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MCEDD Newsletter
In This Issue
MCEDD Loan Client Profile - Huck Truck
MCEDD Quarterly Board Meeting Highlights
MCEDD Budget Committee Opening
Join Us At the Next Regional Strategy Session
Tech Winners
Gorge Night Sky
FIRST Lego League Tournaments Winners
RFQ: Trainer for Wine Country Marketing
Wind Challenge
Community Events, Workshops and Trainings
Grant and Funding Opportunities
By the Numbers
Calendar of Events
Quick Links


Reading this newsletter is a good thing, having  your news included is even better. Just send us your economic development news, including activities, events and anything else of interest in the five county area by the third week of each month. Send it directly to Sherry at:


Amanda Hoey
Executive Director

Eric Nerdin
Loan Program Manager

Sherry Wickert

Jessica Metta
Project Manager

 Carrie Pipinich
Project Manager

Jacque Schei
Project Manager

Dan Hoyt
Project & Mobility Manager

Sherry Bohn
Office Administrator
  MCEDD Board Members
Jan Brending
Cities of Klickitat County 
Ken Bailey
Vice Chairperson
Agriculture Representative

Bill Schmitt
Washington Ports
Bob Benton
Hood River County  
Rex Johnston  
Klickitat County 
Bob Hamlin 
Skamania County  
Michael Smith
Sherman County

Rod Runyon
Wasco County

Sue Knapp
Cities of Wasco County

Carol Mackenzie
Cities of Sherman County

Paul Hendricks
Cities of Skamania County

Mark Zanmiller
Cities of Hood River County 

Mary Kramer
Higher Education Representative 

Joeinne Caldwell  
Oregon Ports

Dana Peck
Washington Chambers
of Commerce

Tonya Brumley
Oregon Chambers of Commerce

Gabriel Muro
Minorities Representative

Eric Proffitt
Workforce Representative

Robert Kimmes
Healthcare Representative

Stephanie Hoppe

MCEDD Loan Administration Board Members

Scott Clements

Dillon Borton

AJ Tarnasky 
This newsletter is sponsored by MCEDD. The items contained herein are published as submitted and are provided for general information purposes only. This information is not advice. Readers should not rely solely on this information, but should make their own inquiries before making any decisions. MCEDD works to maintain up-to-date information from reliable sources; however, no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions or results of any actions based upon this information. If you have any questions regarding any of these items, contact the organizational representative of that source.
This newsletter may contain links to websites that are created and maintained by other organizations. MCEDD does not necessarily endorse the views expressed on these websites, nor does it guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information presented there. Furthermore, visitors should be aware that other sites linked from this newsletter may use persistent cookies that track visitor viewing habits.
Welcome to the MCEDD newsletter, featuring highlighted regional activities that are of interest to the five counties MCEDD serves. 

 MCEDD Loan Client Profile - Huck Truck 
At the Huck Truck in Bingen, WA, you will find simple, everyday food prepared by an inspired chef. From the brioche rolls and corn tortillas to the salad dressing and various aiolis, everything is made "in-truck." Owner-operator Erik Stenberg maintains a regular menu of hot sandwiches, tacos, salad, and a creamy polenta plate, while incorporating variations to some of these items depending on what he is foraging in the woods or growing in his kitchen-garden.

After years of food-based adventures in growing, preparing, selling, and sharing quality food, Erik and his wife Jessie sought a path to share their skills and passion as small business owners. With support from the Small Business Development Center they created a solid business plan, designed their dream mobile kitchen, and secured funding from MCEDD and from a private lender. The Huck Truck opened its windows to customers at the end of May in 2016 and continues to serve the people of Bingen and the surrounding communities for lunch six days a week.
Best known for the crispy pork sandwich, which comes with roasted jalapeno aioli, Blue Bus kraut-chi, and fresh cilantro, the Huck Truck also has a loyal following for its lunch burger, which has been called "the best burger anywhere in the Gorge." Another customer favorite this winter has been the wild mushroom soup, packed with dill and with up to five varieties of mushrooms picked nearby in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

