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$3 million EDA grant comes to Opportunity Zone in Washougal created by Tax Cuts and Jobs Act; estimated to bring 130 new jobs

Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) today applauded the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant award of $3 million to the Port of Camas-Washougal to help establish an industrial workspace for use by local manufacturing employers.

The EDA grant, targeted to a Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Opportunity Zone, will be matched with $2.5 million in local funds and $1.4 million in state funds, and is expected to create 130 jobs and spur $10.6 million in private investment.

In addition to helping establish the Opportunity Zone in Washougal, Herrera Beutler also partnered with the Port of Camas-Washougal to successfully earn this grant. Her advocacy included this 2019 letter to EDA.

“Yet another reason I supported the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was because it established Opportunity Zones like the one that’s bringing 130 new jobs and $10 million in private investment to Washougal,” Congresswoman Herrera Beutler said. “Job creation has always been my top priority, so I’m grateful to the Department of Commerce for targeting the tools Congress provided through the 2017 tax cuts bill in support of the Port of Camas-Washougal’s effort to bring more manufacturing jobs here.”

“EDA is proud to support local efforts to improve infrastructure to spur new business growth,” Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development said. “EDA investments in Opportunity Zones enhance the return on investment for business interests and encourage the public/private partnerships critical to driving private investment and new jobs to cities like Washougal.”

Washougal
www.electlarryhoff.com

Vancouver, WA —  The Building Industry Association of Clark County (BIA) is hosting the Columbia Credit Union Remodeled Homes Tour as a virtual event this year. The virtual event is also supported by DeWils and Contract Furnishings Mart.

Expert home remodeling advice and inspiration can be found during the virtual format of the tour. The BIA will be releasing videos frequently throughout October 15 and November 1 with topics ranging from bathroom remodels, whole home transformations, advice on choosing cabinetry, flooring trends, and financing remodeling projects. Content will also address common Do-It-Yourself mistakes to avoid, and even a scary Halloween remodeling special. To tune in, subscribe and/or follow the BIA on Youtube, Facebook, and/or Instagram. Videos will also be posted to the BIA’s website at www.RemodeledHomesTour.com

Current featured remodelers include: A.C.T. Builders, Bridge City Contracting, Kashas Design Build and ReNew Creations. Educational content provided by the featured remodelers, Columbia Credit Union, DeWils Fine Cabinetry, and Contract Furnishings Mart.

The Building Industry Association (BIA) of Clark County is a non-profit trade association representing the interests of all businesses involved with real estate, land development, homebuilding and construction.

Homes
www.artfuljuxtaposition.com
Homes
Before remodel.

Camas, WA — Paodle Games, a locally-owned company, is currently running their second product, “Space Dinos,” through a Kickstarter campaign.

“Our company uses Kickstarter as a platform to create the best possible game,” said company co-founder, Kathi Sjostrom. “Backing on Kickstarter is simple, and it will run through October 31. Limited copies will be available after as pre-orders but the best price will be on Kickstarter.”

“Space Dinos” is a puzzle game that is family friend. It has a solo gamer mode, play levels for children and the Original Voyage allows players at all levels to play with strategy.

Paodle Games is also releasing Helio and Mini Macaron Madness at the same time. Both games are mint tin games and will be delivered in time for Christmas delivery to local backers. They are the perfect stocking stuffer size.

Sjostrom, her husband, Seth, and Pete and Cheryl Emerson created Paodle Games in December 2019.

To learn more about their Kickstarter campaign, click here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paodle/space-dinos

You can also view the video on our YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/V5q0XO-Bj8E

Paodle
www.artfuljuxtaposition.com

Bricks & Clicks Grants Offer Up to $1,000 for Downtown Stevenson Businesses to Upgrade Facades or E-Commerce Platforms

Stevenson, Wash. — The Stevenson Downtown Association (SDA) announced earlier this week the launch of its Bricks & Clicks Grant Program to support local businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are available at stevensonmainstreet.org.

“The new Bricks & Clicks Grant Program encourages business expansion — and more importantly business retention — by providing resources to downtown merchants for facade improvements or e-commerce solutions,” said Executive Director Kelly O’Malley-McKee, who was hired in March as the SDA’s first employee. “We are thrilled to be able to award up to $1,000 per approved project in hopes of taking some of the sting our local businesses are experiencing right now.” 

Due to the economic impact of COVID-19 since the spring, projects underway or already completed may be considered for work that began on/after April 1, 2020.  

“While any approved applicant will be responsible for remaining costs above $1,000, this is a reimbursement grant,” said O’Malley-McKee. “So, in an effort to further support local, SDA will provide 100% reimbursement for approved project expenses that utilize Skamania County vendors and 75% reimbursement for any other vendors.”

