Merkley Tours Critical Projects He Championed for Oregon Communities

Portland, OR – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley traveled the Portland and Salem metro areas last week to highlight several of the community-initiated projects he championed in the 2022 federal spending bill. Senator Merkley, with the support of Senator Ron Wyden, used his position on the Senate’s Appropriations Committee to secure funding for nearly 150 of these projects across the state—supporting housing, health care, education, and other needs in Oregon communities, while creating essential services and jobs.

“No one knows the unique needs of communities across Oregon like the folks living and working in those places. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I was able to listen to Oregonians’ top priorities and write a federal spending bill that delivered funding for critically important projects on a local and regional level,” said Merkley. “It was an honor to visit with many of the organizations who will be receiving this essential funding for their projects last week and hear first-hand how their work will have a significant impact for Oregonians.”

The following are funds and projects Senators Merkley and Wyden secured in the spending bill, and that Senator Merkley highlighted on his tour last week:

  • $500,000 for The Nature Conservancy for a targeted, Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) community-centered equitable approach to help enhance and expand the urban tree canopy in the greater Portland area
  • $2.67 million for the development of Multnomah County’s Behavioral Health Resource Center Plaza—a peer-led, culturally responsive, and trauma informed center in the final stages of construction in downtown Portland to help address the homeless crisis, which the Senator toured jointly with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. The project is also supported by Congressman Earl Blumenauer. An additional $375,000 was secured for personnel, supplies, training, computers, client service funds, and a media campaign to support the center.
  • $500,000 secured for the City of Beaverton to expand the role of the Oregon Technology Business Center, which the Senator also toured jointly with Congresswoman Bonamici, as a resource for innovative startups and to launch a new non-profit incubator concept
  • $943,000 to help Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) establish virtual intensive care units at Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria and Bay Area Hospital in Coos Bay
  • $800,000 secured for OHSU’s Northwest Native American Center of Excellence, which will allow the program to expand its support of indigenous health care leaders, help to grow the health care workforce, and expand quality service to American Indian and Alaska Native patients. The project is also supported by Rep. Blumenauer.  
  • $585,000 for a channel design study, a key step in advancing a long-sought project to remove the Kellogg Dam and restore critical fish habitat in the City of Milwaukie
  • $449,000 for Oregon State University and University of Oregon’s TallWood Design Institute to create a program of e-learning course modules to provide practicing structural engineers, with professional learning opportunities in mass timber design
  • Several funding awards that Senator Merkley secured to meet housing-related needs in the Salem-area:
    • $1.2 million for the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency’s (MWVCAA) renovations at the Tanner Project, a transitional shelter for unhoused veterans in Salem
    • $1 million for the MWVCAA to acquire, rehabilitate, and modernize a motel and provide shelter for chronically homeless individuals and wildfire survivors in Salem
    • $2 million for the Salem YMCA to support the construction of 34-units of permanent veterans housing in Salem
    •  $1 million for the North Willamette Valley Habitat for Humanity to cover infrastructure costs associated with an 18-unit housing development for low to moderate income families in rural Marion County, with a special focus on wildfire survivors, BIPOC families, seniors, and veterans
  • $6.3 million for the Salem Area Mass Transit District to support the acquisition of five electric transit buses and kick off their “electric bus corridor,” a transit route connecting Salem and Keizer that will use exclusively electric buses.
  • $250,000 for Mano a Mano in Salem to increase the number of its bilingual Community Health Workers, who support communities of color, immigrants, refugees, and low-to-moderate income families access health and social services in rural Marion and Polk counties.

Click HERE for a slideshow of Senator Merkley’s community-initiated projects tour.