Merkley and Wyden Announce Passage of Critical Affordable Housing, Transportation Infrastructure Investments for Oregon in 2024 Funding Package

Funding included in the FY24 minibus appropriations package champions affordable housing, infrastructure projects, small ports, and more.

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced major investments to expand affordable, rural, and veterans housing options and boost transportation infrastructure—including over $75 million in funding for 44 critical community-initiated projects across the state—have passed through the fiscal year 2024 (FY24) minibus funding package. This six-bill package cleared both chambers of Congress last week and was quickly signed into law by President Biden.

Successfully pushing back against the most extreme funding cuts and policy riders proposed by House Republicans, Merkley and Wyden secured the investments in the FY24 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) bill.

The THUD funding bill will also support programs and projects throughout the state that help address the affordable housing crisis and keep Oregonians moving with reliable transportation infrastructure.

“As I hold a town hall in each of Oregon’s 36 counties every year, I hear firsthand from folks about what matters most to them, including the need to take on the affordable housing crisis, build drought resilience, and move the state faster to a renewable energy future,” Merkley said. “The funding included in these bills for programs and critical community-initiated projects will benefit Oregonians in every corner of the state for years to come.”

“These crucial federal investments will help more Oregonians secure a roof over their heads as well as make it easier for workers to commute and for small businesses to get their goods to markets,” Wyden said. “I’m gratified the teamwork with Oregonians who shared their priorities with me and Senator Merkley in town halls and other settings has generated such solid housing and transportation gains for communities across Oregon.”

Merkley is the only Oregon member of Congress from either chamber since Senator Mark Hatfield to serve on the Appropriations Committee, which wrote the bill and is one of the most powerful committees 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.

The 44 community-initiated projects championed by Merkley and Wyden that passed in the THUD portion of the FY24 minibus funding package—with the support of members of Oregon’s congressional delegation in the House of Representatives—are as follows:

