More than $ 290 million has been distributed to small businesses in the Salem area through the federal wage protection program, with the goal of retaining 36,000 employees, according to an analysis of federal data.
The Payroll Protection Program, which is part of the CARES Act of March, was designed to provide loans to small businesses affected by COVID-19 with 500 or fewer employees so they can keep their employees on the payroll. pay.
The largest area in the valley that received program loans was construction, where more than 150 companies received a total of more than $ 53 million.
Other sectors that received large sums in the valley included health care ($ 38 million), agriculture ($ 31 million) and manufacturing ($ 22 million).
The federal government has not released exact figures for loans, but has released ranges of loan amounts such as $ 5 million to $ 10 million, $ 1 million to $ 2 million and 150,000 to 350 $ 000.
Four companies in the valley received between 5 and 10 million dollars: Frères Lumber in Lyon (464 employees); non-profit employment service Galt Foundation of Salem (500 employees); K&E Excavation of Salem (243 employees); and Santiam Memorial Hospital in Stayton (426 employees).
According to Treasury Department data, more than $ 521 billion in forgivable loans have been made to 4.8 million businesses in the United States to offset the impacts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Churches and religious schools receive money for the first time
PPP loans were the first time that nonprofits like churches were eligible to receive loans administered by the Small Business Administration.
While some small businesses have struggled to obtain loans under the program, religious institutions in the Salem area have received at least $ 6.6 million, with more than $ 1 million received by the Corban University to retain 356 employees.
Those who received over $ 350,000 included Church on the Hill in Turner, Family YMCA in Salem, Mt. Angel Abbey and Regis St Mary Catholic School in Stayton.
At least 25 religious organizations around Salem have received forgivable loans to preserve at least 1,855 jobs, including the First Baptist Church in Salem securing more than $ 150,000 to preserve 84 jobs.
“To put the numbers into perspective, the PPP request included both the First Baptist Church of Salem and the Capital Christian School, our P3 grade eight school,” said Executive Pastor Steve Hunter. “A lot of church and school positions are part-time. “
Newsweek analysis indicated that churches in the United States received $ 7.3 billion from the program.
Lloyd Chapman, president of the American Small Business League, said the stimulus package was meant to keep and create jobs.
“Churches don’t create jobs,” Chapman said. “Churches are not small businesses. I’m sure their income is going down, but if you try to increase the income of the church, you put their parishioners back to work.
Loans will be canceled if at least 60% is used for salary costs and interest on mortgage, rent and utilities. But many use the money purely on labor costs.
The Blanchet Catholic School received more than $ 350,000 to preserve the jobs of 46 employees.
“We haven’t heard the details of the forgiveness process, so it won’t be decided until later,” said Blanchet Catholic School President Bob Weber.
Health care receives highest percentage nationally
The largest sector that received loans nationwide was the health care industry with over 12.9% of loans.
Oregon’s doctors’ offices had to close during the shutdown and hospitals were only allowed to perform emergency procedures, but assisted living facilities had to continue to operate.
Ron Shinkle, owner of Connections Residential Services assisted living facility, received approximately $ 82,000 within approximately a day and a half of applying.
“It’s all payroll,” Shinkle said. “It’s in a specific account. We use all of this for payroll.
Media and print companies in and around Salem received $ 4.6 million.
Salem-headquartered EO Media Group has received more than $ 2 million to keep 214 people employed at its newspapers, including East Oregonian, Capital Press and The Bulletin of Bend.
Country Media of Salem, which owns newspapers including the Tillamook Headlight Herald and Coos Bay World, received more than $ 350,000 to preserve 75 jobs.
Receive loans, then close
Salem-based Eagle Newspapers had its loan of more than $ 350,000 approved on April 13 to preserve 52 jobs.
On April 1, it sold the Polk County Itemizer-Observer and laid off nine employees, and the company recently sold a number of newspapers and publications in the Columbia Gorge.
It was not the only organization in the region to have received a loan and changed its operations.
The Salem-Keizer Education Foundation received more than $ 150,000 to retain 132 employees in April and announced in June that it was ceasing operations.
The SBA hasn’t released exact dollar figures on how much each company has released, just ranges of dollars. And he did not disclose the names of the companies that received less than $ 150,000.
This means that the amount of money received by Mid-Valley companies could be more than double the $ 290 million found in the analysis.
The American Small Business League has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in a district court seeking disclosure of all information.
“The average Oregon company has fewer than 10 employees. Oregon is probably like 8, ”Chapman said. “If you look at the P3 money, I think we’re going to see that the overwhelming majority has gone to companies with more than 500 employees.”