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About the Small Business Advocacy Team

Monochrome photo of 5 hands coming together in team work

What is the Small Business Advocacy Team?

We are an independent, objective voice for small businesses and nonprofits from within government.

Businesses and nonprofits with 100 or fewer employees can turn to us when they feel they have been treated unfairly by or have unresolved questions of state agencies, boards, commissions and councils or any unit of local government.

Our services are free and confidential. The team is given authority through ORS 56.200-209. The team’s administrative rules are in OAR 160-070.

Small Business Advocates are independent and objective. Our role is to aid in the resolution of problems in a non-adversarial manner. We have broad powers to investigate and make recommendations, but no authority to make or reverse a decision.

What Can the Small Business Advocates Do for My Business?

If your complaint is within our jurisdiction, our job is to investigate and determine whether you have been treated fairly and equitably. If we find that your complaint is justified, we will work with you and the agency to find a fair solution. If we find your complaint is not justified, we will take the time to explain our reasoning.

We must be objective, so we do not automatically take one side or another in a conflict. Our job is to consider all sides of a question in an impartial and objective way.

We have no power to order changes in laws, rules, regulations, policies or procedures and cannot compel an agency to change a decision or policy. Our team can make recommendations to agencies and issue formal, public reports if needed.

When Should I Go to the Small Business Advocates?

First, you must try to solve the problem or get an answer to your question yourself. Many times, government staff can explain a specific policy or correct an oversight on the spot.

If you don’t know who to see or what procedure to use, contact us. We can point you to the right person and explain how you can go about solving your problem. If you are unable to get to a solution or clear answer using normal and reasonable efforts (or if an agency is completely nonresponsive), then you can contact us for help.

Are There Problems the Small Business Advocates Can’t Handle?

We cannot take up conflicts or questions involving public corporations (such as SAIF), private individuals, other companies or organizations, the legislature and its staff, or the judicial branch of government. We cannot investigate complaints involving a federal agency, but we can connect you to resources that can assist with such problems.

We may not review and investigate a complaint if there is an obvious alternative remedy or recourse, if the matter is outside our jurisdiction, or if the complaint is delayed too long to justify review. Similarly, we may not investigate complaints that are trivial, frivolous or not made in good faith. If we lack the resources for adequate review of your concern/question or investigation of other complaints takes precedence, we will let you know. We may not investigate a complaint that is the subject of a pending litigation or a pending contested case.

As state employees, we are prohibited from giving legal or financial advice. If we cannot take up your case, we will tell you why.

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