  • $6 million for the Bend Municipal Airport to construct a new air traffic control tower in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration requirements that will enhance aviation safety in Central Oregon, serving to deconflict aircraft operating in the congested airspace around Bend. Secured with support from Rep. Chavez-DeRemer.
  • $5.7 million for the City of Bend’s Hawthorne Avenue Pedestrian and Bicyclist Overcrossing project which will construct a pedestrian and bicycle bridge that safely connects the east and west sides of Bend. Secured with support from Rep. Chavez-DeRemer.
  • $5 million for TriMet to construct a new facility that will be a critical hub for powering and maintaining hundreds of zero-emissions busses, key to achieving TriMet’s commitment to a zero-emissions fleet by 2040. 
  • $4 million for the City of North Bend to help demolish the old Coos County annex and construct affordable workforce housing for critically needed workers in education, public safety, logistics, and the healthcare industry. 
  • $4 million for the Port of Hood River to help replace the Hood River/White Salmon Bridge. This lifeline across the Columbia River is almost 100 years old, inadequately sized, and dangerous to both bridge users and river traffic that pass between its narrowly placed piers. Funding will cover early-phase costs of the project, including right-of-way acquisition and mitigation for impacts to tribal fishing access during construction, with the goal of breaking ground in 2025.
  • $4 million for the Port of Portland to complete necessary infrastructure improvements to redevelop the Port’s former Marine Terminal 2 into a housing innovation campus. This will become a housing hub for innovators to collaborate on ways to address the affordable housing crisis by improving the housing construction industry and creating more housing options. The Innovation Campus is expected to create about 17,000 good-paying jobs for rural, urban, and BIPOC communities and work to provide housing for working families and those on fixed incomes. Secured with support from Rep. Bonamici.
  • $4 million for the City of Oregon City’s Abernethy Green Access Project to modernize road systems and provide easier, safer access to community, retail, and entertainment facilities. Secured with support from Rep. Chavez-DeRemer.
  • $3.589 million for Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) to ensure a right-of-way acquisition and design for a new roundabout at the intersection of OR-99W and NE McDougall Rd/OR18 in rural Yamhill County. This roundabout would address serious safety issues at this high-speed, unsignalized intersection. Secured with support from Rep. Salinas.
  • $3 million for the Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation to develop affordable housing in The Dalles on Chenowith Loop. The 75-unit building will provide housing and services to veterans, families, and households experiencing severe and persistent mental health challenges.
  • $2.8 million for ODOT’s OR 22: Rural Community Enhanced Crossings (Mill City, Gates, and Idanha) project in Marion County. Funds will be used to design and construct enhanced pedestrian crossings in the rural communities of Mill City, Gates, and Idanha in the Santiam Canyon, all of which were severely impacted by the 2020 Labor Day fires. Oregon Highway 22 runs through these communities creating pedestrian safety issues throughout the Canyon. Secured with support from Rep. Chavez-DeRemer.
  • $2.349 million for the City of Portland to improve two of the highest-risk, high-crash intersections in East Portland that are located along SE 112th Avenue. By targeting these dangerous intersections, the city aims to update pedestrian infrastructure with the mission to increase pedestrian safety at these intersections. Secured with support from Rep. Blumenauer.
  • $2 million for the City of Portland to help with construction costs for its Barbur Apartments project in Southwest Portland. This development will offer 149 family-focused affordable rental units between one and four bedrooms, serving extremely low and low-income households. Secured with support from Rep. Bonamici.
  • $2 million for Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives Inc for its project to provide 75 units of multigenerational, affordable rental housing on the historic Williams and Russel block in inner Northeast Portland to help reverse displacement of BIPOC and low-income families who owned property and lived in the neighborhood before their homes were unjustly taken from them by the City fifty years ago.
  • $1.616 million for the City of Beaverton’s Downtown Loop Project,which aims to improve the walkability, access, safety and overall experience of all those using the city’s 20-block downtown core. Secured with support from Rep. Bonamici.
  • $1.577 million for Marion County to make safety improvements including a highway safety median and median barriers along the McKay/Yergen/Ehlen Road – corridor with high crash activity and an average of two fatalities per year. Secured with support from Rep. Salinas.
  • $1.565 million for DevNW to build 54 Community Land Trust (CLT) affordable homes in Corvallis. The homes will be 2-3 bedrooms and sold to low-to-moderate income families. The homes will be permanently affordable for subsequent Oregon homebuyers, helping to address the urgent affordable housing crisis in Benton County.
  • $1.5 million for Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity to construct 15 permanently affordable townhomes for workforce families. Due to soaring home prices in Central Oregon, workforce families are being priced out of the housing market. With this permanent affordability model, this investment supports not only these 15 homes and families, supporting each family who lives in the homes in perpetuity. After the completion of this project, Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity will have built 230 homes in Bend and Redmond since 1989, 71 of which are permanently affordable.
  • $1.5 million for the Pendleton Children’s Center to purchase and renovate a building next to their current facility in Pendleton to provide more space for childcare. Affordable, reliable, and high-quality childcare is much needed in Pendleton and is necessary to allow parents to join the workforce or to further their own education. The center’s goal is to help address this issue by enrolling a total of 150 children, in comparison to the current 36.
  • $1.5 million for the Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center and Rosemary Anderson High School to complete a two-acre mass timber community redevelopment called the Sunrise Learning Center. The property is in the diverse and economically disadvantaged Rockwood district. It will serve as a hub for small, locally owned businesses and community organizations, educational facilities for vulnerable youth, and affordable housing designed in collaboration with the community.
  • $1.116 million for the City of Springfield to fund the full construction of nearly one mile of Mill Street. The stretch serves as a collector for homes and some businesses, while providing access to Centennial Boulevard and Main Street, which are two key Springfield arterial streets. This improvement will increase accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists by addressing pedestrian crossings, bring curb ramps up to meet ADA standards, and fill in key gaps in the Springfield bicycle network. Secured with support from Rep. Hoyle.
  • $1 million for the Port of Astoria’s Pier 2 West Rehabilitation project, to include replacing an elevated timber dock structure with a seawall-and-backfill pier with far more strength to survive natural hazards than the existing timber dock. Secured with support from Rep. Bonamici.
  • $1 million for Neighborhood House, Inc.—Portland’s largest food pantry on the west side and the only senior center in Southwest Multnomah County— for construction costs to renovate a newly-acquired building. This project will allow for program expansion, including developing a consortium of food providers that will serve as a centralized hub for combating hunger through shared resources and greater efficiency.
