Portland, OR – Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today that included in the Senate Energy and Water Appropriations committee bill is $2 million for Scoggins Dam upgrades, $48 million for small ports and over $300 million for additional port programs.
“The funding included in today’s appropriations bill will be a huge relief to Oregon’s port communities whose economies rely on this local infrastructure and to Washington County, which is situated near one of the most at-risk dams in the nation,” said Merkley. “This news is a great first step towards addressing the safety and economic success of Oregon’s communities.”
”It’s essential that Oregon’s ports large and small receive the funds that support what they do best — generate jobs statewide for commercial fishing, trade and recreation,” Wyden said. “And it’s just as crucial for Scoggins Dam to receive funding that ensures it can remain secure in case of an earthquake. Together, today’s appropriations add up to very good news throughout our state.”
Scoggins Dam has been classified as one of the most seismically at-risk dams that the Bureau of Reclamation manages. This classification means that failure of the dam due to a large earthquake could result in significant damages or even loss of life to communities if the dam is not upgraded.
The Senators also secured additional funding for Oregon’s ports. The bill includes $250 million nationally for deep-draft harbors, $45 million for inland ports, and $23.5 million for navigation maintenance. These funds are used to help pay for dredging costs and to keep critical port infrastructure up to date.
Merkley and Wyden have consistently fought in the Senate to strengthen Oregon’s small ports and make sure that small ports in America receive their fair share of funding. For small coastal communities in Oregon, access to funding for dredging is crucial to the economy. Last year there was $42.5 million in dedicated funding for small ports.
The bill was voted out of committee today on a bipartisan vote. The next steps would be for the bill to be sent to the Senate floor for a full Senate vote, and eventually to be merged with a counterpart bill from the U.S. House of Representatives in order to be passed by both houses and signed into law.