Barreto Manufacturing

Mitch Henry works on an engine at Barreto Manufacturing, La Grande. The company received a Paycheck Protection Program loan between $1 million-$2 million after being affected by COVID-19.

LA GRANDE — A total of 48 companies in Union and Wallowa counties received Paycheck Protection Program Loans loans of $150,000 or more.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act established the Paycheck Protection Program to encourage small businesses to keep employees on the payroll during the economic uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.

Companies who may apply for PPP loans include nonprofits, veterans organizations and independent contractors, as long they have fewer than 500 employees. The loans must be used only on payroll expenses and to cover rent and utilities for the business’s building.

Propublica, a nonprofit investigative newsroom, compiled a list of companies that received loans of $150,000 or more. In Union and Wallowa counties, 27 companies received loans in the $150,000-$350,000 range, 18 received $350,000-$1 million in loans and four received loans of $1 million-$2 million. Beef Northwest Feeders in North Powder was the only local company to receive a $2 million-$5 million loan. More than half of the loans went to businesses in La Grande.

Top 10 biggest PPP loans

Company Location Amount
Beef Northwest Feeders North Powder $2-$5 million
Barreto Manufacturing La Grande $1-$2 million
Viridian Management Enterprise $1-$2 million
Willadsen Enterprises La Grande $1-$2 million
Anderson Perry and Associates La Grande $350,000-$1 million
Community Connection of Northeast Oregon La Grande $350,000-$1 million
MJ Goss Motor La Grande $350,000-$1 million
Mountain Valley Therapy La Grande $350,000-$1 million
Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company La Grande $350,000-$1 million
Roberts Ford La Grande $350,000-$1 million

Community Connection of Northeast Oregon, with headquarters in La Grande, received $633,800, according to Executive Director Margaret Davidson. Davidson said having these funds will help the nonprofit stretch its other money.

“We applied for the loan because we knew it would allow us to serve more people in our communities,” Davidson said.

Community Connection revamped its services in the wake of COVID-19 to make its offerings more accessible, and Davidson said the organization is serving more people than ever before. Obtaining a Payroll Protection Program loan, she said, freed up funding from other grants that cover the cost of the services to the public.

Businesses have 24 weeks to spend their PPP loans. Davidson said it is likely Community Connection will spend all of its loan before the deadline.

Barreto Manufacturing, La Grande, received a loan between $1 million-$2 million.

The company’s chief financial officer, Jackie Leonard, said the company was negatively impacted by the pandemic and had two rounds of layoffs as a result of a decrease in sales. Leonard said staff returned mid-April because of how quickly the loan was processed.

“When the PPP loan came available,” Leonard said, “we were thankful for the option to bring our staff back to full pay and benefits rather than the partial wages they would have been receiving on unemployment.”

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