Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that the Biggs community in Sherman County will receive over $2 million in federal assistance to establish a municipal water system that will source and store water to support residents, firefighting efforts, and other emergency services.
The funding—a $1.56 million loan and $535,500 grant—is distributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program.
“As the coronavirus continues to rock every aspect of our society and economy, now is the time to make the critical investments we need to build a strong foundation for a safe future,” said Merkley. “I’m pleased that this funding will help residents in Biggs gain reliable access to water—an essential component of a healthy and secure community. I’m going to keep fighting for modern, efficient water infrastructure in every corner of our state.”
“This infrastructure investment in Sherman County to improve local water resources is exactly what’s needed to help rural Oregon during this public health and economic crisis,” Wyden said. “Providing dependable water for the people in Biggs creates better quality of life while generating jobs on this project. That adds up to a win for rural Oregonians, and I will keep battling for similar infrastructure wins in every nook and cranny of our state.”
Merkley has long used his positions as the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees funding for the USDA, as well his position as a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, to advocate for water infrastructure investments in communities across Oregon. These investments immediately create jobs, while also providing the foundation for future economic growth—a win-win for local communities.
After months of working with community leaders to develop detailed proposals to address local challenges, Merkley announced earlier in May that the bipartisan water infrastructure bill that passed out of the EPW Committee included a wide variety of victories for Oregonians, including provisions that would help smaller communities with technical support for water treatment; facilitate the Willamette Locks Transfer to benefit the local community; and dredge at the Coquille River/Port of Bandon and the Port of Astoria, among others. The bill is now awaiting a full Senate vote.