UAV/UAS Companies in the Columbia Gorge Region Participate in ICAP Launch!

Innovation Cluster Accelerator logoThe ICAP (Innovative Cluster Accelerator Program) Launch program is run by the WA Dept. of Commerce to support the development of industry ecosystems and potential innovation clusters in Washington state, and is designed to support regional and rural economic development.

MCEDD has been awarded a capacity-building grant from WA Dept of Commerce to lead this program for the Uncrewed Aerial Systems/Vehicles (UAS/UAV) industry ecosystem in Klickitat and Skamania Counties, with inclusion of our Oregon Gorge counties/ companies as well. The program will foster learning and implementation of strategies and techniques to drive collaborative action, begin building an innovation cluster strategy, and position the industry’s networks to pursue private and public investment for collaborative projects.

MCEDD will be working closely with the Gorge Tech Alliance, UAV companies and economic development partners from July 2023 through May 2024. Let us know if you’d like to get involved! Learn more about ICAP Launch here.  


November 2023

ICAP Launch Meeting November 2023Local stakeholders in the Gorge’s UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) sector, including representatives from industry, government and academia, met this month to begin working towards the goals of the Gorge’s UAS innovation cluster. Participants engaged in discussions about obstacles to growth and brainstormed innovative ways to collaborate in addressing these challenges. These fruitful conversations have begun building a sense of optimism and momentum for the future, growing from the enhanced cooperation and collaboration opportunities that the ICAP Launch project provides. 

Robotics Program

Thanks to several generous Google Community Grants, the GTA has a program to loan LEGO Mindstorms NXT robotics kits and laptops to schools and youth groups around the Gorge! This program ties into the GTA’s goal to provide tech educational opportunities for the community.

The kits are a great way to teach introductory computer programming skills and get kids excited about science and engineering.  Kits also come with laptops equipped with the software to run the robots.  The classroom set (12 robots/ laptops) is available for one-month loans.

The GTA’s Youth Robotics Program activities also include:

  • Management of the Columbia Gorge FIRST® LEGO® League Qualifying Tournaments, usually in December (watch a video about our 2011 Tournaments here),
  • Teacher/ mentor or youth workshops on the equipment,
  • Organization of robotics exhibitions, and
  • Management of – the online resource for youth robotics in the Columbia Gorge, including resources for students, parents, teachers and the community. Be sure to visit this website for even more information about youth robotics activities in the Gorge!

To borrow the robotics kits or otherwise get involved, contact Jessica or call her at 541-296-2266.

Life in the Gorge

Life in the Gorge

GTA Members work hard on their businesses with the strong growth of the Gorge’s tech sector as proof. They also know how important it is to balance work with play, particularly when it comes to taking advantage of the world-class recreational resources in the Gorge.  Mountain biking, hiking, kayaking, rafting, skiing, windsurfing, kiteboarding and much more are all right here.

Legislative Outreach

Legislative Outreach

In 2010, the GTA met with a number of our regional legislators on the campaign trail. Seen here in a meeting with Senator Ron Wyden, GTA Members explain the needs and opportunities for growth and needs of the Gorge tech business sector. The GTA engages with our representatives from the local to federal level on an as-needed basis to ensure the voice of the tech sector is heard.

A True Region

A True Region

Oregon or Washington? Why choose? The Gorge is a true region where people live, work and play not just across city or county lines, but across state lines as well. When considering where to locate your business in the Gorge, of course different state incentives and tax structures will inform your final decision, but the Gorge as whole functions as a strong coordinated region for the economic betterment of everyone, no matter the zip code.