A woman in personal protective equipment walks in to Prestige Senior Living Orchard Heights on May 15, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)  

There’s a lot going on business. To help keep you up to speed, the Salem Reporter has launched a semi-regular roundup of business-related items that includes new business openings, locations, grant opportunities and others. 

To suggest an item, reach out to reporter Jake Thomas at [email protected]

DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT. People who’ve lost their jobs or seen their hours cut because of the wildfires may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. The federal program is administered by the Oregon Employment Department and is available to individuals whose work has been affected by the fires beginning Sept. 13. Benefits will be available through March 20, 2021. Self-employed individuals are eligible.

The deadline for filing a claim related to the fires is Oct. 23. People receiving regular unemployment or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are not eligible.

For more information or to file a claim, visit the Oregon Employment Department’s website or call 503-570-5000.


FREE PPE. A new state program is offering free masks and gloves to small businesses to help them better cope with the Covid pandemic. Over the summer, the Oregon Legislature’s Emergency Board allocated $10 million federal pandemic relief funds to purchase the supplies that are now available to businesses based in the state.

The program is currently limited to one order per business. Additional orders may be offered later depending on availability.

A separate program is making additional supplies, such as disinfectant wipes, available for childcare providers. Forms can be accessed online.

CULTURE GRANTS. Twenty-two culturally oriented nonprofits and organizations in Salem have received grants totaling over a half a million dollars to help them make up for losses caused by the Covid pandemic. The grants were part of $25.7 million awarded to 621 arts and culture nonprofits across the state by the Oregon Cultural Trust.

As the pandemic has drug on, nonprofits across the state have had to delay programming, restrict access to their facilities or close their doors. The financial lifeline came from a $50 million in federal relief funds allocated by the Legislature’s Emergency Board in July.

The average grant award is $41,458, with the largest, $1.4 million, going to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland.

The list of organizations in Salem that received grants includes:

●      Antique Powerland Museum. $71,20

●      Children's Educational Theatre. $17,411

●      Friends of Deepwood. $66,538

●      Friends Of The Visual Arts. $6,984

●      Lord and Schryver Conservancy. $55,275

●      Oregon Black Pioneers Corporation. $41,063

●      Oregon Spirit Chorus. $4,230

●      Oregon State Fair Council. $41,850

●      Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health. $21,573

●      Oregon Symphony Association in Salem. $31,989

●      Salem Art Association. $19,889

●      Salem Multicultural Institute. $22,554

●      Salem Pops Orchestra. $3,329.

●      Salem Symphonic Winds. $9,602.

●      Salem's Riverfront Carousel. $76,826

●      The Gilbert House Children's Museum. $45,748

●      The Verona Studio. $17,525

●      Willamette Heritage Center. $44,077

●      Willamette Master Chorus. $48,136

●      Willamette University. $9,855

●      Willamette University. $1,756

●      Wisdom of the Elderberry Farm. $11,739


BRICK BY BRICK. Brick in the Wall, a new LEGO retailer at 3838 Commercial Street S.E., will hold its grand opening on Friday, Sept. 25. The new store was founded by Salem native, McNary High School graduate and longtime LEGO enthusiast Alex deMeurers. The new store will be stocked with new and used LEGO sets. Customers can also sell and trade the iconic toy. It’ll also feature a LEGO train continuously circling the store.


WORKING WHILE CLAIMING. People claiming unemployment benefits can now earn up to $300 a week before seeing a reduction in their payments if they find part-time work. The Oregon Employment Department announced that it had made the change in response to a bill passed during a special session last month. Previously, people working part-time while claiming benefits saw sharper reductions. The change is intended to put more money in the pockets or Oregonians who’ve lost their jobs but have found part-time positions.

The changes to the program runs through the end of next year and will be applied automatically for people receiving benefits. Any amount over the $300 amount will be reduced dollar-for-dollar. Those working 40 hours or more per week are not eligible for employment benefits.


 Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.

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