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Community Capital

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NEOEDD’s mission is to provide resources and facilitate quality decision making for the benefit of entrepreneurs, businesses and communities in Northeast Oregon.

The Northeast Oregon Economic Development District (NEOEDD) is a public organization established in 1985. Baker, Union and Wallowa counties formed the District by Intergovernmental Agreement as a way to enhance community and economic development services in the region.

Our staff members are dedicated to the communities they serve in northeast Oregon and have strong business networking, facilitation, financial, organizational and project development skills.

If you are starting or growing a business, ask us about our business finance and business training programs.

If you are working on a public infrastructure or a community project ask us about services for local governments and community groups.

If you are part of a non-profit organization ask how we can help your board and workers strategize, fund and operate in ways that best meet your mission.

Support the IDA Tax Credit!


One of our programs, the Individual Development Account, is a life-changer for many people. Part of its funding comes from donations to the State of Oregon that receive a 75% tax credit. This tax credit has to be renewed periodically--please consider signing the attached petition to support the tax credit and the IDA program! Click here to learn more and sign the petition.







Special Crowdfunding Edition
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Lisa Dawson tells Alyssa at KWVR abut crowdfunding
Lisa Dawson tells Alyssa at KWVR about crowdfunding

How Crowdfunding Can
Bolster Community

Note: A shorter version of this piece ran as an Op/Ed
in the
Wallowa Chieftain on March 26.

As executive director of the Northeast Oregon Economic Development District (NEOEDD), I am constantly on the lookout for ways to support our region’s entrepreneurs and owners of existing businesses. Over the last few years, a grassroots funding platform has gained popularity, and I’m excited to introduce it to those of you who have never heard of “crowdfunding.”

Crowdfunding is a little bit like a taco feed at the school to help pay for a trip to Washington, D.C. It’s like dropping ten bucks in the jar on the counter of your favorite coffee shop to help a local farmer rebuild their barn that burned down. Crowdfunding is a way for a lot of people who care about something to give a little bit of money (or, sometimes, a lot) in order to help a goal be fulfilled. But, instead of a jar, there’s a website. The money is not a loan or an investment, it’s a gift. Most crowdfunding campaigns reward those gifts with small items like a t-shirt or a mug. Or, if the project was a music recording, you might receive a reward of a copy of the CD.

While the online platform is new, crowdfunding is far from a new concept. In fact, Wikipedia notes a subscription-business called Praenumeration, which used crowdfunding to publish books in the 17th century! There are hundreds of sites for these types of fund-raising campaigns: Kickstarter and Indiegogo are the best known. You may be surprised to learn that through Kickstarter, more than 5.7 million people have given more than $1 billion to 57,625 successful projects. Now there is a new crowdfunding site that focuses exclusively on projects in Oregon and Washington: ChangeFunder. And their inaugural project is in Wallowa County: The Lostine Tavern.

Lostine Tavern’s Crowdfunding Campaign
Wallowa County residents Lynne Curry and Peter Ferré have been working hard to restore the 1902 Lostine Tavern building that originally housed a doctor’s office and pharmacy, and then a bar-and-grill until it closed in early 2013. Lynne came to NEOEDD looking for help to finance the Lostine Tavern. We discussed different approaches. Until we talked, she hadn’t considered crowdfunding. Lynne and Peter were willing to be the first business to use the ChangeFunder website (a new platform that is limited to businesses in the Pacific Northwest and associated with our community capital partner, ChangeXchange Northwest).

I recommended ChangeFunder because their project has social benefits that make it a good fit for a crowdfunding campaign. There isn’t a strong business case for making a traditional capital investment in a tavern in Lostine. In fact, it doesn’t make sense if the owner’s goal is to have a reasonable financial return. However, Lynne and Peter have broader goals–they plan to participate in the local food system, adding value to agricultural products grown in Wallowa County and providing healthy, delicious food to their customers. They want to have an active role in developing a business in Wallowa County that builds up the community they love.

Lynne and Peter started a crowdfunding campaign to give people a means of supporting both the restoration of a historic building and community meeting place, and the use of local produce, meats and beverages. Instead of t-shirts, they’re offering as one of their thank-yous to have the donor’s initials branded into the bar top. Now, that is a fun reward!

Supporting a business like Lostine Tavern through ChangeFunder is one way community members can show their support for this business that promises to be a welcoming place for the community. As owners using a platform that is untested using a fundraising methodology that isn’t well-known in our community, they are risking ridicule and misunderstanding. I hope that you will consider this campaign in the light in which it is offered–a way to financially support a business that will add value to the quality of life in the region.

A benefit of crowdfunding is that, in addition to sharing this campaign with local supporters, Curry and Ferré can reach out to friends, families and colleagues outside the area, creating a way for money that is outside our region to find its way here. I would encourage you to check out ChangeFunder and the Lostine Tavern crowdfunding project, and to think of how crowdfunding might help your business. Please contact me at the NEOEDD office if you’d like to discuss the possibilities.


In This Issue:
How Crowdfunding Can Bolster Community

Lostine Tavern Campaign

LIIONS Roaring in Baker, Union and Wallowa Counties

Carol Peppe Hewitt Coming to NE Oregon!

