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Stampede for Jackson County business aid starts Tuesday

The race for $355,000 in Jackson County small business aid will start Tuesday morning.

Businesses inside the county can begin submitting applications via email at 8 a.m. Applications submitted before the starting gun goes off will not be considered.

Grants of $2,500 to $25,000 will go to qualified businesses and nonprofit organizations on a first-come, first-served basis until the money runs out. They must have between one to 25 employees to be eligible.

The first applications in Tuesday have the best chance of winning funding, said Jackson County Commissioner Rick Dyer.

“I absolutely want to stress the urgency. Businesses need to get their applications in early,” he said.

The city of Medford offered a different business aid program and saw $125,000 from its first round snatched up in less than 15 minutes.

The Jackson County program is for small businesses and nonprofits that have been hurt by the economic downturn from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The county originally thought it would have $145,000 to distribute using a combination of $72,500 from Business Oregon and a $72,500 match from county coffers. It just received word this week county businesses will get an additional $210,000 from Business Oregon — bringing the total to $355,000.

“We have been working hard to get this program up and running, and this addition could not have come at a better time,” Dyer said. “We hear from a lot of businesses that they are unsure of what to do as they plan for today and the future, and we hope this grant funding keeps businesses open and people employed.”

Jackson County is using Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. to process the aid applications. SOREDI’s website about the aid wasn’t immediately updated to show the new $355,000 total.

Businesses from all the cities in Jackson County, along with rural areas, can apply.

Although state health and safety restrictions have eased, many businesses are operating under capacity in order to comply with social distancing regulations. Restaurants, for example, have fewer customers inside, Dyer said.

“A lot of them are still not able to operate profitably,” he said. “We’re hoping this money can help keep them solvent and get them through this period when they’re operating at only a percentage of their capacity.”

Businesses and nonprofits that have received Paycheck Protection Program, Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance program or Oregon COVID-19 Emergency Business Grant program funding aren’t eligible for the Jackson County aid program.

Nonprofits must have 501(c)(3) status.

The money can be used for any business expenses.

Applicants should have their completed applications and required documentation prepared and ready to submit to grants@soredi.org beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

Application forms are available in English and Spanish.

To learn more about eligibility requirements and to apply, visit soredi.org/home/coronavirus-resources/jacksoncomatching/.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

Downtown Jacksonville Thursday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune