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The view of the snow from No Saint during the 2024 winter storm in Portland, Oregon.
The view at the window at No Saint during the winter storm.
Daniel Ellsworth Knowles

City Officials Are Trying to Secure Financial Relief for Portland Restaurant Owners Impacted by January’s Winter Storm

City leaders are gathering data from small business owners to distribute emergency funding, potentially through a disaster declaration

Brooke Jackson-Glidden is the editor of Eater Portland.

Weeks after a snow and ice storm left Portland restaurants with significant financial losses and, in some cases, damaged spaces, Portland city officials are attempting to provide relief funds to impacted businesses. Portland City Commissioner and mayoral candidate Carmen Rubio is working with Prosper Portland and the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management to connect with business owners seeking emergency funds, in an effort to support those that may be facing costly repairs, debts, or potential closure.

Until Friday, February 2, business owners can fill out a survey describing the types of damage incurred by the business for financial support consideration. Participation in the survey does not guarantee disaster loans or funds; rather, city officials intend to use survey results for a potential disaster declaration from the federal Small Business Administration, which should unlock more funding. In January, Governor Tina Kotek issued a State of Emergency declaration, which can help local governments allocate resources for relief efforts. If effective, the survey results may create a larger pool for relief payments or loans.

“I want every one of these businesses to know that we hear you, we see you, and we are working on obtaining funding streams to help,” Rubio said in a public statement.

On Saturday, January 20, a group of restaurant owners and advocates wrote a letter to city, county, and state officials, seeking financial relief for businesses and workers impacted by the storm. The Independent Restaurant Alliance of Oregon (IRAO), which drafted the letter, conducted its own survey of food service workers and businesses; respondents reported financial losses between $30,000 to $75,000, while restaurant workers averaged $1,500 in lost income. The Portland business owners that spoke with Eater Portland last month reported between 50 and 95 percent losses in weekly sales during the storm.

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