Diverse Grant Projects Benefit Economy

PUD Grants Take Broad Approach to Development

Fixed route bus services will soon be offered through The LINK. A new shelter at The Dalles Transit Center on Chenowith Loop Road will be added to accommodate the new service with the help of a Nothern Wasco County PUD grant. Kathy Ursprung photo

Economic development covers a lot of territory.

Last year’s PUD grants helped spur economic development by:

  • training Wasco County’s future workforce,
  • making communities safer,
  • improving mass transportation opportunities, and
  • providing more active recreational space.

Solar 4 R Schools

Dufur School received $10,170.45 in match funding to add a demonstration-scale photovoltaic system to the school. The primary funder for the project was the Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Clean Energy. Bright Futures. Google also provided funding for the project.

“The solar gear was put on the roof of the shop building and was completed last summer,” says Jack Henderson, Dufur School Superintendent. “We have a kiosk in the school where anybody can track and see how much energy is being produced.”

The installation will be used as part of Dufur’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum at the high school level next year.

“We hope to include that into the middle school level, as well,” Jack says.

Funding for the project includes science kits and district-wide teacher training.

Wasco County Sheriff’s Reserves

Wasco County is expanding its Sheriff’s Reserves program and a $20,000 grant from the PUD is helping to outfit the new volunteers.

Reserves provide volunteer support to the paid officers.

They may be assigned to guard a crime scene, provide crowd control at events like the Wasco County Fair, provide court transport, and a wide range of other responsibilities.

“They contribute an astronomical amount of time,” says Sgt. Alan Birchfield, who coordinates the program.

Five reserves are currently active, Alan says. He plans to increase that number to 10. PUD funding will help pay for basic equipment for the reserves.

“We’re still working on the process,” he says. “We haven’t completed the change in staffing levels.”

Reserves get extensive training through the Reserve Academy. And while most serve only as volunteers, some go on to become full-time, paid officers.

“They are amazing people putting in a huge amount of time and effort,” Alan says.

Tygh Valley Rural Fire Protection District

Tygh Valley’s volunteer firefighters have six new bottles for their Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) to replace the aging, second-hand bottles they had been using thanks to a $4,960 PUD grant.

“Tygh Valley volunteer firefighters can now engage fires, whether structure or vehicle and have the capability to protect their lungs from dangerous toxins and smoke,” says Chief David Colburn. “Previously, the tanks and packs we used were over 30 years old and not very usable. Your grant has been an important and welcome part of the funding we need to stay safe and response-ready as a low-budget, all-volunteer fire department.”

This year’s focus is to update the Tygh Valley Fire Station, which was built in the 1980s.

Transit Center Shelter

Mid-Columbia Economic Development District is currently in the permitting process for a new bus shelter and related signage at The Dalles Transit Center to serve the passengers on The LINK’s new deviated fixed route around The Dalles.

A $5,469.55 PUD grant will help pay for the improvement.

The new service is expected to be up and running soon, says Jessica Metta, MCEDD Assistant Director.

The shelter adds to the amenities at The Dalles Transit Center on Chenowith Loop Road, a hub for regional transit connections with adjacent providers traveling to Hood River, Goldendale, and Portland.

The LINK currently offers Dial-a-Ride Service by calling (541) 296-7595, and a Shopping Bus on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M.

Find more information online at the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District Website.

Klindt Cove Kiwanis Park

Where bare ground stood last summer, new grass and shrubbery are growing now at the expanded Klindt Cove Kiwanis Park.

The park also has expanded electrical service that can provide for the needs of festivals and food trucks alike, thanks to a grant from Northern Wasco County PUD. The project has been a collaborative effort of the Port of The Dalles, Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation, and The Dalles Kiwanis. The Port donated more than an acre of adjacent land and is coordinating the project. Kiwanis will donate more visible signage. Parks will provide ongoing maintenance.

“We’ve had many requests for improved access to the river,” says Kathy Norton, Project Manager for the park.

Grass should be well-established by summer. Parking has also been increased.

Future phases of the project will provide space for small gatherings and festivals, active play opportunities, and enhancements to the cove itself.

Economic Development Grant Applications Due May 22

Northern Wasco County PUD has allocated a total of up to $50,000 for Economic Development Grants this year.

Applications are available at the Northern Wasco County PUD office, 2345 River Road, The Dalles; by download from the Economic Development page; or by fax or mail upon request. Questions and requests should be directed to Kathy McBride, (541) 298-3302.

The PUD will accept applications until no later than Wednesday, May 22, at 5 P.M.

“Competitively priced and reliable energy services are just a few ways your customer-owned PUD can help with local economic development,” says General Manager Roger Kline. “Another way is to establish grant funds such as these in order to provide further incentive to organizations to establish themselves or grow within our community.”

No single application can be for more than $20,000. Applications must include:

  • a brief history of the requesting organization and description of the project, including how the project will economically benefit the community,
  • what steps are being taken to bring the project to a successful completion, what other community resources are being used, and
  • how the organization and project will contribute back to the community.
  • a detailed budget of the proposed project, including contributions and labor, as well as proof of “not for profit” status.

The Board of Directors will consider complete applications at their June 4 board meeting. Applicants may not be a religious-affiliated entity and have not been funded more than twice in any five-year period. Projects shall be for infrastructure or property with a life expectancy of at least five years and located within the Northern Wasco County PUD service area. Applications must be signed by the property owner.

Grants awarded for projects not commenced within one year of award will be forfeited without special approval of the Board of Directors.