Wyden, Merkley: $400,000 to Gates for Resilient Water Infrastructure Damaged in 2020 Fire

Wyden, Merkley: $400,000 to Gates for Resilient Water Infrastructure Damaged in 2020 Fire

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today announced that the City of Gates will receive a $400,000 Rural Development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to install a backup power source at their reservoir for fire-resilient municipal water service.

“Gates, like many towns in Oregon, has made tremendous progress recovering from the catastrophic fire event in September of 2020, but the road is long and expensive,” Wyden said. “I am heartened to see the City of Gates seek out resilient solutions as we all build back from this disaster. A solar-powered back-up power source will ensure that the water facility in the heart of Gates will remain resilient and continue to provide vital services to the community for years to come.”

“I've been inspired by Oregonians’ resilience through the extreme weather events and catastrophic wildfires our state has experienced, and it’s great to see many of these communities on the path towards recovery and rebuilding,” said Merkley. “Gates's water facility operations were substantially damaged in the 2020 Labor Day wildfires, and I'm pleased to see it receive this funding so it can continue providing critical services throughout the community.”

The City of Gates will use the Rural Development grant to install a backup power source at their reservoir, a grid-connected solar cell and battery onsite, 44 replacement water filters, a steel mesh net wall to maintain road access, and a new pump station. Gates lost roughly half of its structures during the September 2020 wildfires, which in turn exposed service lines and caused major system leaks. The fire damage rendered the current reservoir and pump station unfit for use by inhabitants, which is why the city plans to build a back-up system that can remain resilient without electricity.

"Gates residents were greatly relieved to discover that through the support of the Rural Development grants we qualified for funding to build back our damaged infrastructure after the fires of September 2020," said Gates Water Commissioner and Mayor-elect Brian Gander. "Our water system now has a new telemetry system along the upgrades to our water storage facility. Our water system is vital to our residents and to the City as a revenue source, this grant has assured the water continues to flow and that we have revenues to support our constituent’s expectations. Thanks to our state senators’ support at this critical time, we are able to meet the needs of our constituents."

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