The Mt Hood Economic Alliance (MHEA) provides gap financing loans for businesses in Clackamas, Hood River and Wasco Counties. The fund is managed by MCEDD with oversight from the MHEA Board. MHEA provides secondary financing for businesses unable to secure (enough) financing through conventional banking means. MHEA’s loan fund is currently capitalized at about $900,000. A regional economic development partnership, the Alliance seeks out and invests in projects that create jobs and leverage additional investment for the three counties. Priority is given to those business development projects that create or retain better than average wage jobs in the agriculture, light manufacturing, recreation equipment, technology or tourism industries. Applicants may be U.S. citizens, those with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), or a Visa.
Project applications are taken and reviewed year-round depending on funding availability. The MHEA Board reviews proposals on the third Friday of the month.
Minimum Funding Criteria
- Project creates/retains at least 1 job for every $5,000—$10,000 of MHEA funding received.
- Project leverages a minimum of $2.5 for every $1 of MHEA funding received.
- Project is located in and benefits residents living in Clackamas, Hood River or Wasco counties.
- Project is ready to go, with job creation to be completed within two years of a signed contract.
- Project is part of a specific community business development strategy or private business plan.
Project Review Considerations
- What is the quality of jobs being created? (Wages, career development)
- How much additional funding is being leveraged?
- Does the project benefit the region’s economic development? Does the business sell goods or services outside the region?
- What other funding options have been pursued?
Additional Project Funding Decision-Making Guidelines
Focus of the business development loans are on economic development projects that:
- Achieve an average wage level at or above the county average wage.
- Demonstrate readiness to proceed (eg, land use, permitting, financial commitments are in place).
- Demonstrate financial need and feasibility, and return on investment (tax base increase, state tax revenues generated, new sales generated, community economic impacts, etc).
- Benefit the economy of the region or multiple firms/entities in the region.
- Demonstrate ongoing sustainability.
- Demonstrate other unique characteristics, such as achieving average wage level of jobs created, firm size of companies receiving benefits, businesses benefited that are minority-owned, businesses benefited that are woman-owned, and number of Oregonians benefiting.
Our staff works closely with applicants to make sure the project matches the program goals and guidelines. When you think you are ready to write an application, please complete our pre-application and email it to our loan program team here.
Board of Directors
Robert Degnan, Matt Lorenzen, Renate Mengelberg , Jerry Smith, David Snider, Mike Wells- Chair
Hood River County:
Bob Benton, Michael Friend
Ken Bailey, Lonny Macy, Steve Kramer