  •  $946,956 for the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District (THPRD) to improve emergency preparedness infrastructure for wildfire and disaster response These funds will support the installation of equipment in seven buildings, enabling them to serve as safe air-filtered cooling and warming centers during wildfires and extreme weather; purchase technology to maintain communication across the district in emergencies; and conduct seismic and solar evaluations of the Fanno Creek Service Center, THPRD’s emergency operations hub. Secured with support from Rep. Bonamici.
  • $900,000 for the City of Forest Grove for their project to install three 100 KW solar arrays at community facilities. This will reduce energy costs for low-income customers while reducing fossil gas dependence and combatting economic inequity.
  • $850,000 to help ODOT fund the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail: Perham Creek to Mitchell Creek project. The investment will advance construction in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Completion of this critical trail segment would create a full 7.5-mile continuous Historic Columbia Highway State Trail allowing pedestrians and cyclists to travel between Wyeth Trailhead and a reconstructed Mitchell Point Tunnel. Secured with support from Rep. Blumenauer.
  •  $850,000 for the City of Forest Grove to improve the local portion of the Tualatin Valley (TV) Highway. This will fund installation of a mid-block crossing to connect a low-income and historically disadvantaged community to transit and commercial options and installation of an enhanced bikeway to allow bicyclists to travel the corridor safely. This major stretch in rural Washington County is among the riskiest arterials statewide, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). Secured with support from Rep. Bonamici.
  • $850,000 for the City of Hillsboro’s Year-Round Shelter Project. These funds will support construction costs of a 24/7 shelter for homeless and housing-unstable community members. The shelter is designed to offer a diverse range of sheltering and wrap-around service options for single adults and couples, estimated to provide up to 75 beds and replace current short-term safe Rest Pods the city offers to homeless community members. Secured with support from Rep. Bonamici.
  • $850,000 for the City of McMinnville’s Third Street Improvement Project. The funding will help advance the project’s goals of improving McMinnville’s downtown corridor including sidewalk reconstruction that will improve mobility, safety, and accessibility in the city’s historic core commercial district. Secured with support from Rep. Salinas.
  • $850,000 for the City of Salem to update the Salem Airport.  This funding will build on the city’s investment to improve the air passenger occupancy and efficiency at the Salem Airport terminal by adding more gates, gate seating, and a new expanded baggage claim area and additional restroom facilities. All of these updates will enhance the Airport’s capacity and improve passenger experience. Secured with support from Rep. Salinas.
  • $850,000 for Clackamas County to make Mt. Hood Transit enhancements. The project will fund transit improvements including a new park and ride facility, improved transit stops, and the construction of public restrooms. These improvements work toward a shared goal of improving and expanding transportation services to Mt. Hood – a popular travel and recreation destination.  Secured with support from Rep. Blumenauer.
  •  $850,000 for Friends of the Children Portland to construct the National Center of Excellence for Paid Professional Mentoring. This Center will promote Friend’s model and provide training and technical support for professional paid mentorship services. Secured with support from Rep. Blumenauer.
  • $775,000 toward construction for the relocation and expansion of the Ella Curran Food Bank in Polk County.  This project will allow the Food Bank to continue to serve as a safety net against hunger and food insecurity amid increasing community need.
  • $750,000 for Williams & Russell Community Development Corporation (CDC) for its project to construct a 20-unit townhouse-style condominium development that will be affordable to families and prioritizes housing Black community members as an effort to foster restorative justice for their displacement from this block 50 years ago.
  • $650,000 for the City of Sutherlin to acquire and develop a 13-acre parcel and 17,000-sq. foot building to provide emergency shelter and supportive, wrap-around services to address health, financial, or other barriers to securing stable housing for people experiencing homelessness in Sutherlin, Oregon.
  • $500,000 for the African Youth & Community Organization (AYCO) to go toward finalizing construction of a community center which will continue providing culturally specific, safe spaces for East African immigrants in Portland. 
  • $500,000 for Community Action Resource Enterprises, Inc. (CARE) to renovate an existing building to serve as Tillamook County’s first low-barrier navigation center for people experiencing homelessness. The center will be co-located with employment, support, and case management services.
  • $500,000 to help support the Salem Area Mass Transit District’s South Salem Transit Center Mobility Hub to increase city-wide connectivity. This new multi-modal mobility hub will include local and regional fixed-route buses, paratransit vehicles, and neighborhood circulators. Notably it will be designed with flexibility to accommodate micro-transit, transportation network company vehicles, bike share/scooter share, bicycles, pedestrians, and an area for easy drop-off and pick-up for connections between car and bus. Secured with support from Rep. Salinas.
  • $500,000 for the City of Independence’s Chestnut Street Bridge and Collector Road Extension Project, which seeks to construct a bridge across the South Fork of Ash Creek. This project will increase transportation system capacity, provide an additional road out of the community, and most importantly, facilitate significant housing development in one of the last large tracts of developable land in Independence.   Secured with support from Rep. Salinas.
  •  $500,000 for the City of Portland to remove and replace unsound light posts in city parks. These funds will be used to replace aging light poles that may pose a life and safety hazard to the public, replacing them with energy-efficient, Dark-Sky compliant, and historically consistent lighting in Portland Parks. Secured with support from Rep. Blumenauer.
  • $500,000 for the City of Tigard to renovate a public library into an emergency heating and cooling center that will serve as a vital community resource in dangerous weather for people experiencing homelessness.  Secured with support from Rep. Salinas.
  • $500,000 for the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde to develop the Grand Ronde Resident and Recreation Center. This project will support the construction of a recreation center within the Grand Ronde Tribe’s housing community and will provide new recreation areas for health and wellness in this growing community. Secured with support from Rep. Salinas.
  • $500,000 for the Family Justice Center of Washington County to construct a multi-service center in the county to support survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse in one location. Secured with support from Rep. Bonamici.
  • $400,000 for the Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation for their projects to secure wildlife crossings on I-5 in Southern Oregon, which bisects the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The funding will complete design and engineering for fencing to accompany two high-priority wildlife overcrossings in the region renowned for its remarkable ecology and diverse range of biological resources.
  • $220,000 for the Travel Information Council (TIC) to install panels of tribal-approved historical interpretation in 12 safety rest areas in Oregon. Currently, travelers stopping at rest areas in Eastern Oregon along I-84 have access to informational kiosks that feature the Oregon Trail. The funds will be used to update the text of these kiosks to be more accurate and more comprehensively describe the landscapes and the people along the Oregon Trail—both those newly arriving as well as those who had already lived here for millennia.