The Huck Truck is open this winter season Monday through Saturday, from 11:00am to 3:00pm, and is also available for catering private parties and office lunches. Phone call or text orders are welcome, and the website can be viewed here

The MCEDD Loan Program is available to entrepreneurs, start up businesses and existing businesses doing business in the five county (Sherman, Hood River, Wasco, Klickitat and Skamania) Mid-Columbia Area. This loan program is part of MCEDD's efforts to strengthen and support the region's economy. Contact Eric Nerdin at 541-296-2266 or for more information on MCEDD's Loan Program.  
MCEDD Quarterly Board Meeting Highlights
MCEDDLogo Despite a major snow storm the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District Board of Directors held its quarterly full board meeting on Thursday, December 8th at 4:00 pm at the MCEDD Office.  Yvonne Roberts of Lewis, Poe, Moeller, Gunderson & Roberts, LLC presented an overview of the 2016 performed for MCEDD for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016.  The Independent Audit Report stated there were no material weaknesses, no deficiencies and no findings.

In addition to the regular business of the Board, the meeting included an update on public sessions for the regional economic development strategy, Executive Committee activites and approved the 2017 meeting calendar.

MCEDD's meetings are open to the public.  The meeting location is accessible to persons with disabilities.  If you have a disability that requires special materials, services or assistance, please contact us at least 48 hours before the meeting by calling 541-296-2266.  
MCEDD Budget Committee Opening
MCEDD has opened the process to seek applicants interested in serving on the MCEDD budget committee.  Applicants must be representative of the services provided by MCEDD and reside in the Klickitat, Skamania, Hood River, Wasco or Sherman County.  All positions are non-paid positions.

MCEDD Budget Committee interest forms are available electronically here or at the MCEDD offices at 515 East 2nd Street in The Dalles, Oregon.  Applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 for consideration of appointment.

All interest forms will be reviewed and provided to the MCEDD Board of Directors for appointment.  Appointments are made for a three year period.  For more information, contact MCEDD at 541-296-2266. 

 Join us to Plan the Regional Strategy!  
Join us at the next two Columbia Gorge Comprehensive Economic Development session and help in the planning for our region's economic future! 

Strategies and Resiliency
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Bingen, WA   
The meeting will be followed by a tour of Insitu. Space is limited RSVP today!

       Measuring Success
       Thursday, January 26, 2017
       The Dalles, OR  
This meeting will be followed by a tour of  the Oregon Cherry Growers. 
Optional networking begins at 8:30 am. Sessions are from 9 to 11:30 a.m. All sessions will be followed by a community tour. 

RSVP to attend: Contact Sherry at or 541-296- 2266.

Mid-Columbia Economic Development District develops a long-range regional economic development strategy, with participation from local communities to create jobs, raise income levels, diversify the economy, and improve the quality of life, while protecting the environment. 
Congratulations to the 2016 Gorge Technology Alliance Award Winners

The Gorge Technology Alliance honored tech leaders at its fourth annual awards program in December.

Bill Vaglienti, Cofounder of Cloud Cap and most recently, Power4Flight, was honored as the 2016 GTA Technology Leader of the Year for his significant technical contributions on a multitude of fronts that have shaped the Unmanned Aerial Systems (or UAS) industry in the Gorge and nationally for more than 20 years. His technical leadership and vision have been key to the success of many of the most prominent UAS companies, programs and platforms.

Four outstanding finalists for Tech Leader of the Year were also recognized: Richard Foster of Klickitat County Economic Development for his support of tech companies; Tod Hilstad, Director of Information Technology for Hood River County School District, for his amazing work and dedication to the District and its students; Cory Roeseler, Engineer with Hood Tech, for the personal and professional innovations he's brought to kiteboarding and the UAS industry; and Robert Surton, Computer Science Professor at Columbia Gorge Community College, for his work in launching and growing the first-ever Computer Science degree program in the Gorge.

