PORTLAND, OR – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley next week will bring “Infrastructure Week” to Oregon—traveling the state to highlight needed infrastructure investments that will be funded in the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the budget reconciliation framework that passed the Senate this week.
“The bipartisan infrastructure deal is a crucial step in the right direction to support the foundations for families to thrive—creating jobs, cleaning up drinking water, making forests more resilient and irrigation more efficient,” Merkley said. “The budget bill that Democrats passed will finish the job of investing in American families: Among many other things, it will tackle the urgent climate crisis and begin to reverse the housing crisis corroding our communities. I look forward to traveling around the state and connecting with Oregonians on this important progress in helping our state and our nation build back better.”
Below find details on events highlighting infrastructure investments in housing, renewable energy, water, forests and irrigation, as well as media opportunities for the infrastructure week, Aug. 16 – 20.
Housing infrastructure: Merkley will kick off the week with a roundtable, hosted by Portland State University’s Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative, on housing issues, including the urgent need to implement the housing infrastructure provisions in the reconciliation framework. Media are invited to attend the roundtable on Monday, Aug. 16, 9 a.m., on Zoom. Please RSVP for the meeting link.
Renewable energy infrastructure: Following his push to include bold climate action in the infrastructure bills, Merkley will visit an electric truck charging station developed by PGE and Daimler Trucks, and will tour ESS Inc., an Oregon manufacturer of long-duration energy storage systems critical for storing renewable energy. The senator will also stop by the construction site for PacWave, an open ocean wave energy testing facility being developed by Oregon State University that will be located seven miles offshore south of Newport.
Water infrastructure: Merkley secured a half-billion dollars in water infrastructure funding for Oregon alone in the bipartisan bill. On Tuesday, Merkley will join the City of Gresham and Rockwood Water People’s Utility District (RWPUD) to break ground on a new project funded by WIFIA—a water infrastructure financing program he created in 2014 to help municipalities afford critical water infrastructure upgrades. WIFIA financing for the RWPUD project is expected to save customers an estimated $38 million. Media are invited to attend the celebration on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 11:30 a.m., at Rockwood Water District Office (19601 NE Halsey St., Portland).
Forest infrastructure: After securing more than $8 billion in the bipartisan infrastructure bill to better respond to wildfires and restore fire-ravaged landscapes, Merkley will see progress on recovery efforts at several sites where communities are rebuilding after last year’s devastating Labor Day fires, and will also get a briefing on the latest response to the Bootleg Fire. There will be two media opportunities on these visits:
- Thursday, Aug. 19, 9:15 – 10 a.m., in Jackson County: join the FEMA briefing with Sen. Merkley (please RSVP for details)
- Thursday, Aug. 19, 2:45 – 3 p.m., in Klamath County: media availability after the Bootleg Fire briefing with Sen. Merkley and Sen. Ron Wyden (please RSVP for details)
Irrigation infrastructure: Through his role on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, Merkley has secured over $135 million for Oregon irrigation modernization projects, with a program increase included in the fiscal year 2022 appropriations bill that passed the committee last week. In the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Merkley secured an additional $500 million for the program, which is critical source of funding for piping and efficiency projects that are increasingly important to irrigators who are struggling through years of drought and extreme weather.
Merkley will join Central Oregon Irrigation District (COID), Farmers Conservation Alliance (FCA), and North Unit Irrigation District to discuss investments in irrigation modernization, and mark the beginning of Phase 2 of the COID project. Media are invited to attend the event on Friday, Aug. 20, 8:45 a.m. Please RSVP to FCA for details.