Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced Senate passage of two critical community-initiated projects totaling $31 million for the Oregon Air National Guard.
The investments were included in the FY24 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies funding bill, which cleared the chamber with strong bipartisan support, putting the Oregon Air National Guard closer than ever to completing phases 3 and 4 of their project to consolidate training facilities for the 125th Special Tactics Squadron (STS).
“Oregon’s Air National Guard do critical work to help protect the security of Oregon and our nation,” Merkley said. “This funding for the Special Tactics Complex will help make Oregon a West Coast hub for special tactics training and provide Oregon’s Air National Guard members with up-to-date training and resources.”
“Oregon’s Air National Guard and its dedicated service members play an essential role in the defense of our state and country,” Wyden said. “This Oregon unit, so key to national security, fully deserves this federal investment that would modernize its training and ensure it has the resources it needs to be strong and vital in the years ahead.”
Merkley is the only Oregon member of Congress from either chamber since Senator Mark Hatfield to serve on the Appropriations Committee, which wrote the bill and is one of the most powerful on Capitol Hill. He joined the committee in 2013 so that Oregon would have a strong voice in decisions about the investments our nation should be making.
Senators Merkley and Wyden teamed up to champion the significant investments for the Oregon Air National Guard, as their Special Tactics Squadron’s current buildings for training are set to be returned to the Port of Portland in 2030. The funding will increase operational and energy efficiencies and reduce overall maintenance costs for Oregon National Guard. Once complete, this center is expected to become a West Coast training hub and will be a draw for the 125th Special Tactics Squadron in addition to those looking for specialized training.
“The efforts from Senators Merkley and Wyden and their teams on these projects directly supports our overall mission success and readiness for your local Portland Air National Guard and its service members,” said Brig. Gen. David Unruh, Commander of the Oregon Air National Guard.
Now the bill has cleared the Senate, it will next head to the U.S. House of Representatives. The final legislation to emerge from the process must then be passed by both chambers before it is signed into law.
Senators Merkley and Wyden urge the House to take up the legislation without delay to keep vital government systems and programs running and invest in targeted projects needed in communities across Oregon.