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Area Businesses Hope To Rebound In The Waning Months Of Calamitous 2020

Clay Banks

With the pandemic and natural disasters taking an economic toll, it’d be an understatement to say 2020 wasn’t a boom time for most business owners.  As the holiday retail season gets underway, hopes still run high in Lane County for the rest of the year.

At the recent annual economic summit presented by the Eugene Chamber of Commerce and Oregon Community Credit Union, managers spoke of layoffs, depressed profits, and postponing expansions. 

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Destroyed store sign and gas station, Blue River, Oregon.

Lane County Workforce Analyst Henry Fields explained how many events in 2020 hurt businesses, including Oregon’s summer wildfires.

“When you look at the height of the fires, there were nearly a quarter million workers in Evacuation Zones 1-3. That’s 21,000 businesses," Fields told the audience via Zoom. 

"That’s a tremendous impact and it doesn’t include things like disruption of work through smoke.”

Fields added that while 2020’s economic blowout is comparable to the 2008 Recession, jobs recovery has happened far quicker.  The continued fortunes for area businesses will rely heavily on people buying and supporting local.

A slide shared during Henry Field's presentation at the 2020 economic summit last month.

Many business owners during the summit shared guarded optimism that normalcy would return, allowing them to act on many plans postponed by both the pandemic and the wildfires. 

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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