Merkley, Wyden: $3.5 Million to Improve Water Systems in Prineville and Willamina

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced two community-initiated projects (CIP) Merkley and Wyden championed will be receiving federal investments from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to upgrade water infrastructure. Funding for these projects in Prineville and Willamina was secured in the Fiscal Year 2022 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations portion of the government spending bill, authored by Merkley.

“No one knows the unique needs of communities across Oregon like the folks living and working in them, and community-initiated projects—generated at the ground level—are local and regional solutions by folks who are working to make their communities better,” said Merkley, who helped ensure inclusion of these Oregon projects in a federal funding bill as the only Oregon member of Congress from either chamber to serve on the Appropriations Committee since Senator Mark Hatfield. “It’s great to see these projects are now underway, and I look forward to hearing how they will benefit the communities of Prineville and Willamina.”

“People have the right to clean drinking water,” Wyden said. “I’m committed to making sure funding like this is invested in communities throughout Oregon so small businesses can flourish, and families can pour their kids a clean glass of water before they go to bed every night.”    

As the Chair of the Senate Interior Appropriations subcommittee, Merkley led the drafting of this portion of the bill and fought to ensure Oregon priority projects—like the two announced today—were included.

“The City of Prineville is grateful for the support from Senators Merkley and Wyden to advocate for the needs of Oregon’s rural communities like Prineville,” said Steve Forrester, City Manager. “The City is very appreciative of this funding that will help to address human health and safety concerns through the extension of water and sewer services.”

“As the Mayor for the City of Willamina, I wish to express how grateful I am to have received the Community Initiated Project Grant (CIP) of Two Million dollars for the repair of our water intake facility. The sincere interest shown by Senator Merkley, and his staff was remarkable. I will always remember the senator’s visit to Willamina and the positive, kind, and personable impression he left us with,” said Mayor Ila Skyberg. “Both Senators Merkley, and Wyden have proven once again, that they are working hard for the state of Oregon, and small towns such as Willamina.”

Funding and project descriptions can be found below:

$1.5 million for the City of Prineville for its Water and Wastewater Services Extension: This project will support the modifications to two existing wells, permitting and design of a new aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) well, and upgrades to the water treatment facility. The intended outcome is expected to lead to increased drinking water production and allow for drinking water service to be extended to residents in Prineville, Oregon who are currently unconnected to the system.

$2 million for the City of Willamina for its project on Water Intake Repair: This project will support the installation of the raw water intake, the completion of Lincoln Street stormwater improvements, and the removal of existing raw water intake manifold. The intended outcome is expected to lead to improved safety and reliability of the Willamina Creek drinking water source for the residents of Willamina, Oregon.