Merkley, Wyden Champion Critical Projects for Oregon Communities in Federal Funding Bills; Nearly $4 Million Coming to Tillamook County Projects

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced July 29, 2022 they secured funding for essential community projects across Oregon in the Fiscal Year 2023 Senate Appropriations bills.

A total of 111 Oregon community-initiated projects were included in the FY23 federal funding bills that will help meet critical needs in every corner of the state, including investing in wildfire and drought resiliency, affordable housing, health care, education, and much more, while creating essential services and jobs.

“No one knows the unique needs of communities across Oregon like the folks living and working in them,” said Merkley, who helped drive inclusion of Oregon projects as the only Oregon member of Congress from either chamber to serve on the Appropriations Committee since Senator Mark Hatfield. “I joined the Committee in 2013 to ensure Oregon has a strong voice in decisions about our nation’s investments. Community-initiated projects are an incredible example of this, because these local and regional projects were generated at the ground level by folks who are working to make their communities better. I am pleased to have worked with my colleagues on the committee and Senator Wyden to secure funding for 111 of these important homegrown projects, and we’ll keep pushing to get them across the finish line for Oregonians.”

“Oregonians have consistently told me during more than 1,000 town halls in each of our 36 counties how federal investments should reflect their priorities to generate jobs in their communities, keep everybody safe and build an even stronger quality of life across the state,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified the teamwork with Oregonians who know their local priorities best has produced such promising federal investments to strengthen communities all across Oregon. Bottom line, our state’s communities are focused on coming together to forge Oregon Way solutions that build a better state just like these targeted investments, and I’ll keep battling to make sure these projects advance.”

Both Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden hold a town hall in each Oregon county every year and work hard to ensure that local feedback informs every aspect of their work in Washington, D.C. This local feedback is directly reflected in the projects that were chosen for potential federal funding in this year’s bills.

Because of Senator Merkley’s position on the powerful Appropriations Committee and key role pushing Oregon priorities in the drafting of the bills, and the collaborative way that Senator Merkley and Wyden work together to advocate for projects from Oregon, last year the two senators were able to secure more projects for their home state than any other senators besides Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The 111 Oregon community-initiated projects were spread out among bills produced by the Appropriations subcommittees, including 20 projects in the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies subcommittee, of which Senator Merkley is Chair. The Senate bills next need to be merged with legislation produced by the House of Representatives, a process expected later in the year. The Senators will continue to advocate that the Oregon projects are included in the combined bill.

Here are the funded projects on the Oregon Coast – Tillamook County projects in bold:

Oregon Coast:

  • $10.528 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Port of Coos Bay Dredging
  • $4 million for the Oregon Department of Administrative Services for Shutter Creek Rehabilitation and Renovations
  • $4 million for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Columbia River Channel Improvements
  • $3 million for Nehalem Bay Health District for its Health Center and Pharmacy
  • $2 million for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office for a Lincoln County Radio System Upgrade
  • $1.2 million for the Oregon Department of Transportation for its US101: Harbor Pedestrian Improvement Project
  • $800,000 for Oregon State University for the Blue-Tech Professional Training Program
  • $750,000 for Columbia Lutheran Charities for Emergency Operations and Logistics Renovations at Columbia Memorial Hospital
  •  $750,000 for the Coquille Indian Tribe for Coquille River Salmon Conservation
  • $702,000 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Umpqua River Project
  • $625,000 for the Tillamook Estuary Partnership for Climate Change Monitoring Instruments
  • $330,000 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Tillamook Bay and Bar Project 
  • $320,000 for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Coquille River
  • $50,000 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the Skipanon Channel Project

“A new, state of the art health care center and pharmacy will truly be a transformative development in north Tillamook County. The new health center/pharmacy will double the size of the current aging facility, allowing better delivery of services including specialty care, to more residents and visitors. The Nehalem Bay Health District is enormously grateful to Senators Merkley and Wyden for understanding and supporting quality health care close to home in rural Oregon,” said Marc C. Johnson, President, Nehalem Bay Health District.

“This funding will enable Tillamook Estuaries Partnership to purchase the instruments and equipment needed to monitor ocean acidification and dissolved oxygen in all five of our estuaries; flooding patterns and carbon sequestration in natural and restored wetlands; water temperatures in upland salmon-bearing rivers and streams; and other water quality and quantity parameters essential to wildlife and our way of life,” said Kristi Foster, PhD, Executive Director, Tillamook Estuaries Partnership. “The information we collect will help us understand local climate impacts and prioritize adaptive, resilient green infrastructure and nature-based projects that enhance the health of our iconic estuaries, environment, and rural communities.”

The funds and projects secured by Senators Merkley and Wyden, broken down by region, can be found here https://www.merkley.senate.gov/news/press-releases/merkley-wyden-champion-critical-projects-for-oregon-communities-in-federal-funding-bills