USDA Invests $110,000 to Fuel Economic Recovery in Five Rural Oregon and Washington Counties

Erin McDuff
Release Date
Oct 16, 2020

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is investing $110,000 to help the nonprofit Rural Development Initiatives (RDI) fuel the economic recovery in rural Oregon and Washington communities, announced State Director John Huffman today.

"Rural Development is committed to working with our partners to help rural areas recover from the economic downturn spurred by the pandemic," said Huffman. "With this grant, we are supporting a local nonprofit's efforts to increase economic vitality in the rural Pacific Northwest."

Rural Development Initiatives will use the grant to establish a program to build the capacity of community main street organizations and equip them to serve key functions in the local business support ecosystem. This technical assistance will give them greater resources and support, help them build more productive relationships among businesses, and assist communities with implementing economic vitality initiatives in their downtown areas. The program will span multiple states, and the USDA funding will be used to enable five main street hubs based in Klamath, Malheur, Umatilla, and Union counties in Oregon, as well as Skamania County in Washington State, to provide technical assistance to multiple rural communities.

Overall, this project will help rural communities in Oregon, southern Washington, and southwestern Idaho increase economic prosperity and recover from the current economic crisis by supporting business retention and growth, increasing the diversity of businesses, and strengthening business clusters.

The funding is being provided through USDA's Rural Community Development Initiative Program and is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement. Additional funding is being provided by the Ford Family Foundation in the amount of $50,000 and by Pacific Power in the amount of $60,000.

The Rural Community Development Initiative Program helps public bodies, nonprofits, federally-recognized Tribes, and qualified for-profit organizations support housing, community facility, and economic development projects in rural areas with a population of 50,000 or less. One application window is typically announced each year.

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 health care facilities; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. Learn more at