Trillium Engineering of Hood River was honored as the 2016 GTA Tech Organization of the Year as the perfect example of a successful Gorge technology startup company. Rob Gilchrist, Gail Dagan and Jeff Fisher had a great idea while working together at Cloud Cap Technology and believed in it enough to put it all on the line to follow their dream. Starting in 2013, in just three years they turned their idea into a thriving company of 11 and growing. They are also contributing game-changing innovations to the national UAS industry with their small, powerful gimbals and linear infrastructure monitoring.

MCEDD provides staffing for the Gorge Technology Alliance.  For more information contact Jessica Metta at 541-296-2266 or for more information. 

Gorge Night Sky Hosts Field Trip To Goldendale Observatory    
The Gorge Night Sky project is focused on educating the community about light pollution, Dark-Sky standards and energy efficient LED options.  After its very successful symposium held in August, the project turned its focus on developing an educational unit with the North Wasco County School District.

The Gorge Night Sky project team developed a 24-page booklet with information on light pollution, LED technology, and tips on how to be more efficient with lighting. The booklet also contained worksheets for students to answer lighting questions.

On December 2nd approximately 40 students, ranging from first to eight grades, from the North Wasco Virtual Academy and the Talented and Gifted group participated in the program.
Students received printed copies of the booklet, discussed the Gorge Night Sky project, light pollution, and LED technology, and then traveled to the Goldendale Observatory. There they took a tour of the Observatory and saw the dome and telescope. They also heard presentations from Jonathan Lewis (Hire Electric), Travis Hardy (Northern Wasco PUD), and Troy Carpenter (Goldendale Observatory, WA State Parks & Rec) who wowed the students with his endless knowledge of all things astronomy-related, telescopes, spectrometry, and his amazing collection of light bulbs.

To learn more about the Gorge Night Sky Project contact Jacque Schei at 541-296-2266 or 
14 Gorge Teams Advance to State Robotics Tournament, Some Teams Impacted by Weather
Almost 400 students aged 9 to 14 from schools all around the Gorge showed off their robotic talents over two weekends in the Gorge. Sixty-five student teams worked over the past several months as part of the international robotics competition known as FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) to compete in one of the Columbia Gorge Qualifying Tournaments.
Tournament organizers and teams this year faced a challenge with the weather conditions over the second weekend. Ultimately, one event was canceled and as second had a delayed start. To accommodate the teams affected by the weather, tournament organizers are planning an unofficial scrimmage in January. Those teams will also be placed in a lottery and four or five will be randomly chosen to advance to the State tournament.
From the three full days of competition held, the overall top teams were chosen to advance to the Oregon State Tournaments on   January 14  or 15 in Hillsboro. The fourteen teams from the Gorge heading to Hillsboro include:
  • Overall 1st Place Champions: Fusion X from The Dalles Middle, BFDs (Big Friendly Dragons) from May Street, The Titans from Hood River Middle.
  • Overall 2nd Place Champions: The Technos from Henkle Middle, The Pandriods from Wy'east Middle, The Meme Team from Hood River Middle.
  • Additional top teams that advanced to the state tournament: Brick Busters from Horizon Christian, Robotic Destroyers from Irrigon, Hillbilly Tech Support from Sherman County, Robo Cheetahs from Colonel Wright, Yello Jackets from Hood River Middle, Tech Rex from Wy'east Middle, P4 from Vancouver and the Electronic Penguins from Little Oak Montessori in White Salmon.
Additional top awards were given to a number of teams for their outstanding performances in specific areas of the competition:
  • Core Values award: Brick Busters from Horizon Christian, Superbots from The Dalles Middle and P4 from Vancouver.
  • Project award: 2% Humans from Trout Lake, SWAG from Hood River and Robotic Acorns from May Street Elementary.
  • Robot Design award: Robo-Bros from Goldendale Middle, Rockin' Robot Monkeys from May Street and Tech Rex from Wy'east Middle.
  • Robot Performance award: Robotic Catfishes from Westside Elementary, The Pandriods from Wy'east Middle and The Titans from Hood River Middle.
  • Rising Star award: RoboKeepers from Goldendale Middle and Electronic Penguins from Little Oak Montessori.
Contact Jessica Metta at to learn more.
MCEDD provides project management services for the Gorge Technology Alliance.  Contact Jessica Metta at 541-296-2266 or for more information.
Request for Trainer for Wine Country Marketing Sessions
Mid-Columbia Economic Development District, working in partnership with the Columbia Gorge Winegrowers Association, is seeking a qualified trainer (or trainers) to provide three marketing related trainings to wineries in the region.

