First to close, last to reopen, independent venues face permanent closure if there is no direct relief from the government. Unlike other industries, venues aren’t receiving any assistance to assure their survival.

Oregon’s many assembly spaces are the ones where thousands of musicians, performers and employees make their livings. As homes to concerts, comedy, public hearings, podcasts, theatrical performances, debates and community events, venues are cultural and community hubs in their neighborhoods.

They anchor business districts and are the incubators for ideas. The places where real lifetime moments happen.

• What can you do? Write your own letter, or copy this one below and email it to all of your local, state and federal representatives.

The Independent Venue Coalition (IVC) has requested the State Emergency Board establish a fund, and we’re told YOUR LETTERS MATTER.

• Subject: “Please save our venues. They are the heart and soul of our economy and community.”

• Suggested text: “‘Independent venues, both for-profit and nonprofit, are essential to Oregon. People move here because of them. The economy thrives because of them. Culture and Community have a home because of them.

I ask you to please support allocation of Coronavirus Relief Funds to help venues survive this extended closure. There are nearly a hundred venues with thousands of jobs in Oregon counting on this to save their livelihoods and to make sure they continue to thrive and contribute to the overall economy and tourism in Oregon, once it’s safe again. Without your support, at least 90 percent of venues will not make it, and there will be a massive void left in the morale and economy.

There is no plan to reopen venues yet, which will be experiencing zero revenue for up to 12-18 months. No business can survive that type of closure without relief.”

For an easy map that identifies and gives email addresses for your state representative and state senator go to bit.ly/2BOHA1N.

Locally, our Portland Commissioners can be reached by email via Amanda Fritz: amanda@portlandoregon.gov; Jo Ann Hardesty: joann@portlandoregon.gov; Chloe Eudaly: eudaly@ portlandoregon.gov and Mayor Wheeler: wheeler@portlandoregon.gov.

Read more at the IVC site, voicevenues.com.