Several projects in Eastern Oregon have been chosen to receive a piece of Business Oregon’s $4.81 million Strategic Reserve Fund.

Gov. Kate Brown announced last week that 13 different projects around Oregon would get funding, ranging from $50,000 to $1.25 million. The projects focus on small businesses, entrepreneurship and rural development, and the funding is expected to create or retain 1,778 jobs.

The local projects include Digital Harvest in Pendleton and rural broadband development.

Other projects in Eastern Oregon that will receive funds are Snake River Produce in Nyssa and Baker and Murakami Produce Company in Ontario. Several facilities in the Willamette Valley will also receive support, including food processing plants, paper companies and manufacturing companies.

Students cash in with Community Bank

The seventh year of Community Bank’s Earn While You Learn Program has set an all-time high in cash awards paid to student-customers for their academic success.

For the 2017 pay-out period, 748 students in the Eastern Oregon and southeast Washington area cashed in on their good grades. Community Bank’s student customers earned a total of $3,895. This year’s payouts bring the program’s grand total of academic award money to $79,608 into their Savings Account.

The Earn While You Learn Program is an annual reward of $50 annually per student, with payments given for the whole school year in June and July.

Community Bank was founded in 1955 by a group of Joseph business leaders as the Bank of Wallowa County. Since then, it has grown to 14 branches, with 11 in Eastern Oregon and three in southeastern Washington. It also operate a Loan Production Office in The Dalles.

Regional organizations receive innovation award

The Greater Eastern Oregon Development Corporation and Northeast Oregon Economic Development District are being recognized for its New Natural Resource Economy project.

GEODC and NEODD have been chosen for a 2017 Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations. Innovation awards are given nationally to honor economic development organizations for creative approaches to advancing regional community and economic development and improving quality of life.

The New Natural Resource Economy program of GEODC and NEODD is an effort to assist small firms in Eastern Oregon that are taking advantage of emerging opportunities in agriculture and natural resources. NNRE businesses are finding new ways to use natural resources and agricultural outputs by developing new products, such as organic wheat and lumber from juniper, and by finding new markets for traditional products, such as direct farm-to-store marketing of meat and produce.

GEODC and NEODD partnered with the University of Oregon’s Community Service Center to identify barriers facing NNRE businesses and ways to overcome them. They range from financing to the complexity of regulations to technical management problems.

The innovation award presented to GEODC and NEODD is in acknowledgment that the New Natural Resource Economy project is making a significant impact on Eastern Oregon.