Economic Development

Program Overview  |  Committees  |  Plans & Studies
Data / Information  |  Calendar  |  Resources  |  Contact Staff

Program Overview

By attracting new business and industry, helping existing businesses to survive and grow, and pursuing improvements to public and private infrastructure, economic development promotes a healthy economy and quality standard of living.  Typical economic development objectives focus on creating conditions that lead to stable employment, sustainable wages, and tax revenues to pay for public services and facilities.  As economic development efforts are highly tailored to individual communities’ assets and needs, there is no cookie-cutter recipe in terms of successful strategies, policies, or programs. Broadly, economic development encompasses three major areas:

In our region, the CWCOG collaborates with local governments, economic development councils, non-profit agencies and organizations, and the community to address issues and gain resources that advance the region’s economic condition and strengthen its competitive advantages. CWCOG staff researches and monitors trends within Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties, generating a variety of data, information, grant opportunities and resources on behalf of local jurisdictions, businesses and the public.  The CWCOG works to coordinate Economic Development Planning with Transportation Planning to enhance the effectiveness of the effort.


Proposed Two-County Economic Development District (EDD)

The CWCOG was notified in November that the United States Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration has approved the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments’ request for designation as an Economic Development District. 

The EDA plays a critical role in fostering regional economic development efforts through strategic local investments that promote job creation and attract private investments.  The EDA's grant programs in planning, technical assistance, and infrastructure construction are designed to leverage existing regional assets with federal funds to support the implementation of local economic development strategies making it easier to identify new business opportunities and grow the economic base ultimately bringing growth and prosperity to the local communities.

The EDD's are the conduit through which EDA identifies local and regional priorities and applies funding.  Established EDDs made up of private, public, and non-profit sector members create the forum for establishing a strategic blueprint of a regionally driven, economic development planning process; one that will attract new businesses, help existing businesses thrive, promote entrepreneurship, and provide infrastructure improvements. 

Previously, the CWCOG served as the administrative agency of the former three-county EDD (Cowlitz, Lewis, Wahkiakum); dissolved in 2017.  As directed by the CWCOG Board of Directors and the previous EDD's Cowlitz and Wahkiakum Counties' stakeholders, the CWCOG pursued the two-county district.

Longview Revolving Loan Fund

Longview Loan Advisory Board, the City of Longview, and the CWCOG jointly administer a Revolving Loan Fund.  More information on the loan program can be found here

The City of Longview's Revolving Loan Fund has funds available or loans!  The City of Longview administers a below-market rate, variable-term-loan program to assist new and expanding industrial and commercial businesses.  The Revolving Loan Fund is to create new jobs, strengthen the City's and region's economy, encourage revitalization of downtown Longview, and encourage development of the City's Mint Farm Industrial Park and other industrial areas.

Loans are for new, start-up businesses as well as for existing, small-to-large firms desiring to expand or start new product lines.  Projects must be within or near Longview city limits, but the city council may approve firms outside of the city limits.

Contact Bill Fashing at the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments 360-577-3041, Ted Sprague at the Cowlitz Economic Development Council at 360-423-9921, or Joe Phillips at the City of Longview at 360-442-5051 for additional information or to get an application.

The program is operated under a plan as required by the Economic Development Administration.  The current plan can be found here.

Plans & Studies

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Report

The strategic blueprint is called a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Report, and is required by the EDA to convey the EDD's economic development priorities.  The CWCOG is responsible for developing and updating a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) that identifies the public infrastructure, projects, and programs needed to support economic development. The CEDS identifies strategies for improvement in various business and job sectors of the region and includes trends, indicators, and projects that address the region’s economic development goals. The CEDS is required to be updated every five years in conjunction with our many partners throughout the proposed economic development district. A CEDS action plan will be completed annually that includes economic updates, trends, indicators, and projects that support the CEDS five-year goals, objectives, and strategies.

CEDS Documents

The 2018-2022 CEDS document can be viewed here.

Regional Skills Center

2018 Feasibility Study for a branch campus to serve Cowlitz, Wahkiakum, and southern Lewis counties.

Fire & Ice Scenic Loop Corridor Management Plan

The Fire & Ice Scenic Loop Corridor Management Plan catalyzes economic growth in Clark, Lewis, Cowlitz, and Skamania counties. The Fire & Ice loop surrounds Mount St. Helens and includes State Routes 14, 503, 504, and 505; US Hwy. 12; Curly Creek Road; and Wind River Road. The final plan can be viewed here.

The plan, funded by the Federal Highway Administration, identifies cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic features around the loop, as well as strategies to enhance and promote these qualities to encourage more overnight visitor stays. The steering committee and technical teams that worked on the plan crafted recommendations geared to promote tourism, improve traveler safety, and increase access to recreational opportunities.

Related Documents


Top of Page

Data / Information

"Regional Prosperity and a Skilled Workforce" presented by Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council, Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council and Lower Columbia College, was given to a combined meeting of the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments' Board and the Cowlitz-Lewis Economic Development District Board on October 24, 2013.

The CWCOG has recently hosted Economic Development trainings, the most recent being a training on Census Data.  The Census Data training materials from August 3, 2017 are available here.

Top of Page


calendar icon

Libraries are an Entrepreneur's Best Friend

Starting a business is much more complicated than simply hanging a shingle.  Recognizing that small businesses are a critical part of economic growth and recovery, the Longview Public Library has developed a robust program designed to provide small businesses education, support, and resources.  In addition to books

                                 and multimedia on creating and running a business, library staff can direct you to sample business plans, model employee policies, and databases. 

The library also works with SCORE, an organization whose mission is to foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education.  By partnering with the Vancouver SCORE office, the library is offering a series of free workshops scheduled for 2019.  The topics include government licensing and regulations, legal contracts, financing, hiring employees, accounting, paying taxes, marketing, successful selling, and advertising.  Please see the attached flyer with dates, times, and topics.



Top of Page


Top of Page

Contact Staff

For further information, please contact us at, or call 360.577.3041.

Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments
Administration Annex
207 4th Avenue North
Kelso, WA 98626

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Directions to our office

Top of Page