New website aims to lure firms to east Clark County

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

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The Camas-Washougal Economic Development Association has launched a new website ­ — www.cweda.org — aimed at catching the eye of prospective employers, immersing them in videos about the region’s attractions and offering a searchable property database.

The nonprofit association — a creation of the Port of Camas-Washougal and the cities of Camas and Washougal —said Thursday the website has been designed as a tool to recruit businesses to the area. Its features include:

• A searchable database showing properties for lease or sale. “Interested parties can use their specific needs as search criteria to see properties available locally,” Paul Dennis, president and CEO of CWEDA, said in a news release. Brokers and property owners may add their information to the database.

• Videos showcasing the port, Washougal and Camas, including the communities’ livability and business opportunities. The videos were shot and produced last summer by Los Angeles-based IGO Films.

• An e-book app, developed in partnership with students in Washington State University Vancouver’s Creative Media and Digital Culture Program, that allows viewers to learn about east Clark County and the businesses that have set up shop there.

The website represents the latest effort by CWEDA to raise awareness of the Camas-Washougal area and to generate economic-development projects. The organization also recently hired a consultant to investigate the feasibility of tapping the federal New Markets Tax Credit program to spur private investment and to create jobs in low-income communities.

The port and the cities of Camas and Washougal launched CWEDA in 2011, allocating $200,000 to pay for the nonprofit. The port set aside $100,000 (money it routed to CWEDA from a staff position it cut), and the cities each kicked in $50,000.

Dennis said CWEDA’s new website “projects the quality of our organization, as well as our communities and port district.”

The website, developed by Vancouver-based ClearSight Studio, also makes clear that CWEDA will help businesses work through the permitting process and identify local, state and federal incentives. Additionally, the website features demographic, job and workforce data.