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Business aid still available from Jackson County

At least for now, Jackson County still has plenty of money available for grants to businesses and nonprofits that are struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The race for $355,000 in grants kicked off Tuesday morning, with money to be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to qualifying businesses.

As of late Wednesday morning — more than 24 hours after the county’s grant program kicked off — the county had received 45 applications requesting $133,500, said Jackson County Senior Deputy County Administrator Harvey Bragg.

Officials weren’t sure how quickly the money would be snatched up. The city of Medford offered a different business aid program and saw $125,000 from a first round consumed in less than 15 minutes.

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

Qualifying businesses and nonprofits can get grants ranging from $2,500 to $25,000 based on their size. They must have from one to 25 employees to be eligible.

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. That money was only available for businesses outside of Medford, Ashland and Talent because those cities offered their own aid programs.

Then Jackson County received word another $210,000 is coming from Business Oregon — bringing the total to $355,000. That additional pool of money can go to businesses anywhere in the county.

Business Oregon is the state’s economic development agency.

The county is using Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. to process the aid applications from local businesses and nonprofits.

SOREDI’s website only contains information about the original $145,000 pool and directs Medford, Ashland and Talent businesses to apply first with those cities. The deadlines for Ashland and Talent have passed. The city of Medford did not return a phone call asking whether its Business Oregon aid program was still active.

All qualifying businesses and nonprofits in the county can apply for aid through the application process administered by SOREDI, Bragg said Wednesday.

Applications will be forwarded to Business Oregon, which will verify whether applicants qualify. Jackson County will be notified which businesses and nonprofits win money and the funds will be distributed, Bragg said.

Business Oregon has not specified a timeline for the process, he said.

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. Application forms are available in English and Spanish.

To learn more about eligibility requirements and to apply, see 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 Central Point