County economic development councils helping businesses

Teams assisting with loan, grant applications, planning for the future

Economic leaders in Clallam and Jefferson counties are working with businesses to lessen the blow caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Jay Inslee extended the closure of non-essential businesses through May 4, and county economic development councils are helping local businesses apply for grants and loans.

Brian Kuh, the EDC Team Jefferson executive director, and Arlene Alen, the executive director of the Chamber of Jefferson County, briefed the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners on Monday, discussing the ways they have been helping business owners.

Kuh said the EDC and teams from both counties’ chambers have been working to assist and share advice on how to apply for funding.

“EDC Team Jefferson’s immediate priorities to address the COVID-19 crisis is to identify what resources are available to businesses and ensure they have access to that information along with technical assistance to help them make informed decisions,” Kuh said.

The Team Jefferson website at and the Clallam EDC website at have compiled lists of information for business owners who may be able to apply for assistance.

The Chamber of Jefferson County also has compiled a list of business resources. However the Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce has all the information at the Choose Clallam site so everything is centralized in one location, executive director Marc Abshire said.

One resource for Jefferson County businesses is the Local Investing Opportunities Network (LION) new loan program. The application and instructions are downloadable from the LION website at

A fast-track process has been established to handle the applications, LION officials said.

LION is a network that connects business and nonprofits seeking financing with more than 60 local investors. Since 2006, LION members have invested in more than 75 Jefferson County businesses and nonprofits.

Alen and her team have compiled a list of businesses in Jefferson County who have online sales and gift cards in order to encourage sales, she said. The list can be found at

“No matter where you are, you can spend money in Jefferson County without coming here,” Alen said.

By buying gift cards from a business that is closed due to the pandemic, it provides funds that can be used once the store reopens, she said.

The Jefferson chamber also created a blog, “JeffConnects,” that will be used to keep people informed about the business news in the county, Alen said.

The Clallam EDC has seen an influx in calls from non-essential businesses for support, and it also has been helping business owners apply for financing through the Small Business Administration and other grant and loan options, said executive director Colleen McAleer.

Some of the hangups on getting support from the SBA include the large number of requests that have been submitted, McAleer said.

She confirmed one business has been approved in Clallam for a $10,000 grant and is working on the final approval process.

The Port Angeles Chamber of Commerce has shifted its focus to when stores are able to reopen, Abshire said.

“We’re focused on things we can do and put in place to bring us out of it,” Abshire said. “We’re targeting the first week of July and onward.

“The May 4 extension will absolutely make it more tougher for businesses … but if we were to open too early, that could be even more damaging,” he said. “It’s a short-term pain for a long-term solution.”

Abshire and his team are considering a tribute concert on July 3 and a large community Fourth of July celebration, among other ideas, but everything is contingent on how the community is recovering from the virus, he said.

“The whole reason is to drive more activity to Port Angeles and celebrate the end of the virus,” Abshire said.

Once businesses can reopen, Abshire said the chamber will continue to do its red ribbon-cutting ceremony for new businesses, but they will also have red, white and blue ribbon ceremonies to celebrate businesses that are able to re-open.


Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at

More in News

Port Angeles School Superintendent Marty Brewer, second from right, speaks with members of the Port Angeles Parents for Education, on Friday about the Port Angeles Paraeducation Association strike. Assistant Superintendent Michele Olsen stands at right. (Paula Hunt/Peninsula Daily News)
District, PAPEA to pick up bargaining Sunday

Parent group presses officials for answers on strike

Instructor Josh Taylor, left, points out the workings of an electric vehicle on Wednesday at the Auto Technology Certification Program at Peninsula College. Nick Schommer, center, and Brian Selk get ready to do some testing on the electric auto’s parts from underneath the vehicle. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)
College’s automotive technology program gets a reboot

Students can earn a certificate separate from two-year degree

Port Townsend transportation tax dollars to be put to work

Benefits district to raise $400,000 to $600,000 in first year

Retired teacher Nancy McCaleb speaks in support of striking paraeducators in the Port Angeles School District as Port Angeles Paraeducators Association President Rebecca Winters listens during a rally on Thursday at Shane Park.
About 130 rally in support of paras

District officials say funding is statewide problem

Mark Nichols.
Proposed changes to public defender caseloads could hurt rural counties

Annual limits starting in 2025 may create staffing issues

Fernando Cruz of Auburn, an employee of Specialized Pavement Marking in Pacific, cleans off a sign he used to paint a bicycle lane on Sims Way and Kearney Street, the site of the new roundabout. The workers needed at least two days of 47 degrees or above in order to paint the pedestrian crosswalks and other necessary markings. (Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News)
New bike lane in Port Townsend

Fernando Cruz of Auburn, an employee of Specialized Pavement Marking in Pacific,… Continue reading

Two-lane bypass to be installed Monday

Contractor crews working for the state Department of Transportation will… Continue reading

Twice daily bridge inspections start next week

Bridge preservation engineers from the state Department of Transportation will… Continue reading

Funding farm-to-school programs

In the 2021-2023 state budget, Washington set aside money specifically for the… Continue reading

Gus Griffin, 11, second from left, and classmates dig up weeds in one of Port Townsend’s three gardens on March 28. (Grace Deng/Washington State Standard)
Farm-to-school programs flourish in Washington

Demand from school districts outpacing state funding

Jefferson enacts 1-year moratorium on STRs

County wants to consider possible regulations for rentals