SBLC Announces New Rural Program
The SBLC launched a new legal services program working with rural business owners this fall. The purpose of this program is to support rural Native communities and other rural businesses to establish and grow small businesses with strong legal foundations. In August, the clinic was awarded grants from The Ford Family Foundation and The USDA. These grants have allowed us to hire two new positions to support this program: A full-time staff attorney, Shanna Knight and a part-time administrative assistant, Ashley Hernandez.
Clients of the program will pay $25 for up to ten hours of one-on-one transactional legal assistance. We are working with a variety of organizations to connect with rural businesses, including the Oregon Native American Chamber, the Warm Springs Reservation, the Umatilla Reservation, the Native American Youth and Family Center, and several rural Small Business Development Centers. We will be providing direct legal representation to 65 small businesses through this program each year. Rural Native entrepreneurs will make up 75% or more of the businesses served.
In addition to the one-on-one services that rural businesses will receive, the SBLC will hold six legal presentations in year one and four presentations in year two. In total we will be serving 100 small businesses in this capacity over two years. We are excited to be able to expand our outreach, and feel this will enable us to provide better assistance to traditionally underserved populations in Oregon.