USDA Invests $1.02 Million to Improve Economic Conditions and Create Jobs in Rural Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 8, 2020 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is investing $1.02 million to improve access to capital for small businesses across rural Oregon, announced State Director John Huffman today.

“It can be difficult for small businesses and entrepreneurs in rural areas to access the capital they need to open their doors or expand,” said Huffman. “This financing will establish revolving loan funds and provide technical assistance to support rural businesses for years to come.”

Intermediary Relending Program

Rural Development is investing $950,000 in low-interest loans through its Intermediary Relending Program to improve economic conditions in 13 counties across western Oregon. The financing will be used to establish revolving loan funds that provide affordable, flexible financing, which is vital for small and emerging businesses in rural areas that often have limited access to capital. The funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the loan agreements.

The Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Community LendingWorks is being awarded a $750,000 loan to provide vital financial support to small businesses in Clackamas, Coos, Douglas, Lane, Linn, Marion, and Multnomah counties. This funding will create ten jobs, help local businesses retain another five jobs, and support economic growth.

With a $200,000 low-interest loan, the Oregon Micro Fund will recapitalize a revolving loan fund that will create four jobs, help local businesses retain another four jobs, and support economic growth, particularly in the very rural and distressed regions it serves in Benton, Douglas, Hood River, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Linn, Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties. This lender will use the fund to provide essential financial support to businesses in the adult craft beverage industry, including wine, beer, and spirits. It will also finance other businesses and agricultural producers that support this industry, including vineyard management companies and distributors.

Rural Development’s Intermediary Relending Program can help capitalize revolving loan funds to support businesses, create jobs, and improve economic conditions in rural communities with a population of 50,000 or less. Nonprofits, cooperatives, federally-recognized Tribes, and public agencies are eligible to apply. Applications are accepted year-round.

Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program

Rural Development is investing $71,391 in loans and grants through its Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program to increase access to capital for very small businesses in eight counties across Oregon. The funding is continent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreements.

The nonprofit MicroEnterprise Resources Initiatives and Training (MERIT), for example, is receiving a $50,000 loan to capitalize a rural microloan revolving fund. MERIT will use this fund to provide financial support to very small businesses in Malheur, Marion, Polk, Umatilla, and Yamhill counties. The fund will help foster an environment of entrepreneurship by giving rural business owners the financial resources they need to create jobs, expand operations, enter into new markets, and fuel the local economy.

The Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program provides loans to establish rural microloan revolving funds and grants to help Microenterprise Development Organizations provide technical assistance to rural microentrepreneurs. Nonprofits, federally-recognized Tribes, and institutions of higher education are eligible to apply. Applications are accepted year-round.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing, community facilities such as schools, public safety, and healthcare facilities; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. Learn more at