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The city of Dallas and Polk County will apply for a $150,000 grant to help small businesses.

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DALLAS – Polk County and the city of Dallas will apply for a federal grant to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Dallas City Council held a public hearing on the $150,000 grant application.

The federal government set aside $2 million on helping businesses in rural areas of the state that did not receive a direct distribution from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. Urban cities in Oregon, including Portland, Eugene, Salem and Corvallis, among others, and the counties of Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington received direct funding.

This is the first round of the grant, called Emergency Small Business Assistance and Microenterprise Grant Assistance. It will be administered through the Community Development Block Grant Program, a part of Business Oregon.

“In response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Development Block Grant program has been highlighted as a vehicle to provide financial relief to states, communities and businesses,” read an outline of the grant program. “The CDBG program is somewhat flexible and could counter some of the financial impacts from the current crisis.”

The assistance to small business and microenterprise can be used for: developing new businesses or expanding an existing business to manufacture medical supplies necessary to respond to COVID-19; provide short-term funding to avoid job losses due to business closures for positions that are low- to moderate-income; provide technical or financial assistance to establish, stabilize or expand businesses that provides medical, food delivery, cleaning and other services to support home health and quarantine.

The emergency business assistance grant program can be used to: help businesses remain solvent through the crisis and be ready/able to rebuild and/or reopen or fill specific cash flow gaps in businesses’ larger efforts to scale down, reduce expenses, and take any additional measures to survive the crisis.

Dallas and Polk County will submit the grant this week.

“This is an opportunity that the city has to make the application to provide funding for our local businesses here in Dallas,” said Dallas City Manager Brian Latta before the public hearing. “The grant that we applied for is $150,000. We are required by the program to partner with another local jurisdiction. We selected Polk County who agreed to be our partner on this application. That will enable other businesses inside Polk County, including in the cities of Monmouth, Independence and Falls City to be eligible for the award, if we are awarded.”

Latta said the application is first-come, first-serve until the funding runs out. He said he hopes Dallas’ to be one of the first applications submitted. The city and county should be notified within a few weeks if its grant has been awarded.

“I have pretty good confidence that we will get this award,” Latta said.

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