October 30th is the deadline to turn in applications for the Port of Columbia COVID-19 Small Business Relief fund. Has your business been financially harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic? Is your business in Columbia County, WA? Do you have 10 employees or less? You may be eligible for funding. visit our COVID-19 page for details, and read the press release here.
The Port of Columbia will hold a Zoom meeting on Monday, August 31 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm to share information about their proposed broadband project in the City of Dayton and some adjacent outlying areas. Attendees will be able to ask questions, and will also be asked to fill out a short survey regarding their current service.
The Port contracted with PocketiNet, a Walla Walla-based company, to conduct a broadband feasibility study that was completed in February of this year.
“Port Commissioners hoped to be able to hold a public meeting to share information about the study in person, but the pandemic has made that impossible,” stated Jennie Dickinson, executive director of the Port of Columbia.
In addition to hearing a presentation on the Port’s proposed project, attendees will hear from Scott Hutsell, a Lincoln County Commissioner who also serves as the chair of the Public Works Board, a state funding agency that provides infrastructure funds to communities; Diana Ruchert, the manager of the Port of Garfield where a community broadband project is currently under construction; and Steve Mantle of Innov8 Ag Solutions who will speak to some of the ways the agricultural industry is using broadband to improve production.
The attendee survey will be available during the Zoom meeting via a link in the chat room, but can also be taken ahead of time by clicking here.
Click here to view meeting agenda. To join the Broadband Information Meeting via Zoom, go to www.bit.ly/PortZoom just prior to 6:00 pm on August 31 or you can join by phone by calling 315-813-7229 then entering the PIN: 229 898 120#.
After 7 weeks of waiting, the Department of Commerce finally announced the recipients of the Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grant program for Columbia County. Columbia County had 31 businesses apply, and 25 were awarded funds by the Governor’s office and the Department of Commerce. State lottery proceeds from the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund were used for the program. No Port of Columbia funds were used, and the Port declined using any of the funds for administration so that all monies would be available to businesses. We are working on the creation of a second, local grant fund in order to provide more assistance to those businesses still hurting from the COVID shutdown.
While local business owners are ready to get open again, social distancing and other rules created during the COVID19 pandemic need to be following in order for those businesses to stay open. Recreating in Columbia County is popular, and for decades we have welcomed people from across the state into our community. Times are different this spring, and our recreation business owners are asking visitors to respect the guidelines set forth so their ability to stay open is not jeopardized. More info here.
The Port of Columbia and the Dayton Chamber of Commerce have worked together on many economic development projects and programs over the years, but nothing quite like the challenges facing business owners today. Read Waitsburg Times article here.
In a Zoom call April 30th, the Port of Columbia led a discussion with Columbia County PUblic Health on what reopening could look like and what supplied will be needed to help make it happen. Read the Union Bulletin news article here.