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Ecotrust putting federal tax credits to work in Oregon

From the Daily Journal of Commerce, April 30, 2013
By Lee Fehrenbacher

Ochoco Lumber Co. was on its last legs.

After more than 80 years in business, the family-owned, Prineville-based company – once hailed as the oldest and fastest growing in Oregon – was staring closure square in the face. It had experienced a perfect storm of market catastrophes.

Federal policy had removed vast swaths of forest from the company’s timberlands, fires had ruined others, and the economy crashed. Housing construction virtually dried up, and in two years the company’s sales dropped from $143 million to less than $30 million. Suddenly, Ochoco Lumber had 49,000 acres of forest and no cash to pay for management.

“I was like the Maytag man,” said Bruce Daucsavage, Ochoco Lumber’s president. “Nobody was coming to visit me in the banking industry – no one. It was very lonely out there.”

Then Daucsavage heard about New Markets Tax Credits and an Oregon organization, Ecotrust, that might be able to provide financing. He reached out.

What followed was an approximately $11 million investment that helped Ochoco Lumber expand its facilities, construct a new biomass production plant and refinance its existing debt – establishing a foothold for future growth. Now, Ecotrust is looking to fuel some more economic fire around the state with a hefty application of collateral kindling.

Last week, a subsidiary, Ecotrust CDE, received $45 million of federal NMTCs. The nonprofit will use the money to invest in creative initiatives that spur economic, social and environmental benefits for rural Northwest communities. Read more »

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