership will decline even more for the week of March 22, as the Governor’s stay home order went into place this week for people to only travel for essential purposes.

Critical lifeline service   

Many industries have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that includes transit. The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes some $25 billion for public transportation agencies.

“I want to thank Oregon’s congressional delegation, and our country’s leaders, as well as our community leaders, for their efforts and their support of transit during this challenging times’” said TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey. “While it is unclear how much money TriMet will receive, and when, this aid reflects how transit provides a critical lifeline for communities across the nation, and that is never more evident than in a time of crisis.”

Maintaining transit service

It is unclear how much funding from the CARES Act will offset some of the costs and revenue losses TriMet is experiencing. With that uncertainty and the sharp drop in ridership, TriMet must incrementally adjust our service across all modes.

“As we all work to slow the spread of COVID-19, we’re glad that so many of you are now staying home and off of transit; but this decreased ridership comes at a cost, and we are facing some difficult decisions,” said General Manager Kelsey. “We are working to identify the best path forward for all of us and there will likely be some painful changes in the coming months. But I want you to know that TriMet will not stop fulfilling our essential role providing transportation for our customers and community.”

TriMet took a compassionate, equitable and balanced approach to determine how best to reduce service based on the demand, while also serving the needs of our community and maintaining as much service as possible for those who must travel for essential purposes. Priority was placed on preserving access to hospitals and major health care providers, as well as major employment centers.

Keeping service rolling in low-income and minority areas is also important as we are seeing more ridership on those lines than many other lines. Service on those lines will run normal or close to normal levels, so people can follow the social distancing guidelines for using transit and space out from others and the operator by six feet. TriMet will also keep service near normal on lines serving the Rivergate, Swan Island, Airport Way, Troutdale Reynolds Industrial Park and Raleigh West employment centers.

These service changes will go into effect Sunday, April 5 and appear in our Trip Planner beginning Wednesday, April 1. Updated schedules will not be posted online until April 5.

(View line-by-line service information at trimet.org/reducedservice.)

 

TriMet bus service changes

  • 18 of TriMet’s 85 bus lines, or 21%, will maintain their current weekday service.
  • 67 of TriMet’s bus lines, or 79%, will see adjustments.
  • The adjustments were roughly built off TriMet’s current Saturday service schedules, with modifications for lines that currently don’t have Saturday service or that don’t have early or late enough service on Saturdays to accommodate typical work schedules.
  • No line will have more than an hour between buses. 
  • Bus lines with weekend service will run on Sunday schedules all weekend long.
  • Buses on the two 24-hour lines – Line 20-Burnside/Stark and Line 57-TV Hwy/Forest Grove – will temporarily not run overnight.
  • Only one bus line – Line 272-PDX Night Bus – will be temporarily suspended. (This bus line runs in the overnight hours when MAX Red Line does not run. With airline travel down dramatically, we will stop running the bus line, but MAX service will continue.)
  • Weekly bus service hours will be reduced by about 21%. 

MAX Light Rail service changes

  • All MAX lines will continue to run their full routes.
  • MAX trains on all lines will run every 15 minutes throughout the majority of the weekday. That means TriMet will suspend the added train service that normally runs during the morning and afternoon commutes Monday through Friday.
  • MAX trains will run on Sunday schedules both Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Weekly MAX service hours will be reduced by about 9%. 

WES Commuter Rail service changes

  • WES train service will continue to run during both the morning and afternoon weekday commutes.
  • WES trains will run every 45 minutes, instead of every 30 minutes.
  • WES trains will run as single vehicles and not two-car consist.
  • Weekly WES service hours will be reduced by about 37%. 

LIFT paratransit service changes

  • LIFT paratransit service is an on-demand service. While TriMet is not making changes to the service, LIFT serves seniors and those with disabilities or health concerns that make it not possible to use our fixed route buses or trains. As many of those riders are in the high-risk group for COVID-19, ridership has dropped about 80% and those continuing to ride LIFT are doing so only for essential trips or to reach life-sustaining services.

Portland Streetcar service changes

  • Portland Streetcar has altered its weekday service to run on weekend schedules, with streetcars running every 20 minutes instead of more often.

Protecting employee jobs

TriMet General Manager Kelsey has put a hiring freeze in place for the agency. Current openings will not be filled. The service adjustments announced today require approximately 210 fewer full-time operators than TriMet currently has. We are looking at strategies to minimize the impact on operator positions, including reducing overtime built into shifts and possibilities for reassigning operators to other duties. TriMet is not announcing any layoffs at this time.

Additional changes due to COVID-19

To further promote social distancing and minimize the time our riders are near the bus operators, TriMet is no longer taking cash on buses. Riders will need to pay with Hop: either using a Hop card, their phone using a mobile wallet or virtual card, or a Hop ticket purchased at a ticket vending machine (using cash or credit\debit card) at a MAX or WES rail station. Customers who cannot access these Hop locations can contact TriMet for a free Hop card at trimet.org/health or by calling 503-238-RIDE.

This is a temporary measure to support the health and safety of our operators, who play a vital role in keeping the community moving during this unprecedented time in history, as well as to help keep riders healthy.

TriMet is also moving the yellow line on buses back six feet from operators and will ask riders to stand back of the line and not approach the operator, using the backdoor to exit, when possible. We’ve also placed new signs on board to encourage riders to follow social distancing practices.

While there is not enough space at the front door of buses to maintain social distancing of 6 feet, regional health experts say the 6-foot distance is for prolonged contact, and that passing by someone maintaining a 3-foot distance does not heighten risk. Learn more on Multnomah County Health Department website.

TriMet cannot use the backdoor to board riders as some other transit agencies have done. Our buses are designed differently and the operator cannot fully open the backdoor. A software change to make that possible would take months to develop and deploy. Also the backdoor is not equipped with a ramp and the buses cannot lower at the backdoor as they do at the front for easier boarding.

Keeping transit moving

TriMet operators, supervisors, fare inspectors, cleaners and many other field staff are among the heroes who are keeping our transit service and our community going.

Other TriMet staff are vital in helping our operators and frontline employees. Those include station agents, bus dispatchers, rail controllers, schedulers, managers and so many others.

TriMet maintenance staff have been working hard, not only disinfecting buses and trains nightly, but keeping them rolling. There are also many employees who must work on the MAX system daily to keep it functioning and trains operating safely and reliably. Other staff are disinfecting rail stations and TriMet facilities, and keeping TriMet workers connected to the technology we need to run the transit system.

These employees – all of them who are pivotal in keeping our buses and trains rolling for the people who must ride right now – are the backbone of TriMet and we cannot thank them enough.

Understandably, operators and other frontline staff that interact with the public have concerns just like all of us do. That is why we encourage our riders to follow the precautions that the regional health authorities stress are so important. Learn more at https://multco.us/novel-coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-guidance#Transit.

“TriMet, our employees, our riders and our community can stop the spread of COVID-19. Only together, will we overcome this greatest challenge in recent history,” said Kelsey.