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Business aid available in Jackson County's small cities

Businesses in Jackson County’s small towns and rural areas can apply for $300,000 in COVID-19 aid grants to keep running and retain their workers.

The application period opens Tuesday for businesses in Butte Falls, Central Point, Gold Hill, Jacksonville, Phoenix, Rogue River, Shady Cove, Talent and unincorporated areas of Jackson County, plus Cave Junction in Josephine County.

To qualify, businesses must have employees from low- to moderate-income households and be able to retain workers for at least six months.

Grant amounts are $10,000 for small businesses with one to five employees.

Businesses with six or more employees can get $2,500 for every low- to moderate-income worker.

Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc., known as SOREDI, is in charge of the application process and administering the $300,000. The money comes from Business Oregon’s Community Development Block Grant program.

“We are eager to process applications quickly and minimize any further delays,” said Colleen Padilla, executive director for SOREDI.

SOREDI intends to use its own funds to front the money to businesses — reducing the time delay from when a business is approved for a grant and when it actually gets the money, Padilla said.

“This is one way we believe we can demonstrate our collaboration with the cities and our commitment to being business-friendly in this time of economic upheaval,” she said.

Business Oregon, a state agency tasked with economic development, commended the cities of Rogue River and Talent for taking the lead on getting funding for their own businesses, plus businesses in other small communities.

“It has been inspiring watching groups come together to bring funding to our local businesses,” Business Oregon said in a statement.

Businesses in Medford and Ashland, the largest cities in Jackson County, have had other opportunities to get grants if they’ve been hurt financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To apply for the grants for businesses in smaller cities, see soredi.org/covid/covidgrants/. For help applying, call SOREDI at 541-773-8946 or email grants@soredi.org.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

Downtown Jacksonville Thursday morning. Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune