April 20, 2021
Business and Community Updates
Touchet Valley Trail Meeting April 26
Design drawings for the proposed Touchet Valley Trail have reached the 30% completion stage, and a public information meeting will be held Monday, April 26th at 5:30 pm via Zoom webinar. Presenters with various backgrounds will share information and answer questions.

Agenda includes:
  • Why Build a Trail? - Economic Impact Forecast
  • Background Info
  • Review of 30% Drawings, Including Property Ownership Research
  • Review of Concerns Expressed by Citizens, Including Adjacent Ag Uses, Trespassing, etc.
  • Preliminary Maintenance Outline
  • Guests from Other Trail Communities
  • Law Enforcement & Public Safety
  • Question & Answer Period

The webinar link, an executive summary, 30% design drawings, 30% landscape plans, information on Concerns Expressed by Citizens, and a Preliminary Maintenance Outline can be viewed anytime by clicking here. Please note that these are not final documents in any way, shape, or form. These are in-progress working documents that may change based on community feedback. The comment portal on our website will be open until May 12, 2021.

To join the webinar:
Click http://bit.ly/TrailZoom just before 5:30 pm on Monday, April 26th.

The webinar will be recorded for later viewing if you are unable to attend the Monday meeting. The Port Commission highly encourages everyone to attend if possible to hear information firsthand about this project.
Small Business Funding Updates
The Working Washington 4.0 grant program has closed, with award announcements expected by the end of May.

The Value-Added Producer Grant portal closes on April 29. This is a grant program administered by the USDA for independent individual ag producers, groups of ag producers, majority-controlled produce-based business ventures, and farmer or rancher cooperatives. Visit the the Port's COVID-19 Small Business Resource Page for more info and to find out how to apply.

The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is a new Small Business Administration Program open to restaurants, food stands/trucks/carts, caterers, bars/saloons/lounges/taverns, snack and nonalcoholic beverage bars, bakeries, brewpubs/tasting rooms, taprooms, breweries/microbrews, wineries/distilleries, inns, and licensed facilities or premises of a beverage alcohol producer where the public may taste, sample or purchase products. This program is not yet open, but information is starting to be posted. Visit the Port's COVID-19 Small Business Resource Page for more info and to find out how to apply.

The Port has applied for another grant to assist start-up businesses that don't qualify for COVID-19 relief funding. More information will be posted if we receive the grant.
Business & Community Updates
March unemployment numbers are out with Columbia County's rate rising to 6.5%. This really doesn't match up with the large number of help wanted signs in our local store windows and the anecdotal information I'm hearing from business owners on the difficulty they're having hiring workers. Lack of housing and childcare are two barriers to hiring that I'm hearing over and over again. We're going to have to find a way to discuss and solve these huge, systemic problems to have a vital economy here.

Hidden in Plain Sight, a free online event hosted by the Coalition for Youth and Families, will be held Wednesday, April 21 at 6:00 pm via Zoom. Register by clicking here. Hidden in Plain Sight is an educational experience that walks you through a typical teenage bedroom. The inside of the bedroom is set up with drug paraphernalia “Hidden in Plain Sight.” This experience offers adults insights into current trends in youth substance abuse, drug paraphernalia, and concealment of illicit drugs & alcohol. Volunteers educate community members about drug trends, paraphernalia, how to talk to youth about alcohol & drugs, and what to do if a problem is suspected.

Please help the City of Dayton by taking this Community Services Satisfaction Survey. Submittals are anonymous and will assist Mayor Weatherford and the City Council in future policy decisions.

Community Broadband Update - Because of the work we have undertaken to prepare a feasibility study and a cost estimate for a community broadband network, the Port of Columbia finds itself in an excellent position to take advantage of funding opportunities as interest grows at both the state and federal levels in extending broadband service. As the state legislature finishes this year's session, and the federal programs write their rules and prepare application materials, we're continuing preparation so we're ready as soon as funding announcements are made. Currently we are gathering funds for design, engineering, and grant match requirements and discussing options for extending infrastructure further into the rural parts of the county. Thank you to the Sherwood Trust for their recent $20,000 grant award to the Port for design and engineering work.
Updated Housing & Utility Assistance Info
Click on the image to view an updated list of COVID-19 Housing and Utility Relief resources.

Project Timothy has applied for a grant to provide additional assistance to folks in our community. More info will be posted if their application is successful.