Merkley, Wyden Announce $1.7 Million in Funding for Economic Development in Eight Rural Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that eight rural communities throughout Oregon will be receiving $1.7 million in federal funding to create jobs, upgrade essential facilities, and improve quality of life.

The funding, which is being administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development program, will support essential services for 24,091 Oregonians in Tillamook, Lane, Lincoln, Grant, Baker, and Douglas counties.

“Every Oregonian in every part of our state—regardless of their zip code or their income—should have the facilities and infrastructure necessary to build community and stay safe from risks like wildfires and cyberattacks,” said Merkley, who serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the USDA and rural development. “But major infrastructure investments, from firehouse upgrades to public pool maintenance, are especially expensive in our rural communities. These grants will help cover some of those steep upfront costs and put essential services within reach for nearly 25,000 Oregonians. Our state is strongest when families in every corner of Oregon can thrive, which is why I’ll keep fighting for critical investments like these.”

“Equipping Oregonians with up-to-date facilities and essential resources they need to stay safe in the face of emergencies and disaster is a must,” Wyden said. “This welcome investment in our rural communities will mean more security, more jobs and improved quality of life for Oregon families.”

Grant awardees are as follows:

  • Oakridge High School—the town of Oakridge’s designated emergency shelter—in Lane County will receive $600,000 to purchase an emergency generator and convert unused athletic facility space into an 8,500-square-foot multi-purpose room that can serve as a shelter during emergencies, while also providing space to host community meetings, after-school activities, and other events throughout the year. The investment will benefit 4,418 Oregonians.
  • The City of Dayville in Grant County will receive two grants—$300,000 in Community Facility Disaster Grants and $172,000 in Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants—to renovate the community hall. The facility was built 100 years ago and has been deemed a historic site by the State Historic Preservation Office.
  • The Mapleton School District in Lane County will receive two grants—$200,190 in Community Facility Disaster Grants and $103,298 in Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants—to renovate and re-open the aquatic center serving the rural communities of Mapleton and Florence. This investment will benefit 1,599 Oregonians.
  • The City of Winston in Douglas County will receive $137,200 in Community Facilities Disaster Grants to update their police department facilities. The investment will benefit 5,379 Oregonians.
  • The Eagle Valley Rural Fire Protection District in Baker County will receive two awards—$44,000 in Economic Impact Initiative Grants and $36,000 in Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants—to build a new fire station. The investment will benefit 1,924 Oregonians.
  • Neighbors for Kids in Lincoln County will receive two Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants totaling $55,615 to improve the fire safety system at the nonprofit, and make critical kitchen and bathroom equipment upgrades and install a security gate at the nonprofit’s facility, which offers after-school and educational activities for children in Depoe Bay. The investment will benefit 1,398 Oregonians.
  • The City of Reedsport in Douglas County will receive $36,300 in Community Facilities Disaster Grants to purchase a police vehicle. The investment will benefit 4,154 Oregonians.
  • The City of Wheeler in Tillamook County will receive $22,000 in Economic Impact Initiative Grants to improve cybersecurity, safety of equipment, and to improve security of remote parks and roads. The investment will benefit 414 Oregonians.

“Through unprecedented winter storms, our high school has provided the community with emergency shelter—but has had to make due with limited resources. With this grant, we’ll be able to provide our students and entire community with the safety and resources we need when we’re in an emergency, and a valuable activity space when we’re not. I thank Senators Merkley and Wyden for their support in securing this grant,” said Reta Doland, Superintendent of the Oakridge School District.

“The community of Dayville is beyond thrilled that our beloved, 100-year-old community hall will be receiving the much-needed restoration and renovations that it so desperately stands in need of. This old building is the heart of our community and throughout its 100 years has provided the space for dances, movies, high school basketball games, a box factory during WWII, a skating rink, plays, bazaars, memorials, reunions, weddings, plus so much more. Currently, the kitchen is nonfunctioning and the restrooms are barely usable. The hall itself is beginning to show its age and without these renovations, we would be jeopardy of losing the entire building in the near future. We are so grateful to the funding agencies who are making the restoration of this grand building happen, and we can’t wait to fill our old building with 100 more years of memories,” said Ruth Moore, City Recorder of the City of Dayville.