Gov. Jay Inslee today asked the Small Business Administration to declare a physical and economic disaster declaration for King County to help businesses and families impacted by an April 25th natural gas explosion in North Bend.
“Many people spent a lifetime building successful businesses, only to have them destroyed in a matter of seconds,” Inslee said. “Our state, and the North Bend community, relies on small businesses. I will do everything I can to help these merchants open their doors again, and get families back on their feet.”
Inslee urged the Small Business Administration to quickly approve the request. (A copy of the letter can be found here.)
Following the explosion, the Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division worked with King County to do a preliminary assessment to determine whether the damage was eligible for an SBA disaster declaration. The assessment found that the explosion significantly impacted 29 businesses and homes in the North Bend community.
If the request is approved, businesses would qualify for low interest loans to help repair or replace items damaged or destroyed, including real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, and inventory and business assets. Additionally, businesses would be eligible for low interest loans to cover operating expenses. Homeowners would qualify for low interest loans for uninsured property losses.
Lawmakers who represent the area support the request and said the SBA can play an important role in helping North Bend get back to business.
“As a fellow small business owner, I appreciate the importance of government helping to get these businesses reopened as soon as possible,” said Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, owner of a pizza parlor and ice cream shop in his hometown.
“The natural gas explosion impacted many Fifth District families and their livelihoods, so I am pleased to see the governor taking proactive steps to help our community recover and rebuild,” said Rep. Jay Rodne, R-Snoqualmie. “Working as a team, North Bend and the employers and workers affected will bounce back and be stronger than before.”
“The explosion was such a terrible shock to shop owners and everyone in North Bend,” said Rep. Chad Magendanz, R-Issaquah. “I appreciate the governor making this request and join him in asking for its quick approval.”