It’s no secret that the statewide stay-at-home order to battle the coronavirus pandemic has decimated the tourism industry, which normally would have started to see a bump in revenue due to spring break travelers right as the lockdown began.
But now, dozens of businesses that cater to out-of-town visitors are getting a boost thanks to some hefty grants.
Twenty-two overnight properties in East Multnomah County will receive nearly $350,000 in funds thanks to the transient lodging tax and vehicle rental tax, better known as the hotel-motel tax.
A wide range of hotels and motels are included in the lineup: from the historic 1927 Bridal Veil Lodge bed-and-breakfast nestled in the forested hills of Corbett to the sprawling drunken playground that is McMenamins Edgefield to a handful of budget lodging options in Portland, like Motel 6 and Super 8. The money will be split based on the size of the operations.
The East Multnomah County Visitor Development Fund, which is distributing the grants, is asking the properties to use the money to stay open by retaining employees; pay their mortgages, utilities and property taxes; and recruit visitors through advertising and marketing campaigns. 

Overnight lodging isn’t the only tourist-related industry receiving outbreak-related assistance.

Travel Oregon, the state’s tourism agency, announced last week that its newly launched Emergency Response Grant Program was awarding more than $800,000 to 121 operations to help them bounce back following those COVID-19 related losses.

"Our hope is that these grant dollars help keep businesses and organizations from shuttering permanently. As Oregon gradually positions itself to begin to welcome visitors, it will be these marketing organizations, small lodging properties, guides and outfitters and the like that will be providing and sharing legendary Oregon experiences with them," said Todd Davidson, CEO of Travel Oregon. "Public health has to remain a priority for our state as we help Oregon communities that rely on tourism to stabilize during this time of transition. Long term, it is these businesses that will be crucial to the state's economic recovery."

Recipients include a slew of diverse companies: everything from a Lincoln City surf shop to the Portland-based operator of the Pink Trolley sightseeing tour to the historic Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City. Most of the money—90%—went to businesses in Oregon communities with fewer than 35,000 residents, and more than 70% of the funds are dedicated to covering some portion of payroll.