Examples of acceptable “Bricks” projects could include exterior building remodeling and improvements, business signage and exterior paint that’s within the recommended city palette, as well as awnings, windows, doors, landscaping and more.

Examples of acceptable “Clicks” projects could include website hosting or domain fees for new sites, PayPal/ Venmo/ Square set-up for web-based software, or point of sale systems that integrate with online shopping, or shopping cart software like Shopify and others.

“Any software or e-commerce programs should support brick and mortar operations, as we will not fund applications that move a mode of business strictly online,” added O’Malley-McKee. “Remember, the goal is to retain businesses in our downtown district.”

Applications are accepted by mail or online on a rolling basis through the end of 2020. All of the guidelines, requirements and grant application are available at stevensonmainstreet.org

The SDA will likely continue the Bricks & Clicks Grant Program beyond 2020 if it proves helpful to the community and additional funding can be secured. The local non-profit plans to announce a non-grant program in November to provide additional support to downtown restaurants and retailers during the shoulder season.

The Stevenson Downtown Association is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, affiliated with both Washington Main Street and Main Street America. This coalition of local business owners, public officials and community leaders work to promote and revitalize downtown Stevenson to support our local economy and small businesses.

As a Main Street America AffiliateTM, the Stevenson Downtown Association is part of a national network of more than 1,200 neighborhoods and communities who share both a commitment to creating high-quality places and to building stronger communities through preservation-based economic development.

It is official now — Boeing will consolidate its 787 manufacturing in South Carolina. This news has many implications for the state including a direct impact on the state’s budget outlook. Although the September revenue forecast didn’t make an assumption about what Boeing would decide, a downside risk to the forecast was if South Carolina was picked.

From the September revenue forecast:

“The potential consolidation of Boeing 787 production in South Carolina and resulting decline in Washington aerospace employment is also a major concern.”

Responding to the news that Boeing would likely pick South Carolina, the Governor said earlier this week:

“If this report is true, it would force a review of that partnership, including a hard look at the company’s favorable tax treatment.”

At Boeing’s request the legislature earlier this year repealed the preferential aerospace B&O tax rate responding to a World Trade Organization complaint. From the bill report:

“Beginning April 1, 2020, the preferential B&O tax rate for the manufacturing, wholesaling, and retailing of commercial airplanes, airplane components, and tooling is eliminated.”

The Governor said last year that approving those prior aerospace tax preferences was the equivalent of being “blackmailed” and “mugged.”

Boeing said this about its decision today:

“It became clear that consolidating to a single 787 production location in South Carolina will make us more competitive and efficient, better positioning Boeing to weather these challenging times and win new business.”

Boeing
www.champpizza.com

Although the September revenue forecast made no assumption about the decision Boeing would make, a deficit was already projected for this budget and a shortfall in the next budget.

Unlike during the great recession, state revenue is still increasing overall during the COVID pandemic. According to the September revenue forecast:

“Forecasted Near GF-S revenue for the 2019-21 biennium is now $50.022 billion, 8.6% higher than 2017-19 biennial revenue, and forecasted Near GF-S revenue for the 2021-23 biennium is $53.737 billion, an increase of 7.4% over expected 2019-21 biennial revenue.”

The bad news of course, this revenue growth is less than what lawmakers assumed when adopting the 2020 supplemental budget resulting in a projected budget deficit. Though more manageable than the original deficit estimate back in June, today’s details still should trigger the requirement in state law for the Governor or lawmakers to act now to balance the budget.

From the last week’s state revenue forecast:

“The September GF-S revenue forecast has been increased by $2.1 billion in the current biennium and $2.2 billion in the next. The forecast of GF-S revenue for the 2023-25 biennium has increased by $2.5 billion. This still leaves the GF-S forecast $2.4 billion lower than the February 2020 forecast for the current biennium, $2.1 billion for the next biennium and $2.0 billion for the 2023-25 biennium.”

As of today, the Office of Financial Management (OFM) does not currently have an updated GFS cash forecast for each month through the end of the budget (Sept-June) reflecting today’s revenue forecast. According to the state Treasurer, the GFS has run a cash deficit almost every day in September.

As a reminder, the Governor has a legal obligation to order budget cuts unless the legislature acts if a cash deficit is forecasted. It is clear that a special session is still warranted. 

By Jason Mercier
Director, Center for Government Reform

The Daily Journal of Commerce has announced its Women of Vision award winners for 2020, and McKean Smith’s co-owning attorney Annelisa Smith has made the list. The awards honor women who strive to shape the communities of Oregon and Southwest Washington through their leadership, mentoring efforts, community involvement, and promotion of industry diversity.

