Portland, OR, Jun 30, 2011 -- USDA Rural Development announced yesterday they will help create 15 good-paying new jobs and enhance rural health care in Hermiston, Oregon. The federal funds will supplement a financing package allowing Good Shepherd Medical Center to complete a large remodel and expansion of their hospital facility.
Umatilla Electric Cooperative, INC. is financing the hospital upgrades through their revolving loan fund. USDA is providing a $300,000 grant to Umatilla Electric to provide seed funds for the relending effort which, in turn, provides affordable financing for rural job creation.
“This is one example of how USDA Rural Development leverages federal funding with the investments of other private and public entities to support economic development in rural Oregon,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker.
With the added USDA funds available, Good Shepherd Medical Center will purchase furniture, fixtures and equipment for their regional Level 3 Critical Care hospital, which serves over 50,000 people from more than 22 rural communities in Umatilla and Morrow Counties. High-quality facilities and services in rural areas not only protect the health of local citizens, but also encourage overall economic development.
For this current round of federal funding, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of 21 utilities in 11 states for loans and grants to help rural businesses expand and create jobs.
“These loans and grants help cooperatives and utilities support local projects that create jobs and improve rural economic conditions,” Vilsack said. “USDA is proud to be a partner in the effort to bolster these cooperatives and help them win the future by increasing the value and appeal of the products and services they deliver.”
The loans and grants are being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program. Recipients are eligible rural utilities that pass the funds to local organizations for projects to retain and create jobs, upgrade public infrastructure, improve service delivery and improve the quality of life for area residents and visitors.
In all, Vilsack announced more than $12.3 million in economic development loans and grants through the program nationwide. Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $150 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
Visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/OR_Home.html for additional information about the agency's programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.