Oregon Investment Board Allocates $350,000 to Expand Pilot Loan Fund for Disaster Relief

The Dalles, Ore, – April 2020 – The Oregon Investment Board (OIB), staffed by Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, has increased resources inits pilot loan program to support the immediate financial needs of small businesses.  The program includes a streamlined application process, minimal documentation and insurance requirements, ingrained small business counseling, and performance incentives. At a special meeting on March 26th, the Board decided to increase resources in the pilot loan program to provide disaster relief funding in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The fund amount has been increased to $350,000 with a relief term introductory rate of 4.25% for the first six months.

Additional information on financial resources available to businesses can be found at www.mcedd.org/ready, including information on the new business loans available through the Small Business Administration (SBA).  The Columbia Gorge Small Business Development Center can provide business counseling free of charge for businesses trying to determine the best financing resources or develop an updated business plan that incorporates the necessary business model shifts for the current environment.

Jessica Metta, MCEDD Executive Director, said “the board identified a need for a flexible financing tool to support businesses which could be deployed following economic emergencies when they created this program.  That has allowed the Board to respond swiftly in this time of hardship for our regional business community.” These funds are available to supplement support offered by commercial lenders and the new programs offered by the SBA.

The OIB offers a wider range of financing tools for small businesses in the Oregon boundary of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area in Wasco, Hood River and Multnomah counties. The OIB programs supplement traditional lending resources available through commercial banks and can provide funding when another lender is unable to work with a business client. More information on the pilot program and the application can be found at http://www.mcedd.org/financing/oregon-investment-board/apply/

In 1986, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act established a bi-state, six-county region shared by the states of Oregon and Washington. In conjunction with this Act, Congress earmarked a small amount of funding for Oregon and Washington for the purpose of making economic development loans and grants. The Columbia River Gorge Oregon Investment Board (OIB) is responsible for the administration of the Oregon Economic Development Plan, within Multnomah, Hood River, and Wasco, the Oregon counties lying in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The Columbia River Gorge Commission certifies projects. Mid-Columbia Economic Development District provides administration for the program.

Mid-Columbia Economic Development District promotes the creation of family-wage jobs, the diversification of the economic base, and the growth, development and retention of business and industry. MCEDD was established in 1969 by Klickitat, Skamania, Hood River, Wasco, and Sherman counties to benefit from better access to economic development loans and grants, pooled technical assistance, marketing, and administrative resources, and a regional approach to economic development efforts. Over the years MCEDD’s membership has grown to include counties, cities, ports and chambers of commerce within the five county region. The loan program is part of MCEDD’s efforts to strengthen and support the region’s economy. Contact MCEDD at 541-296-2266 or www.mcedd.org for more information.