People walk along Southeast Commercial Street during the first phase of Salem's reopening on Friday, May 22. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
Salem area employers said they’ve retained 36,874 employees by using a federal loan program intended to keep workers on the payroll during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday, the U.S. Small Business Administration released the most detailed data yet on the Paycheck Protection Program, a $660 billion federal effort intended to help businesses weather the pandemic. The program offered businesses forgivable loans if they kept workers on the payroll for an eight-week period. But the Trump administration attracted criticism for not disclosing data on which companies received the funds.
The newly released data discloses information on each of the 4.9 million loans made across the country, according to a press release from the U.S. Small Business Administration. It includes state and local-level information on which businesses received loans as well as which industries benefitted.
In total, 62,775 businesses in Oregon received loans under the program resulting in 248,872 jobs being retained. In Salem, nearly 3,000 companies obtained loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. The released data doesn’t disclose the exact amount each company received but instead lists a range.
Most Salem companies - 83% - took Paycheck Protection Program loans for amounts under $150,00. Another 452 received loans between $150,000 and $350,000 and 53 employers received loans ranging from $1 to 10 million.
Of those companies, K & E Excavating and the Galt Foundation received the largest loans ranging from $5 to $10 million. The Galt Foundation, a nonprofit that provides employment for individuals with disabilities, retained 500 jobs, more than any other employer in Salem. The Galt Foundation didn’t respond to a phone call on Monday seeking comment.
According to the data, K & E Excavating retained 243 jobs. The company could not immediately be reached for comment.
The employer reporting retaining the second largest number of retained jobs was the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency, a social services provider that kept 374 jobs using a loan between $350,000 to $1 million.
“There was enormous uncertainty in the environment we were in,” said Jimmy Jones, the nonprofit’s executive director. “Keeping everyone on the line and employed was critical.”
Jones said that his agency’s roughly $40 million budget comes mostly from government contracts, which he said were scaled back as the pandemic hit. He said its summer program for kids entering kindergarten was reduced as was its nutrition program. He said he didn’t want to lay anyone off as the nonprofit’s services were needed.
He said the loan was a success and the nonprofit didn’t have to lay anyone off and funding allocated recently by the Legislature will help sustain the agency.
Restaurants and food service businesses have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic as they were ordered by the state to close or restrict operations. The numbers show that for loans under $150,000, restaurants were the largest category with 103 restaurants benefiting from the program.
Another 53 restaurants received loans of $150,000 or more.
Venti’s Restaurants, which has locations in downtown and south Salem, received a loan between $150,000 and $350,000 and retained 60 employees, according to the federal data.
Scott Stolberg, the manager at Venti's Cafe + Taphouse located at 2840 Commercial St. S.E., said that dine-in and takeout services are now about the same since Marion County reopened and there aren’t plans to lay off employees.
The second-largest category of loans under $150,000 in Salem went to law offices, which received 87 loans. Real estate agents and brokers were next at 83.
Over the spring, medical services were required to halt offering non-urgent procedures to slow the spread of the virus. In Salem, medical professions were the largest beneficiaries of the program for loans over $150,000. Physician offices in Salem received a total of 37 loans from the program. Dentist offices received 17.
Pioneer Trust Bank, located at 109 Commercial St. N.E., made the largest number of Paycheck Protection Program loans in Salem. For loans over $150,000, the bank made 116 followed by Columbia State Bank, which made 52. For loans under $150,000, U.S. Bank made the most at 239 followed by Pioneer Trust at 259.
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Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.