Requested topics include: Winery Hospitality Training; Building your Brand; and Social Media Best Practices. These training sessions will be provided to wineries in the five-county area, with space for additional beverage producers as available.

Responses are due by 
January 5, 2017 at 5 pm local time for first consideration.  The complete RFQ can be found on here.  For more information contact Carrie Pipinich at 541-296-2266 or  These session are supported by a USDA, RD Rural Business Development Grant.

MCEDD provides grant writing, administration and project management support to the Columbia Gorge Winegrowers Association.  For more information contact Carrie Pipinich at 541-296-2266 or

 Wind Challenge Blows Back Into The Gorge In March 2017
Wind Challenge is blowing back into the Gorge on March 11, 2017! This is a one-day competition for middle and high school teams to build the best wind turbine with support from Google, the Gorge Tech Alliance and Columbia Gorge Community College.

Team registration will open soon at  and organizers are starting to recruit volunteers. No wind energy experience is necessary.

Mark your calendars for
Saturday, March 11, 2017 from approx. 8am to 4pm at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center in The Dalles.

JessicaMetta at 541-296-2266 or jessica@crgta for more information or to volunteer now.

Community Events, Workshops and Trainings
Fermentation Science Course
This course is designed to bring in local leaders in the fields of beer, cider, wine, distilled spirits, baking, and fermented foods to share their experience and expertise.

Dr. Kevin McCabe, Full Sail Brewing lab supervisor and former CGCC microbiology instructor, will facilitate the course with a focus on connecting the commonalities between these disparate fields. From January 12 to March 23, the course will be held every other Thursday evening at the Hood River-Indian Creek Campus.

  • Gain exposure to principles of fermentation sciences
  • Learn about system design and engineering
  • Understand social and cultural implications of quality food and beverage production
  • Learn about agricultural and industrial waste streams, water treatment, and environmental remediation
  • Gain knowledge of business management in fermentation industry
Cost | $50
Registration by calling CGCC at (541) 506-6011 or on-line here.

Tour Operators, Guides and Outfitter Training
Travel Oregon is hosting a two-day training for tour operators, guides and outfitters on January 10-11, 2017 in Cascade Locks. The training focuses on the unique marketing and operational needs of outdoor travel businesses. Learn high-impact marketing and communication strategies, how to navigate land-use permits, and how to setup successful operations. The training is intended for currently operating guides, outfitters, tour operators (inbound), and tourism businesses looking to develop or expand upon their outdoor recreation tour product.

January 10-11, 2017 (9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. each day)

Location: Cascade Locks Marine Park Pavilion | Port of Cascade Locks, 395 SW Portage Rd, Cascade Locks, OR 97014
Fee: $30.00 (Fee includes two-day training, associated materials, lunch and refreshments both days. Parking is free on-site)

More information here!  Register here
 Grant, Funding, Award Opportunities
Columbia Gorge Regional Airport - Flex Hangar Project Invitation to Bid
Sealed bids for the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport Flex Hangar Project Lot 3 will be received by the City of The Dalles c/o City Clerk, City of The Dalles, 313 Court Street, The Dalles, OR 97058, until 2:00 p.m. local time on the 5th day of January, 2017, plainly marked "Flex Hangar Project".

All proposals will be publicly opened at 2:00 p.m. local time on the same day in the City Offices, Conference Room, 313 Court Street, The Dalles, OR 97058.

A copy of the bid document may be obtained for a non-refundable fee of $25.00 from the City Clerk located at the same address as above or by calling (541) 296-5481.

A copy is also available online at under RFPs and Bids.

Bid documents will be available until 5:00 p.m. January 2nd, 2017.

