HERMISTON – More than $11 million in federal funding is
coming for six projects in Umatilla and Morrow counties, including $1.7 million
to address drinking water contamination of private wells.
Morrow County Commissioner Melissa Lindsay said that will be
“This new source of significant funding will allow
Morrow and Umatilla counties to develop and implement a standardized well
testing program for domestic wells,” she said, “as well as develop a
feasibility plan for permanent solutions such as a public drinking water
She added the bi-county partnership will enhance other work
within the Lower Umatilla Basin Groundwater Management Area.
Oregon’s U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced the
$11 million in allocations Thursday, Dec. 22. The money is from the $1.7
trillion omnibus spending package, for fiscal year 2023, which President Joe
Biden signed Dec. 23. The lion’s share for Eastern Oregon projects is to
further develop the 7,500 acres the Oregon Military Department has on the
former Umatilla Chemical Depot in both counties.
The National Defense Authorization Act approved a community
project at the Rees Training Center, formerly Camp Umatilla, near Hermiston,
Todd Farmer, Oregon Military Department installations division director
said.” to “The National Defense Authorization Act approved a
community project at the Rees Training Center, formerly Camp Umatilla, near
Hermiston, said Todd Farmer, Oregon Military Department installations division
That’s the largest amount among 22 Eastern Oregon projects
receiving the federal allocation.
Housing students and cadre is an Army requirement to enhance
the capabilities and accreditation of the institute. This project is scheduled
to break ground in early 2023 and could wrap up in 2024. The new housing,
adjacent to the schoolhouse, is to provide up to 60 beds for students when
infantry school is in session. When no classes are scheduled, the housing is
available to service members and can be used to support emergency response
efforts in the region.
Two projects in the Pendleton area are receiving funding.
The larger of the two is $1.5 million to Pendleton to help
build the road to connect Highway 11 with Highway 30 for future housing
“We’ve been working with our Washington, D.C.,
consultant for the last year-and-a-half to get allocation for projects,”
Pendleton Public Works Director Bob Patterson said. “The (11/30) project
rose to the list because it helps fill the need for workforce housing. We’re
opening the area for a lot more homes.”
Patterson said the whole $1.5 million allocation is for road
“Our consultant now estimates it could cost $10 million
to build the road connecting Highway 11 with Highway 30,” he said.
“We plan on using the money to build a specific phase of the connectivity.
The funds should pay the cost of a portion of the road.”
Patterson said it could take nine to 12 months for the funds
to become available from Congress’ omnibus bill.
“In that time, we can do the design and environmental
impact studies,” he said. “When released, the funding can go
completely to construction.”
The other project is $700,000 for facility improvements at
Oregon State University’s Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center near
The Business Opportunity Incubator in Irrigon is getting an
even $1 million.
“The city of Irrigon’s Business Incubator Opportunity
will provide much needed and desired facilities for start-up business
adventures,” City Manager Aaron Palmquist said. “Small business
venues are the backbone for the American economy.”
And Morrow County is getting $177,000 for its Primary Emergency
Operations Center Generator Project.
Morrow County Emergency Manager Paul Gray said this is the
second part of a generator project to make sure the county’s emergency
operations centers have power when they need it most.
“So the first part was securing funds for the county
government building up in Irrigon, which we did receive,” he said.
“We haven’t gotten the generator up there yet, but with this funding
coming through that will basically supply power to both of our EOCs on the
northern and southern ends of the county.”
According to Wyden and Merkley, 145 Oregon communities will
receive funding for critical projects, all of varying totals.