June 16, 2014, Portland, Oregon —Ecotrust CDE, a subsidiary of Ecotrust, has received $35 million in federal New Markets Tax Credits to support employment and innovation in distressed communities throughout the Northwest. Ecotrust will use the new federal financing to restore and enhance rural infrastructure, support vibrant local communities and economies, and promote wise stewardship of landscapes and oceans.
It is the fifth award of New Markets Tax Credits for Ecotrust, stretching back to 2005. The organization’s awards since the inception of the program total more than $200 million.
“We’re humbled and inspired to have a new round of tax credits to extend the economic recovery to rural areas around the region,” says Adam Lane, Managing Director of Ecotrust CDE. “We thank our congressional delegation, including Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Representative Earl Blumenauer, for supporting our application for these important federal funds.”
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund announced $3.5 billion in New Markets Tax Credit awards nationwide. Ecotrust was one of 87 organizations across the country to earn allocation under the latest round of the New Markets Tax Credit Program, and one of only 12 community organizations nationwide deploying tax credits primarily to stimulate growth in rural areas.
Since its first award in 2005, Ecotrust has dedicated its New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) allocation to revitalizing rural economies in the Pacific Northwest, by investing in new and expanded processing capacity of natural resources and by supporting the acquisition and management of forestland by conservation, community, and tribal interests.
In March, Ecotrust announced a NMTC transaction that brought $4 million in tax credit financing for upgrades to the small-diameter sawmill at Rough & Ready Lumber. The new financing reopened the last mill in distressed Josephine County -which holds one of the highest unemployment rates in the state – and the improvements will realign the mill with the small diameter wood that now dominates the fire-prone forests of Southern Oregon.
The Rough & Ready project built on several prior NMTC disbursements to improve mill infrastructure and restore a viable forest products industry across the state, including a 2010 investment in Ochoco Lumber Company to refinance and stabilize the last remaining mill in John Day, Oregon and construct a new pellet fuel facility there. Ecotrust CDE also placed NMTC dollars in an affiliate of Roseburg Resources to fund mill improvements and enhance financial stability at eight of its mills during the worst of the recent downturn, which hit Northwest sawmills particularly hard.
“Our vision is to build efficient, distributed, locally-owned processing capacity in the region, in order to create a more equitable sharing of opportunities and wealth,” says Bettina von Hagen, Director of Investments for Ecotrust CDE. “We are looking to use NMTC strategically to expand and enhance local manufacturing capacity, create critical family wage jobs in hard-hit rural towns and provide efficient markets for forest landowners and farmers. Our projects also benefit communities through innovative use of renewable resources, conversion of waste into products and energy, improved environmental conditions, and through expanded access to local resources.”
The New Markets Tax Credit Program was established by Congress in December 2000 to help economically distressed communities attract private investment capital by providing investors with a federal tax credit. To find out more about the program and this year’s awards, visit the CDFI Fund website.
Ecotrust’s mission is to foster a natural model of development that creates more resilient communities, economies and ecosystems here and around the world. Overmorethan 20years, Ecotrust has converted $80 million in grants into morethan $800 million in capital assets at work forlocal people, businesses, andorganizations from Alaskato California. Ecotrust’s many innovations include co-founding an environmental bank, starting the world’s first ecosystem investment fund, creating a range of programs in fisheries,forestry, food, farms and indigenous affairs,and developing new scientific and information tools to improve social, economic and environmental decision making. Ecotrust works locally in ways that promise hope abroad, and it takes inspiration from the wisdom of Native and First Nation leadership. Learn more at www.ecotrust.org