Sen. Jeff Merkley alights to tour Woodstock businesses


by: DAVID F. ASHTON - WCBA President Sean Daugherty carrying 4-month-old Kellen sets out from the Woodstock Community Center on a tour of Woodstock area businesses with Senator Jeff Merkley, WCBA board member Kevin Myers of Reed College, and WCBA Manager Kristen Schuchman.More than one shopkeeper in the Woodstock business district was surprised, on the morning of Monday, November 5th, when U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D) walked in their door.

“I’m here today, because the main streets of our communities are where a lot of our small business vitality comes from,” Merkley remarked to THE BEE as he set out from the Woodstock Community Center. “Meeting these businesspeople is giving me a sense of the challenges that everyday people are facing,” Merkley added.

The senator said he hoped to learn about the Woodstock business district’s strategy for community revitalization. “I want to hear from individual business owners about what’s working for them and what isn’t. And, to learn ideas that might be useful in getting our economy back on track.”

A U.S. Senator can help on the local level, Merkley said.

“You know, a number of the issues on which I’ve worked have been about providing credit to small businesses,” stated Merkley, “both in terms of whether or not we should extend the 90% guarantee on Small Business Administration loans; and in creating greater leverage for community banks in making loans to small businesses.

“I’ve also been working on a new idea, that’s been signed into law now, creating a crowd-funding strategy for small businesses, to raise equity over the Internet.”

Woodstock Community Business Association President Sean Daugherty, owner of Papaccino’s Coffee, told THE BEE that he sees Merkley’s visit as a benefit.

“If we have a senator in our neighborhood, looking at our community directly with his own eyes, it shows that he actually cares about our community,” Daugherty said. “We’re happy to be hosting him here today.”