WASHINGTON (KTVZ) – Senators Jeff Merkley, Ron Wyden and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., announced Monday that Portland Airport will receive major federal investment to ensure its runway survives a major earthquake, as well as other emergency preparedness funds, including $750,000 for a regional emergency training and coordination center in Redmond.
The funding was part of a suite 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 the President Biden, according to the lawmakers’ press release, which continues in full below.
Senator Merkley, a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee that drafted the bill, and Senator Wyden fought to ensure that Oregon’s priorities were reflected in the bill.
“I joined the Appropriations Committee to turn contributions from Oregonians into solutions that meet our needs and support our communities,” Merkley said. “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 lobby for resources that will make a difference for the people of Oregon.
“Keeping all Oregon communities safe and investing federal funds to expand opportunities for BIPOC small businesses across the state are two priorities that emerge during my conversations with Oregonians at town halls. and grocery store aisles”, Wyden said. “I am pleased that this bill will help achieve these key goals across our state. And I will continue to fight to meet the needs across Oregon for emergency preparedness and investment in underserved communities.
“It is gratifying that our Native American-owned and BIPOC small businesses are benefiting from these funding scholarships,” said Blumenauer, “I am also excited to support Oregon communities and the Port of Portland in improving their emergency operations and resilience.”
Merkley is the only Oregon congressman from either house since Sen. Mark Hatfield to serve on the appropriations committee, considered 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 investments our nation should make.
Merkley and Wyden secured in the bill federal funding for disaster preparedness, economic development, and airport infrastructure projects throughout Oregon, including:
- With the support of Rep. Blumenauer, $3.75 million for the Port of Portland to support the construction of an earthquake-resistant runway at PDX to survive a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.
- $1 million for the 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 to minority-owned businesses.
- $400,000 to the Oregon Native American Chamber to support the creation of an economic development center to encourage entrepreneurial success for BIPOC-owned businesses.
- $104,000 to the 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 to the Intergovernmental Council of Central Oregon to support the development of a new emergency operations center in central Oregon.
“We are very grateful to Senators Merkley and Wyden for their efforts to secure funding for the Oregon Ocean Innovation Hub,” said Paul Schuytema, executive director of the Lincoln County Economic Development Alliance. “We have a real opportunity to grow our blue sector economy across the Oregon Coast, with partners and projects that will make an impact. With an aging maritime workforce and a climate of innovation and Accelerating entrepreneurship, now is the sand to leverage our blue assets to build something sustainable 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 increase the perception that anyone and any company can be capable, important and influential. Thank you, Senator Merkley, for fighting for small businesses and business owners. This investment will allow us to develop and foster Lifetime Formulas for 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 an earthquake-resistant runway at PDX,” said Curtis Robinhold, executive director of the Port of Portland. “The Port of Portland is deeply committed to meeting state and community needs during a crisis. A PDX-resilient runway 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 enable the port to move this critical project forward.
“Benton County Commissioners are extremely grateful and excited about the recent funding passed in the 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill,” said board chair Nancy Wyse. “This funding will directly support the 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 was a collaborative and educational experience working with our Congressional delegation, and we express our gratitude for their support and investment in Oregon communities.
“The time to prepare for a disaster is not at the time of the event”, said Tammy Baney, executive director of the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council. “This funding is critical to establishing a regional joint command center capable of responding to disasters not just in central Oregon, but across the state of Oregon. This facility will also serve as a year-round training center for our regional public safety professionals, reducing the costly need to travel out of the region to keep up to date with their training requirements. Thank you to Senators Merkley and Wyden for their continued support of this important infrastructure investment.
The ambitious project planned on Deschutes County property near Redmond Airport, on the former property of the Redmond Rod & Gun Range Club, will be an emergency coordination center that, when fully constructed, will could cost $100 million.
Scott Aycock, director of community and economic development at CJOC, told NewsChannel 21 on Monday that they have now raised more than half of the $41 million cost for the first phase of the project. More details are expected to be released soon, he said.