Washington Investment Fund
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act was signed into law in November 1986, creating a bi-state, six-county region. Its purpose was "to protect and provide for the enhancement of the scenic, cultural, recreational and natural resources of the Gorge; and to protect and support the economy of the Columbia River Gorge area by encouraging growth to occur in existing urban areas and by allowing future economic development."
One of the mandates of the Act was to provide for economic opportunities and development. It combined restrictions and incentives to encourage counties to adopt the ordinances of the Act. The two states were directed to submit economic development plans to the Secretary of Agriculture. When those plans were approved in 1992, the states were eligible to receive $5 million each to use as grants or loans for economic development, providing the projects followed the requirements of the Act and later the Management Plan. At that time, the Washington Investment Board was created to make decisions on funding, to provide policy direction, to establish funding criteria, and to work with other entities.
The Washington Investment Fund is a single fund from which loans and grants- public or private- are drawn. As of the Spring of 2006, the administration of the fund was turned over to the Skamania County Economic Development Council. To see projects the WIF has helped fund, check out the Annual Report.