For quotes from community-initiated project recipients included in the THUD portion of the FY24 minibus funding package, click HERE.

Other key funding in the THUD portion includes:

Affordable Housing: As rural and urban communities across Oregon continue to experience housing crises, the bill includes an increase for affordable housing programs for some of Oregon’s most vulnerable people—low-income families, seniors, and people living with disabilities, including $8.811 billion for housing unit specific rental assistance. The THUD bill also protects funding for housing programs that benefit the elderly and people living with disabilities.

Rural Housing: The Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) and Rural Capacity Building Program received $12 million and $5 million, respectively. SHOP provides funds for non-profit, sweat-equity homebuilders—such as Habitat for Humanity—to cover land purchases and infrastructure costs. The Rural Capacity funds are intended to build the capacity of rural low-income housing non-profits by providing training, information, technical assistance, and financing.

HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing: The program received $620 million to provide rental assistance vouchers for homeless veterans, along with case management and clinical services. To prevent veteran homelessness, this agreement includes $775 million for Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF). This funding will sustain rental vouchers for veterans experiencing homelessness, and when combined with prior year appropriations and available unleased vouchers, has the potential to reduce veteran homelessness.

Homeless Assistance and Prevention: The THUD funding bill includes $4.1 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, a $418 million increase that will benefit organizations across Oregon. Within that funding, rapid rehousing programs for victims of domestic violence will receive an additional $52 million; homeless youth programs will receive $107 million; and Emergency Solutions Grants—particularly important to the Portland metro area—will receive $290 million to support street outreach, emergency shelter, homelessness prevention, and rapid re-housing assistance.

HOME Investment Partnerships Program: The THUD funding bill includes $1.25 billion for the program to provide states and localities with flexible resources to respond to their affordable housing challenges, including rental housing and paths to homeownership for low-income families.

Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation: The program, also known as NeighborWorks America, received $158 million in the funding bill. The national nonprofit offers support for affordable housing and community development through public-private partnerships.

Community Development: The bipartisan THUD funding bill includes $3.3 billion for the Community Development Block Grant Program. This program funds vital housing rehabilitation, supportive services, public improvements, and economic development projects in communities across Oregon and the nation, while encouraging local investment.

With half of the key government funding bills for FY24 now passed by Congress and signed into law, Merkley and Wyden will keep working to ensure the remaining six funding bills follow suit later in the month, preventing steep cuts to programs and projects Oregon families rely on. Passing these bills is necessary to avoid a partial government shutdown that would be harmful to communities across the state and nation.