Portland, OR – Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Congressman Kurt Schrader today spoke with the Commandant of the Coast Guard and got assurance from him that the November 30th date previously set for the closure of the Newport helicopter facility would be extended to December 15th. The Coast Guard agreed that this additional time would allow for a more extensive and thorough discussion of the risks to recreational fishing, commercial fishing and other activities on the Central Coast of Oregon. During today’s call the Oregon delegation members declared their intent to use every possible advocacy path to keep the helicopter in Newport, conveying to the Coast Guard that the safety of thousands is at stake.
This comes after Senator Merkley, Congressman Schrader and Congresswoman Bonamici held a press conference earlier today with members of the Newport Fishermen’s Wives, commercial fishermen and coastal first responders in calling on the U.S. Coast Guard to reverse the decision to close the Newport helicopter facility. The three lawmakers have joined with Senator Wyden, Congressman Peter DeFazio and Congressman Earl Blumenauer since the Coast Guard made its closure announcement earlier this month to strongly urge the decision be reversed and to delay the closure to provide more time to seek a long-term solution.