Smith’s efforts extend beyond her own practice with comprehensive, hands-on attorney mentoring to attorneys both in her own firm and also in the broader Oregon legal community. She serves on the board of several legal committees, including acting President of the Oregon Academy of Family Law Practitioners, Chair-Elect of the OSB Family Law Section and she previously served on the Family Court Enhancement Project Committee and acted as conference chair for the annual OSB Family Law Conference.

These organizations and activities all strive to improve the quality of legal representation and professionalism in Oregon. With her background as a juvenile public defender representing parents and children in child abuse and neglect cases, Smith also serves the community by participating as a Director on non-profit boards like Allies In Change and as one of the founding directors of BRAVO Youth Orchestras.

Smith’s firm also has an office in Washington at the Vancouver’s Waterfront.

To learn more, visit www.mckeansmithlaw.com

Washougal, WA — The second annual Camas Washougal Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament, held at Orchard Hills in Washougal in early September was the first major event the organization has had this year — due to COVID-19 restrictions — and it was a social and commercial success.

“Sponsorship support was very generous as local businesses know that not having Camas Days, due to COVID-19 restrictions, was a major financial hit to the Chamber,” said Jennifer Senescu, the CW Chamber’s Executive Director. “We had 26 sponsorships in total to support the event, and it was such a gorgeous September day.”

Affordable Exterior Solutions was the title sponsor.

Eighty-four players comprising 21 teams participated were unable to have a shotgun start, but were able to have individual tee times.

The event netted $13,000, which is $3,000 less than last year, but given virus restrictions, Senescu feels this was a success.

“I was on the True Insurance team,” Hung Tran, a CW Chamber Board member, player and sponsor. “It was great that everyone got together to be able to help the chamber out in a pandemic.”

Senescu said there were games on the course at sponsored holes, putting contests, straight drives, and two KPs. Boxed lunches were served with tasty black and blue burgers.

“We know so many businesses have been hit hard this year,” said Senescu. “We continue to work with companies to network and find solutions as we navigate the pandemic. We do see many hopeful signs.”

To learn more about the Chamber, visit www.cwchamber.com

Chamber
www.lilyatelier.com
Chamber
Golf fun.

Adventure Dental lands double title in 2020 Best of Clark County. Despite COVID closures, Adventure Dental was announced last month as both the best dental office and runner up for the best orthodontics office of 2020. 

Every year The Columbian nominates businesses in various categories as “The Best of Clark County.” The nominees are voted for by friends, family, and residents of Clark County. All winners can be found on bestofclarkcounty.com

This island adventure-themed pediatric dental office is located in Salmon Creek in the Vancouver, WA area and creates a fun and carefree experience for both kids, teens and adults needing orthodontics. Doctors Todd, Neil, Justin, and Wolfgramm are big kids themselves whose goal is to help each and every patient feel happy and comfortable while at their office. 

The office is thrilled to be welcoming patients back after COVID closures earlier this year. Safety precautions are in full effect but the energy at Adventure Dental remains the same. Here are a few comments some recent patients have left;

“Our first visit to Adventure Dental was during covid. Still a fabulous experience for my three and five year old” – Jenny K

Greta Laurine also leaves a five star Google review saying, “Great experience during this crazy COVID time. Took extra precautions with safety: mask wearing, temperature checks, individual waiting area and dividers separating client rooms. Kids enjoyed the fun atmosphere and warm personalities of the hygienists and dentist.”

Dr. Justin Heaton of Adventure Dental said: “We are extremely excited and humbled to be awarded Best Dental Office in Clark County! We are committed to serving those in our community and to providing the best dental care possible to each and every patient.”

Up to $10,000 is available for businesses with 10 to 20 employees to support COVID-related response and recovery

VANCOUVER, WA – The Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) is accepting applications for the Clark County Main Street Support Program (CCMSSP), which will provide new emergency grants of up to $10,000 each for businesses with 10 to 20 employees in Clark County. Grant money can be used to reimburse rent expenses related to the impact from COVID-19.

A pool of approximately $432,000 is available only to businesses in Clark County until funds are exhausted. Applications will be accepted through end of day on September 12, 2020To learn more and apply, visit credc.org/ccmssp.

Funding for the program is from the state’s Working Washington Small Business program and federal Coronavirus Assistance, Recovery and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to help with COVID-19 response and recovery efforts across Washington State.

