Businesses clamor for city loans

Plans to offer 18 $2,500 forgivable loans to Keizer small businesses are proving popular. 

“We’ve had 30 requests and they keep coming in,” Community Development Director Nate Brown told the Keizer city councilors at a meeting Monday, May 4.

The deadline for businesses to apply for the loans was Thursday, May 7. While there is an application process, qualifying small businesses are truly entering their names into a lottery. The names of businesses that meet the conditions of the loan will be put into a bucket and randomly drawn. 

In January, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and massive economic shutdowns, the city agreed to accept $15,000 a year from Marion County over the next three years. Part of the agreement was determining how the money, which is coming from the Oregon Lottery, would be used. Numerous possibilities were mentioned, but all fell them to the wayside in the wake of COVID-19’s spread. 

Because the money will be received in three installments – the first was approved Monday – the city is borrowing $30,000 from the community development budget. That action was approved alongside the acceptance of the first installment from Marion County. 

The community development budget largely pays for the wages and benefits of employees that oversee planning, permitting and code enforcement. 

The money will be repaid as the payments from Marion County roll in over the next two years.