WASHINGTON (KTVZ) -- Sens. Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., announced Monday that Portland’s airport will receive a major federal investment to ensure its runway survives a major earthquake, along with other emergency preparedness funds, including $750,000 toward a regional emergency training and coordination center in Redmond.
The funding was among a range of federal investments in Oregon’s emergency preparedness, public safety, and economic development included in the 2022 omnibus spending bill, which has now been signed into law by President Biden, according to the lawmakers' news release, which continues in full below.
Senator Merkley, a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee that wrote the bill, and Senator Wyden fought to make sure Oregon’s priorities were reflected in the bill.
“I joined the Appropriations Committee to turn the input from Oregonians into solutions that meet our needs and support our communities,” said Merkley. “This bill includes bipartisan investments in our small businesses, strengthens disadvantaged communities, and ensures Oregon’s ports and emergency centers are able to keep Oregonians safe. I will continue to use my seat on this committee to push for the resources that will make a difference for Oregonians.”
“Keeping all Oregon communities safe, and investing federal funds to grow opportunities for BIPOC small businesses statewide are two priorities that come up during my conversations with Oregonians in town halls and grocery store aisles,” said Wyden. “I’m glad this bill helps achieve these key objectives throughout our state. And I’ll keep battling to meet the needs throughout Oregon for both emergency preparedness, and investment in underserved communities.”
“It is rewarding that our Native American and BIPOC-owned small businesses will benefit from these funding awards,” said Blumenauer, “I am also pleased to support Oregon communities and the Port of Portland in improving their emergency operations and resilience.”
Merkley is the only Oregon member of Congress from either chamber since Senator Mark Hatfield to serve on the Appropriations Committee, considered to be one of the most powerful on Capitol Hill. He joined the committee in 2013 so that Oregon would have a strong voice in decisions about the investments our nation should be making.
Merkley and Wyden secured in the bill federal funding for disaster preparedness, economic development, and airport infrastructure projects throughout Oregon, including:
- With support from Rep. Blumenauer, $3.75 million for Port of Portland to support the construction of seismic resilient runway at PDX to survive a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.
- $1 million for Economic Development Alliance of Lincoln County to establish a Blue Economy Hub to encourage economic growth in coastal Oregon.
- $750,000 for The North Northeast Business Associations, in partnership with the Soul District Business Association, to provide financial assistance for minority owned businesses.
- $400,000 for Oregon Native American Chamber to support the establishment of an economic development center to encourage entrepreneurial success of BIPOC-owned businesses.
- $104,000 for Oregon Native American Chamber to provide technical assistance to Native American small businesses and entrepreneurs.
- $1 million for Benton County to establish a new Emergency Operations Center.
- $750,000 for Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council to support the development of a new Emergency Operations Center in Central Oregon.
"We are so thankful to Senators Merkley and Wyden for their efforts in securing funding for the Oregon Ocean Innovation Hub," said Paul Schuytema, Executive Director of the Economic Development Alliance of Lincoln County. "We have a genuine opportunity to grow our Blue Sector economy along the entire Oregon Coast, with partners and projects that will make an impact. With a graying maritime workforce and an accelerating innovation and entrepreneurial climate, the time is now to set a stake in the sand to leverage our Blue assets to build something lasting for the future."
“Small businesses are the backbone of any community, and Black and minority-owned businesses play a crucial role in Portland’s economy and the fabric of our neighborhoods,” said Soul District Business Association Executive Director, John Washington. “Our mission at Soul District Business Association [formerly N/NE Bus Assoc] is to implement and raise the perception that anyone and any business can be capable, significant and influential. Thank you Senator Merkley for fighting for small businesses and business owners. This investment will allow us to develop and foster life formulas for a successful living to help support and uplift other marginalized and disadvantaged business owners in our community, and help them reach their full potential.”
“We appreciate Congressman Blumenauer and Senators Merkley and Wyden for their support of our request for community project funding for the design of a seismically resilient runway at PDX,” said Curtis Robinhold, Executive Director, Port of Portland. “The Port of Portland is deeply committed to supporting state and community needs during a crisis. A resilient runway at PDX—one that can withstand the effects of liquefaction—could be an essential lifeline for many Oregonians. This federal funding, combined with additional state funding received in 2021, will allow the Port to keep this critical project moving forward.”
“The Benton County Commissioners are immensely grateful and excited about the recent funding passed in the 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill,” said Board Chair, Nancy Wyse. “This funding will directly support construction of a state-of-the-art Emergency Operations Center that will support emergency response in our region and serve local communities for many years to come. It has been a collaborative and educational experience to work with our Congressional Delegation, and we express our gratitude for their support and investment into Oregon’s communities.”
“The time to prepare for a disaster is not at the time of the event,” said Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council Executive Director Tammy Baney. “This funding is critical to establishing a regional joint command center capable of responding to disasters not only in Central Oregon, but the entire State of Oregon. This facility will also double as a year-round training facility for our regional public safety professionals, alleviating the costly need to travel out of area to keep current with their training requirements. Thank you to Senators Merkley and Wyden for their unwavering support of this important infrastructure investment.
The ambitious project planned on Deschutes County-owned property near the Redmond Airport, on the former Redmond Rod & Gun Range Club shooting range property, will be an emergency coordination center that at full buildout could cost $100 million.
Scott Aycock, community and economic development director with COIC, told NewsChannel 21 on Monday they now have raised more than half of the $41 million cost for the first phase of the project. More details are due to be released shortly, he said..