SBA providing Grays Harbor County with flood aid

One month removed from historic rainfall in Grays Harbor County, there is relief available.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is making loans up to $200,000 available for the state of Washington’s small businesses and residents whose businesses and homes were damaged, or destroyed, by the snow and the flooding between Jan. 5 and Jan. 16.

The deadline to apply for property damage is April 18. The deadline to apply for economic injury is Nov. 15.

“Grays Harbor County Emergency Operations Center is pleased to announce that low-interest federal disaster loans are now available,” said Hannah Cleverly, deputy director of Emergency Management for Grays Harbor County, in an email to The Daily World.

In addition to Grays Harbor County, the disaster declaration covers Cowlitz, Lewis, Pacific, Pierce, Skamania, Thurston, Wahkiakum and Yakima counties, the release states.

Grays Harbor residents saw historic rainfall in Hoquiam on Jan. 6, when 5.78 inches of rain was recorded, according to the National Weather Service in Seattle. Hoquiam and parts of Aberdeen were flooded. The adverse affects from the rain were exacerbated by king tides, tidal surge, snowmelt and soil erosion. While the measuring apparatus for rain is based in Hoquiam, Aberdeen saw similar rainfall on Jan. 6.

Schools closed early, some businesses closed entirely, the cities’ public works departments — including Aberdeen — had to close roads, and residents had to wade through flood waters in early January. Local police and fire departments sent out social media messages for those to “be kind,” and avoid creating wakes with their vehicles on streets with homes and businesses, because the water was inundating those buildings.

In addition to the home and business damage, there was death. A 72-year-old Cosmopolis man, Delbert Pratt, was found on Jan. 8 after being swept away by floodwaters while trying to move his vehicle. Then, one day later, the cellphone and car keys of 39-year-old Timothy Warren, of Malone, were found in Elma. After days of searching, — with multiple counties and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife assisting — land and nearby flooded water, Warren was not found. As of Jan. 18, “Warren is assumed to be deceased,” said Grays Harbor County Undersheriff Brad Johansson in an email to The Daily World.

How to apply

The SBA has opened a Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the Lewis County Courthouse — 351 NW North Street., Room 121, in Chehalis. The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Interest rates can be as low as 2.83 percent for businesses, 1.875 percent for private nonprofit organizations and 1.438 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition, according to the release.

The low-interest federal disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters whose property was damaged or destroyed by the January flooding, according to SBA’s Director Tanya N. Garfield. Garfield serves SBA’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West.

Businesses of all sizes and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.

Disaster loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. They are also eligible for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property, the release states.

“Beginning Thursday, Feb. 17, SBA customer service representatives will be on hand at the following Disaster Loan Outreach Center to answer questions about SBA’s disaster loan program, explain the application process and help each individual complete their application,” Garfield said.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at Applicants can also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email for more information on SBA disaster assistance. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, should dial 711 to access telecommunications relay services.

SBA, under its own authority, declared a disaster in response to Gov. Jay Inslee’s request on Monday Feb. 14, the news release states.

“SBA’s mission-driven team stands ready to help Washington’s small businesses and residents impacted by the winter and flooding,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman. “We’re committed to providing federal disaster loans swiftly and efficiently, with a customer-centric approach to help businesses and communities recover and rebuild.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the location of the Disaster Loan Outreach Center.