Washington, DC – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) announced today that the agency’s Marine Operations
Center-Pacific would be moved to Newport starting in 2011. Oregon’s
Senator Jeff Merkley, who has worked with other members of the delegation,
state and local leaders in pushing for this move, applauded the choice.
“The high quality of Newport’s workers, its excellent infrastructure,
and close relationship to Oregon State University’s Mark O. Hatfield Marine
Science Center all contributed to today’s decision. I am so pleased that
the tireless efforts put in by so many paid off today,” said Merkley.
“This will help more firmly establish Newport as a regional leader in oceanic
sciences and provide new jobs and funding opportunities for the area.
This is a great day for the Oregon coast community.”
Senator Merkley worked closely with his colleagues and
Newport officials over the last several months to encourage NOAA to select
Newport as the new home of the marine fleet. Those efforts included
spearheading a letter signed by nearly 150 local leaders to NOAA laying out the
reasons to choose Newport, and two separate congressional delegation letters in
support of Newport’s proposal.
The NOAA Marine Operations Center-Pacific includes
approximately 175 employees and several fisheries survey vessels.
“So much credit for today’s announcement goes to everyone at
the Port of Newport who tirelessly pressed their case, as well as the state
legislature which authorized the bonding authority needed to help build the
infrastructure to support the fleet. Their hard work paid off today and I
look forward to sitting down with NOAA officials for a bowl of chowder at Mo’s
in 2011,” said Merkley.