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Oregon SBA: Minding your business

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Minding Your Business

A quarterly newsletter from the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office of Small Business Assistance (OSBA).

What OSBA Does

The Office of Small Business Assistance (OSBA) serves as the statewide ombudsman for Oregon’s small businesses. Businesses and nonprofits with 100 or fewer employees turn to us when they need help interacting with state or local government agencies.

What does an ombudsman office do? What is an ombudsman? The United States Ombudsman Association, the professional association for public sector ombudsman offices and staff, provides a helpful definition. A governmental ombudsman is “an independent, impartial public official with authority and responsibility to receive, investigate or informally address complaints about government actions, and, when appropriate, make findings and recommendations, and publish reports.”

Being independent, impartial, and objective means an ombudsman is neither an advocate for the complainant nor an apologist for the government agency. In other words, an ombudsman doesn’t take sides.

OSBA investigates small business complaints against Oregon state government agencies. If a small business has an issue with a local government (such as a city, a county, or a transportation district), we can work with that government to resolve the issue informally. However, because of Oregon’s “home rule” provisions that empower local governments to manage their own affairs, OSBA does not investigate complaints against local governments.

If a small business has an issue with a federal agency, that business should reach out to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of the National Ombudsman.

Before contacting OSBA, a small business should consider three important questions that we ask anyone who reaches out to us with a complaint:

1. What is your desired outcome?

In other words, what are you hoping to achieve by reaching out to us? What would you like us to do? We investigate whether an agency administers a program or policy fairly. If you believe the law itself is unfair, unnecessary, or needs changing, you might consider reaching out to your state legislators.

2. What steps have you taken to resolve the problem?

We will not investigate an issue if the “complainant could reasonably be expected to use, or is using, an alternative remedy or recourse for the complaint” [Oregon Revised Statutes 56.206 (2)(a)]. Not only is it the law, but it’s common sense too. Many problems can be resolved with simple communication. This requires persistence, patience, and courtesy.

3. If your complaint is about an administrative decision or action, have you exercised your appeal rights?

OSBA cannot override an agency’s decision, nor can we direct an agency to take a certain action. Know your appeal rights and exercise those rights before the deadline. It’s important that you read carefully everything an agency sends you because notices will include information on deadlines, whom to contact if you have questions, and how to appeal decisions. Our statutes prevent us from investigating a complaint that is the subject of pending litigation or a contested hearing, or one that could lead to a contested case hearing [Oregon Revised Statutes 56.206 (2)(h)]. In other words, until you exhaust your appeal rights, we won’t investigate your complaint.

Businesses looking for help understandably reach out to OSBA for all kinds of reasons. Oftentimes, the kind of help a business needs just isn’t something we can provide. An important part of our work is managing customer expectations about what we can and cannot do. The OSBA website has more information on how we assist small businesses.

Government Contracting Codes

Small businesses trying to enter the world of government contracting will quickly find themselves needing to tell the government what they do, as well as make sure agencies can notify them of relevant opportunities. One of the primary tools businesses and agencies have for accomplishing this is to use NAICS and NIGP codes.


The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is nationally used and is administered by the US Census Bureau. These codes are used for many things, but one is for federal agencies to categorize small businesses and contracting opportunities. If you want to let federal agencies know what you do, or if you want federal agencies to be able to send you notifications of relevant opportunities, you’ll want to select the right codes. Fortunately, you can search for NAICS codes online.

NIGP Codes

Oregon agencies once used NAICS codes, but a recent overhaul in the statewide procurement software changed this. The new procurement system is called OregonBuys, and National Institute of Government Purchasing (NIGP) codes are used by agencies that post bidding information on the OregonBuys platform. Once logged in to OregonBuys, users can select the best NIGP code for their business.

You can get help with NAICS and NIGP codes by reaching out to the Government Contract Assistance Program (GCAP).

Updated Business Guides

Now Online

OSBA has completed its updates of the Oregon Start a Business Guide and the Oregon Employer’s Guide. These resources provide in-depth details about starting a business, hiring employees, understanding obligations as a business owner and employer, and where to find additional assistance.

Important additions include the reporting of Beneficial Ownership Information, understanding industry classification codes, and information about Oregon Paid Leave.

Both guides are available in English and Spanish at the Oregon Secretary of State’s website.

OSBA Quarterly Report

  • The Office of Small Business Assistance (OSBA) helped 226 customers in the second quarter of 2024.
  • 94% of all cases were information requests, while the remaining 6% were complaints.
  • 5 cases were resolved by OSBA staff, while 169 were referred to other agencies or technical assistance providers.
  • Licensing (40%), taxes (15%), and access to capital or legal services (12%) were the most common reasons customers contacted OSBA.
  • Cases most commonly involved one of the following four state agencies: the Secretary of State’s Corporation Division (for business registration questions), the Department of Revenue, the Construction Contractors Board, and Business Oregon.
  • 51% of all OSBA cases originated from  phone calls, 27% from OSBA’s web form, and 22% from emails.
  • According to data from the Secretary of State Corporation Division and the Oregon Employment Department, there were 520,994 registered businesses at the end of 2023. Of those, 517,860 had 100 or fewer employees, meaning 99.4% of all Oregon businesses are considered “small” under ORS 56.200.

