Merkley, Wyden Announce Over $7.5 Million Investment in Oregon Airports

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced over $7.5 million in federal grants that will help Oregon airports fund installation, rehabilitation, and reconstruction projects to modernize facilities and improve safety.

“Airports across our state play a critical role in connecting Oregonians with economic opportunities and critical resources,” Merkley said. “I’m going to keep using my position on the Senate Appropriations Committee to secure investments that make our airports safer, our economy stronger, and our communities more connected for generations to come.”

“Airports throughout Oregon generate good jobs in every part of our state and provide essential links for both passenger travel and lifesaving services,” Wyden said. “These new resources make important infrastructure investments that allow these airports to build on their regions’ economic strengths, and I am proud to have teamed up with local officials to earn these vital transportation grants.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation Airport Improvement Program grants will fund runway rehabilitation and taxiway reconstruction projects, as well as taxiway lighting and signage. It will also support environmental studies, terminal improvements, and making airports more resilient to winter storms. The awards include:

  • Columbia Gorge Regional Airport serving The Dalles: $1,625,000 to reconstruct the apron and taxiway;
  • Roberts Field Airport in Redmond: $2,677,589 to construct a snow removal equipment building;
  • Rogue Valley International Airport in Medford: $1,489,953 to improve the terminal building.

In addition, grants ranging from $83,000 to $360,000 were awarded to airports in Chiloquin, Cottage Grove, Gleneden Beach, Hood River, Independence, La Grande, Madras, Ontario, Prineville, and Tillamook, amounting to more than $7.5 million for Oregon airports.

“The Redmond Airport is very excited about the continued investment in our infrastructure and support from Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden,” said Airport Director Zachary Bass, of the Redmond Municipal Airport. “This grant will allow RDM to continue to increase our capabilities, safety, and customer service to the region’s aviation and travelling community.”

“The Columbia Gorge Regional Airport is an important transportation hub in the region for both business and recreation,” said Airport Manager Aryn Rasmussen, of the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport. “Currently CGRA provides services for a Life Flight location, seasonal firefighting base, ambulance station, maintenance facility and FBO; in addition to general aviation activities and recording over 300 jet landings annually. The rehabilitation of the north apron is a critical step in updating the infrastructure necessary to meet the current and future demands of the airport’s customers.”

“The Airport is a tremendous asset to our community,” said Jackson County Commissioner Bob Strosser. “With grant funding approved in the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act, our legislators understand how important airport infrastructure improvements are to the sustainability of our facilities and the economies they serve.” 

“Our passenger numbers continue to climb considerably and we are endlessly trying to keep pace with the growth,” said Airport Director Jerry Brienza, of the Rogue Valley International-Medford. “With over one million passengers using our facility last year, this new loading bridge is one of many improvements we are undertaking to help better serve our passengers.”