By Lane Gwinn
The Times 

CERB invests $2.1 million in four counties

Columbia and Walla Walla Counties will receive funds for port projects.


March 23, 2023

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) approved $2 million in low-interest loans and $150,000 in grants for economic development and public infrastructure improvements to spur business growth and job growth creation in communities throughout the state.

• Columbia County – Will recieve a $50,000 grant to the Port of Columbia for the “BMS Craft Malt & Grain Cluster Study.” This planning study will determine the feasibility, optimal configuration, and next steps for developing the infrastructure to enhance the artisan grain business cluster at Blue Mountain Station, the port’s 21-acre food processing park . CERB funds are matched by $12,500 in local resources.

• Walla Walla County – $2 million loan to the Port of Walla Walla for the “Life Flight Networks Hangar and Crew Base.” This project is for the design and construction of a hangar for Life Flight Networks and crew quarters. It will be a 24-hour base of operations to provide life-saving transport for seriously ill or injured patients. The Committed Private Partner is Life Flight Network LLC, which will invest $5.5 million in the project, which is estimated to create and retain 29 jobs. CERB funds are matched by $500,000 in local resources.

• Douglas County – $50,000 grant to the City of Rock Island for the “Marketing and Stakeholder Outreach Strategic Plan” and the development of a marketing and outreach strategic plan to attract targeted businesses to the city’s Industrial Development District. CERB funds are matched by $12,500 in local resources.

• Kitsap County – $50,000 grant to the Port of Brownsville for the “Port Property Development Feasibility Study” and the development of a strategic plan to determine the infrastructure necessary to develop port properties for economic development. CERB funds are matched by $12,500 in local resources.

“CERB projects represent an important partnership between the state and local communities resulting in enhanced economic vitality.  These projects will ultimately lead to job growth across the State through infrastructure development and planning,” said CERB Chair Michael Echanove. These four projects exhibit the range and scope of projects funded by CERB.

The release of CERB funds to these projects is contingent upon each applicant completing specific pre-contract requirements, such as finalizing other funding sources and obtaining necessary permits.

Since 1982, CERB has committed more than $243.8 million to local jurisdictions across the state, an investment generating more than 39,000 jobs, and private capital investment of $6.3 billion – a $26-to-$1 return on CERB investments. Read the 2022 CERB Legislative Report at to learn more.

As Washington’s strategic economic development resource, CERB is focused on creating private-sector jobs in partnership with local governments by financing infrastructure improvements. These improvements encourage new business development and expansion. In addition to funding construction projects, CERB provides limited funding for studies that evaluate high-priority economic development projects.

Learn more about CERB at 


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