Springfield-based Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation, or NEDCO, will merge with a Corvallis-based agency that develops affordable housing and provides other services.

The merger of NEDCO and Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services will be completed in 1½ to 2 years, according to both nonprofit organizations.

NEDCO, formed in 1979, develops housing and helps with home ownership, but much of its focus is on strengthening the economic well-being of individuals, small businesses and communities.

WNHS, founded in 1991, develops affordable renter- and owner-occupied housing, helps people buy first homes, and operates the Linn Benton Health Equity Alliance. WNHS operates in Benton, Linn and Lincoln Counties.

The boards of directors of both groups approved the merger Nov. 9.

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