Upcoming Events

July 11Cafe y Pan Dulce (Salem), 8:00 am – 9:30 am

July 12Madras-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Coffee Cuppers (Madras), 8:00 am – 9:00 am

July 12OAME CAEPT Networking Meeting (Portland)7:30 am – 8:30 am

July 18Cafe y Pan Dulce (Woodburn), 8:00 am – 9:30 am

July 26OAME Coffee & Issues (Portland), 7:30 am – 8:30 am

July 31Connect 2 Oregon (Redmond), 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

August 22: ORPIB Mixer and Mini-Resource Fair (Portland), 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

August 29: Connect 2 Oregon (Eugene), 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

September 17: Connect 2 Oregon (Lincoln City), 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

To see more events, visit the Business Xpress Calendar.


Small Business Ombudsman for Workers’ Compensation

As many employers know, workers’ compensation insurance has a complicated collection of rules, regulations, and providers. This landscape can be particularly difficult for small employers to navigate.

Fortunately, the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) has a Small Business Ombudsman office, which is specifically intended to help small businesses navigate and understand workers’ compensation insurance coverage. This assistance includes helping businesses that have a dispute with their insurance company, as well as help with navigating the appeals process if a business is penalized by DCBS for non-compliance.

DCBS’s Office of the Small Business Ombudsman for Workers’ Compensation is currently headed by Caitlyn Breitbach. With several years of experience helping small business navigate Oregon’s workers’ compensation insurance requirements, Caitlyn is an excellent resource for your enterprise.

More information is available on the website of the Office of the Small Business Ombudsman for Workers’ Compensation.


The Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon (PACCO)

The Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon (PACCO) is a community of entrepreneurs and supportive individuals open to all and offering a variety of services to members. Featured services and programs include:

Impact Now grants. PACCO and the Black American Chamber of Commerce have partnered together to offer a one-time direct funding opportunity (between $2,500-$25,000) and technical assistance services to chosen minority-owned businesses throughout Oregon.

Technical assistance with building websites, designing logos, writing copy, and marketing through social medial.

Networking events and a weekly newsletter featuring assorted resources and updates,

Visit the PACCO website to learn more.


Outfitter Guides Registration

Individuals who get paid to provide outdoor recreational activities on land or water that isn’t theirs need to register as an Outfitter Guide. If you accept some sort of payment or benefit for assisting others with fishing, hunting, rafting, biking, hiking, rock climbing, bird watching, photographing, or other similar outdoor activities on land or water you do not own or control, you first must be register with the Oregon State Marine Board.

The Outfitter Guide registration does not take the place of local, state, or federal use permits. If you’ll be guiding and outfitting on local, state, or federal government lands, you’ll need to check with the proper agencies to determine their requirements. Federal agencies include the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the National Park Service.

More information is available on the Oregon State Marine Board website.


Economic Activity in Oregon State Parks

If you’re thinking about doing business in Oregon State Parks, you’ll first need to check with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and see if you need a Special Use Permit. Providing bike repair services, selling food and beverages, or commercial filming are just a few examples of the types of activities that would require a permit.

For more information, call the Oregon State Parks Information Line at 800-551-6949. The email address is [email protected].


About the Office of Small Business Assistance

Launched in January 2014, the Office of Small Business Assistance (OSBA) serves as the statewide ombudsman for Oregon’s small businesses. Businesses and nonprofits with 100 or fewer employees turn to us when they need help interacting with state or local government agencies.

OSBA has a statutory mandate to receive complaints from small businesses concerning interactions with state agencies. As an ombudsman office, we are independent, objective, and confidential. Our role is to help resolve problems in a non-adversarial manner. We are independent advocates for fair, transparent, and responsive government that serves all Oregonians. Accordingly, we adhere to the professional standards adopted by the United States Ombudsman Association, a nonprofit organization that fosters the development of public sector ombudsman offices.


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Storage Auction
Boxworth Enterprises, LLC
48116 Highway 58
Oakridge, OR 97463
Security 58 Storage
48543 Highway 58
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July 11th, at 11:00 am
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Storage Auction
Boxworth Enterprises, LLC
48116 Highway 58
Oakridge, OR 97463
Security 58 Storage
48543 Highway 58
Oakridge, OR 97463
July 11th, at 11:00 am
Ike Smith
Units 1-5 & 4-7
$100 cash refundable deposit required Highway 58 Herald 06/20/24 & 06/27/2024



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