Merkley, Wyden Announce Nearly $2 Million in Federal Funds headed to Northeast Oregon for Forest Resiliency, Wildfire Prevention

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced critical project funding headed to Northeast Oregon. The U.S. Forest Service (FS) will be investing $1.8 million into the La Grande Valley West Resilience Project over the next three years to support forest management and outreach to private forestland owners to support and promote resilient forests, helping prevent out-of-control wildfires.

“The La Grande Valley West Resilience Project has multiple benefits, and I’m delighted the U.S. Forest Service is funding this important community project,” said Merkley who serves as Chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds the U.S. Forest Service. “I look forward to seeing how the project uses this investment to reduce wildfire risk, protect water sources, create recreational opportunities, and to contribute and strengthen the economy. As our fire seasons continue to grow longer and fiercer, I’ll keep fighting to make sure Oregon gets the support it needs to reduce the risk of severe wildfire to our communities and businesses.”

“Federal investment in lowering wildfire dangers and managing forest health is a must for Eastern Oregon and our state to build a stronger rural economy and healthier environment so Oregonians aren’t breathing in smoke,” said Wyden. “I’m gratified the La Grande Valley West Resilience Project has secured these federal funds, and will continue battling for similar investments statewide that grow jobs, protect communities and support quality of life throughout rural Oregon.”

This announcement comes after Senator Merkley issued a letter in September 2021 to Joint-Chiefs Terry Cosby and Randy Moore requesting federal funds and resources to be allocated towards the La Grande Valley West Resilience Project.

“The Joint Chiefs funding will allow for much needed restoration work to take place.  This particular project is a keystone to multiple other projects on adjacent properties. It really is a portion of a much larger landscape wide, all lands effort,” said Paul Anderes, Union County Commissioner.

“These types of projects meet multiple needs for our landscapes, communities, and associates.  We appreciate these investments in our landscapes because they have multiple social, ecological, and economic benefits. These types of investments in the stewardship of our landscape will go along way towards restoring resilience to our landscape through scientifically based forest management,” said Thomas Lovlien, Vice President, Lumber and Composites, Woodgrain Millwork