ONTARIO — The Eastern Oregon Border Board has adopted some of the loan and grant programs it will have in place to implement expenditures from the Eastern Oregon Economic Development Region Border Fund to support economic and workforce development.

The border fund, in the amount of $5 million, and the border board, formed to administer the fund, were established in House Bill 2012 by the Oregon Legislature to help Malheur County, mainly the populated areas, compete economically with communities across the border in Idaho.

As currently planned the board will be allocating the funds in a combination of loans and grants and at its meeting on Monday approved some the of programs it will have in place to address some of the economic issues facing the county.

Priority will be given to enhancing prosperity in the border region, improving the region’s tax base, making the border region more competitive, increasing the available workforce and improving the skills of workers.

Loans programs include a housing incentive program to encourage more building of homes in Malheur County, an infrastructure revolving loan program to help communities improve their infrastructure, such as roads and utilities, to attract more development, a housing and commercial rebate program plus a housing rehabilitation loan program, both designed to encourage and assist with improvements and repairs for home and commercial structures.

There is also a program is help landowners with documenting their properties as certified ready for development.

Grants include education and workforce grants for education provider, grants for community planning.

What’s next

The Border Board continue its work on additional programs at its July 8 meeting, 3 p.m. to 5.m., in the Treasure Valley Community College administration office, in the Laura Moore Cunningham Science Building.

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Larry Meyer is a reporter for the Argus Observer.

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