The Malheur County Court recently signed off on a $700,000 relief package for area businesses. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

VALE – In the end, the process to send more than $700,000 in relief funds to 52 businesses in Malheur County was a simple one, but the impact of the money will be significant for area merchants.

The Malheur County Court approved relief funding recommendations on Wednesday, Dec. 30, and by that afternoon the checks were written and in the mail.

An informal committee including Stephanie Williams, Malheur County counsel, Greg Geddes, director of environmental health, County Planner Eric Evans, Lorinda DuBoise, county chief administrative officer, County Commissioner Larry Wilson and Commissioner-elect Ron Jacobs sorted the funding requests.

The awards ranged from $2,500 up to $40,000. Each payout amount was based on a businesses’ number of full-time employees.

Nearly 30 restaurants with a total of more than 200 full-time employees received aid, according to Malheur County records.

Gyms, dance studios, a fitness studio, non-profit businesses, small personal services such as barbershops, nail and hair salons received money.

Mackey’s Steakhouse & Pub, Ogawas, Brewsky’s Broiler, Hog Rock Café/Bargaritas and Wingers in Ontario topped the payout list with $40,000 each.

Bob’s Steak N’ Spirits in Nyssa also received $40,000.

Rusty’s Pancake & Steak/Kanpai in Ontario received $39,288 while the Plaza Inn, also in Ontario, obtained $35,826

In Vale, A Street Tavern received $11,941, and owner Kathy Saldana said the money “is going to help big time.”

“It is going to cover costs, all the stuff that goes along with running the business,” said Saldana.

Saldana said her business in Vale has been shut down since November.

The Willowcreek Store and Café received $30,869, which will ease owner Todd Gregory’s wage burden over the next three months.

“Our biggest cost is labor by far,” said Gregory.

Gregory said he was grateful his business received financial aid.

“Obviously our bank account was getting lower and lower every month so it will help us. It’s like a little lifeline,” said Gregory.

For Plaza Inn owner Jason Jungling, the county money will be critical to safeguard his business through the slow winter months.

“It is going to be huge for us just because January is typically one of the slower months of the year,” said Jungling.

Jungling said he was pleased other local businesses gained help.

“It’s awesome there was money available for the county,” he said.

Jungling said the money provides a “little bit more of a sense of security.”

“So, we can definitely make it through these harder times,” he said.

Still, he isn’t sure what the future will hold.

“My thing right now are my employees. I have 15 employees that are unemployed. Am I going to get them back once we get businesses back up or will they find other income?” said Jungling.

Larry Wilson, Malheur County commissioner until Monday, said the aid program “worked out well.”

“It would have been nice to have more to give to other businesses but I am really happy for the folks that have been hurt the worst,” said Wilson.

The county received 86 applications seeking $1.8 million – more than twice the amount of money available.

County officials said that based on Gov. Kate Brown’s guidance, the priority for the relief money was the restaurant and lodging industry, gyms and businesses required to close because of the governor’ Covid restrictions.

Of the businesses that received aid, 56% were owned by women and more than 25% were Hispanic/Latino owned, according to the county.

Here is the list of local businesses that received of Covid relief money from Malheur County last week.

Coys Jewelers/Diamond Gallery $2,500.00

Reload Out West Outdoors $2,500.00

Jordan Valley Owyhee Heritage Council $2,500.00

Hotshots Gymnastics/Anna Avera $2,500.00

Care-O-Sell $2,500.00

Stockmans Barbershop $2,500.00

Veteran Advocates of Ore-Ida $2,500.00

Nails by Jenn LLC $5,000.00

Michelle Epperson (Hair Stylist) $5,000.00

Lana Kalafate (Shepard)/Vale Barber Shop $5,000.00

Viking Fitness/Edgar Esquivel $5,000.00

The Main Event Barbershop/Ryan Churchill $5,000.00

Mary Clark (Massage Therapist) $5,000.00

RTB Community Fitness $5,000.00

Plaza Barbershop/Danial Moore $5,000.00

Happy Horse Apparel $5,000.00

Balance Studio $5,000.00

Quins Bar $6,448.68

Towerhouse Coffee $6,985.50

Second & Vine Bistro $7,284.05

Mongolian Express Restaurant $10,389.54

A Street Tavern $11,941.43

Berts Growler Garage $12,060.85

Nyssa Tavern $15,195.63

Mals Diner $17,195.91

Starlite Café $21,913.00

The Good Food Corporation - Winners Horseshoe $26,212.12

Romios Pizza & Pasta $28,959.35

Willowcreek Store & Café $30,869.50

Matsys Restaurant & Catering $33,855.00

Plaza Inn $35,826.00

MRH Inc - Rustys Pancake & Steak/Kanpai $39,288.61

Wingers Diner $40,000.00

Water Hole Saloon Inc - Hog Rock Café/Bargaritas $40,000.00

Brewskys Broiler $40,000.00

Bobs Steak N Sprits $40,000.00

Ogawas $40,000.00

Mackeys Steakhouse & Pub $40,000.00

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

Previous coverage:

The need is deep as Malheur County businesses seek county relief

With hours and even jobs cut, Malheur County workers struggle amid virus rules shutdowns

Applications for business relief funds pour into Malheur County

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