Business Oregon's Solar Development Incentive (SDI)
Business Oregon's Solar Development Incentive (SDI) program are now open. Visit the  program web page for more information about how to apply and direct links to the online application. We highly recommend that you review the SDI Handbook that includes program details and an example of program application.

About SDI
The SDI program is a new clean technology program that encourages the development of solar energy projects in Oregon by providing a cash incentive per kWh generated to owners of photovoltaic (PV) energy systems with a nameplate capacity of between two and 10 megawatts (MW) and that anticipate producing electricity within 12 months of applying for the incentive. Qualified projects enrolled in the program can receive a monthly payment of $0.005 per kWh of electricity generated, for a period of five years.

The application will be open until January 2, 2017, 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time.

Gov. Inslee made available some $2 million in grants to be awarded to demonstration projects that help Washington's current workforce and new hires create pathways to gainful employment and higher wages, especially those at the lowest income levels or with other disadvantages. The Governor is deploying funds through the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). It's part of a broader push to "upskill" Washington's workforce and "jumpstart" the state's workforce plan, "Talent and Prosperity for All."

Gov. Inslee has also earmarked an additional $1 million in federal workforce funds to help a broad coalition of individuals and organizations implement additional components of the state's workforce plan.

Deadline to apply is  February 28 .
More info, including application guidelines here  
By the Numbers - November 2016
                                                          Unemployment Rate:
County                                        2016               2015
Hood River
Source: Oregon and Washington Employment Departments and Bureau of Labor Statistics. * Not seasonally adjusted.
Calendar of Events
January 2017
  • Jan 1- New Years Holiday, MCEDD Office Closed
  • Jan 4 - MCEDD Executive Committee Meeting, 515 East 2nd St, The Dalles, 4:00 pm
  • Jan 12 - Wasco County Economic Development Commission- Dufur City Hall, Dufur, OR, 9:00 am
  • Jan 16 - Martin Luther King Day Holiday, MCEDD Office Closed
  • Jan 17 - MCEDD Loan Administration Board Meeting, 515 East 2nd St, The Dalles, OR, 8:00 am
  • Jan 18 - Oregon Investment Board Meeting, Hood River, 10 am.
  • Jan 19 - Regional Economic Development Strategy Session, Bingen, WA 8:30 am.
  • Jan 26 - Regional Economic Development Strategy Session, The Dalles, OR 8:30 am.
  February 2017
  • Feb 1 - MCEDD Executive Committee Meeting, 515 East 2nd St, The Dalles, 4:00 pm
  • Feb 2 - WCEDC, The Dalles, OR 9:00 am
  • Feb 7 - MCEDD Loan Administration Board Meeting, 515 East 2nd St, The Dalles, OR, 8:00 am
  • Feb 15 - Oregon Investment Board Meeting, Hood River, 10 am.
  • Feb 16 - Regional Economic Development Strategy Session, Hood River, OR 8:30 am.
  • Feb 20 - President's Day Holiday, MCEDD Office Closed
  • Feb 21 - MCEDD Loan Administration Board Meeting, 515 East 2nd St, The Dalles, OR, 8:00 am
  • Feb 23 - MCEDD Board of Directors Meeting, Hood River County, OR 4:00 pm.

: check our calendar at for updates, detailed information and changes to meetings.  

Mid-Columbia Economic Development District is an Equal Credit  Opportunity  Lender.

The Federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits creditors from discriminating against credit applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, martial status, age (provided that the applicant has the capacity to enter in to a binding contract); because all or part of the applicant's income derives from any public assistance program or because applicant has in good faith exercised any right under the Consumer Protection Act.

MCEDD serves Klickitat, Skamania, Hood River, Wasco, and Sherman counties.  We promote the creation of family-wage jobs, the diversification of the economic base, and the growth, development and retention of business and industry within the five-county district.

You are welcome to pass along this newsletter to anyone who may be interested in regional economic development news in the Mid-Columbia area.
Past editions of the newsletter are posted on the MCEDD website.

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Contact us at 541-296-2266 (TYY 711)