ShoreBank's New Market Tax Credits will be a boon to our communitiesShoreBank is bringing lasting impact to our region. Our May 24 edition carried news about ShoreBank Enterprise Pacific's infusion of $4.8 million to two regional projects. These investments were unconventional and would not have occurred without the involvement of ShoreBank Enterprise Pacific.

The funds came via the federal New Markets Tax Credit program. The Bank of Astoria and Wells Fargo Bank provided investment capital.

ShoreBank Enterprise Pacific is a nonprofit affiliate of Chicago-based ShoreBank Corp. Both institutions make community development loans, and ShoreBank Enterprise Pacific, because of its nonprofit status, can do things that are prohibitive for banks. Of the New Markets Tax Credit program, Bank of Astoria President Cheri Folk said: "Projects could be funded through this mechanism that otherwise wouldn't have been funded."

The parent ShoreBank of Chicago has loaned into economically depressed urban neighborhoods as well as into developing nations worldwide. ShoreBank Enterprise Pacific makes loans into the natural resources economy of rural areas of the Pacific Northwest.

ShoreBank of Chicago entered the Pacific Northwest in 1995 with Ecotrust, a Portland-based conservation organization, to demonstrate that jobs and the environment were achievable in coastal communities.

One of ShoreBank's early ventures in our region involved loan participation in the environmental remediation of the polluted former Astoria Plywood Coop site. The Bank of Astoria also participated in the clean-up, which created the Mill Pond project.

Credit is the key to a community's progress. Many rural areas languish because so much of what they need done does not fit neatly into conventional lending policy. ShoreBank's presence in the Columbia-Pacific region has helped reverse that trend. The New Market Tax Credits program will be a boon to our communities.