From a small northwestern observatory…

Finance and economics generally focused on real estate

Great news!

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I am particularly pleased to announce (brag?) that the Washington State Economic Development Finance Authority (WEDFA) will be honored with the Excellence in Development Finance Award by the Council of Development Finance Agencies at the upcoming National Development Finance Summit.

I’ve had the very real pleasure of serving as a Director of WEDFA for several years now, at the behest of Governor Jay Inslee.  WEDFA is an independent agency within the executive branch of state government, created by the state legislature to act as a financial conduit to businesses through the issuance of nonrecourse revenue bonds.

WEDFA was honored for the Columbia Pulp project, a wheat straw-to-paper pulp facility in Columbia County, Washington. Farms in this area (known as the Palouse region) generate post-harvest wheat straw in quantities too large to effectively till back into the soil. This represents a very real waste issue for the region. A significant portion of that wheat straw will go into an environmentally friendly pulping operation developed and commercialized by Columbia Pulp I. Paper pulp will be sold on the open pulp markets. One major use of the project’s output is expected to be compostable food containers and straws. Although not yet in full commercial operation, the project has brought about 100 new long-term industrial jobs to a county of 2,000 people. Project construction activity also added a powerful two-year economic stimulus to the area.

The Columbia Pulp I project was made possible by a coordinated efforts of institutions and individuals, including wheat farmers, scientists, mill specialists, institutional debt investors, equity investors, local economic development groups, tax credit providers and state and local government. The Washington Economic Development Finance Authority was able to facilitate the project’s debt financing through the issuance of $198,755,000 of Environmental Facilities Revenue Bonds. The bonds were issued in three limited sales to institutional investors, the final piece of which was issued in 2019.

“This year’s recipients are model examples of what is currently taking place in the development finance industry. We are proud and excited to honor this year’s recipients at the 2019 National Summit in Tampa, Florida” said Toby Rittner, President & CEO of the Council of Development Finance Agencies.

Written by johnkilpatrick

November 1, 2019 at 3:07 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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