Portland businesses help federal workers impacted by government shutdown

KPTV photo.

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - From pet food and entertainment to helping with car trouble, businesses in Portland are stepping up to help federal workers impacted by the government shutdown.

Matt Hall is a TSA agent, and though his paycheck is on hold, he says his life isn’t.

“I’m considered emergency essential and I have to go to work even though we’re not getting paid at the moment,” Hall said. “For myself and my wife, we just take one day at a time.”

Hall says he has two cats to take care of, and though his family has an emergency fund, he doesn’t know how long that will last, since there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the shutdown.

That’s why he’s taking advantage of an offer from the Oregon Humane Society: free pet food and litter for workers affected by the shutdown.

“Those are things we’d have to buy out of our budget, and to have one more item that we don’t have to buy for a little while, it is really helpful,” Hall said.

OHS on Thursday opened a pet food bank, working with Mud Bay and other vendors to offer bags of dog and cat food and cat litter.

Sydney Bernkopf also stopped by to stock up on cat food for her mom, who she says is also a TSA worker and couldn’t leave work to get the supplies.

“You don’t realize how much you spend on cat food and cat litter, things like that,” Bernkopf said.

Meantime, money for entertainment can be tight for federal workers during a shutdown, so the Oregon Zoo is welcoming federal employees and their families free of charge; that offer is expected to last through the shutdown.

The zoo says federal contractors who are affected will also get free admission if they show their federal ID or badge.

For unexpected expenses or car trouble, coming up with cash can be challenging. That’s why the owner of D&C Motor Co. in Milwaukie is offering up a “fix now, pay later” program for government workers who are not getting paid.

“We’d love people to drive home, and if they’re in a tight spot and need their vehicle repaired, we’re willing to wait for the money as they wait for their paycheck,” Daniel Crainic, owner of D&C Motor Co., said.

Crainic says his shop will take care of whatever repair work is needed to keep workers on the road. He says he felt compelled to do this because he knows what it’s like to be in a financial pinch.

“People depend on their income,” Crainic said. “If I didn’t have mine for a week or two or three, I know I would be in a tight spot, so those are the people I want to help out.”

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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