Community Corner

Lisa Dawson,
     Executive Director
Sara Miller,
     Economic Development
Erin Dawson,
     Fiscal Officer
Kristy Athens,
     Outreach Specialist

Elizabeth Burton,
Robert Strope,
     First Vice Chair
Michele Young,
     Second Vice Chair
Mark Bennett,
Mark Davidson,
      Executive Committee
Vicki Searles,
      Executive Committee
Paul Castilleja
Kristen Dollarhide
Deb Gargalis
Tim Kerns
Richard Langrell
Joe McCormack
Susan Roberts
Bill Rosholt

Dennis Sands
Don Waldrop
Jason Yencopal

Board Alternates
Ed Hibbard
Kendra Kirkpatrick
Steve McClure

The Lostine Tavern is well on its way
to re-opening in May 2014!

But Wallowa-County residents
Lynne Curry and Peter Ferré need your help. Support the refurbishment of a landmark building and their commitment to locally grown ingredients by signing onto their crowdfunding campaign.

Click on the ChangeFunder logo below!

LIIONS Roaring in NE Oregon

Local Impact Investing Opportunity Network (LIION) groups are up and running in Baker, Union and Wallowa counties. A LIION is a network of citizens who want to provide educational and networking events in their communities. These networks are interested in strengthening the region's economy by encouraging the retention and investment of capital in the region. Local capital can support neighborhood businesses, catalyze job growth, cause a “dollar-multiplier” effect of their investment (whereby a dollar kept within the community can be spent many times within the community), and strengthen community relationships.

"The Local Impact Investment Opportunities Network is the perfect addition to business success services in Wallowa County and the local region, offering opportunities for local investors to support local businesses on a reasonable and helpful scale," says LIION member Catherine Matthias.

LIIONs will periodically host public events to provide education and networking opportunities. They will also host member events for citizens who want to learn more, get to know each other better, and be part of events that feature presentations from individual businesses on their history, products and services. The LIION does not offer deals, host business pitches or give investment advice. It is up to the individual to decide if they want to meet with a business outside the LIION events. Individuals interested in supporting local businesses may consider simple loans (debt), partial ownership stakes (equity), and several other types of investment tools. In all cases, the agreement is made solely and directly between an individual and an entrepreneur or business owner.

"I actively work for resilience, sustainability, and flexibility in our local society and economy,” says LIION member Walter Smith. “The LIION vision & strategy offers ways we can introduce two central kinds of civic actors we most need here–investors and business-builders. Most of these folks are already here. We [in the LIION] help them find one another."

One of the key components of the Community Capital Collaborative is to provide opportunities for businesses and individual investors to be informed about the options, risks, and benefits of local investing. NEOEDD will be offering a variety of classes to increase the knowledge base and understanding of businesses and investors interested in participating in the community capital system, beginning in May and June–watch for more information in future newsletters.

If you are interested in participating in the networks, or attending future public events, please contact Lisa Dawson at 541-426-3598 or If you want to be added to a special Community Capital mailing list, please contact

Current LIION volunteers:
Baker County: Larry Abell, Rosemary Abell, Debi Bainter, Tom Hutchison, Ann Mehaffy, Nancy Peyron, Lori Rowland, Bob Savage, Terry Schumacker
Union County: Lisa Ladendorff, John Lackey, Warren Rush, Randy Jones, Charlie Mitchell
Wallowa County: David Cook, Ingrid Cook, Catherine Matthias, Ed Pitts, Walter Smith



Save the Date!

Carol Peppe Hewitt, author of Financing Our Foodshed, will speak in Baker City on the evening of Monday, June 2, in Enterprise at noon on Tuesday, June 3, and in
La Grande the evening of June 3.

Community Corner

If you missed the recent Friends of Family Farmers listening sessions, you can still submit your comments regarding an update of the Agricultural Reclamation Act via their website. Click here to participate.

Growing Farms: Successful Small Farm Management course is being offered in April, for the first time in Eastern Oregon! The registration deadline was March 28, but check for cancellations and get on the email list for next time. Click here for more information.

WorkForce Oregon is looking for business owners to attend a strategy session on April 9 to shape the future of the agency. Click here for more information.

The next Baker Pub Talk features Liz McLellan speaking about "Crowdfunding and the Power of Networks," Wednesday, April 16, at 5:30 p.m. at the Bull Ridge Brew Pub. $5. Email Gene Stackle for more information.

City and county governments, and nonprofits, it's time to submit your projects for NEOEDD's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) by April 18. Click here for more information.

The deadline for CoverOregon has been extended to April 30. Click here for more information.

Oregon Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Finance workshop on May 6 in La Grande. Click here for more information.

Blue Mountain Occupational Safety and Health Conference takes place June 3 in Pendleton. Click here for more information. 

Save the dates! Oregon Rural Action presents the SolWest Fair June 27-29 at the Union County Fairgrounds. Click here for more information.

NEOEDD Board News: Welcome, new board member Kristen Dollarhide! Kristen is the executive director of the Union County Chamber of Commerce. Congratulations to our new board chair, Elizabeth Burton! And thanks to Dennis Sands, former chair, for his service. See the sidebar for other seats on the executive committee.

NEOEDD’s mission is to provide resources and facilitate quality
decision-making for the benefit of entrepreneurs, businesses,
and communities in Baker, Union and Wallowa counties.
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