“As CREDC continues to support businesses through COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, we are pleased to be able to bring a second round of emergency grants to Clark County,” said CREDC President Jennifer Baker. “Our focus on rent support is responsive to feedback we received from businesses hit particularly hard by the pandemic.”

CREDC and other local economic development organizations statewide partnered with the Washington State Department of Commerce to make a new tranche of $10 million in Working Washington Small Business Emergency grants available. As the state-designated Associate Development Organization for Clark County, CREDC is running point on the applications and administration of the new funds locally as other ADO’s that serve all 39 counties are doing within their municipalities. The Washington State Department of Commerce is not accepting or reviewing applications.

“The length and depth of the pandemic have hit small, main street businesses hard,” said Washington State Department of Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “In particular, restaurants, hotels and other service industries have not seen the expected number of customers. Small businesses need these resources to stay open as we respond to the public health crisis and help get people back to work.”

CREDC will contact grant finalists the week of September 28, 2020.

About CREDC
Since 1982, the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) has served as Clark County’s leading economic development organization, connecting companies to the resources they need to expand or locate in the region. As a private-public partnership, we leverage the expertise and collaboration of over 140 investors and strategic partners to advance the economic vitality of Clark County while maintaining our exceptional quality of life. www.credc.org

This past month, Washington state revenue collections came in $260 million higher than the June forecast, according to a Economic and Revenue Forecast Council report.  The higher collections are not due to deferred payments being paid back (as those came in on target), but show greater economic activity, primarily in retail trade.  

A key part of the economic report says:

Non-retail trade payments were down about 20%, similar to the forecasted decline in total collections for the period. During May, a majority of counties reached Phase 2 of the state’s pandemic reopening plan, which allowed non-essential retail establishments to open on a limited basis. In June, most of the remaining counties reached Phase 2 and several reached Phase 3, so next month’s retail trade activity could also be higher than forecasted. It remains to be seen, however, if the higher activity is sustainable or if it represents a one-time response to several months of pent-up demand.   

  • U.S. employment increased by 4.8 million jobs in June; the unemployment rate declined to 11.1%.
  • Light vehicle sales improved for a second straight month but remain 24.1% below June 2019 levels.
  • Housing units authorized by building permits and housing starts both increased in May but were below May 2019 levels.
  • Washington employment continued to recover in June following the historic decline in April.
  • Washington manufacturing activity improved in June for the first time since February.
  • Major General Fund-State (GF-S) revenue collections for the June 11 – July 10, 2020 collection period came in $260.7 million (14.8%) higher than the June forecast.
  • Revenue Act tax collections were $247.0 million (19.7%) higher than forecasted and other tracked revenue came in $13.6 million (2.7%) higher than forecasted.
  • Most of this month’s surplus was from higher-than-expected taxable economic activity in retail trade, the result of the allowed May opening of non-essential retail establishments in a majority of counties. While increased June openings may bring another month of stronger-than-expected activity, it remains to be seen if the activity is sustainable or merely a temporary release of pent-up demand.

“I see people in our district working hard everyday to bring their businesses back to pre-COVID-19 levels, and this report shows the results of so many efforts,” said Senator Ann Rivers, 18th Legislative District. “I support them, and we need to keep a balance in our state as we continue to recover from the effects of this pandemic.”

Employment Outlook

The council has just one month of new Washington employment data since the June forecast was released. The report says employment continued to recover in June following the historic decline in April. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose 86,500 (seasonally adjusted) in June, which was 34,600 more than expected in the June forecast. Private services-providing sectors added 74,600 jobs in June. Construction employment increased by 10,100 jobs and manufacturing added 1,700 jobs despite the loss of 3,000 aerospace jobs. Government payrolls were unchanged in June. Washington’s unemployment rate declined to 9.8% in June from 15.1% in May and 16.3% in April. The April rate was an all-time high in the series that dates back to 1976.

Tax Payments

The report also says total tax payments as of July 2 from electronic filers who also filed returns for May activity in the June 11 – July 10, 2019 period were down 9.0% year over year (payments are mainly Revenue Act taxes but include some non-Revenue Act taxes as well). Last month payments were down 14.4% year over year. Some details of the payments:

  • Total payments in the retail trade sector increased 6.3% year over year. Last month, payments were down 7.1% year over year.
  • Payments from the motor vehicles and parts sector were down 4.1% year over year. Last month, payments in the sector dropped 54.3% year over year.
  • Retail trade sectors showing strong year-over- year growth were miscellaneous retailers (+77.8%), electronics and appliances (+32.2%), nonstore retailers (+28.9%) and building materials and garden supplies (+12.4%).
Economic
www.electlarryhoff.com